Dear MMSD Families, 

Welcome Back and Happy New Year! I hope you were able to rest and recharge during winter break, while enjoying spending time with your loved ones. 

Hopefully, your students were fully refreshed for their first week back to virtual learning. Our teachers were eager to reconnect with students after the break, and they continuously strive to provide your children with engaging and meaningful learning activities each day.

Earlier today, we announced our plan to start the third quarter by remaining all-virtual for every grade level. Although we will begin 3rd Quarter virtual, if at any time conditions for bringing students and staff back safely improve, we will execute our plan to safely return students to in-person learning in a phased approach. In our plan, we will start with our earliest learners and bring grade levels back in two week increments, with the hopes of bringing back all students when the conditions permit.

Knowing how virtual learning impacts a number of our students has made each one of these decisions incredibly difficult. Although it is our preference to have all students learning in-person, connecting face to face with teachers and classmates, and benefiting from learning in a classroom environment, it is also our top priority to ensure when we do return to our school buildings, it will be done in the safest way possible, with metrics supporting a safe return.

We understand families will have many questions, and we encourage you to visit the district website where you will find the very latest information on our pandemic planning. Also, when visiting the website you will find a new tool called “Let’s Talk.” This new user friendly tool is designed specifically for our families, and provides a streamlined and easily accessible communications platform for having your specific questions instantly routed and answered by an appropriate MMSD staff member in a more timely manner. 

Additionally, we will be holding a Facebook Livestream on January 14, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. to provide you with an interactive real-time venue to ask questions and get answers from district leaders. To participate in the livestream, you can follow the link on the date and time of the livestream at: MMSD 3rd Quarter Facebook Livestream.  
 
In closing, our community is fortunate to have so many families who are involved and committed to their children’s education. Thank you for your patience and support.

Sincerely,

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Superintendent

MMSD community partner launches learning pod for students

When MMSD announced in July 2020 it would begin the school year virtually during the severity and uncertainty of COVID-19, community leaders at Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership and Development began developing a plan for in-person learning pods. The coalition's goal was simple: to provide students in Madison's underserved communities with free, supervised assistance in a safe environment as they navigate virtual learning. Read the full story.

Join our Facebook Live Session on Thursday, January 14th at 6pm 

This session is part of a series of conversations on reopening MMSD Buildings, featuring school board members, central office leaders, health experts and district staff.

An important discussion with health experts
Throughout the first semester, we have been fortunate to have regular, in-depth discussions with local  health experts representing Public Health Madison & Dane County, UW-Madison, UW-Health, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This includes epidemiologists, virologists, infection preventionists, infectious disease specialists, pediatricians, nurse consultants, professors, and more. 

Their input has been a critical point of reference for us in our planning and decision-making. Some representatives from our expert panel have graciously agreed to discuss the state of COVID-19 in our community with our families and staff, and to answer your questions. 

The first opportunity to do so will be Thursday, January 14 at 6 p.m., in a Facebook Live session. MMSD officials will be joined by Dr. Ellen Wald, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UW-Madison; Dr. Thomas Friedrich, Professor of Virology in the UW School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Greg Demuri, UW-Health Professor of Pediatrics, for a discussion about local health conditions, pandemic-induced childhood trauma and mental health, what is known to date about the new COVID-19 variants, the state of vaccinations and more. 

Please join us. Note that you do not need a Facebook account to watch; simply click the link! Live interpretation will be available in Spanish and Hmong.

Give Light - Randall Elementary Choir sings a positive message

Randall Elementary Choir Director Mark Harrod was able to mix together several classrooms singing the song Give Light in this inspiring video.

Free meals for ALL students continues throughout the school year

The USDA has released an extraordinary waiver allowing MMSD Food & Nutrition to provide breakfast and lunch free of charge to all students (regardless of eligibility) through June 30, 2021. Should schools reopen, students who return to school will have access to the free meals in the building. Food & Nutrition will continue to distribute meal boxes to students who are learning virtually.

A new way to contact MMSD

This week, we implemented a new software platform on our website called Let's Talk! We invite you to click on the "contact us" tab in the bottom right corner of our website to send us your questions, concerns and/or suggestions. Once you click on a topic and make a submission through our Let's Talk! platform, the school district employee who can best address your comment will be notified. We hope you'll take advantage of this great tool. 

Save the date: We need your feedback on our facilities projects

We'll be holding input and feedback sessions throughout January and February to hear from our students, families, staff and community about our next steps on all the facilities projects that will be funded by the referenda our community passed in November. You are welcome to attend any session, keeping in mind the focus of each session will be on the school listed, and all sessions will be recorded and available on Facebook and YouTube after the event. The dates are as follows: 

We also encourage you to submit your feedback through the form on our website at mmsd.org/future-ready

17th annual Read Your Heart Out event is going virtual 

Read Your Heart Out is back this year for a virtual celebration of Black history, culture and experiences through community partnerships. Throughout the month of February, schools across MMSD will participate in this celebration of National African American Parent Involvement Day. Traditionally parents, community members and volunteers read books, recite poetry or connect with students through visual or oral storytelling in the classroom during the event. However, due to COVID-19, readers will now engage with students virtually. Look for more details in the next family newsletter and if you're an African American parent or community member interested in recording yourself reading a book, telling a story or sharing a piece of spoken word on video, please reach out to your child's school. 

2021 Virtual MLK College Summit: January 16, 2021

On Saturday, January 16th, 2021 from 10am-12pm, The College Station will host the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual College Summit. The 4th annual MLK College Summit provides students and families with a wealth of college search and financial aid information. Admission officers and representatives from 2-year and 4-year public and private colleges and universities will provide information and share resources. In addition, participants will hear directly from current college students and learn more about the student experience. High school students of color, first-generation students, and parents are encouraged to attend. This event is free and open to all high school students and families.

Get a jump start on college planning. Additional information and registration can be found here.

MSCR Winter 2021 Program Guide 

Enjoy a variety of recreation opportunities for all ages held Indoor, Outdoor and Online! The Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) Winter 2021 Program Guide is now available at mscr.org. The guide is filled with a variety of recreation activities for all ages including arts & enrichment, fitness, 50+ fitness, skiing, sports, special events and more. Programs are adapted to be held safely indoor, outdoor and online. Indoor programs begin the week of January 25, following these Health & Safety Policies. Registration is open for residents and registration opens on January 19 at 8am for non-residents. Fee assistance is available for those who qualify.

MMSD is currently hiring!

Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is the second largest school system in Wisconsin with a simple but bold vision - that every school is a thriving school that prepares every student to graduate from high school
ready for college, career and community. We're looking for diverse, culturally aware, and passionate candidates, like you, who are committed to the excellence of youth in Madison.

MMSD is seeking qualified candidates for these current openings:

  • Custodian
  • Special Education Assistants, Behavioral Education Assistants and Substitute Special Education Assistants
  • Food Service Workers and Substitute Food Service Workers
  • School Security Assistants and Limited Term School Security Assistants
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Painter

Make a Difference in Madison Schools! Apply today! Visit mmsd.org/careers

MMSD has a competitive pay salary and offers flexible schedules; many of the positions have permanent and/or substitute employment opportunities. MMSD also offers excellent benefits including health, dental, and life insurances as well as the Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. Benefits are available for permanent positions only scheduled 19 hours per week or more.

Community Events

There are many amazing opportunities throughout the Madison community for our students and families. View some of these opportunities here

If you are interested in seeing your organization's event on this page, read about how you can do that here

In case you missed it

Project Recovery has a FREE, confidential, local support and education line to help people cope with COVID-19 and this stressful time. Learn more.

MMSD is working with the Madison Public Libraries to ensure all students have access to books during this pandemic. Learn more about how your students can get library books.

Special Education updates and resources for families during virtual learning

The Hmong Institute has a COVID-19 Resource Line, set up to close the language barrier gap and provide bilingual and bicultural support to support Southeast Asian and other refugees in Wisconsin affected by COVID-19 to better access resources and navigate the systems in their communities. Learn more about this in EnglishHmongKhmer or Tibetan

If you haven't already, you can opt in to receive texts from the district and your school(s) by texting the word YES to 67587 from your mobile device. 

We have 40 neighborhood food sites set up around Madison offering curbside meal service for all children 18 years of age or younger. Each site has pickup one day per week. Visit this page to learn more.

If you need a device exchanged, please contact your school's LMTS. Learn more about the process here

How to contact your school: While we're virtual, we want to make sure you're still able to contact your school. There are currently three ways you can get in touch with your school. Find them here.

How to get help during COVID-19, from Public Health and the City of Madison: View the "How To" community resources pages here.

The Foundation for Madison's Public Schools has been raising emergency relief funds and collaborating with community partners to ensure our MMSD and MSCR students, families and staff have the resources and financial support to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.   

NAMI Dane County has a free support line from 8:30-4:30pm and provides numerous support groups and classes for individuals impacted by mental health needs. Learn more

The City of Madison recently launched a free Financial Resources Hotline to help residents navigate financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Navigators provide free guidance, over the phone, to help residents access available programs and services to manage income loss and other financial concerns they may be experiencing.

Previous family newsletters are archived on this page on our website.