Wright student chosen as Wisconsin winner in 'Doodle 4 Google' Competition

Alyssa Anderson, a 7th grade student at Wright Middle School, is one of the 53 state winners of the 'Doodle 4 Google' Competition!

The theme for this year's competition was "What I see for the future,..." and Alyssa's doodle "New Life for the Extinct" depicts the return of extinct animals. She spent about 30 hours creating her doodle, which was selected from thousands of entries received this year. Students and staff at Wright helped Alyssa celebrate during a surprise assembly on February 23.

Google will announce five national finalists and one of them as the national winner on March 31 - and the winner's doodle will go live on Google.com that day.

The National Winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship and their school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant towards the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.



We stand by our transgender students

Last month the Departments of Justice and Education released a letter to public schools rolling back protections for transgender students who wish to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, a practice we firmly believe in and currently have in place. 

The move leaves it up to individual states and school districts to decide their own policies on transgender bathroom use. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham released this statement last week to underscore our position: 

We have incredible trans students, staff and families throughout our district. We will always support and be proud of our trans communities. We are also dedicated to creating inclusive and welcoming learning communities and we take seriously our responsibility to provide safe and nondiscriminatory environments for all students, including students of all gender identities. This includes our practice of allowing students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. We will not waver in our commitment to this and all other inclusive practices in our schools.



What you need to know about school water testing

You may have seen in the news recently that we did some testing at several of our schools. It's important to us that we have safe and high quality drinking water for students, so our district recently decided to conduct water tests for lead. These tests are above and beyond tests conducted by the Madison Water Utility on drinking water throughout the city. Water tests were analyzed by the State Lab of Hygiene, who provides outside expertise in this area.

If any drinking fountains tested higher than the national standards for lead, we have turned off those fountains, and are working to either repair or replace those fountains.  We are completing voluntary tests at all schools within the next month.

Read more on school water testing in this story  from Channel 3.


We invite your ideas as we develop our 2017-18 budget

As an update on next year's budget, earlier this year we presented and received feedback from the school board on our strategy for funding priority actions and our district-wide staffing plan.

At next Monday's board meeting (March 13), we'll present our budget-balancing recommendations and report on any input received from the public and staff. You can give your input and ideas here.

Here you can also find information on how the state budget proposal would impact our district and the contact information for lawmakers if you would like to make your voice heard.



West student going places with his new driver's license

West student Diondre Davis recently completed driver's education training and received his driver's license. Davis completed his training through the Driver's Education Scholars Program,  offered through MSCR and our partnership with Dane County and the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 2 (CESA).

The purpose of the Driver's Education Scholars Program is to provide access for teens who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend driver's education and ultimately attain a Wisconsin driver's license.

To qualify, teens must attend a Madison high school, complete a Driver's Education Scholarship application and secure an adult sponsor to practice driving. Recipients of the scholarship receive admission and a fee waiver to the program. Twenty students from each of Madison's four main high schools are accepted. The classroom portion takes place at the schools.

Davis applied for the program last year and was accepted based on his essay and improvement in attendance. "I loved the class. It was nice that it was at West. I loved my behind the wheel instructor, Mr.Parker. I feel so lucky be in this MSCR program," he said.

Information on the program is available from MSCR High School Specialists at each school. Applications will be available later this month and due in early May.

Congratulations on completing the program and receiving your license, Diondre!



School Spotlight: Kennedy celebrates Kennedy Cares Week, 5th grade students attend Kindness Retreat

Last month, Kennedy Elementary celebrated its 8th annual Kennedy Cares Week. Kennedy Cares Week is a tradition that celebrates the importance of service learning. Students supported community service organizations in Madison and were able to visit most of the places thanks to a discount provided by Badger Bus.

As part of Kennedy Cares Week, the school collected non-perishable food items, clothing and paper products (toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, etc.) and donated them to several community organizations.

You can see Kennedy students at work in this story from NBC 15.

Recently, 5th grade students at Kennedy attended a one-day Kindness Retreat. MSCR East hosted the retreat, Youth Frontiers led the retreat and Kennedy alumni who are currently La Follette High School students served as mentors.

During the retreat, students learned about tools to develop empathy, promote kindness and prevent bullying. Youth Frontiers and Kennedy staff helped students become everyday heroes by using kindness to include others, be respectful and make Kennedy a better place.
This was the first time Kennedy offered the special time away for 5th grade students and it was a successful retreat!



School Spotlight: Glendale contributes more than 800 hours of service to the community

On Friday, February 17, Glendale held its 4th annual school-wide Day of Service. Glendale students, staff and volunteers worked together to complete projects throughout the community.

4K students decorated bookmarks for Madison and Monona libraries. Kindergarten through 5th grade students completed projects for Meals on Wheels, Badger Honor Flight, Dane County Humane Society, Henry Vilas Zoo, Monona Meadows retirement community, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, American Family Children's Hospital, Project Linus, Ronald McDonald House and their own Glendale Garden.

In all, students, staff and volunteers contributed more than 800 hours of community service in only one school day.



School Spotlight: Star Wars makes mindfulness fun for kindergarten students at Midvale

The force is with kindergarten students at Midvale. This school year, kindergarten students have been using more than 15 different breathing skills to calm themselves. They have also been practicing balance poses to help with their focus and coordination. It's all part of a curriculum called J.E.D.I. Minds, which stands for Just, Empathetic, Dutiful and Independent Minds.

Midvale teacher Moira Farrell started the curriculum during Reinforcing and Enriching Achievement for all Children (REACH) and Physical Education classes after attending Breathe for Change's 2016 summer training. 

Breathe for Change is an organization that partners with several Madison schools to offer 200-hour wellness and yoga teacher training designed for educators. Farrell hopes to extend the curriculum to all Midvale students next school year and will lead Camp Begin, a three-week summer camp centered in nature, yoga, mindfulness and the creative arts.

To learn more about Camp Begin, visit the website.


School Spotlight:  Allis students represent at MathFest

Congratulations to the scholars who represented Allis at this year's MathFest! On February 21, eight Allis students traveled to the UW Arboretum to take part in the 2017 MathFest. The event brings together young mathematicians from across the district.



Do you have Summer plans yet? MSCR's Summer Program Guide now available, Free Family Festival on March 10

MSCR's 2017 Summer Program Guide is now available. The guide includes a variety of classes and programs for families. Registration begins March 13. Visit MSCR's website for more information on summer programming.

Don't forget about MSCR's free Family Festival & Resource Fair on Friday, March 10 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at East High School. The evening's theme is "Be the Best You" and will feature youth performances, dinner, community resource booths, a fun photo booth, MSCR Fit Van, MSCR Art Cart, rock climbing wall, MSCR fitness demos, facepainting, hands-on family activity booths, music from DJ Mirah, a book giveaway and raffle prizes.