Our thoughts are with the Jewish Community

We are saddened to hear of yet another tragedy in our country. In the wake of the recent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, we want to underscore that we stand with all of our Jewish students, families, staff, and the Jewish community as a whole. Communities should be places where all feel welcomed and have a sense of belonging. We all have the right to live in a safe environment, free from hate in all of its forms.

If you need help talking with your child about gun violence, here are some resources we recommend. Your child’s school counselors are available to talk with your child, if needed.

School safety and security updates

We want our schools to be safe and welcoming learning environments that nurture the cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being of all students, staff, and families. We believe that the safest schools are those that foster a climate of support and respect and that instill a sense of community. Building security, incident response and threat assessments are vital components as well.

Our schools have always had strong emergency procedures and safety protocols in place, and going forward we want to be more transparent and proactive in sharing this information with you.

We do have a few updates pertaining to Wisconsin Act 143, enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature in March 2018 to encourage school districts to analyze and improve their emergency procedures and protocols.

Included in Act 143 is a new reporting requirement mandating that all staff report any threats of school violence directly to law enforcement officials. During Welcome Back days, all school-based staff, including MSCR staff, were trained in this new requirement.  

Per Act 143, we are also currently doing new safety assessments of all of our schools. We aim to have these completed by January 2019.

Our Building Services and Technical Services staff have been working through the summer and fall to improve our infrastructure related to security, and this work will continue into next summer and beyond.   

Specifically, upgrades including additional cameras, real-time perimeter monitoring with dual-authentication access control and wireless electronic classroom door hardware will take place at Lake View Elementary and La Follette High School in December and January. 

Upgrades at the other high schools and up to five other schools who have the most outdated interior door hardware will be next. Our team has a goal of completing these upgrades at all sites by the end of the summer of 2019.

We also purchased 450 cameras early this fall. Most of these new cameras will be installed in coordination with door upgrades. Wiring associated with the perimeter door monitoring and access control will allow for efficiencies in this installation.

We plan on designing, bidding and installing a VoIP phone system with mass notification capabilities including reverse 911, classroom specific PA, wireless handsets capable for building-wide PA announcements, and preset mass notifications to families. Planning and bidding will happen throughout the 18-19 school year. It is our goal to have new phone system installed by beginning of the 2019-20 School Year.

We’re currently developing a website where you can learn about our current policies and procedures as well as stay updated on the progress of work being done now and in the future to keep our schools safe. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us or to your child’s school with any questions or concerns.

We hope to see you at the Personalized Pathways GuidEd Expo on December 5

Have you been hearing about Personalized Pathways and wondering how your eighth grade student can benefit from it? Join us on December 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center for a GuidEd Expo in which you and your eighth grade student can learn about and apply for a pathway. You’ll receive information on how the high school learning experience may be different within that pathway. If you need transportation, contact your school's counselor.

9th grade students at Memorial celebrate history

9th grade history students at Memorial recently wrapped up their immigration and migration projects. The students had their projects on display at the school Monday evening. After the presentations, everyone gathered for a potluck which included dishes representing various cultures.

Reminder: Join us to give your thoughts on the Behavior Education Plan

Thank you to all the families and community members who attended our Behavior Education Plan input sessions over the last few weeks. If you weren’t able to make one of those sessions, we have two more coming up next week. Please consider joining us to give your input.To request interpretation, email mmsdnews@madison.k12.wi.us or call 663-1879.

Wednesday, November 7th

East High School Auditorium

6-7 p.m. 

Thursday, November 8th

Memorial High School Library

6-7 p.m.

Help us recognize and celebrate families who give back to our schools

November 15th is National Parental Involvement Day. The day highlights contributions parents and caregivers provide at school and at home to help our students thrive. Sharon Billings with All Parents on Deck is recognizing those who give back. Everyone is invited to attend the celebration on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Overture Center. RSVP with Eventbrite.

Parent-teacher conferences coming soon

Parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner. Teachers are excited to share what our students have been learning and continue to build relationships with families. Did you know that being involved in your child's education can lead to greater student success in school? Research shows when families are involved in their children's learning both at home and at school, children perform better academically.

The Parent Toolkit offers more ideas for things you can do before, during and after your conference to make that time as constructive as possible.