A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week marks the last full week before the start of our fall semester. During this week, our district staff have been leaning forward together in preparation for opening schools this fall, focusing on excellence, equity, humanity, and intentionality.
During Monday’s Administrative Leadership Kick-off, our principals and district administrators were encouraged to embrace James Baldwin’s famous challenge to educators and “go for broke” as they demonstrate their care and concern for students. During this professional development, David O’Connor from the Department of Public Instruction provided key insights from an American Indian perspective on infusing a truly inclusive cultural lens in our work. In addition, our administrators had the opportunity to have an extensive dialogue with the esteemed scholar Dr. Carl Grant about his book James Baldwin and the American Schoolhouse where Baldwin’s work was interpreted from a historical and contemporary perspective.
On Tuesday, district leaders had a discussion with our medical advisory panel about refining policies and practices to enhance strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. During this meeting, current research was shared and discussed. In addition, there was vigorous dialogue about emerging policy issues related to the strategy of mandating vaccinations for employees. The participants in the meeting seem supportive of our district being prepared to implement a full 4K-12 virtual option given the rise of the Delta variant. The insights from this discussion will certainly assist our efforts to keep students, staff, and families safe as we open schools this fall.
On Wednesday, our district participated in events which illustrated the promise of “bringing the community into the schools, and the schools into the community.” During the Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) Awards Program, our district partnered with the City of Madison to thank volunteers and employees for their efforts to engage and nurture our students in the midst of tumultuous times where our world is facing a global health pandemic and a pandemic of racial/social injustice. In addition, students, staff, and families throughout our district had the opportunity to engage our larger community and consider the themes of excellence, equity, humanity, and intentionality during the Anana Elementary School renaming celebration.
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.