Dear MMSD Families, 

Thank you to all of our Madison voters, who supported both of the MMSD referendum questions on the ballot yesterday! We appreciate your engagement in the referendum process. Your time, guidance, communication, critical feedback, and support were key to informing the community of the referenda and encouraging them to vote.
 
We are currently scheduling meetings with the architect and general contractor to begin the groundwork to move forward with our facilities updates. We will be looking for your input at every step along the way, so make sure to watch for opportunities where we will be asking for your comments and feedback.
 
We are so proud to be a part of a community that believes in the value of providing an innovative, equity-driven educational experience for our students in well-maintained facilities.

Sincerely,  
 
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D
Superintendent

Share Your Gratitude!

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. Expressing gratitude is a great way to build each other up, lift spirits and encourage us to find the joy in our daily lives. View Dr. Jenkins' Gratitude Gram.

During the month of November, we ask that you share your gratitude with our MMSD community with a video message. It can be directed at a person or at something that brings you joy. We in turn will share on our social media outlets and amplify the joy with "Gratitude Grams" to our MMSD Community.

How to take part: please email your short video (under 20 seconds) to communications@madison.k12.wi.us. Here are a few things to consider when creating your video: Make sure you state your name, school and grade if applicable. Use Zoom or your mobile device to record your message. Record by yourself or with a group.

We believe community connections are at the heart of what makes us a strong MMSD family. Thank You for being a valued member of this community.

If you're not already, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you can see all our great Gratitude Grams throughout the month! 

Virtual Learning in MMSD: Resources for families

With the extension of virtual learning through January, we want to ensure our MMSD families have the resources they need to help their students stay balanced and connected during this time. On Tuesday, October 27, we held a Facebook Live session dedicated to answering your questions about virtual learning, with a special focus on district health and wellness support, community partnerships and other useful resources. The session was recorded and is available on our virtual learning resources site at mmsd.org/virtual.

Guidance on Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences 2020

Parent/Teacher conferences are virtual this year starting on November 12 through November 19. While meeting with your student's teachers may look and feel different, it's still critical to prepare for this conversation. Conferences provide great insight into your child's progress and are a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your parent-teacher relationship. In order to get the most out of this encounter with your child's teacher, we've put together some suggested questions and topics for you to use during your conversation/reflection with the teachers. Check out the MMSD calendar to find out when your student's conferences will take place this year.

Elementary Wednesday Attendance

Wednesdays are shifting to a more flexible day for students to engage with a variety of choice tasks, catching up on missed work, or through getting some additional support from staff. Due to the flexibility in this new approach, teachers will presumptively submit all students as present when taking attendance on Wednesdays.  

We will continue to ask that you, as families, communicate with your school office by calling the attendance line or using the attendance web app to provide an excusable reason if your student will not be attending on a Wednesday. 

This shift in approach begins today, Wednesday, November 4th as we begin quarter 2.  

We are truly hoping this shift will help reduce stress on Wednesdays for all involved, by allowing time and space for more of a focus on student relationship and engagement. 

Update on high school athletics and the winter season

Tonight at 6pm, we'll be presenting outlined changes related to the winter sports season and opportunities for all athletes to stay connected during the virtual school model of the 2nd quarter. You can view the presentation in its entirety on this page, on or after 6pm. The earlier statement regarding the postponement of in-person instruction can be found here.

Special Education updates and resources for families during virtual learning

Tailoring your child's special education resources for virtual learning is more important than ever during this time of COVID-19. As we extend virtual learning through the second quarter to keep our MMSD students and families healthy and safe, we want to ensure you that our educators are working hard to provide your child with the same high-quality, inclusive education that results in college, career and community readiness. We have some very important updates and resources to share with you that can help facilitate your child's special education learning goals. A letter from our Department of Student Services will be going out Friday, and you'll learn more about the following:

  • Staffing resources to meet your child's IEP
  • In-person instruction
  • IEP evaluations
  • Additional special education services

If you have questions, we are here to help you. Contact your child's special education teacher with your questions and concerns. If you still need assistance, reach out to the building program support teacher and/or your child's school principal. For sensitive matters, here's a link to our Department of Student Services directory, which is up to date with contact information for special education leaders in the district. Our special education website is also a great online resource to address your special education concerns. 

Renaming Falk Elementary School

The Board of Education has received three proposals to consider renaming Falk Elementary School. While the 30-day window to submit proposals for Falk has ended, we are still welcoming feedback and comments on the proposals. The three proposals include: Milele Chikasa Anana, John Robert Lewis and Dolores Simms Greene. Learn more about each of these prominent figures and submit your comments here. The next meeting of the naming committee is tonight at 4:30pm, and you can watch it here

Beware of phone scams

As you may already know or have experienced personally, there are a number of phone scams that have been occurring recently, including a few cases of calls that claim to be coming from government agencies or our schools. Please remember to remain vigilant and do not proceed with sharing information when in doubt. Here are some important safety tips from the Social Security Administration.  

Tune in to the November edition of our Spanish-language radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas?

During the radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas? on Thursday, November 19, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., we will have the opportunity to showcase the Cherokee Heights Middle School community to our Latino community. We will have some staff and students join in the dialogue, talk about virtual learning and tell us what makes their school unique and amazing. We hope you'll tune in to La Movida Radio, 94.5 FM or 1480 AM and participate. 

You can listen to last month's show, featuring our superintendent Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins, here.

Enjoy a variety of active and enriching programs adapted to keep customers safe

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) is excited to announce the MSCR Late Fall 2020 Program Guide which provides a variety of recreation opportunities for November and December. Staff have worked to plan safe and fun activities inside, outside and online so customers can choose their comfort level. Registration is open now at mscr.org. Here are some of our program highlights: 

Adult Fitness (see page 20-24): Get active with a variety of fitness classes for every level including arms & abs, classic cardio and strength training. The popular Fit for the Holidays is back and will be held virtually. Only $35 for unlimited virtual fitness 7 days a week. Or purchase an unlimited, indoor class pass for $35 and try a range of dynamic classes. Both programs begin November 30.

Adult Arts & Enrichment (see pages 14-19): Learn to draw, knit, paint and sew from home! For those who are craving seeing others, MSCR offers indoor drawing, fabric arts, jewelry, painting and pottery.

Adult & Youth Sports (pages 10-11 & 13): For families that are missing school gym class, MSCR offers indoor gym, soccer, sports skills, Capoeira, fitness and strength & conditioning classes. Adults can play outdoor kubb on Saturdays and Sundays at Garner and Warner parks.

Youth & Family Arts & Enrichment Activities (pages 6-9): Children can learn ballet, baton, lyrical and hip hop dance indoors or virtually. Or take fun, engaging classes like creating comics, landscape drawing and jewelry making. The popular video series, MSCR Makes, is offering virtual classes that come with supply kits.

Outdoors & Nature Programs - (pages 12-13): Learn about natural beauty -- check out All Things Fall at the School Forest, Night Experience at the School Forest and Fall in the Park programs. Or explore the local waterways while taking in the fall colors on a paddling trip.

Fee assistance is available. Call 204-3000 or visit mscr.org for more information. 

In case you missed it

If you haven't already, you can opt in to receive texts from the district and your school(s) by texting the word YES to 67587 from your mobile device. 

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.

If you 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.

How to get help during COVID-19, from Public Health and the City of Madison: View the "How To" community resources pages here.

The Foundation for Madison's Public Schools has been raising emergency relief funds and collaborating with community partners to ensure our MMSD and MSCR students, families and staff have the resources and financial support to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.   

NAMI Dane County has a free support line from 8:30-4:30pm and provides numerous support groups and classes for individuals impacted by mental health needs. Learn more

The City of Madison recently launched a free Financial Resources Hotline to help residents navigate financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Navigators provide free guidance, over the phone, to help residents access available programs and services to manage income loss and other financial concerns they may be experiencing.

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