Referendum on the back of the Nov. 8 ballot

Election day is less than a week away. The school district has a referendum on the back of the ballot asking taxpayers to permanently raise the school district's revenue limit authority by $26 million over four years. If the referendum passes, the funds would be built into our budget each year.

Learn more about the referendum and what's at stake.


Nov. 4: Early release day for 4K

 There is an early release day on Friday, November 4. There will be AM sessions only. 4K students in AM sessions, who ride the bus, will have an adjusted busing schedule. 


Meet your new elementary report card

Your child's report card will look different this year. Rather than giving number grades (1-4), K-5 teachers will be reporting on your child's progress toward grade-level expectations, or standards, that students should meet by the end of the school year.

Visit to find resources to help you and your child understand what the new report cards mean and measure. View a sample report card for each grade level; watch videos; download general resources including an extensive guide and FAQs for families, a quick-reference guide, and bookmarks; or reference materials that you can use to guide the conversation at your next parent-teacher conference.


Help your child succeed: Parent-teacher conferences

With parent-teacher conferences right around the corner (link to, teachers are gearing up, excited to share student work and strengthen partnerships with families. Did you know that being involved in your child's education can lead to greater student success in school? It's true: Research shows that when families are involved in their children's learning both at home and at school, children perform better academically.

Not sure how to start the conversation with your child's teacher? The Harvard Family Research Project shares these tips (read them all) to get you started:

  • Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like: Is my child performing at grade level? How is she doing compared to the rest of the class? What do you see as her strengths? How could she improve?
  • Ask to see examples of your child's work. Ask how the teacher gives grades.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher what you think he is good at. Explain what he needs more help with.
  • Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn. Ask if the teacher knows of other programs or services in the community that could also help your child.
  • Find out what services are available at the school to help your child. Ask how the teacher will both challenge your child and support your child.

The Parent Toolkit offers more ideas for things you can do before, during and after your conference to make that time as constructive as possible.


8th Grade Families: Consider applying for Personalized Pathways

In the 2017-2018 school year, MMSD will be introducing the first opportunity for students to sign up for a Personalized Pathways to graduation. Personalized Pathways are a sequence of interconnected courses and experiences driven by the student and their academic and career plan, which connect strong academics with authentic experiences. It is an approach that helps all students perform at higher levels.

Along with our critical goals of raising academic achievement and graduation rates for all, we must get more students engaged in learning and guide our young people in their transition from adolescence into adulthood. By tapping into students' interests, Personalized Pathways will increase the relevance of the high school experience for all students and better prepare them for college, career and community.

Eighth grade students will be able to apply in late November and December. Watch for upcoming opportunities at your school to learn more. Help your child to link their learning to life, learn and apply skills in authentic learning experiences and personalize their education by participating in this pathway. Visit for details.


School Spotlight: Madison East recognized as national model for AVID

Madison East has done it again! East has been selected as a National AVID Demonstration School. This distinction is given only to the top schools in the country that implement the college prep program. This means that East is a national model for the implementation of AVID. Read more about this exciting recognition for East.


September Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Meeting: Grounding in Equity

The first meeting of the Superintendent's Parent Advisory was attended by 29 families from across the District. The agenda covered the purpose of the Parent Advisory, group norms, and an inclusion exercise on equity. The main topics for the meeting included the district's progress (highlights from the annual report) and climate survey results. 

These notes from the meeting were written and submitted by Kristen Nelson, a parent at Shabazz High School and Sherman Middle School. We are still adding parent representatives for the October meeting. A summary of our meetings will be provided monthly.


District-wide Parent Groups provide opportunities for families to connect with each other

The Family, Youth & Community Engagement Department is providing support to theAfrican American Parent Leadership Council and a newMulticultural Parent Group, which is focused on English Language Learner (ELL) families. Both groups bring families from across the district together to connect with one another and build their capacity. Topics will be identified by the members of those groups. 

The first Multicultural Parent Group is on Nov. 5 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center. We were not able to hold the October meeting due to a religious holiday. The African American Parent Leadership Council is open to all parents who are raising African American students in the District. The group meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at JC Wright Middle School from 6-7:30pm. Childcare, light refreshments and transportation are available for both groups.


Children and Texting: Do you know what your child’s message means?

Have you ever wanted to decode one of your child's text messages? Our children live and learn in a digital world and sometimes speak a digital language. There are resources available to help you decode your child's messages. The Digital Glossary can help you understand some of the codes used to digitally communicate. Learn more digital tips for your family here.


Protecting your personal information: Tips for creating a strong password

Strong passwords are the first line of defense in fighting cyber criminals and protecting your personal information. Think about all of the passwords you and your family use when you go online. Access to your personal and banking information is the prize for a criminal who can unlock these passwords and get into your accounts.

Read more about how to create a strong password.


Youth from Operation Fresh Start build a storage shed at Sandburg Elementary

Since the beginning of October, a construction crew from Operation Fresh Start (OFS) has been building a new garden shed at Sandburg Elementary School. They have poured the foundation and are currently framing in the structure, which will be completed in the coming weeks. The young adults in this "crew" are part of Operation Fresh Start's Pathways program. MMSD and Operation Fresh Start have partnered in developing and implementing a program curriculum for youth ages 16 through 24 who are not engaged in traditional high school. 

Youth who have left the traditional high school setting have an opportunity to gain their diploma and work experience through constructing affordable housing (and occasionally a shed) and doing extensive work on Dane County Parks. Giving back to the community is a key component of the work of OFS youth. You can learn more about Operation Fresh Start on the website.


Olson student writes about monarch butterflies

On Wednesday September 12, 2016, I was playing with my friends on the swings at the Olson Elementary school playground. I saw Ms. Boser coming out to look for Monarch butterflies. I saw five Monarch butterflies sucking up the nectar from the purple flowers. Some other kids came too! My teacher, Mrs. Harms took a picture with her phone. 

We thought we should make a sign for the spot where students could see the Monarchs. We printed a picture and hung the paper on the fence with words saying, "See Monarch Butterflies Here." Read more of Camilla's story.


MSCR Winter Guide to be released soon

The Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) Winter & Spring 2017 Program Guide begins distribution on Sunday, November 6 in the Wisconsin State Journal. Madison Metropolitan School District Residents, who are not Sunday subscribers, receive their program guide in the mail November 7-11. The guide is filled with a variety of recreation activities for all ages including arts & enrichment, fitness, skiing, sports, 50+ fitness, swimming and more. Registration begins Monday, November 14 for residents. Winter programs begin in early January. Fee waivers are available. Visit for more information.


Lip Sync for Schools: Get your tickets before they’re gone

Last year's event sold out, and this year's looks to sell out even earlier. Don't miss seeing some of your favorite principals and community leaders perform onstage. Tickets are $40 each and are available to purchase online. Proceeds benefit the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools and their work to provide enriching educational opportunities for all MMSDstudents.