2017-18 school year calendar finalized

The calendar for the 2017-18 school year has been finalized and posted at mmsd.org/calendar. Here are some highlights:

  • We are dedicating two additional days to staff professional development days for a total of six. They are scheduled approximately every 6 weeks.
  • In order to compensate for these days, we are adding five minutes of instruction to the end of the school day, with the exception of any early release days lunch is not served. You can find next year's dismissal times here.

Do you have questions about the calendar or how it's developed? We've created a list of frequently asked questions and answers that we hope you'll find helpful.

Discussion and planning for the 2018-19 school calendar will begin in May 2017. Our goal is to improve our timeline, process and communication. We welcome your feedback as a part of this process. 



Federal budget impact on Madison schools

We are in the process of reviewing our budget for the 2017-18 school year. We are also keeping a close eye on the federal budget process. The federal budget proposal makes deep cuts to public schools and threatens to eliminate many of the programs that support students from low-income households. A couple of the programs facing elimination include Community Learning Centers and AmeriCorps. These programs are integral to our work to close opportunity gaps.

The federal budget proposal also eliminates Title II, Part A funding. Title II, Part A funding allows us to recruit highly qualified teachers. It is also used to train and mentor current staff.  We currently receive more than $1 million in funding for these important programs.

The federal budget proposal would impact our work to recruit and train staff and ensure every student graduates college, career and community ready. Learn more about the federal budget proposal. View district budget information here.




Find after-school and summer programs with MOST

Looking for after-school and summer programs for your child? MOST (Madison-area Out-of-School Time) is making it easier with the "one-stop-shop" online program finder. No matter what your budget is or where you live in the Madison area, you can find the right program for your child, from kindergarten through high school, from homework help to karate or art classes.

With a few clicks, the program finder can help you make the most of your child's or teen's time out-of-school. You can search for programs by grade, distance from where you live or the type of program you're looking for, as well as other searchable criteria. Start your search at mostmadison.org and let your child dream, explore and discover their passions.

MOST is a city-wide collaboration between the Madison Metropolitan School District, the City of Madison, Dane County and 40 different youth- serving organizations. The goal is to help close Madison's opportunity gap by ensuring all Madison's children have access to comprehensive, high-quality out-of-school time programs.



Madison teachers receive 2017 Rockwell Awards

Three Madison teachers are recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Cooperating Teacher Rockwell Awards. Elizabeth Mackman (Olson), Cathy Perry (Emerson) and Abigail Swetz (O'Keeffe), will receive the $1000 rewards from UW-Madison. They are made possible through the generosity of Roland and Ruth Rockwell.

The awards recognize excellent teachers who have chosen to pass on their expertise by providing professional experiences for UW-Madison student teachers. The teachers will be celebrated at the Partners in Education Banquet in May. Congratulations to all of you  on a job well done!



Thank you to all those who volunteer in our schools

We are grateful for all of the people who volunteer in our schools throughout the year. This week is National Public School Volunteer Week and we want to recognize some of the family and community members who volunteer their time to help our students.

"Tom Whittaker currently tutors students over lunch, runs tutorials in two AVID classes and tutors a student with Achievement Connections at West High School. He puts in more than eight hours of tutoring a week and has volunteered at West for seven years.

Tom's dedication to the students at West High School is remarkable. Tom has happily adapted to the unique requests of each program while remaining focused on the success of students. Tom has a big heart, is incredibly knowledgeable and always cheerfully engages with students and staff. He holds high expectations and hopes for students and builds relationships with students that foster their self-confidence."

"Thomas Hameister has been tutoring students in geometry and algebra at West High School for three years. Over that time, Thomas has put in approximately 90 tutoring hours. Thomas is always early to tutoring sessions and takes time to prepare. He is easy going and patient, develops fun and encouraging relationships with students and challenges students to demonstrate their knowledge."

"Imani Wilson currently volunteers twice a week to work with two students at West High School Achievement Connections for math tutoring. Imani has worked with the same student all year during his lunch hour. This semester she took on an additional student during a study hall hour. Imani is always calm and has developed positive relationships with her students by simply reacting to their needs at any given time. Imani takes time to thoroughly review concepts to ensure the students' understanding."



School Spotlight: La Follette art teacher’s work on display at school’s gallery

A Madison La Follette art teacher has her work on display this month at the school's art gallery.  Ceramics and sculpture teacher Leslie Dickerson is featuring her 2-D paintings, printmaking and ceramic works.

When Ms. Dickerson was assigned the month of April to plan a show for the gallery, she saw it as an opportunity to feature her work. She said it gives students a chance to not only see her as a teacher but also an artist.

This month's show also features portraits of Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Hendrix and other works of art from Ms. Dickerson's father.

The La Follette Art Gallery features a different artist each month and has an opening on a designated Wednesday of that month. See the schedule here.



School Spotlight: Thoreau students showcase Wisconsin history in many languages

With the help of their families and teachers, the 4th and 5th grade students at Thoreau Elementary School have created multilingual, informational brochures about Wisconsin history. The students wrote their informational brochures in English, then their families helped translate part of the brochure in their home language.

More than eight home languages including, English, Albanian, Arabic, Telugu, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Nepali are represented, as well as two additional languages from the Madison community - Hoocak and Hmong. Today, the Wisconsin History Museum will host a "Night at the Museum" for 4th and 5th grade students and their families to celebrate the writing and publication of the students' brochures. The museum will also display and distribute the students' multilingual brochures to visitors.




School Spotlight: Toki students build projects and life skills at Makerspace Club

Toki technology teacher Lee Briggs is leading an innovative MSCR after-school club at Toki Middle School called Makerspace.

Makerspace is a place where students can build creative projects for practical and artistic purposes. Students use the tools, computers, programming, textiles, electronics and 3d printing materials in the technology education classroom for their own projects and interests.

Two students in the club established a business where they build computer carts for teachers. Their next goal is to make a website that lists product features and reviews. Read more about the projects students are working on.


Toki to host Toki Thrives event in May

"How can Toki's green spaces help us thrive?" That will be the topic at the Toki Thrives event next month. Toki Thrives will feature student presentations, activities, food carts, music and nature paintings. It takes place at Toki on May 4, 5:30-7:00 p.m.



MSCR Family Fun Nights coming up

MSCR's free Family Fun Nights are happening soon! The Westside Super Showcase will take place Friday, April 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at West High School, 30 Ash Street. A Knight Out is Friday, April 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at La Follette High School, 702 Pflaum Rd.

The events feature face painting, youth performances, community resource booths, fitness demos, photo booth fun, book giveaways, prizes, dinner and these fun MSCR opportunities - rock climbing, FIT2GO and Art Cart.  All activities, including dinner, are free.

Look for more details at mscr.org.



You’re invited: The Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools Circle of Friends luncheon

Now in its 12th year, the annual Circle of Friends luncheon provides an opportunity for individuals, business leaders and supporters to come together and learn about the work of the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools. The Circle of Friends luncheon showcases innovative and creative programs that enrich classroom learning and generates a shared enthusiasm for what we can do as a community to support our more than 27,000 students.

For the past several years, more than 700 people have attended the event at the Alliant Energy Center for lunch, networking and inspirational videos and speeches. The luncheon will be held on Tuesday May 23, 2017 from 11:30am-1:30pm. Learn more and register here.