Dear MMSD Families, 

It's hard to believe we are already in our third week of school. Our teachers and staff have been delighted to have spent these past weeks with our amazing students, back at school, eager to learn and sharing experiences.  

I want you to know it is important for us to keep our families well informed of what is happening around the district. Today, I have a couple items to make you aware of that I hope you find informative. 
 
MMSD has made available its annual report on our Strategic Framework. The report tells the story of MMSD's progress toward meeting strategic goals, and is developed from the review of several key data points measured throughout the year. Due to the closing of schools during the 2019-2020 second semester, this year's annual report does not include information for the entire school year, but still provides incredibly important insight on the district's progress through the first semester. A glance through the report is a great way to inform yourself of the great things happening at MMSD. We invite you to view the annual report here.

Finally, what once seemed far off on the horizon is now upon us, as we draw closer to the November 3rd election. This year's vote is very important to the MMSD community, as two important questions about our school district will appear on the ballot. The referenda has the potential to transform our district, impacting nearly everyone in our school communities. If you aren't already familiar with the importance of the referendum and what it means for the future of MMSD, I encourage you to join me and other district staff at one of our upcoming community info sessions. There are details about those sessions later in this newsletter. You can also learn more at mmsd.org/future-ready.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to keeping the momentum of a great start to the school year going.  

Carlton D. Jenkins, PhD
Superintendent

MMSD Celebrates 2021 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

This year the Madison Metropolitan School District continued the tradition of having a remarkable number of National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, with 25 outstanding students who have achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. This designation is based on high performance on the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Less than one percent of the 1.5 million juniors nationwide who took the test were awarded semifinalist status. 

To become a Finalist, students and their advisors must provide information about their academic record, their leadership abilities, participation in activities at school and around the community, and about any honors or awards they've received. Finalists are announced in February, and winners are selected from this pool and announced in the spring. 

Congratulations to our semifinalists: Mina Linsenmayer from La Follette High School; Matthew Berthoud, Edward Chen, Jessica Jiang, Michael Jiang, Neha Kulkami, Sanil Partha, Veronika Souzek, Antionio Wu, from Memorial High School; and Dylan Barrett, Sarah Bennett, Mirra Blehert, Joseph Cai, Aiden Cohen, Joshua Godar, Seeger Gray, Akshay Joshi, Ethan Kaji, William Kelly, Frank Li, Jessica Liu, Anna Poi, Josie Ronk, Andrew Siehr, Vivek Sivan from West High School

How is virtual learning going for you? We want to hear from our MMSD students and families!

Come join us Thursday, September 24 at 6:00 p.m. for a special Facebook Live session dedicated to answering your questions about virtual learning. As we wrap up our third week of virtual learning, we want to know what you think and how you feel about online instruction so far. We know that many of our families are feeling uncertain about the school year ahead. We are here for you! This session will feature principals from each grade level and education leaders from the district coming together to answer your questions about attendance, how to access grades and schedules, ways to keep your students engaged and more. 

This session is for you. Tune into the MMSD Facebook page Thursday at 6:00 p.m. If you can't join us on Thursday, this session will be recorded and made available to you on our virtual learning resources site at mmsd.org/virtual. Please stay tuned for this same conversation offered in Spanish for our Latinx families and community. 

District educator builds desks for students to use during virtual learning

When schools closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, MMSD migrated to virtual learning instruction and swung into action by providing devices and internet services to many of our students. But an ongoing challenge that some of our young scholars still face is having a dedicated workspace at home to do their school work. That's when Jocelyn Quintal-Lepinski, a universal systems coach for MMSD started building desks for district students - to ensure students who need a dedicated work area for their device and school materials get one. Read the full story and see more pictures of the desks!

Influenza or COVID-19? Receive your FLU (influenza) vaccine today!

Protect yourself from influenza this season! Influenza and COVID-19 symptoms are similar and both will spread this fall and winter. There is no vaccine for coronavirus but there is a vaccine for influenza. Obtaining an influenza vaccine is very effective in protecting against getting the flu. 

Here is what you need to know about the flu season:

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • If you have insurance, call your healthcare provider or an area pharmacy for an appointment.
  • When visiting your healthcare provider, ask them if you can receive the flu shot. Most health care organizations are immunizing with the flu vaccine at any visit unless you are very ill.
  • For children without insurance, have Medical Assistance or BadgerCare, are Native American or Alaska Native, call Public Health Madison Dane County for an appointment at (608) 266-4821.
  • Beginning October 6th, Public Health will be holding a drive through clinic at the Alliant Energy Center for people 6 months of age and older who do not have insurance or have BadgerCare. More details on the PHMDC website.

Symptoms of influenza

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some may have vomiting or diarrhea

How is influenza spread?
The flu virus is spread through tiny droplets that are made when people who have the flu virus talk, cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby. Sometimes flu can be spread through touching a surface or object that has the flu virus then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. People who have the flu virus are contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick with the most contagious period being 3-4 days after symptoms start.
 
How can I protect myself against the flu?

  • Get vaccinated! The flu vaccine is indicated for everyone 6 months of age and older.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Maintain good health habits by getting plenty of sleep, physical activity, manage stress, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods. 

Here is more information on Influenza from the Center for Disease Control.

Did you know you can check your student's attendance through an app?

You can check your student's attendance in Infinite Campus online, but if you prefer to check from your phone, there is a handy Infinite Campus mobile app: Campus Parent. The app will notify you in real time when your student is absent from or late to class. Here's how to add the IC app to your phone. Note: you may wish to disable real time notifications, as they may not work accurately due to the asynchronous nature of some virtual learning.

Referenda 2020

A Focus on Memorial High School
Join us for a Facebook Live Session to discuss the 2020 Referenda as it relates to Memorial High School, TONIGHT, September 23 at 5:00pm on our Facebook page
View the video. 

James Madison Memorial High School, or 'JMM,' was built in 1965 and received additions in 1967 and 1970. At nearly 90% capacity, we need to maximize our current space and prepare for projected future growth (a projected 750 additional students by 2038).
 
Spartan scholars look forward to learning in modern, innovative environments that nurture their desire to be challenged and stimulated. As a school community, JMM values student-centered instruction that is dynamic and flexible, and instructional spaces that support this are key. As the student body grows and continues to be a thriving, strong, and caring community, the school building will play a vital role in helping JMM to expand and flourish.

A Focus on La Follette High School
Join us for a Facebook Live Session to discuss the 2020 Referenda as it relates to La Follette High School, on Tuesday, September 29 at 5:00pm on our Facebook page
View the video.

La Follette High School, located on Madison's southeast side, was built in 1962 and received additions in 1965 and 1969. In every classroom, you'll find students who embody the tenets of Lancer PRIDE - personal responsibility, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence.

Students are eager to help lead La Follette into a future that includes bright, spacious areas that support multiple learning styles, collaboration, and a positive school climate. They are ready to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) in twenty- first century labs and makerspaces.

Opportunities to learn more about the referenda
These sessions will be streamed on Facebook Live. You'll be able to watch the presentation and comment with your questions to have them answered in real time: 

  • September 23, 5:00-6:30pm (Memorial)
  • September 29, 5:00-6:30pm (La Follette)
  • October 1, 5:00-6:30pm (West)

Please note that these sessions will be held in English, but we will be conducting a session entirely in Spanish on Tuesday, October 6, from 6:30-8pm, and will cover the projects at all four high schools at that time.
 
Finally, on Wednesday, October 7 at 6:00pm, we'll be holding a Telephone Town Hall Meeting in which District officials will share information about the upcoming 2020 referenda over the phone. Participants of the Telephone Town Hall event will have an opportunity to ask questions, share comments on their touch tone phones or just listen in to the meeting. All Madison-area residents will receive a phone call inviting them to join this live telephone town hall meeting. Register your phone number now!

Zoom safety

We've had great feedback from students, staff and families on the use of Zoom for their virtual instruction running smoothly thus far. Please know that our staff are working hard to make sure that certain security steps are set up to ensure safety for all, such as locking their Zoom room, controlling their screen sharing, monitoring who is in the room and requiring a password. 
 
Having conversations with your student around proper expectations while on video conferencing will help support teachers and staff. The following resources are available to aid in these conversations:

If you need to report an issue, please contact your student's teacher and/or building administrator. 

MMSD College Bound: Get ready, get set, go to college

How are you paying for college? All senior families, regardless of income, should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid @FAFSA. This will qualify your student for grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. Many colleges require @FAFSA to provide financial award packages to students. FAFSA Applications opens, October 1, and should be completed as soon as possible to qualify for the most aid.  Parents and students need to register for an FSA ID prior to completing the @FAFSA. For more information on financial aid check out the Federal Student Aid YouTube Channel #MMSDCollegeBound

AP Exam Registration for the 2020-21 School Year

Student registration is open now for all MMSD students seeking to take Spring 2021 AP Exams. Register here before October 30. Studies have shown students who commit earlier in the school year have a higher engagement and commitment, as well as an increase in scores of 3 or higher across multiple groups. Specific registration information regarding MMSD's exam sign up, fee payment and AP updates can be found at mmsd.org/ap. Exam fees remain $110/exam or $142 for Seminar; please note a $40/exam deposit per exam is due at this time, and the remaining balance will need to be paid before February 26, 2021.

Are you registered to vote on November 3?

Absentee ballots have already been mailed out. If you need help registering or requesting an absentee ballot, here are some resources to help you get started:

The 2020 Census deadline is September 30

The deadline for completing the 2020 Census is September 30. Make sure you're counted! Fill it out online now at https://my2020census.gov.

In case you missed it

Check out this 3-minute video (featuring James C. Wright Principal Dr. Angie Hicks and MMSD scholars!) to learn more about Simpson Street Free Press, a neighborhood-based, non-profit where students produce and publish content on various media platforms.

We have 40 neighborhood food sites set up around Madison offering curbside meal service for all children 18 years of age or younger. Each site has pickup one day per week. Visit this page to learn more.

Attendance is being taken every day. Learn about how attendance works during virtual learning

If you still need a device exchanged, please contact your school's LMTS. Learn more about the process here

How to contact your school: While we're virtual, we want to make sure you're still able to contact your school. There are currently three ways you can get in touch with your school. Find them here.

Previous family newsletters are archived on this page on our website.