A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week, which marks the first week of our summer semester, has been eventful. During this week, our district engaged in planning and advocacy to accelerate learning for all students, while addressing educational disparities. These efforts continued while we prepare to adopt our preliminary budget for 2021-2022, an exercise which attempts to align our financial commitments with our values.
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, MMSD relied on the innovation and determination of our students, staff, and families as we worked to address the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial/social injustice. Our efforts involved taking novel approaches to address the instructional, social-emotional, and other needs of our community, including providing millions of meals at a remote distribution center; coordinating vaccination and testing resources; providing access to technology devices and internet hotspots; and connecting our students and families to community resources for basic needs. Unfortunately, our state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee's budget resolution seeks to stem our momentum by providing resources which do not cover inflationary increases in our costs. Therefore, we were encouraged by the participation in (and largely positive media coverage of) the Wisconsin Public Education Network's Day of Action on Monday.
As we plan for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond, we are working to assure coherence between our planned investments and our values. Therefore, this week we have continued engaging students, families, staff, and community partners around refining our policies and practices for delivery of instructional, co-curricular, and operational services. During the month of July, this engagement will include hosting myriad focus groups, conducting interviews, and analyzing data as part of an Equity Audit. We are delighted to work in partnership with Dr. Jerlando Jackson of the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (WEILab), who is spearheading this audit by
using novel approaches which limit our district’s outlay of expenditures. The findings from this audit will assist our efforts to ensure we are engaging in anti-racist practices which affirm our respect for diversity and difference. We look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks.
Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.