Dear Families, 

We have finalized our first-quarter calendar with September 8 being the first day of virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year. At this time, we are not anticipating additional changes to the calendar. 

The new start date provides a key opportunity for us to prepare our educators and leaders with additional days of learning so that they are as prepared as possible to make this fall's virtual learning experience stronger, more rigorous, and more equitable than what students experienced in the spring. 

This decision to build in additional PD days into the calendar was informed by family and staff feedback that we have received throughout summer. We are working on finalizing full reports of our surveys and expect to share them publicly very soon. 

The additional professional learning days will be grounded in a set of guiding principles and goals that center our students and families and your experiences with virtual learning and that supports staff to continue our work with Black Excellence, anti-racism, and our Strategic Framework and to ensure that relationships are central to the work.

The additional days will also provide staff time to connect with all students and families to ensure that your child has what they need to start virtual learning and that you and your child know:

  • how to use the technology and tools that will be used
  • when and how to get support from teachers
  • what the expectations are for everyone involved
  • how to turn in assignments
  • how attendance and grading will work
  • students' daily schedule
  • the answers to any questions you have before the first day of school 

Expect to receive information from your child's school prior to the start of staff professional development (August 25) about specific plans for teachers to reach out to you and your student between August 25 and September 4. You can find the revised calendar here.

Sincerely, 

Jane Belmore
Interim Superintendent 

Update on MMSD grounds and facilities

We are now allowing limited use of our grounds for families and our students. Here are the important guidelines:

  • There are to be no organized sports on athletic fields, outdoor courts, playgrounds or at stadiums.
  • Schools grounds are similar to Madison Parks with the exception of any organized athletic programs.
  • Playgrounds will be restricted to daycare use when they are operating, similar to when school is in session.

All of our buildings are closed through October 30th, with these exceptions:

  • Daycare providers, which are deemed essential services under the Safer At Home plan and Forward Dane Plan, will be allowed to utilize our facilities.
  • Students and staff receiving specialized services which can only be delivered through in-person means.
  • School grounds are available similar to Madison Parks with the exception of any organized athletic programming. As when school is in session, playgrounds will be restricted to daycare participants following guidance from Public Health of Dane County.
  • Voting.
  • ACT testing.
  • MSCR small group activities on elementary schools ground may occur.

Update on our efforts to keep students and staff safe

As we prepare for a stronger launch to virtual learning this fall, we are also continuing to plan for both a hybrid model and all in-person learning so we are as prepared as possible when it is safe to re-open buildings. School safety is at the heart of all of our plans, and we wanted to offer you a window into the work that took place to support safety through the 2019-20 school year, what systems and resources we have in place to support student safety during virtual learning, and where we are headed next. 
 
Even though students and staff will not be in school buildings this fall, our commitment to safety remains our top priority. We know school closures are impacting many students and staff. In several areas our work to support student and staff safety is intensifying. We are grateful to the many community partners who are collaborating with us to keep our MMSD Family healthy, fed, and connected. If you or your child is struggling, we encourage you to access school district resources and community resources and reach out to your school if your child needs help. 
 
Read our updates here.

2020-21 Enrollment information

To help ensure our students, families, and staff are safe, the enrollment process is 100% online, and support will be available from your school during specific dates and times. The online enrollment application has been redesigned to allow new and existing families to complete the online enrollment application virtually and 100% paperless. Next Friday's family newsletter will go into all the details you'll need to enroll your child(ren) for the 2020-21 school year. In the meantime, you're welcome to view the information available on our website at mmsd.org/enroll. The online enrollment application will be available beginning Monday, August 10.

Referenda 2020: A focus on sustainability

We know environmental sustainability is important to you. Through 50 Input Sessions and 4,456 Responses to our Community Survey, we heard loud and clear that environmental sustainability is a growing concern among many of our students, families and community members. You advocated for our high schools to combine environmental education and community engagement as teaching tools, in tandem with tangible sustainability projects. The board heard your desire for additional investments in this area and arrived at a $2M figure to improve the sustainability and health of our high schools. 

The 2020 Referenda provides a unique opportunity to invest in Madison's future, which lies in the hands of our public school system's 27,000 growing minds. Learn more at mmsd.org/future-ready.

Free face coverings and hand sanitizer available tomorrow

The United Way will be distributing free face coverings and hand sanitizer to the public this Saturday, August 1, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm (while supplies last) at United Way of Dane County (2059 Atwood Avenue).

Tune in to our August 6 radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas?

During the August 6 edition of our Spanish-language radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas? ["What's happening in our schools?"], Fatima Bendada will provide information about what virtual enrollment for the next school year will look like and explain what you need to know to enroll your children. Tune in and participate on La Movida Radio, 1480 AM or 94.5 FM, on Thursday, August 6, from 9 to 11 AM. Listen to the promo.

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

From Public Health and the City of Madison: How to get help during COVID-19

These are extraordinary times. Due to the challenges of COVID-19, every Madison family needs a little extra support, and our community is stepping up to help. The City's "How To" series provides an online list of community resources that can help with everything from eviction to finding healthy food. You'll also find printable handouts on each topic. View the "How To" community resources pages here.