Winter break is December 23 - January 3

School resumes on Monday, January 6. Have a safe and restful break. 

Young astronomers head to Hawaii to present space exploration research  

Issac Levenstein has been intrigued with planets, stars and outer space since childhood. When he discovered a mysterious door outside of the Memorial High School Planetarium, he wondered where that door would lead him. Issac's curiosity got the best of him one day after school. As he peeked inside the dark room during an Astronomy Club meeting, he was in awe of the incredible dome above him. 

Over the past year, Issac and four other Memorial High School students with a shared interest in space have been doing authentic NASA astronomical research led by the MMSD Planetarium Director, Geoff Holt. The team of young astronomers call themselves the Dust Mights, and are preparing for the trip of a lifetime. They will be traveling to Hawaii in January 2020 to present the results of their research in a science poster session at an American Astronomical Society meeting. 

This unique opportunity to present their research findings to a professional organization for astronomers in the United States is a part of the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program (NITARP). NASA will cover the travel costs for the planetarium director and two students, but the Astronomy Club is raising money to cover the expenses of the additional three members of the research team. 

Support these young astronomers! Donations can be made here via credit card on the planetarium's website, or by sending a check to the planetarium clearly indicating the donation is for the Planetarium Student Research Travel. 

La Follette Black Student Union acknowledge outstanding teachers for their dedication over dinner

Students from La Follette High School's Black Student Union delivered a message of sincere gratitude to school staff over a southern-style soul food dinner and heartfelt teacher acknowledgements. "Thank you for inspiring me, for changing me," one LHS student told her AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher. More than a dozen graduating seniors shared similar messages with individual staff who they believe supported and encouraged them both personally and academically during their high school journey. 

Johnnie Milton, Jr., Multicultural Services Coordinator at La Follette, worked with BSU members to organize the event attended by LHS administrators, parents, community members and district and county leaders supportive of MMSD's commitment to Black Excellence. Melly Mel's Deli and Catering provided the barbecue, macaroni and cheese, banana pudding and other mouth-watering soul food selections, while students delivered a collective thank you to staff. 

Hmong New Year Celebration: Returning to Our Roots

More than 300 MMSD students, families and community leaders gathered at East High School for the 14th Annual Hmong New Year Celebration featuring students from the district's Hmong Heritage Language Program. The Hmong New Year takes place every year in the fall to honor ancestors and give thanks for the completion of the year's harvest. 
This year's theme was Returning to Our Roots, highlighting the cultural and linguistic identity challenges that Hmong students face as first, second, and third-generation immigrants in the United States. In the performance, the Hmong New Year serves as the backdrop to how students navigate and make sense of their cultural American influences while learning to embrace their heritage and identity as Hmong-American. 
Many attendees wore traditional Hmong attire featuring silver coins and vibrant, colorful embroidery. Several performers took the stage including dance groups and students playing Hmong musical instruments. At the end of the performance, students from the audience were invited to come on stage and dance in a circle, a practice influenced by Thai and Laotian cultures. The song that was played during the final celebration dance was about acknowledging the new year; a time to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new year with happiness, love and prosperity.

Watch the video.

Memorial football team goes to state semifinals

For the first time in history, the James Madison Memorial High School football team had an undefeated record leading up to the state championship game last month. 
2019 City Champions, 2019 Big Eight Conference Champions (Back-To-Back Conference Champions), Number One Seed for our playoff bracket, State Quarter-Final winners, and State Semi-Finalist (first time since 1984 for a city school) are among the team's accolades this year. Their season came to its conclusion on November 15 in Oconomowoc at the State Semifinals where they unfortunately lost to Muskego, returning state champion, 49-13. Their final record was 12-1. 
In addition to outstanding athletic performance, the team stepped up and accepted any challenge that was set for them throughout the season; whether it be health and nutritional, to reducing athletic code violations to zero, and to focus on eligibility and academic behaviors. Their ability to accept these challenges throughout the weeks of regular and post-season is admirable, considering the various obstacles such as the extreme changes in the weather, player injuries, and time changes. Their care and trust in one another made this a season to remember. We are proud of the boys and their hard work. 
Shout out to Head Coach Mike Harris, who is an English teacher at Memorial, for all the excellent work he and his co-coaches have done this season. We're proud of the team he's built and the young men and athletes he's inspiring.

Early College STEM Academy Student Profile: Meet Dexter and Danica

Here are another two of our amazing current Early College STEM Academy students. The Early College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Academy is a partnership between the Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison College, designed to expand access to college courses in science, technology, engineering and math, and increase opportunities for students to earn college credit in high school at no cost to them or their families.

Meet La Follette High School's Dexter Mott. He says STEM Academy allows him to study with students "as driven to succeed as I am." And because of that opportunity, he says "there is nothing holding me down." When he graduates, Dexter plans to study music and physics or a related science field. Meanwhile, the STEM program inspires him "to put more time and thought into his work" which he says makes him a happier student.

Over at East High School, Danica Washington has known for a long time that she wants to become a biomedical engineer. As she grew up, Danica watched her grandmother battle illness which shaped her resolved to become a doctor early on. But after taking engineering camps, and now attending STEM Academy, Danica knows that her path is to make prosthetic limbs for amputees. Danica says STEM Academy is "just a great opportunity." 

Apply for the Early College STEM Academy beginning December 15. More information can be found on our website here.

Reminder: Enroll now in Personalized Pathways

Enrollment is now open for Personalized Pathways. Eighth graders who are interested in enrolling in the health services or information technology & communications pathways should submit their applications now online .

News from the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools: Celebrating our partnership to public schools in 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools is celebrating the community's contributions to our work this year to help make every public school is a place where every scholar can thrive! Please visit us online to explore our 2019 yearbook.
Just before Thanksgiving, we also launched "Impact19" - a 19-day series of 19 stories, shared via social media to illuminate how community partners, donors and supporters help us to help our schools. Please join us to follow along with our 19 stories.
In our first week of #Impact19, you've seen the generosity of businesses and faith communities across Madison to create deep engagements with and offer critical resources to our public schools. We are proud to be the Foundation that helps link these vital connections. We hope that you will join us this season to celebrate our work with schools, to follow our #Impact19 stories and to consider a gift to support our work as the year draws to a close. Please, in this season of giving, connect with the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools. Thank you! 

Join us at the MMSD Planetarium next week

Join us for Season of Light: This delightful multicultural program which will lead you through the discovery of many basic astronomy concepts as you explore the holiday traditions of several cultures and religions. We will also explore the current night sky. Tickets are $2.50 and available online, by mail, or at the door. Buying tickets in advance is recommended. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. We accept walk-ins on stand-by for sold-out shows.

  • Monday, December 16:  6:30-7:30 PM  
  • Tuesday, December 17:  6:30-7:30 PM  
  • Wednesday, December 18:  6:30-7:30 PM  
  • Wednesday, December 18:  7:45-8:45 PM

MSCR in the news!

Our recreation department, Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR), has been making headlines! Check out some of the latest stories featuring the great work they're doing in our schools: