A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week marks the first week of the interlude between the end of our summer semester and the start of our fall semester. During this week, our district has ramped up planning and preparation for opening schools this fall. As such, we are: engaging in professional development; continuing to hire and place staff; having robust discussions about implementing high-yielding instructional strategies alongside appropriate social-emotional supports; and fine-tuning our planned COVID-19 mitigation strategies. All of these efforts are building our capacity to ensure our schools are places where students, staff, and families thrive as we grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 and racial/social injustice pandemics.
This week, district staff had an informative meeting with our advisory committee of public health experts where we discussed emerging data and interpreted new research. The insights from this discussion will assist us in refining and strengthening our mitigation strategies. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff and families, while working to address disparities and accelerate learning for all students.
As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of a global health pandemic, we also remain vigilant in our journey to become an anti-racist district focused on academic excellence. As such, during this week’s Instruction Work Group (IWG) meeting, district leaders had a robust and respectful dialogue with board members about ongoing planning for full-day 4K expansion as we increase our intentionality around the early arts throughout our district, and providing the necessary supports to our schools identified for assistance in accordance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). If we can lead with the
kind of love and intentionality which truly values human decency, MMSD will take its rightful place as “that pace-setting district.” Together, we can interrogate and refine our policies and practices which serve as obstacles to disrupting historical disparities and creating a nourishing learning environment for all students, staff, and families.
Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress and planning next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.