Dear Families,

As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, and as our planning for the end of the school year continues, I want to send a special note to our parents and guardians on how it is important to remember the impact that you are making. Your support and understanding during these incredibly challenging times has been invaluable to MMSD, and as the photo below, of yard signs celebrating our class of 2020 demonstrates in a simple but powerful way, sometimes we need to remind ourselves to take each day as it comes, to enjoy the small wins, and to hold close to our hearts the special moments. 

Although being a parent/guardian can be hard at times, it is full of intrinsic value and gratification as you influence and impact your student's life. The transition to virtual learning has been a tremendous undertaking for parents/guardians, students and staff. Please know how much we appreciate you doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are at.  

There is indeed light at the end of the tunnel, as just this week Public Health Madison and Dane County released the Forward Dane Plan. This plan lays out, in phases, guidance on how business, government agencies and school districts will work towards reopening their facilities. We are working diligently to interpret these guidelines and will be providing more detail in the upcoming weeks on how these guidelines will be incorporated into our planning for the near future. 

One component to aid in expediting our recovery from COVID-19 is testing. We encourage the MMSD community to take advantage of Dane County's free COVID-19 test site. More information on these test sites can be found by visiting the Public Health Madison and Dane County COVID-19 Testing Website.

Finally, as we celebrate Memorial Day this Monday, we want to remind you that there is no virtual learning for that day, and we hope you and your family take that time to enjoy the holiday weekend.   

Take care, 

Jane Belmore
Interim Superintendent 

Important Dates

May 25: No School - Memorial Day
June 3: Last day of school for high schools
June 10: Last day of school for elementary and middle schools

View the full MMSD school year calendar here. 

The district google calendar is updated daily with key dates and upcoming events and opportunities. Check back frequently.

Follow us on social media

There are so many amazing things happening within our school communities. Even though we're not physically together, you can stay in touch with your school(s) through social media. Find links to district and school social media channels at mmsd.org/social-media.

Let's finish strong! 

Let's finish strong! A message from the Madison East High School Life Skills Math Class

Congratulations to our seniors

View this message from educators across the country, including our very own Steven Collins of Memorial High School, to graduating seniors.

Remember you can get a fun graduation frame for your profile picture for any of our high schools, from their Facebook pages. 

New pop-up mobile food pantry now serving food on the east side

COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for each community. Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin, in partnership with MMSD and the YMCA, will be providing food for those in need. This will be a drive-thru Mobile Pantry every week to distribute food.
 
When: The first Drive-Thru Mobile Pantry will be Thursday May 21st.
Start Time: Distribution will start at 3:00 pm and will end at 5:00pm.
Where: Location will be the drive-thru in front of the East YMCA at 711 Cottage Grove Road, Madison.
 
Any changes to times or locations for mobile pantry distributions will be communicated via our new texting service. To receive a text message when there is a change to the regular schedule, text FOODDANE to 555888.
 
Safety is our number one priority at Second Harvest during this crisis. We have adjusted to as many "no touch" practices as possible. All participants must keep a six-feet social distance at all times. We ask that you be ready with your trunk open, and if your trunk does not work volunteers will place boxes near your car for you to load directly. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not come to pick up food.

Summer sports programs and facilities

There are a lot of questions and perspectives related to Public Health Madison and Dane County's release of the Forward Dane Plan, and hopefully this information will help clarify and provide answers to questions as they relate to summer sports programs and facilities.  
 
We will continue to gather information and provide clarifications as information is made available to us. We appreciate and recognize this is not ideal or what we are used to; however, we recognize our responsibility to be great partners with our community and implement safety protocols that will aid in resuming the in-person programming we all miss, and to keep our students safe.
 
The Governor's General Counsel has defined the end of the 2019-2020 school year as June 30, 2020 - the statutorily determined end of the school year. This means that school buildings and associated grounds are closed to students for instructional and extracurricular activities through that date. It is possible that an additional order may extend that time further. 
 
Read more.

PBS Wisconsin At-Home Learning Broadcasts  

PBS Wisconsin, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Milwaukee PBS, is continuing to support at-home learning for students and families by broadcasting a new weekday television schedule of programming with digital resources that connect to Wisconsin's state academic standards. The programming varies by age group and includes Creating with Art, Investigating in Science, Musical Exploring, and more! Learn more.

Free upcoming opportunities for youth

There are several opportunities for youth programming in May and June. These are all free! Some of the registration links are in the flyers. The Office of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement and the Black Excellence Think Tank have several projects open for youth and families. 

May 29-30 - Two Day Youth Conference - Welcome to the Spaceship!

The Infamous Mothers TALK BACK 2020 YOUTH EDITION is back again from May 29-May 30. The theme of the conference is Welcome to the Spaceship: Technology, Business and Love. This virtual conference is interactive and designed with youth in mind. Some of the sessions include a cyber cypher, open mic and a beats battle.
 
Workshops will also focus on how youth ages 11-17 can connect to opportunities around business, technology and entrepreneurship; combined with entertainment from local artists to help with self-care during COVID. Sign up here.

Virtual Cooking Classes for middle and high school students

Free Virtual Cooking Class for youth with ingredients delivered straight to your home. Must be in the Madison Metropolitan Area to receive supplies and spaces are limited.
 
According to the Forum for Youth Investment 6 out of 10 youth by the age of 21 will not be prepared with basic life skills. In collaboration with the Office of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement, the Black Excellence Think Tank, and Pasture and Plenty, Life Readiness Cooking aims to increase life readiness skills in youth by teaching them basic cooking techniques. Class includes meal delivery kit, online Zoom Course, and Recipe Cards.
 
Curriculum:

  • Using four meals over the course of the class, students will explore the basics of meal planning, sourcing and selecting ingredients, safe food handling and storage, cooking techniques and kitchen skills.
  • Virtual farm "field trips" each week. Students will get a chance to watch the season progress at a local farm, and see where the produce and proteins in their meal kits come from. Partner farms will be all women or minority run farms.
  • Healthy eating is an all-day event. We will include quick and easy recipes for snacks and treats to make at home. 

Event Dates: Thursday Evenings in June: June 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th
Register here.

Last Chance to Register for Umoja Magazine Writing workshops: Registration closes this Friday, May 22, 2020

The Office of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement in collaboration with the Black Excellence Think Tank is partnering with UMOJA Magazine to highlight youth voices during the coronavirus pandemic. We're inviting our MMSD scholars to participate in various media arts workshops followed by a publication of their amazing literary arts contributions in a special Youth Voices edition of UMOJA Magazine. In a time when attention and news is focused on the adult experience, we want to uplift  the stories and experiences of our youth during these stressful and uncertain times. Youth in grades 6-12 will have the opportunity to participate in the following workshops: News Reporting, Visual Arts, Poetry/Spoken Word and Storytelling. While the workshops are specific for middle and high school students in grades 6-12, students of all ages are encouraged to submit work to be considered for the magazine. All submissions are eligible for prizes and raffles with their submissions. Register today for these enriching and engaging media arts workshops followed by a publication of our scholar's original work in a special edition of UMOJA Magazine. Register here
 
Youth Scavenger Hunts

We know youth enjoy using social media to communicate, learn and engage. Urban Triage is offering engagements for our youth in fun ways for them to safely find items around the house and in the neighborhood and engage in learning for prizes. Follow Urban Triage on Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook and use #Blackexcellencemmsd and #UrbanTriage 

Foundation for Madison's Public Schools debuts Foundation Fridays

On 'Foundation Fridays', the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools (FMPS) gives gratitude for the scholars, staff and families of MMSD. Check out this video from a Leopold family, sharing how Madison public schools have supported them and many others during school closures. Make sure to follow them so you don't miss out! 

See the new Personalized Pathways video from East High School

"What I like about Pathways is that it creates smaller learning communities within the community at large, and the students who choose to be in a pathway really get to know each other well...They develop relationships over time, year to year, that ended up being really important to their learning."
 
Now in its third year, Personalized Pathways is connecting students at East High School to new and exciting college and career opportunities that they may not have been aware of. As one student put it: "The pathways are definitely something I would tell everybody to take a chance in. [It] definitely gives you a really wide variety of opportunities out there in the world that a regular high school class or environment wouldn't give you."

See the latest video about Pathways at East here, or learn more at mmsd.org/pathways

Read previous Pathways student features here: 

Personalized Pathways thanks its anchor partners

Through Personalized Pathways, we are providing the opportunities needed to empower all students, not just some, to be in the driver's seat of their own education and determine their future. Personalized Pathways would not be possible without our partners. Collaborating with our anchor partners is a way to support students with a strong post-secondary plan and support post-secondary success by aligning all the components of pathways in a more intentional and streamlined way. Our partners do so much to support us in this work, and we are grateful to have these partnerships to help our students reach their potential. Learn more about our partners here

Shorewood Hills Elementary School Virtual Variety Show

Every year, the Shorewood Hills Elementary School PTO has sponsored a variety show featuring the students showing their unique talents. This year, PTO board member Melissa O'Russa worked to put the show together virtually. With over 80 submissions, the show features an array of talented young kids singing, dancing, playing music,doing magic tricks, telling jokes and more. The video also spotlights the diversity of the unique global village (over 30 different languages are spoken by the students) that makes up Shorewood Hills Elementary School. The show was broadcast live on YouTube last Friday night, and it was an immediate hit! You can view the video here.

Reminder: Seniors (and their families!) can sign up for summer texts to support college planning

Each summer MMSD offers a Summer Texting Campaign for recent graduates to support them through the summer college planning process. This year is especially important to stay connected to your school counselors as you may be questioning your post high school plans due to COVID-19. We are here for you! Sign up here to receive a couple of supportive reminders throughout the summer and communicate directly with an MMSD school counselor through your phone with any questions that may come up for you along the way. Sign up here by June 1.

Team up with Foundation for Madison's Public Schools to support MMSD, MSCR and our teachers, staff and families

To support the unique needs of MMSD and MSCR during the COVID-19 crisis, the Foundation established two responsive funds, for MMSD and for MSCR, respectively. To date, these funds combined have received over $70,000 in support for schools and recreational programming. Contributions to the MMSD fund have gone to support the costs of delivering academic materials and ensuring equitable internet access across the district as students transitioned to distance learning. MSCR funds will help support staff, online programming and the cost of supplies. 
 
Both funds are still open and growing - click here to learn more or to give a gift
 
The Foundation is also pleased to feature video shout-outs, send-ups and summaries of support for our schools from parents, partners and PTOs. Visit the Foundation's COVID-19 page to enjoy some feel-good video clips during these challenging times. 
 
Are you a parent, partner or scholar who wants to record a special shout-out in support of our public schools? We'd love to hear from you. Email lstensland@fmps.org to get started. Thank you!