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A note from Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore (6/5/20 MMSD Connect)

Dear MMSD Staff, 

As we move into the final week of school, and as our students settle into their summer routine, our senior leadership team at central office will continue its hard work in planning and preparing for the many contingencies that reopening school this fall may bring.  

During summer break, we feel it will be important to keep you abreast of the latest information and developments. As a result, we encourage you to pay close attention to this newsletter moving forward, as it will provide important information for staff regarding our planning. We would also encourage you to reach out to your school’s principal for information and updates as we will be working very closely with them moving forward.

Earlier today, we sent a very important survey to staff. As mentioned in yesterday’s letter,  one part provides input on some major budget challenges we are likely to experience in the next month and the second part is to better understand staff intentions for the fall.   Your participation with this survey is very important to our planning efforts.

We are committed to provide staff a timeline that will give as much advance notice as possible, affording you the time necessary for family planning, and to arrange for childcare and any schedule adjustments that may be necessary.  

Our dedicated planning team has spent the last several weeks strategizing and planning for what school will look like this fall. As you can imagine, the nature of COVID-19 presents us with many unknowns, and our planning team is putting deep thought into a variety of contingencies so that the district will be in an optimal state of readiness when we move into the 2020/21 school year.  

Recently, this planning team began:

Creating guiding principles to assist in our plan design work. 

Considering the many unknowns and planning for a wide-range of options.

Creating options that lean on our partnerships with Public Health, Madison and Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to ensure informed decisions that are consistently grounded in the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.

All the options we are planning for will include varying degrees of virtual learning. The district plan for the fall will be a flexible hybrid solution that includes virtual and in-person options with a focused intent on:

  • Keeping our most marginalized students at the center
  • Creating new ways of working that eliminate racial disparities 
  • Addressing learning, instructional and service group needs
  • Determining staffing capacity and the reallocation of time and space
  • Strategies on food service, health supports, transportation and budget
  • Supporting economic recovery
  • Respecting parental decisions 

It is our hope to make a final decision sometime between mid to late July, on what option we will utilize at the start of the school year, and leading up to that decision we will be offering opportunity for feedback and questions relative to our fall plan.  

As we have throughout this pandemic, our decision strategy will be one of informed collaboration as we will continue to work closely with our partners in local public health, city, county and state officials, and neighboring school districts.

Finally, we are establishing sub-planning teams for our fall planning and need your voice to help support our planning work.  If you are interested in participating, please complete this form. 

We look forward to this work with you, and thank you for all that you do. With such long days I hope that everyone is able to spend some down time this weekend to rest. The weather should be nice and our next two weeks will be very busy.

Stay well, 

Jane Belmore