We have finalized our first-quarter calendar with September 8 being the first day of virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year. At this time, we are not anticipating additional changes to the calendar.
The new start date provides a key opportunity for us to prepare our educators and leaders with additional days of learning so that they are as prepared as possible to make this fall's virtual learning experience stronger, more rigorous, and more equitable than what students experienced in the spring.
This decision to build in additional PD days into the calendar was informed by family and staff feedback that we have received throughout summer. We are working on finalizing full reports of our surveys and expect to share them publicly very soon.
The additional professional learning days will be grounded in a set of guiding principles and goals that center our students and families and your experiences with virtual learning and that supports staff to continue our work with Black Excellence, anti-racism, and our Strategic Framework and to ensure that relationships are central to the work.
The additional days will also provide staff time to connect with all students and families to ensure that your child has what they need to start virtual learning and that you and your child know:
- how to use the technology and tools that will be used
- when and how to get support from teachers
- what the expectations are for everyone involved
- how to turn in assignments
- how attendance and grading will work
- students' daily schedule
- the answers to any questions you have before the first day of school
Expect to receive information from your child's school prior to the start of staff professional development (August 25) about specific plans for teachers to reach out to you and your student between August 25 and September 4. You can find the revised calendar here.
Update on MMSD grounds and facilities
We are now allowing limited use of our grounds for families and our students. Here are the important guidelines:
- There are to be no organized sports on athletic fields, outdoor courts, playgrounds or at stadiums.
- Schools grounds are similar to Madison Parks with the exception of any organized athletic programs.
- Playgrounds will be restricted to daycare use when they are operating, similar to when school is in session.
All of our buildings are closed through October 30th, with these exceptions:
- Daycare providers, which are deemed essential services under the Safer At Home plan and Forward Dane Plan, will be allowed to utilize our facilities.
- Students and staff receiving specialized services which can only be delivered through in-person means.
- School grounds are available similar to Madison Parks with the exception of any organized athletic programming. As when school is in session, playgrounds will be restricted to daycare participants following guidance from Public Health of Dane County.
- ACT testing.
- MSCR small group activities on elementary schools ground may occur.
Update on our efforts to keep students and staff safe
As we prepare for a stronger launch to virtual learning this fall, we are also continuing to plan for both a hybrid model and all in-person learning so we are as prepared as possible when it is safe to re-open buildings. School safety is at the heart of all of our plans, and we wanted to offer you a window into the work that took place to support safety through the 2019-20 school year, what systems and resources we have in place to support student safety during virtual learning, and where we are headed next.
Even though students and staff will not be in school buildings this fall, our commitment to safety remains our top priority. We know school closures are impacting many students and staff. In several areas our work to support student and staff safety is intensifying. We are grateful to the many community partners who are collaborating with us to keep our MMSD Family healthy, fed, and connected. If you or your child is struggling, we encourage you to access school district resources and community resources and reach out to your school if your child needs help.
Read our updates here.