Dear MMSD Families,

As you know, on March 13, all Wisconsin schools were ordered to close to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Today, we have concerns as local cases continue to surge, and guidance from public health on what schools are required to have in place to reopen leaves us with limited options. We've also continued to hear your concerns. After deep consideration of all of these factors, we have determined that it would not be safe for us to reopen school buildings in September, even in a hybrid model. Therefore we have made the difficult decision to start the school year 100% Virtual Learning. Virtual Learning will take place at least through first quarter (October 30).

Thank you for your continued partnership as we've explored multiple models for reopening schools. We appreciate the feedback you've given us so far, and we'll continue to rely on your ideas as the school year progresses. If you haven't yet responded to the survey sent on Monday, we'd still like to hear your thinking for the future as conditions change. If you haven't responded or received an invitation yet, please know that we will be sending a fresh survey link for opportunities to complete it.  So, please watch for an email or text.

As Interim Superintendent, the safety of everyone who enters our school buildings each day is my ultimate responsibility, and there can be no margin of error in decisions to keep our students, staff and our entire community safe. Moving forward, I will be working closely with incoming Superintendent Dr. Jenkins, who also has experienced and worked through many of the same issues around COVID-19 and school closures in the Robbinsdale, Minnesota School District.

We know that the virtual learning experience this fall will need to improve markedly from the far-from-ideal situation we were in through the spring. We are committed to that and will continue to work through the remainder of the summer to ensure that our staff have what they need to prioritize rigor, relationships and anti-racist instruction and to accelerate learning for all students in an all-virtual environment through first quarter (October 30. In the update we shared last week on our developing plans, we illustrated some strategies we have for accelerating learning. We are also committed to ensuring that students and families have what you need to make the virtual learning experience a positive one.

To accommodate the additional professional development (PD), we are planning to build additional PD days into the calendar, which would impact our start date. We plan to start no later than September 8 and will notify you of our decision as soon as possible.

As we work through the summer to ensure a richer and more consistent virtual learning experience, we also have a team that is continuing to plan for a hybrid model so we are ready to implement it once it is safe to do so. We will continue to assess the data and consult with health officials as we make decisions on a quarterly basis.

I recognize that not having students in school buildings presents numerous challenges and hardships. We are committed to partnering with you to support you and your students through this difficult time, with a special focus on our most marginalized community members.

This is a community issue and will need to be a community effort to keep our students engaged in learning and support their wellness and mental health. To this end, our partnerships with key organizations will be vital to ensuring that students have access to nutritious meals, access to the internet, access to health and safety resources and direct, daily access to teachers and other staff who can support them.

I know you have numerous questions, frustrations, concerns and worries. We do too. We remain committed to working closely with you and community partners to get through this together. In the coming days and weeks we will have a lot to work through and discuss.

We will stay in close contact with you as we approach September through weekly emails, our website and social media. As we make decisions for the future, our goal is to give you as much advance notice as possible so you can begin to plan for things like childcare and work schedules. It is our hope that our decision points will be two to three weeks prior to the start of each quarter.

Again, this is an incredibly difficult announcement. Our preference will always be to have students and teachers together in school buildings learning face-to-face every weekday. We hope that it will be safe to do so very soon.

Sincerely,

Jane Belmore 
Interim Superintendent 

2020 Referenda: Future Ready

We have a chance to lift Madison up as a thriving, equitable, and inclusive community for generations to come.
 
On Monday, our Board of Education members voted to place two questions on the November 3 ballot that together would transform our students' educational experience.
 
2020 Referenda seek to invest $350 million into Madison's public schools at a time when it's needed more than ever. See an overview of what the school board is seeking to do at mmsd.org/future-ready.
 
Watch for opportunities to learn more as voting day approaches, and get involved in what is shaping up to be an historic opportunity to invest in Madison's future.

View the video.

Virtual Press Conference - MMSD Superintendent Announcement

We know you have some burning questions about our new superintendent, Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins. If you want to know why the Board hired him, or how he'll get to know the MMSD community, check out this week's brief press conference with Board President Gloria Reyes. Maybe you want to know details about Dr. Jenkins' contract with the district; or you're interested in how he'll be involved in the plan to reopen schools in the fall - this press conference covers it all! Learn more here.

Student Senate Virtual Rally Rescheduled to Tuesday, July 21

Young people are spearheading the Black Lives Matter movement. Students are a force of change. As an anti-racist organization, Student Senate is committed to listening to and amplifying the voices of a diverse student body by elevating the student voice to the Board of Education and district administration. Learn more.

¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas? Spanish language radio show

On yesterday's episode of our monthly Spanish language radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas? ["What's happening in our schools?"], we heard from Board of Education members Ananda Mirilli and Savion Castro, who spoke about the upcoming referenda that will appear on the ballot in November, the hiring of our next superintendent and the SRO contract. Mike Hertting, Chief of Staff, also spoke about the referenda and the plan for reopening schools in the fall. You can listen to the full radio show here.

Follow us on social media

Make sure to follow your school on social media so you don't miss the great things they're posting throughout the summer!

2020 Summer Food Program

The MMSD Summer Food Program provides free, nutritious meals during summer vacation. Children can eat breakfast, lunch and snack for free Monday - Friday starting June 22nd. Meals vary by location, and no application is required. All sites will be closed on Friday, July 3rd. All children 18 years of age and under can receive up to two free meals per site. 
 
We will be following best practices for social distancing at all our sites. Meals can be picked up by parents and/or students to take off site with them. No meals will be eaten on site. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the same time. You can find more information online using the summer meals map, call 2-1-1, or text 'food' to 877-877.

School Sites

11:00 - 11:30
Mendota Elementary
Lapham Elementary
Sandburg Elementary
Glendale Elementary
Jefferson Middle

11:45 - 12:15
Lake View Elementary
Emerson Elementary
Hawthorne Elementary
Badger Rock Middle
Toki Middle

12:30 - 1:00
Sherman Middle
Schenk Elementary
Allis Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Midvale Elementary

1:15 - 1:45
Leopold Elementary

Community Sites
Serving times will vary per site.

Allied Learning Center
Neighborhood House
Theresa Terrace
Elver Park Neighborhood Center
MSCR East
Packers Apartments
Northport Apartments
Boys & Girls club Allied
Boys & Girls Club Taft
Midvale Baptist