Building trust, breaking through

Listening, caring, building trust, and knowing each student individually. These are among the pillars of “culturally responsive teaching.” In this piece, we take you inside a classroom at O’Keeffe Middle School to see how these strategies, and more, are helping students break through to become independent learners, prepared to succeed and defy the achievement gap. Read the story.

Families of 8th grade students - Apply for Personalized Pathways for the 2018-2019 school year

We are accepting applications for Personalized Pathways for the 2018-2019 school year. In a Personalized Pathway, a student will progress through their core high school content courses, from ninth grade until graduation, in a smaller learning community, allowing them to develop strong, positive relationships with a close-knit group of students and staff who check in regularly and provide support to help students reach their goals. The application deadline is December 21, 2017. Apply on the Pathways website.

Want to learn more about Pathways? Join us on December 6 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 and see how the high school learning experience may be different within that pathway. Listen to what a current pathways student had to say about her experience.

Spanish speakers: Tune in to La Movida, 1480 AM, on Thursday, November 16 from 9-11am to hear a special edition of our Spanish language radio show ¿Qué pasa en nuestras escuelas? ('What's happening in our schools?') dedicated to Personalized Pathways, including student, teacher and parent interviews. Listen to the show's 30-second promo!

Could your child benefit from Advanced Learning services?

Advanced Learning provides instruction and learning opportunities that broaden, deepen and stretch beyond grade level expectations when students are ready for this next level of challenge – not just in reading and math but in all content areas, including leadership, creativity, and the arts. We have implemented systems to help us better identify and develop students – in particular African-American and Latino students – who may benefit from advanced learning. It is critical that we not only identify and support students who are already achieving at high academic levels, but also students who have the potential to do so when provided with both support and opportunity.

If you're interested in learning more, we invite you to visit the Advanced Learning website or join our Advanced Learning Advisory Committee Meeting, open to all parents/guardians and staff.  For your convenience, we are offering our first meeting twice:

●      East High School, 11/29 at 6pm (Session 1)

●      West High School, 12/6 at 6pm (Session 1)

●      East High School, 3/7/18 at 6pm (Session 2)

●      West High School, 5/23/18 at 6pm (Session 3)

We hope to see you there!

What are you doing December 19?

Building a snow fort with your kiddos? Stocking up on canned jams and artisan crafts at the Eastside Farmers' Market? Busting a move at Zumba class? Battling your opponent in backgammon while sipping a steaming mug of chai? If your calendar isn't full already, we hope you'll partake in some warm beverages and cookies and join a lively discussion with fellow MMSD families and community members about the future of our district.

Join us in the Memorial High School Library Media Center at 6:30 p.m. We'll ask you to imagine a time in the future when we are celebrating our progress – with dramatically more students on track to graduate high school ready for college, career and community. We'll ask you to imagine the actions we took to get there. Where did we make bold moves?

You'll discuss in small groups and then share your ideas with the room. Notetakers will be on hand to capture the discussion, and we'll invite you to provide detailed written feedback for us to collect, analyze, and use to chart the future of Madison's public schools.  

The next phase of our transformation as a district is coming. And we want you to be a part of it. We believe it is time – and know it has always been time – for better, vastly better results for all of our students, and in particular our most marginalized youth.

Won't you save the date on your calendar now? To learn more and to provide your ideas online, visit

If you need childcare, transportation or interpretation services, please email

Families of 10th grade students - Join us to learn about the Youth Apprenticeship Program

Join us to learn more about the Youth Apprenticeship Program, an option available to students during their junior and senior year. The Youth Apprenticeship Program combines technical classroom instruction with work-based learning. While participating in the program, students take high school academic courses to meet graduation and/or postsecondary education requirements and work in a job related to their Youth Apprenticeship program area.

We will hold information sessions in December to provide an overview of the program, discuss the application and selection process, program guidelines, college credit opportunities, and answer your questions about the program. Read more about the Youth Apprenticeship Program on our website.

To RSVP for a session, complete the online form

Madison West choir director receives state award

Congratulations to West Choir Director Mr. Anthony Cao! Mr. Cao is the recipient of the 2017 Melvin F. Pontious Creative Sparks in Music Education award from the Wisconsin School Music Association.

This award recognizes creative music programs that foster imaginative, creative and innovative teaching practices in music education.