Excitement fills the air on the first day of school

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We are so excited for a new year. Tuesday was the first day for many of our students. Yesterday was the first day for our 7-8 grade and 10-12 grade students.

We hope everyone enjoyed their first day and feels welcomed and energized to learn.  

First day of school pictures

So many of you took time before school to snap some first-day-of-school pictures! We enjoyed seeing your smiling faces as we kick off a new school year. 

If you haven’t sent us your first day pictures yet, there’s still time. Email them to mmsdnews@madison.k12.wi.us

School district staff gather for welcome back rally

Last week, our district’s staff got together to kick off the new school year, continue our learning on racial equity and stand firm in our commitment to improve outcomes for students of color. Staff heard from La Follette student Lilyana Sims, community partners, members of the Black Education Network and a keynote address from nationally recognized speaker and author Dr. Bettina Love. Read more about the rally in this article from The Capital Times

Madison-area Out of Time youth workers recognized

Youth workers who serve with Madison-area Out-of-School Time (MOST) have been given awards and were recognized at the final Dane Dances last week. Tanya Walker, Mayder Lor, Nate Savado and Alejandra Becerril Estrada were nominated by their colleagues and chosen by local high school students for the awards. You can read more about their work in this article from Madison 365.

Fall Safety Update

When we talk about our schools being safe and welcoming learning environments, we know that our interconnectedness as human beings is most important. Infrastructure and technology are important too. We invite you to learn about some of the work on school safety that has taken place through the summer and that will continue through the school year. In the coming weeks your school will be sharing a letter with you that goes into more detail about our emergency response procedures. Here is a preview.

View our 2018-2019 annual report 

In case you missed it, last week we released our 2018-2019 annual report on progress. The report details results and highlights a few of our students and schools through in-depth profiles. You can view it at mmsd.org/framework. We hope you’ll take a moment to review the report and learn more about the amazing things happening in our schools. 

Our new Behavior Education Plan

As a reminder, we have a new Behavior Education Plan in place for this school year.  Thank you to all who provided feedback and ideas throughout our revision process. We’ve learned a great deal about behavior support and what it takes to make sure every classroom is a safe and supportive one. We’ve taken what we learn to strengthen our approach moving forward.  

Please take a look at the new Plan by visiting our website at mmsd.org/BEP. You will find links to the new plans on the right hand side of the page. You will notice some significant changes. 

  • Completely redesigned making it more student, staff, and family friendly
  • More streamlined, with more visuals to make it easier to understand process and progression
  • Elementary, Middle and High School BEP versions with differentiated interventions for each level
  • Sections highlighting connections for students, families, community members and staff members, and guidance on who to contact with questions, concerns, or to learn more
  • New goals, with a focus on safety and belonging, foundational practices, interventions, and disproportionality. 

Some of the more significant policy changes include:

  • A completely revised dress code, also focused on safety and belonging
  • Increased consequences for inappropriate language directed at staff, including racial slurs and protected class language
  • The inappropriate touching and sexual contact section was completely rewritten for clarity

Please share any feedback, comments, concerns, or questions you have regarding the new plan through this link to the feedback form.   Thank you again for your support, and please join us in looking ahead to the new school year. 

MMSD YouTube guidelines

YouTube, the website where millions of hours of footage are uploaded, is a site that has the potential for many learning opportunities. These opportunities can contribute to in-class learning across a range of subjects. As a district, we want our students to have access to these opportunities while ensuring they are safe while online. 

In order to ensure that student’s safety is addressed, MMSD has put into place the following restrictions for students and staff using Google restriction levels.  

Google defines the restriction levels in the following manner:

  • Strict Restricted YouTube access—This setting is the most restrictive. Strict Restricted Mode does not block all videos, but works as a filter to screen out many videos based on an automated system, while leaving some videos still available for viewing. 

  • Moderate Restricted YouTube access—This is similar to Strict Restricted Mode but makes a much larger collection of videos available.

  • Unrestricted YouTube access—This means both Restricted Modes—Strict and Moderate—are off. This allows users to have unrestricted access to Youtube.

  • Can approve videos—This setting allows for users to approve additional videos so that signed-in users in their organization can watch them. Individuals who manually approve videos and channels should share those via links since they won't appear in YouTube search results, homepages, or recommendations. 

MMSD Applied Restrictions:

The following restrictions will be applied for students and staff:

Elementary: Strict Restrictions  Secondary: Moderate   Staff: Can Approve Videos 

Visit the family portal

Please visit the Digital Learning Family Portal website information to keep you informed with student technology. This portal serves as a gateway to various digital learning resources for our families. You will find information on the district's take home guidelines, social media, and various other digital information; including Securly. Securly allows for parents to monitor and put into place restrictions for devices while used at home.