Exploring plans for mailing offline instructional packets, by request, in the works (more to come)

We are working on a plan to ensure every student without access to the internet still has the resources they need to stay engaged and continue learning during school closures. This may entail families signing up to receive additional instructional packets in the mail. We are working through details and will have more information for you on this next week, please stay tuned.

Seriously, practice social distancing - MMSD playgrounds, athletic fields and courts closed 

The headline really says it all. But it bears repeating: all MMSD playgrounds, athletic fields and courts are closed. No one - children or adults - should be using these spaces. We are working on increasing the visibility of signage indicating this. 
Public Health Madison & Dane County has requested that we reiterate the importance of physical distancing to our families and staff. They shared this message: "We know these are tough times, and that having your kids get together with other kids brings a sense of comfort (and gives you a break too)! However, it's extremely important that you and your family maintain physical distance from other people who live outside of your home. Do not host play dates, meet up at the park or let your children hang out with their friends during the day, evening or on the weekends." 

AP Testing

Students in advanced placement courses should have received a letter earlier this week, detailing the plan for AP exams, which will be administered online. Read more here.

Evaluation of Special Education Plan

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) has partnered with WestEd and The Improve Group to conduct an evaluation of our special education program and services to identify strengths and make recommendations for areas of improvement and implementation of best practices. Under the current circumstances, we understand this is a difficult time to ask you to pay attention to this. However, given the importance of special education services to our students and their families, we hope that you will take the time to complete this survey and make sure that your voice is represented in this study.

Your input is important to us, and we are interested in working with you to improve outcomes for students with disabilities in our school district. While COVID-19 has created challenges, we decided this study was important enough to move forward. The survey is one data source for our special education program study that began months ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take the time to complete one survey for each child you have who is receiving special education services in MMSD.  All of your responses will be kept confidential and survey responses are returned directly to WestEd. Your responses will be used specifically for this project and be used solely for the purposes of reviewing the special education programs and services in MMSD. For questions, please contact Mari Shikuzawa at mshikuz@wested.org.

Please follow this link to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LJP56XX

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will be open through April 27, 2020

Huegel students share their virtual learning excitement

The Huegel PTO put together this compilation video to show Huegel students' excitement during their first week of virtual learning. Check it out here.

Family Art Activities by MSCR

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) is hosting a series of free enrichment videos for kids and adults that you can do from home. Find links to these art, enrichment and fitness videos here.
One of the series is called MSCR Makes and is hosted by Miss Julia. This series includes family art videos that you can do together at home. We are launching new videos weekly. Here are some of the latest:

Virtual BOE Meetings: Ways to Engage

As we continue to practice social distancing in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, it has been necessary to make adjustments to how we conduct our work. We want to make sure you know how to view or listen to a Board of Education meeting, register to speak and/or provide a written statement. Here's how you can continue to engage as we all adjust to these changes together.

Sharing food access resources from Public Health

From Madison & Dane County Public Health:  "COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the face of food access in Madison and Dane County. There are new challenges for individuals who historically have had low access to food. There are also emerging challenges for the broader community as citizens grapple with Governor Evers's Safer at Home order.
Individuals with limited or no income can dial 2-1-1 from any phone to identify the nearby emergency food options. Most food pantries in Dane County have now switched to curbside or drive-thru pickup to minimize points of contact between volunteers, staff, and shoppers."

You can find additional information on grocery store delivery options, FoodShare and WIC on this fact sheet. 

In case you missed it...

Updated calendar, including canceled early release dates and canceled parent-teacher conferences
To reflect the move to virtual learning, we have made minor modifications to the district calendar posted at mmsd.org/calendar. Specifically, the updated calendar shows: 

  • April 10 as the new 3rd Quarter end date for Elementary and Middle Schools and Shabazz. As a reminder, High Schools moved to a semester reporting for second semester and there will be no third quarter reporting  .
  • April 6 as the start of virtual learning.
  • Canceled K-12 Early Release Mondays because these are not applicable. By design, the virtual school day is flexible and incorporates time for the activities/purposes normally engaged in during early release. 
  • Canceled early release and evening Elementary parent teacher conferences, as these will not be occurring. The virtual learning schedule provides time for staff to communicate with families around student progress.  
  • Canceled ASPIRE testing, which is not occurring per the Wisconsin Department of Instruction directives.

Zoom videoconferencing
As we do our best to support students and families, we are using a variety of methods to facilitate education and continue many of our learning partnerships between family and students.  We are, whenever possible, using many of the same online tools we employ in face-to-face schooling. However, we need to utilize these tools in new ways and add tools we didn't need before COVID-19.  

During this time, we are offering the opportunity for students to video conference with classroom teachers for direct instruction through Zoom. We understand that there have been some concerns over Zoom's privacy and security, and want to update you on what we are doing to protect our students, which is our top priority. Read more.

Requesting technology/device support
The best way to report an issue with a device or a problem logging in or accessing instructional websites is to use the drop-down menu on this page, which prompts you to email your school's Library Media Technology Specialist. We also now have a phone number that you can call if you are unable to send an email: 608-204-5678. You will be asked to leave a voicemail with the following information: a phone number you can be reached at, student ID number, student name, school name and brief description of the issue. 

Keep checking our website

Make sure to continue to check mmsd.org/COVID-19 for the latest updates on virtual learning, food and device distribution and more. The site is updated every day.