District Blog

  • COVID Supply Packs, BJ Band, Get River of Hope Grants

    Posted by John Peck on 9/29/2020

    Madison City Schools is the recipient of two grants from the River of Hope project launched by Madison Visionary Partners.
    The funds will go to the Bob Jones Band and also pay for hip packs for teachers that will make masks, sanitizers and other PPE easily accessible.

    Dr. Nichols standing in rock bed accepting check on behalf of Madison City Schools
    Dr. Ed Nichols, foreground, at River of Hope Grant Awards

    Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols and BJHS Assistant Band Director Kevin Smart accepted the checks on behalf of MCS in a ceremony at Dublin Park.
    That is where the River of Hope is located, featuring rocks painted with inspiring messages. Funds came from pledges, donations and sponsorships of the rocks.
    "This is about the community coming together in a time of crisis to help each other and meet needs on the ground," said Liz Brinton, executive director of Madison Visionary Partners.

    Assistant Bob Jones Band Director Kevin Smart accepting check
    Bob Jones HS Assistant Band Director Kevin Smart
    Other recipients of River of Hope grants include the AUM Foundation, American Legion, Madison Public Library, Madison CEO and Fantasy Playhouse.

    The COVID packs were sorted and stuffed by students at James Clemens High School. If not for COVID-19 restrictions, such skills could be learned in community based instruction at work sites.

    James Clemens student packing supplies under supervision of a teacher James Clemens High School student sorting and packing COVID hip packs for teachers

    Group photo of River of Hope reps by colored rocks

    Student and teacher stuffing packs with COVID-19 sanitizer supplies

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  • Bob Jones Seniors Cheered In Drive By School Bus Tour; JC Via Billboard Shoutout

    Posted by John Peck on 5/4/2020

    Seniors at Madison City Schools had their final year cut short in more ways than just time in class.
    Senior prom; final athletic, theater and musical performances; memorable goodbyes to favorite teachers and friends, and other special moments.

    Administrators and teachers from both high schools are trying hard to give seniors a memorable sendoff.
    James Clemens High School leased billboards that rotate the names of every graduating senior with their photo. The displays will be up through the month of May.

    Bob Jones High School distributed yard signs to seniors to display in their yard along with a declaration of their future plans, whether that be college, the military or the workforce.

    Teachers and adminstrators spent the day on a schoolbus May 1, honking, cheering and waving shakers through the bus windows.

    It was an emotional moment for some teachers and students, who were deprived of closure by schools abruptly closing due to COVID-19.

    All in all a great day to reminisce their wonderful experience in school and to celebrate the next chapter in their lives.

    Student in front of Bob Jones Senior Class of 2020 Sign in Her front Yard

    girl with Alabama Roll Tide shirt with school bus filled with teachers in background

    student with WestPoint Military Academy banner in yard

    Student holding UNA Lions pennant

    Student with arms raised in triumph in front of door with "Going to BAMA" sign

    Student in front yard with dog and signs

    Student standing in front yard with Class of 2020 Game On sign Student in front of Yale University sign in her front yard

    Student giving thumbs up with Sanford University Sign in background on his front door

    Girl waving at schoolbus from front yard

    Student waving at schoolbus from front yard

    Family surrounding student on front doorstep with Mississippi State banner on door behind them

    Student in front yard with balloons and Class of 2020 sign behind him

    Senior in front yard waving with blowup photo of him as a wrestler for Bob Jones High in background

    Student raising arms in victory as bus passes by his house

    James Clemens HIgh School congratulations 2020 seniors billboard

    Billboard showing four seniors pictures from James Clemens High School that will rotate through all 470 seniors

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  • Children's Book Author/Illustrator Wows Madison Students

    Posted by John Peck on 3/6/2020

    Madison City 2nd and 3rd graders heard a talk from best selling author Jarrett Krosoczka, whose works include the Lunch Lady series, Star Wars Jedi Academy, Platypus Police Squad and more.

    Author standing on stage by a blown up poster of a comic illustration
    He informed the kids about the world of writing, illustrating, and publishing. He also offered tips on what makes a good story/illustration. Also, life lessons like never giving up on your passion. He was rejected multiple times by publishers but kept pushing past all the rejections.
    Madison City 6th graders attended a later session with Mr. Krosoczka.
    The program was sponsored jointly with Madison Public Libary and held in the Bob Jones High School auditorium.
    Winners of a bookmark contest were also announced.

    The 2nd grade winner (left side in the photo) was Kassidy Kemp in Mrs. Elzagha's class at Rainbow Elementary.
    The 1st place winner (right in photo) for 3rd grade was Allison Kim in Mrs. Austin's class at Heritage Elementary


    Author on stage with book props behind him


    Author on stage with story diagram behind him


    Photo of audience fanned out in auditorium

    Two bookmarks, both showing caricatures of a lunch lady at school

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  • Madison City Construction Students Get Insiders Tour of Stadium Site

    Posted by John Peck on 9/25/2019

    Students in the construction academies at Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools got an inside look at the new Trash Pandas stadium Sept. 25.

    Students fanned out on terrace of stadium under construction.

    Stadium job site tour by JC and BJ students

    Construction managers with Turner Construction, the general contractor, were gracious with their time leading students on a tour, pointing out various construction features, and offering insights into construction-related jobs.

    What a great opportunity for students to learn career opportunities in the skilled trades industry and make the connection between classroom curriculum and tangible careers in the workforce.

    Superintendent Robby Parker, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Heather Donaldson and district Career Coach Kaleb Owens joined students on the tour, along with their instructors, Steven Lanford at Bob Jones and Austin Burke at James Clemens.
    Several media were in attendance as well.

    Costruction manager explaining stadium design to students in hard hats

    Turner official explaining construction design

    Students in hard hats listening to construction manager

    JC, BJ students on job site tour in Madison

    Group of students observing design of concrete terrace

    Learning about construction design

    Students in unfinished bleachers overlooking infield in hardhats

    Unfinished seating area overlooking ball field

    Instructors being interviewed by reporter

    Construction academy instructors Austin Burke (L) of JC; and Steven Lanford, center, of BJ, interviewed by reporter

    Construction officials with Superintendent Robby Parker

    (L-R) JC instructor Austin Burke, Supt. Robby Parker,
    MCS Career Coach Kaleb Owens and a Turner  official.

    Superintendent Robby Parker with BJ construction instructor Steven Lanford

    BJ construction academy instructor Steven Lanford, left,
    with Supt. Robby Parker. 

    Students underneath unfinished upper deck

    BJ and JC students on walk through of the new
    Trash Pandas stadium in Madison.

    Superintendent Parker with Team Owner Ralph Nelson and a Turner Universal official inside unfinished stadium

    Supt. Robby Parker greeted by team owner Ralph Nelson
    (left) as Turner Construction official looks on.

    Students walking perimeter of stadium

    Students walking through seating area of stadium

    Students at table inside construction trailer getting a briefing from Turner Universal contractors

    Students getting a briefing from Turner Construction

    Students walking by entrance wall of stadium

    A walk by of some of the concrete features

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  • Blueberries Added to Growning List of Local Produce in Madison Schools

    Posted by John Peck on 9/9/2019

    Madison City Schools is a leader in the growing Farm-to-School program in Alabama.
    Apples, watermelons, oranges, cantaloupe and melons have been among the locally grown produce served in school cafeterias since the initiative began several years ago.
    Blueberries and cantaloupe fresh from a local farm
    Liberty Middle cantaloupe & blueberries from local farms

    Friday, a new staple made its debut at Liberty Middle School - fresh blueberries from a farm in Cullman. Cantaloupe from Chilton County was also served.
    The berries were picked this summer by volunteers led by LMS teacher Jane Haithcock from the Bagwell Blueberry Farm in Cullman.
    (WZDX Fox 54 story: https://bit.ly/2m80yIY
    WAAY-31 story: https://bit.ly/2kCtM25

    MCS Child Nutrition Supervisor Cameron Clark prepares blueberries picked from a farm in Cullman
    Cameron Clark, CNP supervisor for Madison City Schools

    But in a twist from other fresh fruit offerings, they were immediately frozen rather than served days from harvest. The freeze-storage is part of a pilot project MCS was tasked to lead testing the practicality of picking, then freeze-storing produce to stretch their season of availability.
    “One of the challenges of farm-to-school initiatives is being able to find ways to store the produce to serve beyond the growing season,” said Marty Tatara, coordinator of the Child Nutrition Program in Madison City Schools. “If schools and growers can find a way to manage that, markets can grow to make farm-to-school produce more economical and nutritious to serve over a longer period of time.”
    The Farm Food Collaborative is a project of the Food Bank of North Alabama that serves as a local food hub to get locally grown fruits and vegetables into local schools.
    The buy-local focus supports local farmers. It can also reduce nutrition depletion from long storage and shipping times.

    Lunchroom workers with trays of blueberries

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  • "Base 10" Activities Part of Character Learning at WMES

    Posted by John Peck on 8/30/2019

    West Madison Elementary held a "boot camp" today with activities centered around behavioral and character learning.
    Faculty got in the act dressing in camo and  staging obstacle courses built around lesson plans.

    Students in circle high-fiving principal Daphne Jah
    There were no stern orders at this boot camp. Kids delighted in the activity and seemed to soak up the lesson at each station.

    The Base 10 Behaviors covered disciplines such as Being the Best You, Learning from your Mistakes, Be Self-Motivated, Respecting Other Opinions, Showing Respect with Actions, Honesty, Manners, Speaking and Active Listening Skills and Taking Pride in Self, Work and Community.

    Faculty designed the program after attending the Ron Clark Academy for Educators. The goal of faculty and staff is to have students leave WMES with the basic social skills that are essential throughout their life. That journey to excellence starts with a strong BASE, as in Base 10.
    WAFF-48 and WHNT-19 covered today's event.

    Students listening to teacher dressed in camouflage

    Teacher going over behavioral point on paper with two students

    Student jumping over small hurdle

    Student running through rings on ground

    Principal and teacher in camouflage

    Student crawling through obstacle course

    Teacher looking at lesson plan for self-motivation

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  • Local Legislators/BOE Members, Visit BJ and DMS Classrooms

    Posted by John Peck on 8/27/2019

    Madison lawmakers and several MCS Board members got a taste of school life today, visiting classrooms and hearing students explain their coursework and school experience.

    Sen. Tom Butler and BOE member Luis Ferrer listening to student

    BJHS Biomedical Internship class

    The visit gave a hands-on perspective of some of the great instruction going on in our schools. 
    It also gave students the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with area leaders and offer opinions on ways to improve the school experience. 

    The tours at Bob Jones High School and Discovery Middle were coordinated by MCS Secondary Instruction Coordinator Sharon Powell with input from principals and their assistants.

    A similar tour is planned next month at James Clemens High School and Liberty Middle.

    The entourage of visitors included State Sen. Tom Butler, State Rep. Mike Ball, Triana Mayor Mary Caudle and Board members Travis Cummings and Luis Ferrer.

    Group photo of students and lawmakers and board members at table in Bob Jones High School

    At Bob Jones, the group dropped in a Biomedical Internship Class taught by Melinda Lawson, an Intro to Engineering Design Class taught by Jessye Gaines, an AP Research Class taught by Debora Scott; greeted custodians and CNP workers; and spoke with a student panel.

    The student discussions centered mainly on all the AP class offerings, internships, and juggling schoolwork with extra curricular activities. Students then had a chance to question legislators about various policy issues.

    Visitors in the STEM building at Discovery Middle School

    DMS STEM Class

    The DMS visit included a visit to the bandroom and a meeting with school custodial and CNP workers. The group dropped in Laura Collins' Code Space class, Sara Baragona's Digital Publishing class, the Medical Detectives class taught by David Sippel and a STEM class taught by Amanda Haynes.

    student panel greeting guests with handshakes

    Student panel at BJHS

     several students collaborating around computers in the Biomed internship class

    BJHS class

     Principal Sylvia Lambert and Assistant Superintendent Eric Terrell with guests and students at work table

    BJHS class

    Senator Tom Butler looking at drawing by engineering student

    BJHS Intro to Engineering Design Class 

    Students working on a case in the medical detectives class at Discovery Middle School

    Medical Detectives Class at DMS

    Guests hovering over students working on computers in the CodeSpace class at Discovery Middle

    CodeSpace Class at DMS

     Students in classroom learning lesson on a big whitescreen

    Digital Publishing Tools class at DMS


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  • Random Scenes From The 1st Day of School

    Posted by John Peck on 8/7/2019 12:55:00 PM

    Madison City Schools got off to a fantastic start for the 2019-20 school year.

    School staff and administrators shared snapshots from the schools.

    Plege of Allegiance at Discovery Middle

    Pledge in Ms.. Baragona's class at Discovery Middle School

    Principal greeting students in bus line at Horizon Elementary

    Student dropoff at Horizon Elementary

    West Madison Elementary boo hoo room

    "Boo hoo" room at West Madison Elementary for parents

    Crowded hallway at Columbia Elementary  

    Columbia Elementary

    Students at Bob Jones High School catching up from summer.  

    Students catching up from summer at Bob Jones High School

    Crowded hallway at Mill Creek

    Crowded hallway at Mill Creek Elementary

    Students getting directions from teacher at Liberty Middle

    Getting directions at Liberty Middle School

    Building shot of James Clemens High School  

    A tranquil James Clemens High School before student arrivals

    Student standing by table  

    Student manned help table at James Clemens High School

    Police officer with PreK student in classroom  

    SRO with a smiling early learner at the MCS PreK Center

    PreK administrator with walkie talkie in carline outside school   

    PreK Administrator Nichole Phillips directing traffic at dismissal

    Teacher  high fiving a student in hallway at Rainbow Elementary  

    Spirited welcome back greeting at Rainbow Elementary.

    Teacher in front of classroom at Heritage Elementary

    Learning under way at Heritage Elementary

    Student with hornet mascot at Madison Elementary

    Student at Madison Elementary with "Buzz," the hornet mascot

    Crossing guard in front of school intersection  

    Keeping students safe in school zones.

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  • America's Best High Schools Report ranks Bob Jones, James Clemens, Near Best in Alabama & Nation

    Posted by John Peck on 5/13/2019

    Madison City Schools once again placed both high schools on the U.S. News & World Reports list of America's Best High Schools.
    Bob Jones and James Clemens were among 17,245 of 23,000 high schools nationwide in the 2019 rankings.
    Bob Jones placed 555 nationally and 5th in Alabama.
    James Clemens placed a close 7th in Alabama and 674th nationally out of the 23,000 high schools.

    The study gave BJHS a composite score of 96.78 out of 100 and JCHS a razor close 96.09 out of 100. Their performance puts BJHS in the top 2.4 percent and JCHS in the top 2.9 percent of all of America's High Schools.
    The rankings are a measure of college readiness, math & reading efficiency and performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rate, and more. You can read the overall report here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings

    Access the school reports in the following links.

    Bob Jones
    Outside view of Bob Jones High School

    James Clemens

    Outside view of James Clemens High School

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  • School Board Members Key to Success of Madison City Schools

    Posted by John Peck on 5/10/2019

     Madison City Schools Board members are front and center of all things Madison City Schools.
    You see them at board meetings, school plays and band performances. They are at the football stadium and in bleachers at swim and dive competitions.
    You might catch one reading to a class, speaking to a PTA meeting or advocating for schools at a City Council meeting.

    Group Photo of the 5 Board of Education Members and Superintendent Robby Parker

    They attend graduations, school carnivals, EL summer classes and greenpower events. They meet with legislators and city leaders to discuss school issues, undergo board training and attend conferences away from their family.
    They are our Board of Education members.
    We are most grateful for their leadership and selfless service - all without receiving even a dime of compensation.
    See this brief board appreciation video from all of our schools: https://youtu.be/VTFZt4if1ng.
    Board President Ranae Bartlett shared the following on how the Madison City BOE does its job:

    Madison City’s Board is unique in that its members are appointed by its City Council to represent the residents of Madison at-large.
    That means each individual school board member is charged to make decisions in the best interests of all Madison City students, not just those of a particularly geographic zone.
    Each board member is appointed to staggered five-year terms. One of five board members is up for appointment or reappointment each year, and the term of office begins on June 1.
    Each member of the Board of Education in Madison serves without compensation.[1] Since the formation of the school system in 1998, the Board of Education has elected not to receive compensation so that its work is done in the true nature of public service.
    The Board of Education appoints the Superintendent and Chief School Financial Officer and selects Board counsel. The Board also works with the superintendent in setting the strategic plan and vision for the school system, and establishes policies as part of its governance role.
    Our Board of Education is highly engaged in our school system, each member having had or currently has children attending school in Madison. Board members actively participate on numerous committees and are present at numerous school and district activities throughout the school year.

    Meet our Board:


    Photo of Ranae Bartlett, Board President Ranae Bartlett – President
    Ms. Bartlett is in her second five-year term and third as President of the Board. She has one son who attended Rainbow Elementary, Discovery Middle, and entering his senior year at Bob Jones High School. Upon graduating from law school, she clerked for Chief Judge Politz on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Prior to moving to Madison, she was employed as Assistant General Counsel of Wal-Mart Stores, and then became the career law clerk to U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith, Jr. in Huntsville. She retired from that position and began service on the School Board in 2011. When she is not at a school-related event, she is usually coaching chess and running chess tournaments in Madison and Huntsville.
    Board Vice President Tim Holtcamp
    Tim Holtcamp, Vice President
    Mr. Holtcamp is the Vice-President of the Board, Chair of the Policy Committee, Safety & Security Committee, and member of the Finance Committee. He is in his first term on the Board. Mr. Holtcamp has an engineering degree from Auburn University. He is employed as a Senior Engineer and Intelligence Analyst at Parsons Government Services. His daughter graduated in 2019 from James Clemens and his son is entering his sophomore year. His other son attends Columbia Elementary. When Mr. Holtcamp is not at a school function, you probably will see him running a swim meet in our community.

    Mr. Greg Hulsey being Sworn In By Judge
    Greg Hulsey
    Mr. Greg Hulsey was appointed to the BOE in 2019 and sworn in June 6. He previously served on the Madison City Schools Capital Planning Committee. He is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Huntsville Focus Program. Mr. Hulsey is Chief Executive Officer of Maynor & Mitchell Eye Center and the Eye Surgery Center of North Alabama in Huntsville. He earned his Bachelors in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama; and both a Master of Science in Health Administration and Master of Business Administration degree from UAB. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and recognized as a Certified Medical Practice Executive by the Medical Group Management Association.
    Mr. Hulsey and his wife, Tara, moved to Madison in 2016 along with their daughters Ainsley (James Clemens High School), and Haley (Liberty Middle). They attend Asbury Methodist Church in Madison.

    Luis Ferrer, board member, at desk
    Luis Ferrer
    Mr. Ferrer is serving in his third year on the Board. His son attended Pre-K at Rainbow, attended Columbia Elementary in grades K-2, and is now a 5th grader at Heritage Elementary. His daughter has attended Madison and Columbia Elementary, Discovery and Liberty Middle, and now is a junior at James Clemens High School. Mr. Ferrer is a former Triana Town Council member. He earned a Master’s in Business Administration, with a concentration in accounting, and graduated with honors from the Inter-American University in Puerto Rico and also earned a Bachelor’s in Science, with a concentration in Electronic Engineering. He is currently employed at the Missile Defense Agency on Redstone Arsenal. Mr. Ferrer serves on the Board’s Capital Planning, Finance, and Special Education Committees.

    Travis Cummings at desk
    Travis Cummings
    Mr. Cummings is in the second year of his term. He has one son who attended Horizon Elementary, Discovery Middle and now is a sophomore at Bob Jones High School. Mr. Cummings serves on the Capital Planning, Policy, and Special Education Committees. He has a Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning from Alabama A&M University. He is employed as the Zoning Enforcement Coordinator for the City of Huntsville's Planning Department.

    Tim Holtcamp visiting a middle school with Ranae Bartlett  Board members and Superintendent Parker at a conference
    Connie Spears and Tim Holtcamp with student at an outdoor classroom at Liberty Middle

    Ranae Bartlett with chess students in a classroom
    Board members lined up on table in public hearing at Columbia Elementary

    Board member Luis Ferrer with principal visiting Discovery Middle classroom

    Board members and Superintendent Parker meeting with legislators in Montgomery

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