Have a relaxing Spring Break

As we head into Spring Break next week, we hope you enjoy your time off and come back refreshed, recharged and excited to finish out the school year strong. Be sure to check out MSCR for fun activities during Spring Break and the 2019 Gaming and Coding Day (find info later in this newsletter).

Madison middle and high school students compete in Project Soapbox

Madison middle and high school students recently participated in the 2019 Madison Project Soapbox Public Speaking Competition. The competition is a partnership between the district and Action Civics Wisconsin. The event gives our students an opportunity to speak on issues that affect them and their communities. Students who competed in this event first delivered their speeches at their school in front of peers and staff. This year, students answered the questions: "What is the most pressing issue facing young people today, why is it important and what should be done to address it?"

Congratulations to Jonah Gulisano of Hamilton Middle School in 2nd place, Claire Neblett of Akira Toki Middle School in 1st place, and Aria Bowman of Madison West High School as the Student Voice Choice winner. Aria will be moving on to the national competition in Washington D.C. this summer. The top 10 finalists also won two tickets each to a performance of their choice at the Overture Center.

In support of all of our students, staff and families

In response to the heartbreaking terror attack targeting Muslim worshipers in New Zealand, we want to underscore our unconditional love and support for our students, staff and families of all races, faiths, national origins, immigration status, political viewpoints, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities.

You are all treasured and vital members of our community. We are committed, today and always, to ensuring that you are welcome and safe in our schools.

Spring safety updates

As a reminder, last spring the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 143 to encourage school districts to analyze and improve emergency procedures and protocols. (In our last October Family News update, we told you about a new reporting requirement and about the progress of some technology and infrastructure upgrades.)

Safety Assessments

As you may remember, as a part of Act 143, districts are required to conduct annual safety assessments of all schools. We completed these last November and will complete them again in fall 2019.

The assessments gave us an opportunity to capture each school's existing safety practices and protocols and look closely at building access, visitor procedures, security staffing, supervision of students, climate survey data, after-hours security, transportation, physical and mental health services, crisis communications, community-building techniques and more, as they relate to school safety.

Through the process we identified areas of strength and also opportunities for improvement and standardization across the district, including technology, building signage, building access and communication.

We will be assessing all schools annually in order to continually revise and strengthen our safety and security systems and structures.  

Safety Plans

Also required by Act 143, we developed comprehensive written safety plans for each school and submitted these plans to the school board and to the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of School safety in December.

The plans outline strategies preventing incidents from taking place, how we are prepared for them if they do occur, what our response looks like and our steps for recovering from an incident. You can find this information in our public district safety plan.

You also can read the entire Spring school safety update on our website.

Are you interested in helping students? Volunteer to interview students about their goals

We are looking for volunteers to interview Madison Metropolitan School District 7th through 10th grade students about their identity, goals, plans and future aspirations. The purpose of these interviews is to give students an opportunity to share with an adult what they have learned about themselves, their growth and future plans as part of the Academic and Career Planning process. You will provide students feedback during the interview and via a feedback form.

There are several events and schools to choose from. After you indicate your interest and availability in one or more of these events, a school-based coordinator will contact you to provide more details and specific instructions. Thanks so much for supporting MMSD students in their journey to become who and what they want to be!

To select the events you would like to participate in, please complete this Google Form.

If you have questions, email Julia Steege-Reimann, Academic and Career Planning Coordinator, at jesteege@madison.k12.wi.us.

Looking for something for your child to do during Spring Break?

If you’re looking for an activity for your child during Spring Break, sign them up for Gaming and Coding Day 2019. The event is put on by the Urban League, through the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Gaming and Coding Day will be held Wednesday, March 27th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Madison Central Library (201 W Mifflin St).

Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the technology industry. Throughout the day, gaming companies like Gear Learning, Acme Nerd Games, Holos and Technical Motivator will give presentations. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided. Sign up using this form.

Join us on April 6th for the 25th annual African-American History Academic Challenge

We hope you’ll join us and cheer on middle school students competing in the annual African- American History Academic Challenge (formerly the African-American History Challenge Bowl), on Saturday, April 6 at 9 a.m., at the Doyle Administration Building (545 W. Dayton St., Madison). This will be the 25th year of the event, which is presented by 100 Black Men of Madison.

The event is an educational African-American history competition between teams of Madison middle school students in a quiz show format. The winning team from the April 6th competition will go on to represent Madison at the regional competition on Friday, April 12th at 1:00 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers at the State Capitol. The winners of that competition will move on to nationals in Las Vegas on June 13. Best of luck to all our teams!

Thank you for attending the inaugural Wisconsin Education Fair

We were thrilled to see so many of our students attend our first Wisconsin Education Fair, held at Memorial High School last week. More than 95 representatives from a variety of postsecondary institutions (public, private, military and service) were on hand to chat with students and families.