Jefferson students write, illustrate books on environmental social issues

Seventh grade students at Jefferson Middle School explored the impact humans have on the environment and how power dynamics within societies across the globe allow certain segments of the population to control how we interact with our environment, how human interactions have impacted the Earth, and how the adverse impact of environmental change has disproportionately impacted the most marginalized populations around the world.
Students collaborated to create an informational children's book about an environmental social issue, researched the issue and wrote a children's story while also selecting and/or creating images to enhance the story. Most recently the students visited Muir Elementary School, where they presented their stories to Muir students!

Toki Middle School eighth-grader wins Madison All-City Spelling Bee

Two days after winning the Madison All-City Spelling Bee, eighth-grader Matthew Brock walked into Akira Toki Middle School carrying a gleaming 1st place trophy. Students and staff lined the hallways clapping for him, excited to shake his hand and congratulate him.

It's Matthew's third year making it to the All-City Spelling Bee. After two years of third and fourth-place finishes, he said 'dedication' is how he won this year; maintaining his confidence and enthusiasm despite participating with top spellers who've competed nationally.

"I'm very competitive and I always want to do my best, so when I see all the other spellers on stage spelling their words correctly, I know that I have to do my best," he said. 

Coming into another year of the competition at Madison College, Matthew said it was "nerve-racking" to see the other students doing so well. But those nerves didn't stop him from spelling every word thrown at him successfully, and with little doubt. 

After the other finalist, fourth-grader Vincent Bautista from Edgewood Campus School, tripped up over the spelling of "euphonious," Matthew spelled it correctly, in addition to spelling "dolomite" right for the win.
Matthew was introduced to spelling bee competitions in fourth grade when he tuned into the National Spelling Bee on television's sports and entertainment network, ESPN. 

"Ever since I saw the National Spelling Bee on ESPN I knew I wanted to compete," he said. "I never imagined going that far, I just knew I wanted to compete in every school spelling bee and do well."

When Matthew isn't studying words that most people have never heard of, he's competing in soccer tournaments or in the gym on the weekends doing mixed martial arts. 

Matthew will be competing with about fifty other top spellers from across Wisconsin in the 2020 Badger State Spelling Bee on March 7 at Madison College. The winner of the state bee, Wisconsin's top speller, wins a trip to Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian to compete in the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland. 

Congratulations to this year's All-City Spelling Bee winner, Matthew Brock of Toki Middle School.

Read Your Heart Out at Chávez Elementary 

Chávez Elementary School welcomed dozens of African American parents and community leaders this week in celebration of Read Your Heart Out!
The school's 'Parents of Black Excellence' group coordinated everything from recruiting readers to hosting a soul food brunch for classroom participants. Check out the highlights from the event, which is focused on connecting students and African American parents through community, culture and literacy. #BlackHistoryMonth

See the video.

During the month of February, more than twenty schools across MMSD will participate in the annual event Read Your Heart Out, a celebration of National African American Parent Involvement Day, literacy and African American history.

We want your feedback: Environmental sustainability plans in the potential referenda

The Madison Board of Education is finalizing their decisions regarding a potential facility and operating revenue referenda for November 2020. They hope to make final decisions regarding the potential two referendum questions at the regular board meeting in March. However, before they do that, they would like to hear from you, our families and community members, to get more detailed feedback on potential environmental sustainability plans and what it might look like to add funding to the November 2020 facilities referendum, specific to environmental sustainability projects.

The meeting will be on February 25th at 6:30pm-8:00pm at La Follette High School. Our Building Excellence Team will be presenting information on the overall referendum and the district's potential sustainability projects. Our goal for the meeting is to get your thoughts on the district's next steps toward sustainability, including our funding strategy, so that you can be fully informed prior to November 2020. You can also learn more about the referendum at

Reminder: 4K, 5K Enrollment for 2020-21 begins March 2

Enrollment for four-year-old kindergarten (4K) and five-year-old kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year will be Monday, March 2 from 2pm - 6pm at all MMSD elementary schools. Online enrollment for 4K and kindergarten programming will open on February 24. Enrollment is for families who have NOT previously attended a 4K or early childhood program through MMSD.

Learn more about 4K at and kindergarten at

What is the BEP? How does it work? What should I know?: Find out on March 10

Join us on Tuesday, March 10, from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Goodman South Public Library, 2222 S. Park St., to learn about the Behavior Education Plan (BEP). You will also hear from community members about their own experiences. Featured speakers include: Bryn Martyna, MMSD Coordinator of Progressive Discipline, and Hector Portillo, parent and Director of Padres e hijos en acción. 
Food will be provided. To reserve childcare, request transportation or interpretation, please contact Janice Chestnut at 608-663-5977 or

8th Grade Families: PEOPLE Program Application Window Open until March 6, 2020

University of Wisconsin- Madison Precollege Enrichment Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE) has opened our applications for the 2020 year. PEOPLE is a free college prep program designed for low income and potential first generation college students! PEOPLE partners with students and their families, starting in 8th grade only, to provide support to be college ready. College prep services include: Precollege Advising, ACT Preparations, Tutoring, Summer Programs, College Visits, and Internships.

Students who are accepted and enroll into the University of Wisconsin-Madison may be eligible for a four year tuition scholarship and support from our College Scholars Program. Apply now online. Applications are open now through March 6, 2020. Contact your school counselor if you have questions or need additional information.

News from the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools: Mark Your Calendars and Join Us for the 2020 Adopt-a-School Summit & Community Breakfast 

See how we connect community to classroom on Wednesday, March 25

We are so fortunate to live in Madison - a community that takes great pride and responsibility in our public schools. Our young scholars and school communities could not thrive without the help of key community partners, which is why the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools has proudly hosted the Adopt-a-School program since 2005, connecting community to classroom.

Please join us in spreading the word, and sign up now to attend our 2020 Adopt-a-School Summit and Community Breakfast, Wednesday, March 25. We want everyone in our community to know just how important this program is to the success of our schools and families, and how easy it can be for a local corporation, congregation or fraternal organization to make a lasting, positive impact on our public school scholars. 

Our program will kick off with a community networking breakfast and feature performances by MMSD scholars, a robust panel discussion and key breakout sessions, including: 

  • Advocacy and Referendum: Partnering for Future-Ready Schools - Public schools advocacy and the upcoming referendum
  • Employee Engagement: A Competitive Edge in the Talent Wars - How Adopt-a-School can help with employee recruitment and engagement
  • Faith-Based Partnerships: Rooted in Faith, Connected in Service - Faith-based partners find fellowship through Adopt-a-School
  • Black Excellence: Advancing Black Excellence - Fostering racial equity and inclusion through community partnerships. 

The Adopt-a-School Summit and Community Breakfast is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. Visit us online to learn more and get registered to attend!

See Mindstorm at the MMSD Planetarium

MindStorm is a multimedia experience by Thomas Ferrella and Aaron Granat intended to be showcased in a planetarium setting. Both the visuals and music are performed live and have an integral spontaneous connection. The visuals performed by Granat are sourced from footage Ferrella has shot and cataloged over the past 20 years. Ferrella's interest lies in documenting repetitive motion he observes in everyday encounters. With this vast archive encompassing Ferrella's unique visual perspective, Granat uses the footage as the raw materials for a dynamic visual collage that is organically composed in conversation with the accompanying music. Granat uses moving images to defamiliarize ordinary phenomena to discover the underlying shapes, tonalities and rhythms that unify all perception. The live performance of video material aspires to dissolve the boundaries delineating motion picture media, music and visual art. View the trailer to preview the experience.

Dates: March 6, 7  at 8pm 
Tickets: $15, $10 students
Buy tickets now