Dear Families,
I hope you and your families are able to make the best out of this warm weather. As I noted in last week's newsletter, it is important to appreciate the small wins. This week I wanted to recognize some significant accomplishments of some of our students.  
Recently, we were excited to learn that West High School Senior Dayi Ethan Dong was one of two Wisconsin students to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar. The 161 students named nationwide were chosen based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Read more about this prestigious honor later in this newsletter.
Additionally, we are happy to share with you in this newsletter the names of eight outstanding seniors who were chosen to receive Reading Recovery Scholarships, as well as recipients of Project Teen Money Scholarships. We are all very proud of these students, as they are an inspiration to us all.
Finally, this week we held a virtual press briefing that highlighted the collaborative work with our partners at the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools. Their partnership has always been a tremendous asset to MMSD, but throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, their support has been even more meaningful and impactful. With the COVID-19 effects on the social and emotional wellbeing of our students and teachers and subsequent financial ramifications, the Foundation's alumni and advocacy initiatives have helped bridge those gaps in a tremendous way. To read more about how their efforts are making public education in Madison better, please read this article. We are very thankful for this partnership, and recognize all their great work.
We hope you find this update helpful and informative.
Jane Belmore
Interim Superintendent

Important Dates

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.

Upcoming virtual events

Friday, May 29: MMSD Planetarium presents The Moon
Saturday, May 30: QuaranTown: A Virtual JMM Production
Tuesday, June 2: Whoop It Up at Home!
Friday, June 5: Black Girl Magic Conference

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.

Follow us on social media

Several schools are creating fun videos for their students. Here are just two of them posted recently. Make sure to follow your school on social media so you don't miss the great things they're posting! 

Kennedy Staff Cup Song
CAN'T STOP THE FEELING - Dedicated to students of Randall Elementary School - Madison, WI

Tune in to our MMSD press conferences

We've been holding regular virtual press conferences, which is an opportunity for reporters to ask questions of the school board and administration. You can watch the conferences live on this channel. In this week's press conference, we spoke with the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools and heard about their new initiatives around alumni engagement, teacher supplies and advocacy. We also answered questions about the superintendent search, the summer food program, our plan for the fall and more. 

To the Class of 2020: Thank you!

MMSD Class of 2020 Senior Highlights

We want to acknowledge you for being resilient and innovative.The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted life for school communities everywhere - but you, our high school seniors, have remained steadfast, applying for colleges, exploring all of your options for after high school and eager to start your new adventure. Thank you for your commitment to academic excellence. For your service to the Madison community. For your support of your fellow students. We wish we could express our gratitude to each one of you; instead, we deliver this video of appreciation highlighting seniors from each high school in MMSD who embody the spirit of your Class of 2020. Congratulations seniors! We are proud of you. 

Congratulations to West High's Dayi Ethan Dong for being named a 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholar

The U.S. Department of Education announced the nation's 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars last week. We are proud to share that Dayi Ethan Dong of West High School is one of the two Wisconsin students to receive this honor! A total of 161 seniors across the nation were selected by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.
This national honor recognizes the country's most distinguished high school seniors for their leadership, scholarship, contribution to their school and community, and for their achievements in various academic areas. Read more on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website. Congratulations, Ethan!

Project Teen Money Scholarship Winner

Last week, the winners of the Project Teen Money Scholarship Contest were announced. Congratulations to East High School junior Ike Lavitschke for winning the grand prize!
The Summit Credit Union Project Teen Money Scholarship Contest is a unique challenge created to help young adults achieve financial success, learning about the best ways to save, spend, give and borrow wisely. The challenge asks them to create videos about these methods to share with their peers. This year, eight MMSD students participated, educating over 5,000 people through their videos.
Congratulations to Ike, whose videos earned him a $2500 scholarship to the college or university of his choice, and to the runners-up, who each received a $500 scholarship: Reece from East High School, Kiesha and Kayla from La Follette High School, Davis and Jack from Memorial High School, and Ebenezer and Anna from West High School.

Learn more about this competition and see all the videos here.

Reading Recovery Scholarship

On May 21, the Reading Recovery Scholarship Committee selected eight outstanding seniors who were successful Reading Recovery students as first graders during the 2008-2009 school year. Through this scholarship, students receive $1,000 for their post high school education and are recognized for their hard work throughout their education in MMSD schools. 

This year's recipients have had the tenacity to overcome both academic and personal challenges along the way. Teachers, counselors and family members hold a sense of pride in their student's perseverance, successes and community contributions. All are determined learners who set and achieved high goals. It is unfortunate that, because of the COVID pandemic, we are unable to befittingly celebrate these scholars with their families and friends at a Reading Recovery Scholarship reception.

2020 Reading Recovery Scholarship Recipients:
Adam Agans - East High/UW Madison
Sean Garity - East High/UW EauClaire
Carter Horman - Memorial/UW Madison
Jack Kluge - La Follette/UW Oshkosh
Wa Lor - West High/Madison College
Aaliyah Muhammad - Capital High/Madison College
Kayla Underwood - La Follette/Madison College
Belle Vang - La Follette/UW Madison

The Reading Recovery scholarships are given out annually through the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools from a generous endowment established by former Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders Marlys Sloup and Dale Wortley. Over the last 17 years, $97,000 has been awarded to deserving high school graduates.

Black Girl Magic VIRTUAL Conference June 5

Black Girl Magic Virtual Conference 2020

The 2020 Black Girl Magic Conference is being redesigned this spring to take place as a virtual celebration and learning experience for our Black girls and families attending Madison Metropolitan School District and beyond! Tune into this engaging and educational content exclusively on the Black Girl Magic Conference Facebook page featuring  a combination of live sessions and recordings that range from 30 minutes to 1 hour. We're kicking off the conference with a motivational address from our dynamic keynote speaker, Dr. Jamila Lysicott - plus live sessions on Self-Care During Quarantine, Loving Yourself and Your Identity, Inspirational Immigrant Stories, a live workout session and more. Attendees will be introduced to Black women professionals and entrepreneurs in Madison in a supportive environment promoting resilience and community. We are grateful for your patience and support as the Black Girl Magic Conference team works to transform this event into an amazing new virtual opportunity. 

Join us Friday, June 5th from 10 am - 2pm on Facebook as we build a dynamic, interactive and connected virtual celebration for Black Girls in Madison. 

O'Keeffe Virtual Art Show

O'Keeffe students weren't able to be together to create art this quarter, but that didn't stop them from coming together in this virtual art show!

Help MMSD improve virtual learning

MMSD is asking staff, parents and students about their experiences with Virtual Learning, in order to understand what is working well and where we can make improvements.

Parents (K-12) should have received a text invitation to this survey on Tuesday. If you haven't already responded, please do so. If we don't hear back via the text link, you will receive an email. Students in grades 4 through 12 will also receive surveys. Results from the survey will be used by school and district teams to improve Virtual Learning as it continues. It's very important that everyone participates.

Get outside. Stay safe. Be well. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers these recommendations for spending time outside safely: