• District Update 2/22/2024

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I would like to begin by recognizing our National Merit finalists from Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools. I am so proud of these students for their hard work, and for their teachers not only at their high schools but from the feeder schools that helped prepare them. The vast majority of these scholars attended middle and elementary schools in Madison City as well.
    Madison City Schools has traditionally excelled in the number of National Merit finalists and U.S. Presidential Scholar students, leading the state in most years regardless of the size of the school district.
    Here are the 28 National Merit finalists from MCS for 2024:

    Bob Jones: Abram Carlson, Samantha Chan, Andrew Crocker, Rachel Ehrman, Luck Garrison, Elizabeth Haddock, Lucy Halter, Piper Larkin, Francois Le Roux, Madeline McInvale, Elizabeth Newsom, Lauren Sheehy,  Pranav Satheesh, Taylor Turpin, Zoe Widman.

    James Clemens: Angela J. Ai, Shivani Alapati, Carlin Clettas Chacko, Bhavya V. Chalasni, Abhishek V. Emani, Connie A. Guo, Grace Y. Hur, Lilliann Doe Markowitz, Aasim M. Musani, Brock J. Senel, Neil Sethi, Saahil Shaik, Samuel E. Townsend.

    One factor in the continual success of our schools is the partnerships we enjoy with our PTAs, businesses, industry and others who support us in so many ways. One such example last week was the panel of SAIC technology specialists who met with Bob Jones computer and cybertechnology students to talk about the growing field of cybersecurity and pathways to those careers. The SAIC team addressed JCHS cybersecurity students the week before (see whnt 19 story here.) A Q&A with the students afterward provided helpful insights.

    Congratulations to cadets in the Air Force Junior ROTC at BJHS for earning Competition Grand Champions at the recent drill competition in Hoover.
    Congratulations also for BJ’s impressive wins by its Model U.N. team in state competition.
    Please join me in congratulating students of Ms. Peggy Boynton at JC for passing the 2024 National German exam. These students performed above the national average to varying degrees of the more than 12,000 students nationwide who took the exam: Nate Maehlmann, Lillian Haberlach, Leandro Cogles-Guerrero (Gold medal-90th percentile).
    Fiona Paine, Sabina Kurucz (silver medal); Luke Pawlus (bronze medal).
    Caleb Wells, Emily Nolan, Aidan Wells, Everett Ragus and James Zesinger (achievement award).

    I want to commend Mr. Clay Combs and Mrs. Hannah Stockman at JC for leading students of JetsPress and On The Radar to top finishes in the regional SkillsUSA competition. The wins propel them to state competition. I’d also like to commend Horizon’s Emilia Ng for winning 2nd place in the Madison County Spelling Bee, competing against both private and public schools throughout Madison County.
    Liberty Middle will hold its 2nd annual Bryce Anthony Eason Memorial Scholarship Art Auction on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the LMS cafeteria.

    Finally, I want to remind our middle and high school stakeholders that course registration for the 2024-2025 school year is in full swing. Schools at both levels have been holding events for parents and students to showcase the various course options and academic pathways available. As students identify preferred courses for the upcoming school year, the opportunity arises for parents to learn more about the subjects offered, ask questions of their child’s counselor and administration, and to make informed decisions on their course selections for 2024-2025. Rising 6th through 12th grade students are receiving registration information, including registration packets. All of the registration packets and the complete curriculum catalogs can be found on the MCS website.


    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols

    District Update 2/13/2024
    Dear MCS Parents,

    If you have ever entered the lobby of our Central Office, you may have noticed a wall full of silver stars. Those stars represent National Board Certified Teachers in our district. Eleven more stars will soon be added, bringing to 105 the total number of NBCTs in Madison City Schools.
    This prestigious national certification is considered the gold standard for teaching excellency. I am proud to report that we now have among the highest number of NBCTs of any Alabama school district, regardless of size.
    I would like to commend these MCS educators for recently completing the rigorous requirements to become a National Board Certified Teacher: Amy Harbison, Bethany Kachelman, Hanna Napier, Jennifer Chandler, Jeremiah Brand, Laura Phillips, Lauren Hillis, Leslie Tignor-Hughes, Nancy M. Hartfield, Sarah Prevallet, Shemeaka King. It was an honor to recognize them at our February 8th BOE meeting.
    This level of excellence is possible because of the countless hours spent by these dedicated teachers in addition to a phenomenal support network. I want to thank the Schools Foundation, Committee of 100 and others who have secured monetary assistance for our NBCT support network. I also want to thank Mrs. Cindy Davis and all of the mentors who provide a support network for our teachers. At the Feb. 8 BOE meeting, I was also pleased to recognize the 16 teachers who renewed their National Board Certification, which must be completed every five years.

    Congratulations also to our winners in the 2024 State Superintendent’s Visual Art Exhibit: Connor McDougal, junior at JCHS; and Emilia Flagg, 8th grader at Liberty Middle. Winners will be recognized March 13 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery.

    MCS had another busy week of athletic signings. The following students made their commitments official to play football at the college that is listed. From Bob Jones: Christian Abrams (Tuskegee), Hezron Kency (Kentucky Wesleyan), and Frankie Hill (Bellarmine University).
    From James Clemens: Devon Cooper (Tuskegee), Jaylen Brown (Mizzou), Logan Eggart (Southeast Missouri). D.J. Williams (Andrew College); Hunter Headley (Campbellsville University), Jaylon Ruffin (Miles College), Brody Stinson (Birmingham Southern).

    Also on the athletics front, I would like to welcome Megan Aldridge to the MCS and James Clemens Jets family. She was approved by the Board as the new volleyball coach for JCHS. Coach Aldridge comes to us from Danville High School where she racked up an impressive record as a volleyball coach and is also a skilled English teacher and speech pathologist.

    Many times in my updates you’ll see shoutouts for observances such as School Principals Week, Bus Driver Appreciation Day, School Board Member Recognition Month, and others. Last week was National School Counseling Week. This Thursday, Feb. 15, will be national School Resource Officer Appreciation Day.

    Counselors and SROs are two more examples of valued servant leaders in Madison City Schools. Please join me in thanking them for all that they do for MCS and the community.

    On a more serious note, we have had a few instances lately of students making inappropriate  comments, including threats, on social media that have promoted investigations. Madison City Schools, our SROs and MPD take such threats seriously and will take action if necessary in accordance with school policy and Alabama Law. Please talk with your student(s) about appropriate behavior both in person and social media.

    Finally, our latest
    Sittin’ With the Supe podcast is on the KTech program. Tune in to learn more about this fantastic program with our engineering programs and KTech partners.
    And remember, Wednesday, Feb. 14, is a half-day for students for teacher collaborative time. Dismissals are: Prek, 11; Elementary, 11:30; Middle and High schools, 12:15. Schools are closed Monday, Feb. 19t for Presidents Day.

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols

    District Update 1/31/2024

    Dear MCS Parents,
    I am glad to say that we are back in school and hopefully will dodge future weather events that could disrupt our days. I certainly appreciate our team that checked and managed our facilities to get us back on track after the weather delay. While those days will not be added back to the calendar due to the Governor's State of Emergency, our team is working to catch up on the curriculum areas that were missed. I appreciate your understanding during the delay. While most of the roads were clear by Monday, there were still some dangerous areas of travel around our building and on secondary roads. I think we all would agree that the last thing we want to experience is a bus accident or a student or staff injured driving to or from school.

    January marks School Board Recognition month, designated by the Alabama Association of School Boards. I would like to personally thank our Board for the tremendous amount of time and effort they put into serving this community. It was honorable for our principals and admins to publicly recognize their leadership at this week’s board meeting, capped by a special Thank You Board performance by the JMS basketball cheer squad. Our Boards, past and present, are largely responsible for the outstanding success of Madison City Schools. Please take the time to reach out to them to thank them for their service. A brief promo on some of our latest successes can be found in this  60 Seconds MCS feature on our website.

    I had the pleasure of joining our Board in a breakfast meeting last week with several members of the Madison County legislative delegation. We had some productive discussions on concerns in the areas of funding, growth challenges, regulations, unfunded mandates and more. I conveyed to the delegation that it would be great if several areas such as transportation, English Language Learners and Special Education could be fully funded by the state. Currently, Madison City Schools expends over 5 million local dollars in just these three areas. Furthermore, I expressed my concern over a possible School Choice/Voucher bill. I explained that the name, School Choice, is not really a true description since private schools will not and cannot take all students. Therefore, I am afraid that our special education, EL and other students will be denied this opportunity even if they had the desire to change schools.

    However, my main focus was accountability and fairness. As you know, the Legislature passed the Alabama Literacy Act. This Act requires all public schools to retain any 3rd grader that does not meet proficiency on the Reading portion of the ACAP test. While I am certainly proud that our district had one of the highest proficiency scores for third grade reading with 90.4%, I know the level of paperwork that this Act mandates of our K-3 teachers. I expressed that if the Legislature wants to allow public money to be given outside of the public school system, then all schools receiving these funds should meet the same standard of performance and mandates. This is only fair to our teachers and our students. I hope that when this bill is introduced that you will read it and share your thoughts with your local legislative delegation member. I believe that the leaders of this state should fully fund their public school system before they consider taking away funding. I also believe that creating a voucher system that does not make all schools accountable on the same state requirements is truly setting up a dual system of education.

    James Clemens High School is hosting its annual Science Fair on Feb. 10. Registration information for elementary and middle school students can be found in this link.  Anybody from grades K-8 can participate to win awards and learn about science.

    Our World Languages programs continue to excel. A recent newsletter of the state chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German cited JC’s German program for several highlights including a dual degree program visit from AU, participation at UNA’s “Germany at Work and On Campus” event, and a guest speaker highlight. Congrats to JC German teacher Peggy Boynton and all of our World Language teachers for leading our students toward successful futures.

    Congratulations to the Bob Jones and James Clemens bands for their outstanding performances at recent competitions. It was a pleasure to recognize BJ’s band director Leigh Thomas and JC’s band director Keith Anderson, along with several student band members at our previous board meeting.

    I would also like to congratulate the following students for their recent approvals to enter U.S. military service academies. Congressman Dale Strong’s list of nominees included several from Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools.
    For the U.S. Military Academy: Kricket Johnson and Nicholas Lozano (BJ); Brian Morse and Kathryn Viola (JC).
    U.S. Air Force Academy: Logan Jackson, Hunter Johnson, Manfred Rosero and Lauren Sheehy (BJ); Dou Kim and Ava Wynn (JC.
    U.S. Naval Academy: Landen Waider and Ashlyn Newberry, JC. Here’s a brief video of JC’s Landen Waider getting word of his acceptance from Congressman Strong.

    I would like to thank the local Knights of Columbus councils #10232 and #17519 along with their ladies auxiliaries for generous support of our Special Education program. The KOC delegations toured the SPED department at Journey Middle where a Nook Pod - bought with proceeds from the KOC annual Tootsie Roll Run 5K, is in use. The Nook Pod is a specially designed portable sensory booth used for calming anxieties and sensory overloads in students.

    Finally, I’d like to call your attention to our Madison City Schools Job Fair this Monday, Feb. 5, at the Central Office, from 4-6 p.m. Come learn about employment opportunities for custodians, transportation workers, CNP staff and other paraprofessionals. We would love for you to join our team.

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols

    Schools Reopen Tuesday, Jan. 23


    Madison City Schools will reopen tomorrow Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

    I want to thank you for your patience during this past week.

    We are looking forward to having our students return to school.

    Ed Nichols

    Schools Closed Monday, Jan. 22



    While all of us are ready to reopen schools, Madison City Schools will remain closed tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 22). Although most main roads in the city are clear, several secondary roads, neighborhood roads and school entrances remain icy and present problems for bus transportation. Teachers and staff will report to their assigned school on Monday at a designated time. 

    With forecasted temperatures and road conditions expected to improve on Monday, we plan to have a regular school day on Tuesday, January 23rd.

    Please stay safe. 

    Ed Nichols


    Schools Closed Friday, Jan. 19



    Madison City Schools will remain closed tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 19). Road conditions continue to be treacherous, with many streets and thoroughfares still icy and not expected to improve much with another hard freeze and precipitation tonight.

    Although temperatures will get above freezing today, forecasters in the NWS briefing said any thawing will refreeze again overnight.
    Hopefully, we are nearing the end of this unusual weather event and can return to school next week.
    Please stay safe and weather aware.

    Ed Nichols

    Schools Closed Thursday, Jan. 18

    Madison City Schools will remain closed tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 18). Road conditions remain treacherous, with many neighborhood streets and arteries still frozen with sheets of ice and not expected to improve with another hard freeze tonight.
    We will assess conditions tomorrow to make a decision about Friday.
    Please stay safe and weather aware.

    Ed Nichols

    Schools Closed Wednesday, Jan. 17

    Madison City Schools will remain closed on Wednesday, Jan. 17, due to extreme harsh temperatures and travel impacts from continued freezing temperatures on roads.
    We will continue to monitor the weather and road conditions to determine if schools will be closed any additional day(s).

    Ed Nichols

    Schools Closed Tuesday, Jan. 16

    Madison City Schools will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.
    Based on the latest information from the National Weather Service, local weather reports, and other government information, our area will continue to experience winter weather in the form of snow, ice and subfreezing temperatures today through Thursday.
    MCS has not made a decision about school on Wednesday but will do so tomorrow based on weather conditions.
    Please stay safe and weather aware.

    Ed Nichols


    School Weather Update 1/14/2023

    The National Weather Service briefing this afternoon (Sunday, Jan. 14) called for a winter storm that could have a major impact on our area starting as early as tonight and lingering into the week.
    This weather system could bring snow upwards of 2 inches or more, freezing rain, and wind chills as low as -10. These conditions are likely to impact school on Tuesday and beyond. The freezing temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing until Thursday.
    We plan to make a decision about school closures once we receive the latest update from the NWS on Monday. Please stay safe and weather aware.

    Ed Nichols


    School Weather Update 1/13024

    As most of you are aware, there is a high potential for snow and near-zero temperatures for North Alabama next week. These conditions could impact school days. With snow forecasted for Monday and Tuesday and subfreezing temperatures spanning Sunday night through Thursday, campuses may have to remain closed beyond Monday’s holiday.

    The district administration team is in discussions with principals, who will work with teachers on the possibility of virtual learning days if weather conditions warrant closing schools. We will participate in the National Weather Service briefing on Sunday and update you on plans after the briefing for school next week.

    Ed Nichols

    1/11/2024 Schools Closed Friday
    Dear MCS Family,

    At the National Weather Service briefing late this afternoon, the NWS upgraded our area from their morning briefing on the high potential of severe storms with damaging winds throughout the school day. The updated briefing now predicts the potential for damaging wind ranges of up to 75 mph. With this change in the forecast, Madison City Schools will be closed tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 12).

    Be safe and weather alert.
    Ed Nichols



    A holiday message from Dr. Nichols 12/20/2023

    District Update 12/14/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I will begin with some outstanding news.

    The Alabama State Department of Education released its school and district report cards today for 2022-2023. I am pleased to report that Madison City Schools yet again earned an “A” with a grade of 94. Not only did we get an “A” for the District as a whole, every single one of our schools earned an A.

    Madison City Schools has earned an A consistently - both as a District and by individual schools since ALSDE launched the A-F report cards for the 2016-2017 school year. (Report cards were suspended in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years during COVID.) MCS is also one of only nine school districts out of 140 statewide that has never earned less than an A over the ALSDE grading years.
    Compared to our straight-A peers, MCS has nearly twice the enrollment and number of schools. This achievement speaks to the dedication and support of teachers, staff, administrators, Board members, students, parents, community members, and the way our team utilizes our resources.

    The report cards are an evaluation of academic achievement and growth, chronic absenteeism and progress in EL proficiency for our elementary and middle schools. At the high school level, the state report cards are also a measure of graduation rate and college and career readiness.
    Here are the school by school grades: Bob Jones HS, 91; James Clemens HS, 91; Discovery Middle, 91; Liberty Middle, 93; Columbia Elem, 97; Heritage Elem, 99; Horizon Elem, 97; Madison Elem, 94; Midtown Elem, 94; Mill Creek, 96 Elem; Rainbow Elem, 96. 

    While we are proud of our report cards, we recognize the need to strive to continually improve. One specific change will be with our middle school math program starting in January. We have been working on this change prior to the release of the state report card scores. We recognized the need for change in middle school math after receiving the 2023 ACAP math scores. Our middle schools have been implementing a Math Mastery Program, founded upon the 2016 Math Course of Study. Moving forward, our middle school mathematics assessments will include longer unit assessments supplemented by formative quizzes throughout each unit. In place of retakes, students can receive partial credit on an assessment through error analysis. More detailed information will be provided specifically to middle school parents and students before the end of the semester.

    Congrats to BJ Esports Team Fusion which won the State Championship in Rocket League for the 8th time. Congrats also to JC Esports State Championship winners in the state Esports tournament.

    We had a very successful Computer Science Education Week. It was exciting to see our students flexing their computational thinking skills and using technology in creative ways. I want to thank the following individuals for making Computer Science week an amazing learning experience for our students: Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist Rachel Gibbs, Secondary Instructional Technology Specialist Russel Johnson, STEM teachers and staff, industry partners, and the JCHS students who helped tutor.

    “Empowering All Students”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 12/05/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    In this season of giving, I would like to recognize the many ways our schools are working to help others. Students, teachers, PTAs and other school organizations have been promoting things like gift drives, fund-raisers, and angel trees to help brighten the holiday of others. One districtwide cause I would like to call to your attention is the MCS Support Our Students fund.

    Since the program was launched in 2020, SOS has helped hundreds of MCS students with assistance in groceries, hygiene needs, clothing, athletic fees, field trips, space camp experiences, band fees, AP exams, ACT prep, graduation cap and gowns, yearbooks and more.
    Your gifts made lasting impressions on these students by giving them joyful opportunities and experiences that may have been a financial burden or not attainable if not for your generosity.

    Madison City Schools is pleased to partner with HEALS Inc. for its mobile health van that rotates among several schools. HEALS stands for Health Establishments At Local School. This mobile clinic serves students who do not have private medical and/or dental insurance. Although scheduled stops are only at a few MCS schools, arrangements can be made for students from other MCS schools to visit the HEALS van. Check with your school nurse. Healthcare services include things like wellness exams, immunizations, lab work, acute care for illnesses or injuries, dental cleanings, x-rays, referrals to specialists, and others.

    Congratulations to the BJ girls Swim and Dive team for winning its second consecutive state title at the State Swim Meet in Auburn. The win included a new state record in the 200 Medley Relay by team members Abby Chan, Finnley Koehler, Samantha Chan and Meli Mbuko. Boys finished 4th in tough competition. Congrats also to these BJ student athletes for athletic scholarship signings: Gresham Baker (baseball) for Bevill State; volleyball players Eliza Tyrell (Montevallo), Rachel Mecklenburg (Wallace State), Meg Jarrett (UAB). There will be several athletic signings Friday at James Clemens. James Clemens Theater and Bob Jones Theater are to be commended for their performance at the state Trumbauer Festival last weekend at UNA. See this week’s JC newsletter  and BJ newsletter for other school happenings.


    This is International Computer Science Education Week and MCS is observing it with a variety of learning activities. Kudos to our District instructional technology specialists Rachel Gibbs and Russel Johnson, along with teachers, media specialists and others for leading creative learning lessons for our students especially at the elementary level with help from James Clemens computer science students. Our Computer Science Ed Week celebration includes coding partnerships, exciting activities in STEM classrooms and media centers, and live chats with local CS experts including a local meteorologist and the director of NASA’s Payload Operations Center. Computer Science happens to be the subject of my latest Sittin’ WIth The Supe podcast. Guests are MCS computer science teachers Bill McIlwain from BJHS and Kim Straub with JCHS.

    I had another productive session this week with my Student Advisory Council. In our discussions today, my challenge to them was to share the top two strengths of their high school and two areas of improvement. The responses were submitted on sticky notes to be shared with school leadership. I tasked them to be leaders in their schools and to encourage more students to get involved.

    Finally, we have one more full week before exam days leading into the winter holiday. As a reminder, students will have a half day of school on December 18 and 19. 

    Empowering All Students”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 11/16/2023

    Dear Parents,

    In this holiday focused on thankfulness, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Friday, Nov. 17th, is the last day for students and teachers before break. I hope you all enjoy the holiday and come back refreshed. As I gather next week with my family and give thanks, I will certainly add the Madison City Schools family as a blessing in my life. Schools will reopen Monday, Nov. 27th, for the final three weeks before Winter Break.

    At our Board meeting this week, our Finance Director gave a year-end budget summary. I am pleased to report that Madison City Schools once again ended the fiscal year with a positive fund balance. Through quality fiscal management by our finance team, responsible spending at the school and district level, and strong oversight by our Board, we continue to use our available funds to focus on students. I applaud our team for keeping our system strong financially even with unfunded state-mandates and soaring fuel, utility and food costs. Maintaining a comfortable fund balance despite the uncertain economy that challenges the accuracy of revenue forecasting makes this task even more impressive. I am certainly thankful for the strong support of our city, both past and present, that has made education the top resource of Madison. We would be challenged to maintain our innovative programs and future building capacity needs in our growing city without the support of our community.

    I want to commend our schools for the wonderful Veterans Day programs last week. The kids, faculties and volunteers did a wonderful job decorating schools, managing parades and planning luncheons and breakfasts. I am certainly thankful to the citizens of our community that have and are serving our great country.

    Madison City Schools is pleased to partner with Madison 1st responders and the National Children's Advocacy Center in the new Handle With Care” initiative. This program is designed to provide sensitivity-tailored care to students who may have experienced or been exposed to a trauma-inducing event. HWC operates on a simple premise. When 1st responders encounter a child during a potentially traumatic event or crisis, they notify the child’s school with a confidential message that reads Handle With Care. This simple awareness can help school leaders understand if a child skipped homework, seems groggy or edgy or shows other symptoms. The HWC notice does not imply that the child or child’s family was directly involved in the potentially traumatic event, only that the child was present and possibly impacted by it.
    As educators, we know that traumatic experiences can impact student learning from lack of sleep, difficulty concentrating, changes in behavior or being unprepared for class. Through HWC, schools are better able to offer extra care to these students to help them succeed.

    The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) is seeking public comment on drafts of  the Alabama Course of Study for Career and Technical Education and Science. The link to provide input will be open until 5 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2023.
    Use this link to review the courses of study and give feedback.

    Finally, parents and education employees should have received an email of a survey on broadband availability and use in Alabama. The State Department of Education is asking school districts to send the survey. Participation is voluntary and the information will be used for state strategic planning on broadband access in Alabama.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols


    District Update 11/07/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Let me begin by recognizing our veterans, retired and active duty. Service to country demands a tremendous commitment by both the individual and their family. I am deeply grateful to those who answered the call to serve this great nation. Being the son of a career military veteran, I know the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families and appreciate their dedication and commitment to our country. Check with your school this week for Veterans Day activities that may be open to you. Schools will be closed this Friday for Veterans Day.

    Madison City Schools places a heavy emphasis on mental health. Make plans to attend tonight’s district wide 
    Mental Health Fair at Journey Middle School (5-7 p.m.) where you can browse community resource tables, speak with mental health experts, participate in family games/activities and more. School-based therapists from the Enrichment Center will lead a session at 6 p.m. entitled “The Mental Health Informed Parent.” Our beloved “Barney” the facility dog from Madison Elementary will be there as well.

    It has been a busy couple of weeks for Madison City Schools in area competitions.
    I want to congratulate the Bob Jones volleyball team for placing runner up in the state 7A AHSAA tournament. They finished the season with an incredible 54-3 record.
    Congratulations also go out to James Clemens football for placing 1st in the AHSAA 7A region and Bob Jones football for placing 3rd in 7A region. Good luck to both teams heading into playoff rounds this weekend.

    Theater and band programs from both schools are also placing well in competition.
    JC's Scenes from Metamorphoses won Best In Show and will advance to the State Trumbauer Festival at UNA in December. JC also won Best Scenic Design and Best Costumes at the Trumbauer District 1 One-Act Play Festival. Simon Tsikalas and Connery Patel won Best Leading Performer Awards (out of 150 actors in 8 shows). Lorelei Mueller and Berkeley Asher Preer were named All-Star Cast members. JC had 61 individual events earning superior ratings, with 51 advancing to state.
    Bob Jones Theater’s  “Where Words Once Were” won Best In Show and Best Technical Design, advancing to state competition at UNA the first weekend in December. All Star Cast Members from BJ were Harley Dauma and Drayton Walker. Jaxon McClanathan won Best Supporting Actor. Bob Jones had 99 superior ranking individual events and 85 of those are advancing to State.

    Here are some highlights from recent band competitions.

    Bob Jones Band:
    Bands at the Rock: 4th Place Overall Band, Best Overall Percussion, Best Overall Color Guard.
    Stones River Classic: Grand Champion, Large Division Highest Scoring Band, Best Overall Percussion, Best Overall Music.
    State Championship: 3rd Place in Class 7A.
    Bands of America Troy Regional: 2nd Place in Class 3A, 6th Place Overall amongst bands from Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.

    James Clemens Band:

    Tennessee Valley Marching Invitational (Muscle Shoals). Superior ratings in all captions; 2nd place overall; Canon Spidle, Outstanding Soloist.
    Peach State Marching Festival (Rome, Ga.). Superior ratings in all captions; Outstanding Musical Achievement Award for Highest Music Score; 2nd Place Overall.
    Bands of America Regional Championship (Troy, Ala.): Finalist, 9th Place Overall.

    I am so proud of our band directors and students for these outstanding awards. These students spend countless hours in the summer and fall preparing for competitions and football games. We are blessed across our district with the best fine arts teachers.

    Last week’s annual Tootsie Roll Run benefitting our special education programs was a hit once again. A big thank you to Knights of Columbus, sponsors, contestants and volunteers. The proceeds help us acquire sensory equipment and other learning materials for our special needs classrooms.
    Finally, I would like to invite you to listen to the latest “Sittin’ WIth The Supe” podcast with three of our principals talking about their responsibility and role in schools. My guests are Dr. Kerry Donaldson from James Clemens HS, Jamie Hill from Discovery Middle and Dr. Georgina Nelson with Heritage Elementary. 

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols



    District Update 10/25/2023

    Tomorrow (Thursday (Oct. 26) will mark an exciting day in Madison City Schools.
    That’s when the PreK Center will officially open in the remodeled West Madison school campus on Wall Triana Highway.
    PreK staff and district personnel have been busy over the past several days moving everything from the Nance Road facility and preparing for a smooth opening.
    I am excited for the district and the greater Madison community to return the historic West Madison campus as a place of learning.
    West Madison Elementary School closed when Midtown Elementary opened in fall 2021. The renovated West Madison PreK has been upgraded and modernized, with room for future growth.
    Stay tuned for a ribbon cutting and public open house in the coming weeks.

    I never stop being amazed by the support of our PTAs. They are a crucial partner in the success of Madison City Schools. Our PTAs played a huge role in the Rock Your School observances in our elementary schools. Other recent examples of their activism at various schools: creating a STEM night, sponsoring a teacher breakfast, setting up and running the coat check and concessions for a homecoming dance, hosting a teacher gift and spirit night, launching a major fund-raiser for teacher grants to spend in their classroom, managing the Reflections competition, partnering in a “Council of Presidents” initiative to coordinate fund-raising and volunteer efforts at a school, initiating a “No Hassle” fundraiser allowing participating students to have a chill zone in the cafeteria, and more.
    I want to personally thank our PTAs for giving so selflessly of their time, efforts and financial contributions to keep our schools strong.

    This is homecoming week for Bob Jones High School. The HC parade will start tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 26th) at Portal Lane and proceed north on Hughes Road to Bob Jones High School.

    Kickoff for Friday’s game against Albertville is at 7 p.m. at Madison City Stadium.
    I am looking forward to the parade, the BJ Hall of Fame program, and the football game with all of the half-time homecoming activities.

    I had the pleasure last week of attending the Special Olympics event at Milton Frank Stadium. More than 700 children from area schools, including MCS, participated. This is an event that always makes my day. Hats off to the SPED faculty in our schools and to all of the countless student and parent volunteers who make this such a joyous event.

    Congratulations to Bob Jones HS Engineering Academy teacher Jessye Gaines and the BJ Greenpower team for its recent stellar performance in the GreenpowerUSA Inspire Academy SOLV400 competition in Lafayette, Ala. The Patriot Racing Blue Team and White Team had first place finishes against fierce competition. Big Kudos to the Patriot Red Team which persevered through several electrical and mechanical issues but fell short of finishing. The next big race is the Choccolocco Green Prix on Nov. 3 at which Greenpower teams from BJHS, Discovery Middle and Liberty Middle will be competing.

    Save the Date (November  7th) for the next MCS annual district wide Mental Health Fair, 5-7 p.m. at the new Journey Middle School. Information at the Mental Health Matters page on our website.

    I would like to call your attention to our new “
    60 Seconds in Madison City” feature which highlights various aspects of our schools each quarter. Like the “Sittin’ With The Supe” podcast, it is designed to give MCS stakeholders a glimpse into some of the outstanding features of Madison City Schools.

    I will close with two reminders. One is for parents to complete the federal Impact Aid form by the October 26th deadline.
    Information about Impact Aid and how to access the form in this link.
    I would also like to urge parents struggling with affordable health care to take advantage of the HEALS INC. mobile clinic for students that makes its rounds to several schools. Details in this link.

    “Empowering All Students”

    Ed Nichols




    District Update 10/13/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    It is exciting to have our schools open again after fall break. Monday began the 2nd of four nine-week periods in the school year. I look forward to the wonderful activities ahead as we continue the school year.
    Each year, the NICHE company provides updates on school systems throughout the nation. Once again MCS has placed at both the district and school level in the top percentage of performance indicators. In the past 5 years, our district has consistently ranked in the top 2 of Alabama school districts. This would not be possible without a tremendous staff, outstanding students and a wonderful community.

    Visitors to our campuses may notice some new safety features in our schools.

    One is a new visitor management system in our elementary schools called SchoolPass. This system means visitors, volunteers and vendors must show an official ID for screening against a national sex offender list, with any positive alert flagged to administration and school resource officers. Visitor badges with photos will be printed at visitor check-in. This more robust reporting of who is on school campuses, why and for how long is part of our ongoing efforts to make schools safer for our staff and students.
    This past week, staff were trained on our new Crisis Alert response system. This remote activation system will allow administrators, SROs and medical personnel to respond quicker to crisis situations in our district. These and other safety upgrades would not be possible without the increase in ad valorem tax made possible by our community several years ago.

    Next week is school bus safety week. In Madison City Schools, school bus safety is a priority every single day. Transportation Administrator Dr. Travis Schrimsher has informed me that MCS buses are now equipped with cameras on the stop arms. These cameras record motorist compliance with laws requiring all traffic to stop when school buses are loading or unloading students. If a motorist travels past a school bus that has its stop arm and flashing reds activated, the cameras capture the vehicle and license plate. Traffic courts accept the footage as evidence when violators are issued citations. Fines can be hefty so hopefully these new cameras will deter drivers from passing school buses as they load or unload our schoolchildren. Our transportation department focuses on safety on all fronts - from strict maintenance of buses, to driver training, to safety-proven rider protocols. We are thankful for their commitment to safety.

    Earlier this week I joined Col. Brian Cozine from Redstone Arsenal and superintendents from Huntsville and Madison County Schools for the annual federal Impact Aid launch. Impact Aid is federal tax payments to school systems to offset funding losses from tax exempt workplace locations. Parents help qualify schools for extra federal funding by simply filling out a form about their workplace location. Information and how to access the form in this link. Please fill out the form by the October 26th deadline.

    Finally, I would like to call your attention to the Sittin’ With The Supe podcast on our recently expanded art and music programs in elementary school. Join me (podcast link here) with Columbia Elementary music teacher Audra Loftin and Midtown Elementary art teacher Noel Newquist as we discuss the growth of these programs and the new opportunities this brings for teachers and students.


    “Empowering All Students”

    Ed Nichols





    Dear MCS Parents,

    I know all of us were mindful last week of the anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. I am certainly thankful for the military families and first responders of our community. These dedicated men and women and their families sacrifice for our community and country every day.

    Congratulations to the 30 Bob Jones and James Clemens students named National Merit Semifinalist. To achieve this honor, a student must score in the top half of 1% of all students that took the PSAT test. Only 16,000 seniors are named each year in the nation.
    As I met with the students to offer congratulations, I reminded them that no one achieves this level of achievement without a great support group. Most of these students have attended MCS their entire educational journey. So, congratulations and thanks goes to our parents, administrators, PRE-K, elementary, middle and high school teachers and staff that have nurtured and guided these outstanding students. I also want to thank our current and past School Board members for programs throughout the district that challenge our students. I also appreciate the current and past city leaders that have made sure that our district has the resources to develop and create a school district where facilities and resources meet the expectations of our community for our educational system.|

    As always in Madison City, our enrollment continues to grow. Currently, we have over 12,600 students - up about 400 students since the beginning of the school year. While enrollment has  leveled off since the beginning of this school year,  we know that our district has averaged over 300 new students for the past 10 years and we may well reach above that average this year. Currently we have the following enrollment levels:
    Elementary: 5,423
    Middle: 2,935
    High School: 4,067
    With the addition of our new elementary school, we will have a capacity to meet the expected growth at our elementary level in the coming years. We will need to address expansion at our high schools in the near future. This expansion must not only address general classroom space, but additional facilities and staff in Career Tech, STEM and Fine Arts and other areas to allow for all students to continue to have access to the great opportunities that have made MCS the best district in Alabama. We will keep you up to date as we continue planning for our future growth.

    September is Attendance Awareness month in Alabama. So far this year, our district has maintained a 96% average in our daily attendance. I certainly appreciate our district support staff that assist our students with health care, mental health and other areas that play a role in keeping our attendance well above the state average.

    MCS continues to expand our mental health services and awareness efforts. Learn how to proactively support your student’s mental health at this upcoming informative workshop for parents and caregivers titled: The Mental Health Informed Parent. Two repeat sessions will be held next Thursday, Sept. 28: 11:30-1 p.m. at the Madison Public Library and 5:30-7 p.m. at Triana Library.

    Madison City Schools is excited to partner with Health Establishments at Local School, Inc. (HEALS Inc.) to offer a mobile clinic for students who do not have private medical and/or dental insurance. The HEALS Inc. mobile clinic will be on the campuses of Midtown, Horizon and Mill Creek elementary schools, as well as Bob Jones High School, beginning Sept. 29, (and every Thursday and Friday) by appointment. Healthcare services include, but not limited to: Medical - wellness exams, immunizations, lab work, acute care for illnesses or injuries, and management of chronic illnesses; and Dental  - routine dental cleanings, fluoride application, X-rays, sealants and referrals to specialists. Student referrals may come from a school nurse, teacher or school staff member. Parents may also request healthcare services for their child by completing the form provided by HEALS, Inc. on our website, calling the clinical coordinator at 256-428-7560 or 256-808-9123, or emailing www.healsinc.org (Students will not be seen without prior permission from a parent/guardian). 

    I had the great honor last week along with our Board to attend the jet dedication at James Clemens High School. This fixture embodies the spirit and pride of JCHS while serving as a reminder of the deep military heritage rooted throughout our metro area.

    I am pleased to share that Kris Gray, Library Media Specialist at Mill Creek Elementary School, is one of the 2023 Herman Moore Memorial LAMP Awards for Outstanding Service to Alabama Libraries. Kris will be recognized next Thursday Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Calhoun Community College Aerospace Conference Center.

    The deadline to apply for free and reduced meals for this 2023-2024 school year is this Wednesday. Our District CNP Coordinator, Cameron Clark, reminds users of the new online system,
    LINQConnect, for student meal accounts. Carry-over Free and Reduced eligibility from last school year will expire this week on Sept. 20.

    Finally, the latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast has now been posted. Join me as I sit down with coach Jenny Jarrett of the nationally ranked volleyball team at Bob Jones High School, and seniors Meg Harrett, Eliza Tyrrell and Rachel Mecklenburg, for insights about the program and their gained experiences with the team.

    “Empowering ALL Students”
    Ed NIchols



    Madison Bowl Message 9/7/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Tomorrow night marks a significant yearly event in Madison. It is the annual Madison Bowl, a gridiron matchup between Bob Jones and James Clemens at Madison City Stadium. The Madison Bowl is an exciting event for the entire community of Madison. I would like to reiterate the importance of kindness, patience, and sportsmanship by those who attend. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 spectators are expected.

    In order for the game to be safe and enjoyable, spectators and students need to be aware of our MCS Stadium guidelines. Many have been in place for years, but some changes have been made due to new traffic patterns, changes inside the stadium, and stadium campus reconfigurations with the opening of Journey Middle School.

    Principals from both schools communicated these guidelines this week to their constituencies.
    I would like to share them here for those who missed it

    • Only small purses, diaper bags, and medical bags are allowed to be brought into the stadium. We currently do not have a clear bag policy, and spectators with oversized bags may be denied entry. 

    • All bags on MCS property are subject to search. 

    • No knives, guns, or any other weapons are allowed on MCS property. 

    • Tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and vaping devices are prohibited on MCS property. 

    • Spectators must keep walkways in the stadium seating area clear. Private security guards will assist in keeping the elevated walkways and railings clear. 

    • Spectators (including children) are not allowed to run or play with balls inside the stadium.

    • Spectators will not be allowed field access without the appropriate credentials. 

    • The fenced area around the flagpole (south end zone) will now be closed to spectators. 

    • Spectators who leave the stadium will have to repay admission in order to return into the stadium.  

    • MCS students attending games are subject to the MCS Code of Student Conduct. 

    • We strongly encourage parents of elementary and middle school students to attend the game with their children. If not, please ensure an adult at the game will serve as an emergency contact for your child.

    • Spectators are asked to be respectful and follow stadium guidelines. Those who cause problems will be asked to leave the stadium/property and not given a refund or allowed to return. 


    • Access to the stadium parking lot on game day will not be allowed until after 4PM, gates open at 5:15PM. 

    • Spectators can access the stadium using Celtic Drive, Shorter Street, or the south entrance on Garner Street. 

    • Additional parking will be available in the grass area east of the stadium behind the visitor bleachers. 

    • At the conclusion of the game, outbound traffic will be given priority and inbound traffic may not easily access the stadium so please plan accordingly.

    Let’s have a great evening together.
    Go Patriots!
    Go Jets!

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols


    District Update 9/1/2023


    Dear MCS Parents,

    I would like to wish everyone an enjoyable Labor Day weekend. It is hard to believe a month of school has already passed. The week ended on a wonderful note with today’s ribbon-cutting opening of the new wing at Bob Jones High School. School and district staff, local and state representatives, and chamber and community members came together to celebrate the opening of the new 'E-Wing' off of Eastview Road, which will house special and general education classrooms, a tornado shelter, offices and an E-Sports room. The addition of the new special education classrooms will complete the feeder pattern for students with disabilities to attend their home high school, whether it be at BJHS or JCHS.  I look forward to ribbon cuttings coming up soon for our new Pre-K Center in the former West Madison Elementary School building, and the jet dedication at JCHS.

    We have had two successful College and Career fairs at our high schools in the past two weeks, with heavy attendance by our students. It is exciting to watch them milling around the different booths to pick up literature and speak with reps from various colleges and employers as they map out their futures.

    Congratulations to Bob Jones and James Clemens students who participated in the American Legion Boys and Girls State at Troy University, and also our Liberty Middle S2S group for its national award for advocacy to military families and other newcomers to the school. It was an honor to recognize these outstanding students at the Aug. 24 Board meeting.

    U.S. News and World Report released its 2023 Best High Schools rankings and once again, James Clemens and Bob Jones are near the top of its list among Alabama schools. James Clemens placed 8th and Bob Jones 11th among 365 high schools statewide. The NICHE national education study group ranked Madison City Schools the best of more than 140 school systems statewide, with every single elementary, middle and high school ranking in the top 10 of all schools statewide. Being in the top tier in numerous studies is a true community effort that everyone can be proud of for achieving. Certainly, administrators, teachers and support staff in our schools deserve much of the credit. They are where the learning happens every day. It is also a reflection of the great parents and kids we have in the district and an administrative team and board that continuously looks for ways to improve.

    As Madison City Schools continues its 26th year as a school district, a reflection to our beginning reminds us just how much we have grown. Did you know that total enrollment was 5,638 when MCS was established in fall 1998 with only these schools: Bob Jones High School, Discovery and Liberty middle schools; Horizon, Madison and West Madison elementary schools? Enrollment now is 12,610 students spread across 12 schools and a PreK center.

    My “Sittin’ with the Supe” broadcast this week is on our new Journey Middle School. Click here to hear Principal Treva Stewart and assistant principals Tabitha Odom and Gerald Franks discuss the opening and behind-the-scenes planning leading up to it.

    “Empowering All Students”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 8/22/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    It is hard to believe that we are starting our third full week of the new school year. This week brings the beginning of many of our fall sports activities. It is always exciting when we see the bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, color guards and teams perform. I certainly appreciate our directors, coaches, teachers, sponsors, staff and parents that support our students in these wonderful activities.

    You may see new scoreboard additions to our fields and gyms. For many years, Buffalo Rock sponsored our scoreboards. However, they notified us last year that they would no longer provide this service. Since the old boards have been removed, we are in the process of installing the new boards.
    Hopefully, this change will be ready for all of our teams. However, if these are not ready, our staff will work with our school principals for alternate options. I would note that the James Clemens scoreboards were not removed because the Limestone County service is provided by Pepsi of Decatur and they did not eliminate their scoreboard support for the district.
    Recently, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our school system with a “Back to School Celebration.”
    Like myself, many of us have moved into our wonderful community in these past 25 years. The outstanding school district today is a result of some visionary leaders in this community in the early 1990’s. A recent podcast reflected on the formation of Madison City Schools.
    If you would like to know more about this history from a few of those early leaders in the movement, please visit this podcast linkgo to episode 9 from January 2023. (Other podcasts can be found here).

    Both of our high schools will soon be hosting College and Career Fairs.
    This Thursday, Aug. 24, James Clemens will have theirs from 5-7 p.m. in the cafeteria and along its Main Street  inside.
    The following Thursday, Aug. 31, Bob Jones will host its College and Career Fair from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. in the BJHS Commons area.

    Finally, I certainly appreciate our district and local school maintenance crews. These past few days have been extremely hot. Our team has been working to make sure that our buildings and equipment have met this increased temperature. Also, I certainly am grateful for our transportation team and that our buses are air conditioned. Even with AC, the buses can get warm in the afternoon, but the AC systems on the buses are much better than the outside temperatures. 

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols

    District Update 8/15/2023

    Dear MCS Parents,

    It has been an exciting start to the new school year.
    Throughout the district, our students are already engaged in academic and extracurricular activities. Enrollment numbers are becoming more settled with a student count now of about 12,600. If growth trends continue, MCS is expected to add 300 new students this year.

    Continual enrollment gains are all the more reason to always keep capital planning at the forefront. We are pleased to add Journey Middle this year to our lineup of excellent schools. Work is expected to begin soon on our 8th elementary school, which we hope to open in two years.

    We have had many facility projects in the past year. I am excited that on September 5, the new Eastview Wing at Bob Jones will welcome students. We will have an Open House for parents on August 31 and a ribbon-cutting on September 1. This new facility will be a great addition to the Bob Jones campus.

    The new Pre-K Center has been a little behind schedule, but we are looking forward to moving into the facility after fall break. Our team is currently working on a timeline for an open house for parents and community and a ribbon cutting on this state-of-the-art facility.

    I know that the new school year always brings challenges as we adapt to new schedules, car lines and other issues related to the start of school. I certainly appreciate your patience as we settle in to our school routine these first few weeks. With this unusually hot weather, we have had several issues with some of our HVAC units. Our operations team is currently working on these issues. In a few cases, a part has malfunctioned and a replacement is ordered that will correct the problem as quickly as possible. Our team has utilized portable units in areas such as this awaiting maintenance.

    Last  week I had the honor to address the 25th year Legacy Celebration of Madison City Schools. What a wonderful reminder of the vision, the work, dedication and teamwork that went into the formation of our school system by so many. Their vision for better schools for Madison and Triana continues to live out today. It is now up to us and future generations to continue that legacy.

    This year we are excited to transition to year-long art, music, and STEM specials for all elementary students. In the past, elementary art and music were one semester and STEM was year long for fourth grade students only. Now all elementary students will have art, music, Spanish, and STEM weekly all year.

    I want to share with you that the state passed HB109 which says that starting with the graduating Class of 2026, students must earn College and Career Ready (CCR) status in order to graduate. Please note that starting with current 10th graders, if students are not College and Career Ready, then they will not graduate. Here is a link to additional information about College and Career Readiness. More information will be shared in the future.

    60 Seconds in Madison City Schools
    is our new video series that will highlight some of the great things happening in our district - in 60 seconds! This quarter’s episode includes information about the growth of the district, exciting new programs, and recent academic accolades. Click here to watch this video and be sure to share it with your friends, family, and coworkers.

    Our district CNP Coordinator, Cameron Clark, reminds everyone that the deadline to apply for free and reduced meals for this 2023-2024 school year is fast approaching. Be sure to use the new online system, LINQConnect,  for student meal accounts. Carry-over Free and Reduced eligibility from last school year will expire Sept. 20.

    Finally, I hope you enjoy our  Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast segment. Our next session will feature Journey Middle School. Here is a link to previous sessions. 

    “Empowering All Students”
    Ed Nichols

    District Update 6-12-23

    Dear MCS Parents,


    Many people ask what goes on during the summer in Madison City Schools. The answer is a lot. Last week many of our summer programs kicked off to include Extended School Year (ESY), EL Summer Camp, and Elementary and Secondary Summer Learning Programs as well as numerous camps and practices. HVAC renovations are taking place at Columbia, Rainbow, and Liberty. We are finishing construction projects at Bob Jones, PreK, and Journey. 

    Recently, the Board of Education approved several safety enhancements for our schools. Next year, all of our staff will have the Crisis Alert System. This rapid alert system will allow teachers and staff to send a clear and concise message to administrators and support personnel in case of medical emergencies or other areas of rapid response. While we do not have an SRO at every school, we are expanding our use of security personnel at all of our elementary schools for next year. These security guards will not be armed but will have radio communication with our administrators and SRO team and help to keep our buildings secure and monitored. 

    As we continue our professional development and planning this summer, I am excited for the work being done to utilize our new STEM and Fine Arts teachers for next year.
    When the new school year begins this fall, every elementary school will be staffed with an art, music and STEM teacher. This has been part of our strategic goal for several years. Now, thanks to support from the Board, and assistance from a DoDEA STEM grant, it will become a reality. This will mean all elementary students will have art, music and STEM instruction year round. The expansions of these elementary special offerings will bring the district to four year-long elementary opportunities for all students: Art, Music, Spanish, and STEM. Our secondary art/music/theater teachers have often mentioned a desire to increase those teachings in our elementary schools. Certainly, early exposure will help identify interest early and create better performers later. But the benefits go beyond that. Besides freeing up their classroom teacher for collaborative planning time, arts/music programs also help children tap into their creative side and hone skills that might not be the focus of other content areas, including communication, fine motor skills and emotional intelligence. Also, studies have shown that students from districts with strong arts programs scored higher overall on statewide tests in math, science and citizenship than students from districts without. 


    Finally, I am happy to report that our Playground renovations are complete at all our elementary schools. I want to thank our Chief Operations Officer, John Jones, for helping to oversee this major project. It was exciting to see our kids enjoy these new facilities before the end of the school year. 


    I hope all of you are having a great summer!!


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols





    District Update 11/14/2022

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Schools will be closed November 21-25 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

    I have a very important announcement concerning rising 7th and 8th grade students who are zoned to attend Journey Middle School next school year.
    Waivers will be going home this week, giving rising 7th and 8th grade Journey-zoned students an option to remain at either Discovery or Liberty for the 2023-2024 school year.

    It must be noted that transportation will NOT be provided for rising 7th and 8th grade students who submit waivers to remain at LMS or DMS. Also, the waiver does not include siblings who may be entering 6th grade next school year.

    Waivers should be returned to your child’s school by December 2, 2022. Additional information can be found on the district website: Journey Middle School Letter to Parents, Journey Middle School FAQs, Journey Middle School Waiver Request.
    Click here to check your school zone.
    As a final reminder,the next  Mental Health Matters parent workshop will be Tuesday, Nov. 29, on the topic, “Depression in Youth.” These are free to the public and address a wide variety of mental health issues that parents and students may be experiencing. The program is from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Central Office board room.

    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols


    District Update 11/10/2022

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I would like to start by thanking all of you and your family members who have served in our military. Friday, Nov.11, is Veterans Day, a day to recognize everyone -  past and present - who have served in the military. All of our schools have been holding Veterans Day observances this week whether it be a parade, a hero’s walk, special breakfast or lunch. There is no school tomorrow in observance of this holiday. Pics from many of the events are in the above link. As we celebrate our veterans and military-connected community, I would like to remind our MCS families to complete the annual Impact Aid survey that opened last month. The form can be found in PowerSchool where many other very important school and student information can be accessed.

    I want to remind everyone of the next Mental Health Matters parent workshop coming up. These are free to the public and address a wide variety of mental health issues that parents and students may be experiencing. The next session is on “Depression in Youth.” It will be Nov. 29 in our Central Office board room, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    Congratulations to our Board member, Mrs. Alice Lessmann, for being named District 9 Director for the Alabama Association of School Boards. As AASB District 9 Director, Mrs. Lessmann will be the liaison between the state AASB and school boards throughout the District 9 region in North Alabama.
    Congratulations also to:
    James Clemens students Max Wyche, Lilliann Markowitz, and Matthew Odom each received a $1,000 scholarship essay award from the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama’s Torch Award for Ethics.
    The BJHS Volleyball Team for its 2nd place finish in the state championship.
    Boys and Girls State reps from BJ and JC for participation in the recent Boys and GIrls State Convention.

    In previous updates, I shared after-school tutoring options. This program has been very popular, especially at our middle schools. Due to transportation staff shortages, we are making a slight adjustment with after-school transportation for middle and high school tutoring. We can no longer provide transportation home for middle and high school students who sign up for tutoring between today and the end of the fall semester. For those who have already registered for tutoring and transportation services, the afternoon bus route will continue to run as normal. This transportation change only affects students who have not signed up before today, November 10.

    I am pleased to report another successful Tootsie Roll 5K benefitting special education programs in Madison City Schools. The 5th annual run last Saturday drew 400 entrants. I am grateful for the local chapters of Knights of Columbus for their faithful sponsorship of this event, and to all the sponsors and participants who make it happen each year.

    Finally, I know that flu and other illness seasons are upon our community. Please know that if your student is sick, they should remain home until they are fever free for at least 24-48 hours. If an illness places your student into excessive absences, please contact your school principal. Our team will work with you since we don’t want students trying to come to school sick because of a fear of absences. We have been blessed that while we have dealt with a rise in illness, we have not been faced with a huge crisis of absence across the entire district. We have had a few schools dip into the low 80% attendance range for a couple of days; however, as a district we are currently holding around the 90% attendance range. This is slightly below our 94%-96%.normal range. I certainly appreciate our operations and custodial staff for the extra cleaning that they are doing during this season. I also appreciate our support and teaching staff for covering class areas when substitutes were difficult to schedule. I continue to encourage anyone that is available to consider becoming a substitute teacher for our district. 

    I will close with a reminder that my latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast is on some of our wonderful theater programs in Madison City Schools.

    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols


    District Update 10/31/2022
    Dear MCS Parents,

    As I begin this week’s update, I want to congratulate all of our district on being named a “System of Distinction” by the accrediting association Cognia. Cognia is a global, nonprofit improvement organization dedicated to helping institutions and other education providers grow learners, teachers, and leaders. Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, and professional services within a framework of continuous improvement. Cognia serves 36,000 public and private institutions from early learning through high school in more than 90 countries, During the 2021-2022 school year, Cognia conducted approximately 1,500 school engagement reviews for accreditation. This year, 96 schools and 38 systems in 34 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and nine countries are recognized as “Schools and Systems of Distinction.” In Alabama, 35 systems went through the process and Madison City was one of two districts to receive this recognition.  The number of institutions reviewed and those that earn this designation vary from year to year. Winners carry the designation for one year. Member institutions in Cognia’s Global Network may seek accreditation. 

    We have recently been made aware that our mass notification system, which is used to convey weekly superintendent updates and timely weather announcements, is not reaching some of you. Our technology team identified errors in our communication system and have made the necessary corrections to ensure successful delivery. If you know of other parents or guardians not receiving these district notifications, please ask them to notify their child’s school registrar. The registrars will verify your contact information is correct in PowerSchool. The contact information is populated for mass communications through the PowerSchool registration system.

    MCS is beginning to see increases in confirmed cases of flu and other illnesses in our schools. I shared with the Board this morning that while attendance normally runs in the 94-95 percent range districtwide, it was closer to 90 percent last week, with some schools dipping into the low 80s. Schools have ramped up disinfectant applications to help slow the spread. Our school nurses team asks parents to help slow the spread by keeping children home if they are sick and to not return them too quickly before they’ve recovered. Please review The MCS Communicable Disease Policy for guidelines for the student’s return to school.  

    I would like to congratulate Clay Combs and students in the technology and broadcast academy at James Clemens High School for outstanding finishes in the All American High School Film Festival held Oct. 21-23 in New York City. JC had seven finalists and two winners in various categories in this international competition involving over 3,000 submissions from across the U.S. and countries abroad. James Clemens student Jim Eso placed 1st in the PSA category with his submission of “Open.” Another JC student, Connor Douglass, placed 1st in Micro Movie with “For The Picture.”

    I would also like to congratulate the Bob Jones Volleyball Team for placing runner up in the recent 7A State Volleyball championship. The Lady Patriots defeated both Auburn and St. Paul’s Episcopal 3-0 to advance to the state title match against McGill-Toolen, where they came up short in a four-match set. I am proud of the students and coach for their talent, determination and sportsmanship.

    The latest Sittin With The Supe’ broadcast features our MCS College and Career Readiness team. Tune in here for a discussion with Kaleb Owens, Lana Meskunas and Stephanie Bostick, our college and career readiness coach and counselors.

    Finally, I know that many of you will be taking part tonight in Halloween traditions. I urge everyone to take all the necessary precautions to keep our children safe. I also want to remind everyone to complete the annual Impact Aid survey that was recently announced. The form can be found in PowerSchool where many other very important school and student information can be accessed.


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 10/24/22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I would like to thank everyone who has responded so far to the Impact Aid survey which brings hundreds of thousands of additional dollars annually to Madison City Schools. This money is tied to MCS parents/guardians who live or work on federal installations as determined by completion of federal Impact Aid forms. We are pleased to make the forms available now via the PowerSchool parent portal over the traditional paper forms. Please register for PowerSchool if you haven’t done so already. It is also a convenient way to access your student’s grades and other important school documents.

    Our school counselors are an integral part of Madison City Schools.
    Three earned special recognition this past week: MCS District Mental Health Services Coordinator Stephanie Allen, counselor
    Sadie Sturdivant at Columbia Elementary and counselor Carol Torello at RISE Academy. Mrs. Allen was tapped by the Alabama School Counselor Association as its Administrator/Supervisor  of the year.
    Mrs. Sturdivant has been named recipient of the Asa Sparks New Counselor of the Year Award. This is an especially high honor for a first-year counselor, as there is only one Asa Sparks award issued annually. She is doing amazing work at Columbia and her spirit of caring and enthusiasm is obvious to those around her.

    Ms. Torello has been in education 33 years and now serves as guidance counselor at RISE Academy at JCHS. She was recognized last Thursday at the Partnership for a Drug Free Community’s annual awards luncheon for her advocacy and work with students.

    Congratulations are also in order to:
    * Heritage Elementary for being named to the Leader In Me Lighthouse Academic Roll for 2022.
    * Columbia Elementary for an outstanding performance in National Science Bee competition.
    * Bands at JC and BJ. James Clemens Band earned superiors in all categories, and received awards for Best in Class Band and Dance Line, as well as the Outstanding Music Award and Best Overall Band award among 24 bands from Georgia and Alabama. The BJHS Competition Band placed 1st at the Alabama State Marching Band CHampionship Oct. 22 with best in musical performance, visual performance and outstanding general effect.
    * The Bob Jones Volleyball team for advancing in state tournament action. The Lady Patriots play Auburn at noon this Wednesday in playoff rounds.

    For those who missed it, here’s a link to the latest “Sittin’ With The Supe’” podcast. My guests are engineering teacher Jessye Gaines at Bob Jones High School and teacher Jackie Smith at Mill Creek Elementary who are sponsors of their school Greenpower Racing teams.
    It is still not too late to register for the 5th Annual Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll 5K in Madison benefitting our Special Education programs.
    The run/walk is Nov. 5 at Madison City Stadium. For more information, and to register,
    click here. All proceeds benefit students with special learning needs in Madison City Schools.

    “Glad To Be Here!”
    Ed Nichols

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Yesterday marked a very important anniversary in the history of Madison City Schools.
    October 16, 1997 was when the Madison mayor and council at that time formally approved a Madison City Board of Education to begin the process of separating from the Madison County school system. Sunday, the Board and I had the honor of hosting a reception for past and current officials/community leaders who were instrumental in putting Madison and Triana in an independent school district.
    We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone back then who had this vision.
    The move to independence was fueled by higher expectations and having more local control. In the ensuing years, MCS has become a state and national leader in preparing students for global success. A larger communitywide celebration will be held around next year’s school start marking the 25th anniversary as a school system.

    Speaking of honors and achievements as a school district, here’s another. Cognia, an international accrediting agency that conducted an extensive accreditation audit last year of MCS, reported last week that Madison City Schools is one of just 38 school systems across the globe recognized as a school system of distinction based on the level of positive findings by the audit.
    This is yet another example of high performance that sets Madison City Schools apart from many other school systems
    Congratulations to our bands at James Clemens and Bob Jones for excellent performances at recent band competitions. Click here for a summary.
    Congrats also to our Scholars Bowl teams and coaches Baragona and Sippel for impressive finishes in tournament competition at the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. DMS placed well in individual and team competition. Sixth graders did exceptionally well playing up to middle school level with JV sets of questions.

    At our Board meeting last week, the construction manager over Journey Middle School reported that the project is on track to be several million dollars under budget when completed potentially this December. That’s great news as our continued growth will demand a new elementary school within a couple of years. More about that in this news link along with positive news on our ACT scores and our recent increase in substitute pay.

    The latest  Sittin’ With The Supe’ Podcast focuses on our Greenpower program. Guests are engineering teacher Jessye Gaines at Bob Jones High School and 5th grade teacher Jacqueline Smith at Mill Creek. The taping was featured on WHNT-19. The BJHS Patriot Racing team will next compete at Hazel Green H.S. on Saturday, Oct. 29, and at Choccolocco Park in Oxford on Friday, Nov. 4.

    As a reminder, Oct. 19 will be an E-learning day for 11th and 12th grade students while 9th and 10th grade students take the PreACT. Additional details have been sent out from the high schools. Students in grades Pre-K through 8th grades have a normal in-person school day. Parents can see up-to-date grades anytime by logging into PowerSchool or downloading the app. This is a great time to verify if you have everything set up in PowerSchool so you can regularly check grades and attendance.

    Finally, Oct. 17-21 is Alabama School Bus Safety Week. I would like to extend a big thank you to our Transportation Department. This amazing team of bus drivers, mechanics,and  route specialists run an operation that transports nearly 6,000 students daily on school routes and on countless extracurricular runs. Please drive safely in school zones and particularly around school buses as they are loading and unloading. And be sure to thank your bus driver.
    “Glad To Be Here!”
    Ed Nichols



    District Update 10/10/22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I hope you had a relaxing Fall Break and enjoyed the beautiful weather! It is great to have all of our staff and students back in our school buildings. 

    As a reminder, this Wednesday is a ½ day for students. Pre-K will dismiss at 11:00, Elementary will dismiss at 11:30, and middle schools will dismiss at 12:15. All sophomores and any juniors who signed up will be taking the PSAT on Wednesday. All other high school students will have an eLearning day.

    Congratulations to the BJHS Air Force JROTC for recently earning the distinction of Cognia Accreditation. Cognia is a national accreditation agency that conducts a rigorous evaluation process for schools, districts, and programs seeking national accreditation. 

    Congratulations are also in order for William McIlwain, a Cybersecurity and IT Fundamentals instructor at BJHS, for being named to the National Career and Technical Education Advisory Council for Comptia. He will join MCS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Heather Donaldson who will lead Alabama’s input in a national dialogue focused on accelerating career pathways in technology.

    I would like to remind everyone of our after-school tutoring programs starting up this month on October 17. The Elementary After School Sustained Tutoring Program will host reading tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays and math tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Participating students will receive teacher-developed lessons focused on review skills needed to assist them in becoming more successful when working towards grade level expectations. For the secondary school after-school tutoring programs, math will be on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, English / Language Arts will be on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and high schools will have chemistry tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Transportation will be provided. Schools have been sending tutoring information home for qualifying students.

    We are continuing our
    Mental Health Matters initiative with free parent/community workshops this year. The 1st one coming up is October 28 which will address Understanding and Coping with Anxiety. Parents can attend just one workshop that interests them or attend them all. These workshop sessions are provided in partnership by Madison City Schools and Madison City Council of PTAs to bring deeper understanding on how to support the mental health of young people.

    Our athletic teams continue to do well. Congratulations to JC track team members for an impressive performance at the Under The Lights Cross Country Festival at Palmer Park. The Jets swept all four divisions of the meet with outstanding finishes in both girls and boys divisions. BJ’s Cross Country competed at Lake Guntersville with Varsity Girls taking 1st and Varsity Boys 3rd in addition to great individual performances. I am looking forward to wins by both JC and BJ this Wednesday in the 7A Area Volleyball Tournament at Bob Jones.
    For those who missed it, Madison City Schools has been ranked the No. 1 school district in Alabama by NICHE. The findings that were released just before Fall Break also ranked individual schools. Every single one of our schools were in the top 10 out of hundreds of schools statewide. This is outstanding and the result of true community and MCS district wide efforts.

    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 9-26-22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    We are entering our last full week before Fall Break, which also marks the end of the first 9-week grading period. Please remind your child(ren) to have all school work completed before Sept. 30 so that it can be factored into their grades. It’s hard to believe we will be a quarter of the way through the school year already.

    I am happy to report Tommy Overcash as our newest board member. He was appointed by the City Council and sworn in at the Tuesday, Sept. 20 Board meeting. Mr. Overcash has a long history with Madison, having served on the City Council from 2004 - 2020 - eight years as its president. He has an even longer history with Madison City Schools as he and his wife, Debbie, were instrumental in its creation as an independent school district in 1998. We are honored to have him on the MCS team.

    It is a great honor to have our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Heather Donaldson, representing Alabama Career Tech Directors on the CompTIA National Career Tech Education Advisory Council. This is a two-year commitment. Its focus is to find ways to accelerate career tech pathways for students based on workforce demands of each district, emerging technology, certifications, funding sources, articulation agreements, best practices, professional development and industry connections. Read more about CompTIA’s mission here,

    September is PTA membership month. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage everyone to join your school’s PTA (full listing in link). They play a vital role in the success of our schools and ultimately, the community. You can join whether you have students in the system or not. There’s even a mega membership that enables you to belong to every PTA in our district for a very low cost. Madison City Schools values the partnership we have with our PTAs and invites all of our stakeholders to support our schools by joining.

    Our guests for the latest
    Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast are Kaila Holloway and Carly Thomas from the BJHS girls flag football team who discuss the rules of the game, power of teamwork and other aspects of this emerging sport. (see full schedule here).
    March on Madison is tomorrow night (Tuesday, Sept. 27) at Madison City Stadium. What a wonderful opportunity to hear bands from Bob Jones, James Clemens, Discovery and several other local bands. Tickets are available on the S2 Pass App. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can also purchase tickets from the S2Pass fan website and print your tickets to present at the gate through https://fans.s2pass.com/events. The show begins at 6 p.m.

    Last year, I started a Superintendent Student Advisory Committee to provide students with the opportunity to share ideas about critical issues within our schools. The committee will continue to meet again this school year. My goal is to have a diverse group of students with various academic, athletic, fine arts, and extracurricular interests. The committee currently consists of 10 seniors each from Bob Jones and James Clemens who served on the committee last year during their junior year in high school. I would like to add 10 juniors each from Bob Jones and James Clemens for this school year. On Friday, all juniors received an email with the link to apply for the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee. The application will close at midnight on Tuesday, October 4. I encourage students to apply for this opportunity to meet with me in a small group setting to share their ideas.

    I am excited to announce that after fall break we are kicking off our after school tutoring programs. The Elementary After School Sustained Tutoring Program will host after school reading tutoring on Monday and Wednesday and math tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday. The tutoring program starts October 17. Participating students will receive teacher-developed lessons focused on review skills needed to assist them in becoming more successful when working towards grade level expectations. Additionally, secondary schools will also host after school tutoring programs - also starting on October 17. Math will be on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, English / Language Arts will be on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and high schools will have Chemistry tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Transportation will be provided.
    Both the Elementary After School Sustained Tutoring Program and the Secondary After School Tutoring Program are being made available through the ESSER funds that support COVID learning loss. Schools have been sending tutoring information home for qualifying students.

    Finally, I’d like to congratulate Bob Jones and James Clemens for earning a GreatSchools.org
    College Success Award. Only 66 Alabama schools among 1,742 nationwide attained this honor. The award recognizes schools that meet certain criteria in preparing all students for postsecondary and career success.
    Have an enjoyable Fall Break. 


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 9-19-22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Last week ended on a positive note with the release of National Merit Semifinalists . I am proud to report that Madison City Schools once again produced the most NMS of any other Alabama school district, regardless of size. Next closest school systems were Vestavia Hills (21) and Hoover (18). While the students are certainly deserving for their hard work, credit also belongs to the schools and teachers who helped prepare them. The vast majority of our NMS students (26) attended Madison City Schools from elementary school on up. Looking at these students’ school history, every MCS school at every level can lay claim to their development into top scholars. Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and to all who had a hand in this remarkable achievement. 

    I encourage everyone once again to come to the Family Mental Health Resource Fair tonight (Monday, Sept. 19) at Midtown Elementary. This is the third year the district has showcased mental health in a districtwide outreach. Learn more about the Mental Health community resource fair in this link. Barnie, our facility dog at Madison Elementary, will be a guest greeter. Hope to see you there.
    We had another fabulous homecoming. I had the privilege once again to ride in the James Clemens homecoming parade and attend the game Friday night. What wonderful traditions for our students and community.

    I would like to welcome Family Security Credit Union into the MCS and Midtown Elementary family. FSCU officers Regina Kyle, Jordan Woodall and Cailin O’Donnell visited Midtown Friday to give a generous donation to Principal Savannah Demeester. Partners in Education is a program with Madison City Schools, the Madison Chamber of Commerce, PTA and local businesses and families to create a bridge between our community and schools.
    Finally, I would like to recognize BJ student Rian Edwards  for her courage and advocacy for taking part in a global conference in California aimed at rare genetic diseases. She spoke in a session on the demands and impact on family and caregivers. Rian’s brother, Elijah Edwards, has a rare genetic disease.  

    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 9/12/22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We had a wonderful turnout for the  Bob Jones homecoming parade last Thursday. What a great tradition. Friday’s game with all of the homecoming activities was also enjoyable. I want to thank the police department, students, school employees, parents and everyone else who had a hand in it. I am looking forward to the James Clemens homecoming parade Thursday, Sept. 15, and the game the following night.

    Madison City Schools was honored by the Alabama State Department of Education last week for attaining
    Purple Star  status under a new state program aimed at military families. Gov. Kay Ivey and the state BOE recognized 12 school districts and 53 schools as the inaugural class. The Purple Star program was created by a legislative act to help ease the social and/or academic burden of frequent moves. They do this through S2S (student-to-student) chapters at each school that welcome newcomers and provide other assistance,
    All 11 of our schools attained Purple Star designation. In other words, one out of five Purple Star schools across the entire state is an MCS school. I’ would like to thank the Community Foundation and the Hometown Lenders Golf Championship for giving MCS a $4,400 grant for S2S chapters in our schools.

    Thank you to all who completed the Mental Health Matters parent interest survey. I would like to remind everyone of the district wide
    Family Mental Health Fair on Monday September 19, at Midtown Elementary School from 5 - 7 p.m. This event features community resource tables as well as an interactive expo with hands-on activities for students and adults to support mental wellness provided by The Enrichment Center. You can find more info here.

    Congratulations to JCHS German teacher, Peggy Boynton, who was invited to present and serve as a panelist last week at the Alabama World Languages Association workshop.
    Ms. Boynton focused on helping other districts establish a Seal of Biliteracy program. Ms. Boynton helped bring the Seal of Biliteracy program to Madison City Schools, and I am so proud of the work she has done in our district and now the support she is providing to others as they seek to establish a similar program.

    The 2023 MCS Budget was approved last week at the Board of Education meeting. 
    Finally, my guests for the latest “Sittin’ with the Supe’” Podcast are head football coaches Kelvis White with Bob Jones and Chad McGehee with James Clemens.
    You can hear what they have to say in this
    link to the Podcast.


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 8-26-22

    Dear MCS Parents,

    Last week ended on a positive note with the release of National Merit Semifinalists . I am proud to report that Madison City Schools once again produced the most NMS of any other Alabama school district, regardless of size. Next closest school systems were Vestavia Hills (21) and Hoover (18). While the students are certainly deserving for their hard work, credit also belongs to the schools and teachers who helped prepare them. The vast majority of our NMS students (26) attended Madison City Schools from elementary school on up. Looking at these students’ school history, every MCS school at every level can lay claim to their development into top scholars. Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers, principals, and to all who had a hand in this remarkable achievement. 

    I would like to encourage everyone once again to come to the Family Mental Health Resource Fair tonight (Monday, Sept. 19) at Midtown Elementary. This is the third year the district has showcased mental health in a districtwide outreach. Learn more about the Mental Health community resource fair in this link. Barnie, our facility dog at Madison Elementary, will be a guest greeter. Hope to see you there.

    We had another fabulous homecoming. I had the privilege once again to ride in the James Clemens homecoming parade and attend the game Friday night. What wonderful traditions for our students and community.

    I would like to welcome Family Security Credit Union into the MCS and Midtown Elementary family. FSCU officers Regina Kyle, Jordan Woodall and Cailin O’Donnell visited Midtown Friday to give a generous donation to Principal Savannah Demeester. Partners in Education is a program with Madison City Schools, the Madison Chamber of Commerce, PTA and local businesses and families to create a bridge between our community and schools.

    Finally, I would like to recognize BJ student Rian Edwards  for her courage and advocacy for taking part in a global conference in California aimed at rare genetic diseases. She spoke in a session on the demands and impact on family and caregivers. Rian’s brother, Elijah Edwards, has a rare genetic disease.  

    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    Dear MCS Parents,

    I would like to start by wishing everyone a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I hope you and your family enjoy the break and come back Tuesday refreshed for the next stretch.

    Tonight marks a special time for our school district. It's the night of the Madison Bowl football game between Bob Jones and James Clemens. While it is a “rivalry” by definition, it is a friendly rivalry. One team will be victorious and the other won't. Let's all remember that we are still one MCS family and be respectful through the outcome. 

    Homecoming is fast approaching.The Bob Jones homecoming parade is next Thursday, Sept. 8, starting at 5:30 p.m. with the game against Grissom on Friday. The James Clemens homecoming parade is Thursday, Sept. 15, with the game against Florence the following day. What a wonderful tradition to have homecoming parades with all the festivities that entails. I look forward to seeing everyone along the parade route and at the games.

    I had the pleasure this week of meeting some of our kids in the Purple Star S2S groups. S2S is Student-to-Student. These are student mentoring teams in all of our schools that help welcome newcomers transferring into our schools. The S2S program has its roots in welcoming military kids who relocate often. But their outreach is to any new student to help them overcome the social and sometimes academic challenges from being a newcomer.Madison City Schools recently attained status as a Purple Star District under a new state program established by the Alabama Legislature. It has been very successful not only for transient students but also in helping S2S students with their social skills.

    Finally, I want to pass along an important event to consider attending. On September 19, Madison City Schools and MCS PTA are hosting a Family Mental Health Fair. This districtwide event will be held at Midtown Elementary from 5 -7 p.m. Mark your calendars to stop by and visit community resource tables, hands on mental wellness expo, student art showcase and more. 


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 8/26/2022

    Dear MCS Parents,


    August is fast coming to a close. We are almost a month into the school year with everything going well so far.

    Next week marks an exciting time for Madison City Schools with the Bob Jones-James Clemens football game. I hope everyone makes plans to come to the Madison Bowl next Friday, September 2, at Madison City Stadium.
    One exciting new feature to the BJ-JC tradition this year is a special night hosted by our Trash Pandas baseball team in honor of the big BJ-JC game. The team is holding Rivalry Night  this Tuesday, August 30, in its game against Biloxi at Toyota Field. Come on out for a fun night of baseball with performances by BJ and JC drumlines, cheerleaders, ROTC corps and more. You might even get to see your superintendent throw the first pitch. Special seating arrangements are available for JC fans (along the first base line) and BJ fans (along the 3rd base line). Use the ticket links in the Rivalry Night link above to choose your BJ or JC seating. Proceeds from concessions will be donated to the SOS student fund at Madison City Schools and there will be a school supplies and hygiene drive at the stadium.

    Our district is continuing our mental health support and would like your feedback. Please help us plan future Mental Health Matters events by completing this survey:  https://forms.gle/YQiE3pxFsrt5wMnf7. Heritage Elementary School was honored this week with the renewal of their Leader In Me Lighthouse Recertification. Congratulations to the faculty and staff at Heritage Elementary on their hard work to maintain this program that fosters strong leadership skills in students.

    I am pleased to share that the Board of Education approved the MCS Strategic Plan last night. The strategic planning process occurred over the last year with stakeholder surveys and meetings of over 100 stakeholders including students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback along the way, whether that was through the surveys or committee meetings. The Strategic Plan establishes goals for the next five years in the areas of Academics, Special Services, Operations and Facilities, Communication, Support Services, Technology, and Faculty and Staff. View the Strategic Plan here.
    Last night, our Board members heard a budget presentation led by our Chief School Financial Officer, Laverne Williams, on the proposed 2023 spending plan for Madison City Schools. You can review the proposed budget here and offer any comment on the attached form before the next scheduled budget hearing on September 6.  This budget is the result of months of collaboration and input from my administrative team, teachers and support personnel, board members, city and community members, and other stakeholders. While it cannot cover everything given the limited resources, I believe it responsibly addresses our most pressing needs.
    Congratulations to Ashwin Prabhakar, a senior at Bob Jones High School, for earning a $10,000 scholarship as a Davidson Institute Fellows Scholarship winner for creating an innovative approach to deep wound care. I am always amazed by the intelligence, creativity, and performance of our students.

    Finally, I am excited to report that this week’s
    Sittin’ With The Supe podcast features our elementary and secondary Teachers of the Year. Bonnie Howard at Madison Elementary and Command Sgt. Ellis Clark at Bob Jones are representative of the many hundreds of outstanding teachers we have in MCS.


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols


    District Update 8/19/2022  


    Dear MCS Parents,

    We have finished the second full week of school and our athletic seasons are now underway. With the start of the athletic season, we also will enjoy the sights and sounds of our bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, color guards and student sections. As the sports season progresses, many of you may be wanting schedule and ticket information. BJHS and DMS are now using the S2Pass app for tickets. JCHS continues to use GoFan.

    These links will guide you to schedules and ticket information.
    James Clemens: https://www.jcathletics.net/
    Bob Jones:https://www.bjpatriots.com/
    Discovery Middle: https://www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/domain/173
    Liberty Middle: https://www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/domain/232

    Enrollment numbers are becoming more settled with a student count now of about 12,400. If growth trends continue, MCS is expected to add 300-400 students this year. This week, the Board approved an architect agreement that begins the process of designing a new elementary school located off Hardiman Road. As we continue to grow in Madison, this new elementary footprint will be needed to meet the future growth in our community. 

    This past Board meeting, the 2022-2023 calendar was revised. There were a few changes to address the required testing at our high schools and to enhance collaborative professional development for our staff and teachers. The Board also approved the 2023-2024 calendar. Both of these can be found under the calendar tab of our website.

    Speaking of calendars, I am pleased to report that we are working on improving the District calendar on the MCS website to include school-based events of districtwide interest. The Official District Calendar on the Madison City Schools webpage has traditionally limited announcements to things like board meetings, graduation day and holidays. Inclusion on the District calendar will broaden awareness of things like athletic events and drama/theater performances.
    Juniors and Seniors:  Did you know that qualifying for free/reduced lunch also means you qualify for 2 ACT waivers and up to 4 college application fee waivers? If you think your family qualifies, fill out the application here: https://paypams.com/OnlineApp.aspx

    As you may have heard, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has adopted a new teacher observation system. The ALSDE assembled a taskforce of Alabama teachers and administrators to develop the Alabama Core Teaching Standards and the Alabama Teacher Observation Tool (ATOT). The ALSDE periodically revises the teaching standards and the teacher observation system; the ATOT is one of many teacher observation systems that I have seen in my time as an educator in Alabama. Madison City principals and assistant principals observe teachers in our classrooms and then complete the ATOT for each teacher. The observation standards are aligned with the Alabama Courses of Study.

    Something else you may have seen in the news recently is a possible change to the Alabama High School Graduation requirements. For several years, the state has been assessing high schools on the percent of seniors graduating College and Career Ready (CCR). We have been told that in October, the Alabama Board of Education will vote to determine whether College and Career Readiness will become a mandatory graduation requirement. If it is voted as a graduation requirement, that would begin with this year’s current 8th grade students so it would not affect students who are currently in high school. The state has several ways in which students can become College and Career Ready: benchmark score on the ACT, passing score on an IB/AP exam, benchmark score on the ACT WorkKeys, College Credit, Military Enlistment, Career Tech Credential, Career Tech Completer, or Youth Apprenticeship. If the Alabama Board of Education votes to make CCR a graduation requirement, then our team is prepared to assist our parents and students navigate this new component. 

    Finally, I hope you enjoy our new bi-weekly Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast feature. Last week’s guests were BJHS and JCHS band directors. Next week’s program will highlight our district Teachers of the Year. Have a great weekend.


    “Glad To Be Here!”

    Ed Nichols



    District Update 8/12/2022

    Dear MCS Parents,


     School is off to a great start. Aside from a few adjustments on things like class schedules and bus routes, we are quickly returning to normal. It is wonderful to see our campuses active again.
    As you know, “Glad To Be Here” is our adopted theme this year. If someone were to ask me for examples that inspired that theme, a simple answer won’t do. There are too many positive aspects about MCS to boil down into a short response. 

    It is in that spirit I am starting something new this year to help parents, students and all of our stakeholders gain greater insight into our district. Beginning today, I will be hosting a regular podcast titled, Sittin’ with the Supe. You can find these brief audio programs on these podcasting platforms: Apple Podcast, Spotify, or straight from this link. In the first podcast of the year, I sat down with Bob Jones and James Clemens band directors - Leigh Thomas and Keith Anderson respectively - to discuss the upcoming band season, all the work that goes into creating their shows, and offer a sneak peek into their fall performances. I can’t wait to share other neat stories and insights as the year unfolds.

    As the state drafts and prepares to adopt new courses of study (COS), they seek feedback from teachers, administrators, parents, general public, etc. The Alabama State Department of Education has shared the following draft courses of study for feedback: Cosmetology COS and feedback form, Education and Training COS and feedback form, and Hospitality and Tourism COS and feedback form. I invite you to review these draft courses of study and share your feedback with the state.  

    Every week, something outstanding about MCS is brought to my attention. One I just ran across is a report in USA Today that Madison City Schools has the 3rd best e-sports team (BJHS) in the U.S. Outstanding. E-sports teams at BJ and JC are an integral part of our high school offerings.

    We live in a very giving district. Here is a cause I would like to call to your attention; Snacks for success to benefit students.

    The Madison Bowl is a spirited event for the entire community. This year’s game between Bob Jones and James Clemens is on Friday, September 2, at Madison City Stadium. To help get everyone in the spirit and to support MCS schools, our Trash Pandas baseball team is hosting “Rivalry Night” on Tuesday, August 30, in their game against Biloxi at Toyota Field. We are grateful for their support for our schools. Buy Tickets and Learn More Here

    Finally, these past few years have been challenging to all of us in the MCS family. As you are aware, many districts across the nation have seen a mass exodus of teachers and a short supply of new teachers to fill empty positions. We are blessed in this community with great administrators, teachers and staff. Please know that our teachers and staff give their heart and soul to your children everyday. Remember, though, that they have families that need their attention also. In the past few years, we have all become accustomed to the desire for rapid response of text or emails. I encourage you to please remember that, when our teachers and staff go home, they have a priority to take care of their families. Time spent with their families is always a great source of mental wellness. So, if you send an email to a teacher after the school day ends, please give them time to respond the next day during their planning time. By supporting our staff and teachers, we can continue to hire and retain the best teachers and keep our district one of the best in the state and nation. 

    Ed Nichols




    Dear MCS Parents,

    I am looking forward to welcoming your children back to school this Wednesday, August 3.
    Our entire MCS team has been busy preparing for their return. All Madison City employees reported back last Wednesday for Institute Day where we were inspired and energized by our keynote speaker. As educators, we are blessed with the opportunity to support your children on their path to reaching and exceeding their goals.
    I want to give you a few updates as we prepare to start the 2022-2023 school year.

    Masks will be optional this school start. If you want your child to be masked, you will need to provide a mask for them. Any student or staff that tests positive for COVID will stay home and be excluded from school and school activities for a minimum of 5 full days (1st day of symptoms is day 0). Please contact your school nurse to report a positive COVID case.
    See the
    Health Services website for the complete procedures for absences and exposure to someone positive to COVID-19.
    Please remember to keep your sick child at home and communicate with your school nurse regardless of whether your child has COVID- 19 or any other illness.
    I know you have seen construction taking place on multiple school campuses. Some projects, like the new special education wing and the south parking lot at Bob Jones, are quite visible. Others, like HVAC replacements at several schools, are less noticeable. As always, the summer months are very short for this type of work, but are the least disruptive to the school year. I certainly appreciate our maintenance and custodial staff for their hard work to get areas that have been disrupted by construction back in order. I also appreciate the countless community groups and staff that came during the summer and served our schools in clean up programs.

    As I shared last week, safety is always our top priority. This school year we have a renewed focus on staff training, use of available resources, and physical security. Although we will not share specific plans for security reasons, we feel confident that our schools are safe. We will continue to be vigilant and evaluate our procedures designed to keep our campuses safe. I appreciate our partnership with the City of Madison and the Madison Fire and Police Departments. We are blessed in this community to have such a tremendous group of first responders.

    I want to remind everyone that MCS will be returning to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program for the 2022-23 school year. Due to the rapidly increasing cost of food and supplies - combined with reduced federal reimbursement rates - MCS meals will increase by 10 cents to the following new rate: elementary lunch $2.75; secondary lunch $3. Breakfast remains the same at $1.75. Families who may qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced School Meal Program can use this link to apply https://paypams.com/OnlineApp.aspx

    Those who have had children in the district know that car lines are always longer the first few days and traffic is always a little heavier when we return to school. The heavier traffic and longer car lines usually ease up after the first week or so of school. Your local school has all route and bus information. I encourage you to use the GPS Parent Portal app for tracking your child’s bus in real time. Your schools have all the codes and information for downloading the app to your device. Please note that our transportation department will be balancing ridership loads during the first couple of weeks of school and there could be slight route changes. Your school will communicate those changes to you. I appreciate your patience in advance as we all work together to get our students to and from school safely.

    Our theme this year as a district is “Glad To Be Here.” I am glad to be a part of the Madison family and serve our Board, teachers, staff and students. We are blessed with a wonderful community that truly values education. Together, we can and will continue to focus on our students and “Empowering All of Them for Global Success.”  I look forward to seeing your children in our schools tomorrow!

    Ed Nichols



    DISTRICT UPDATE 7-25-22  

    Dear Parents,

    It’s an exciting time in Madison City Schools as we get ready for the return of students and teachers. I cannot wait until the hallways are buzzing again. As we wrap up the last full week of summer break, I want to take a brief moment to share some information about the return to school.

    Each year, parents of students who are returning to Madison City Schools must re-enroll their student(s) online. This is a very quick process and is necessary for parents to update any contacts, notify us of any changes in medical history or custody, and of course, provide proof of residency in the Madison City Schools’ zone. Almost 11,500 students from last year are returning and most have submitted their re-enrollment application and been approved. However, currently we have about 573 students who have not yet started the re-enrollment process. An additional 234 have started the process but not finished. Another 239 submitted, but have been notified they have outstanding forms to be submitted for proof of residency.
    All of this is necessary as we make sure we base staffing on the number of students who are approved to return. The deadline was July 22. If you have not registered your student, please do so as soon as possible. Schedules and class assignments are currently being made for those that have registered. Any student not registered will not receive a class assignment or schedule until they are registered. 

    As we prepare for the upcoming school year, it is important that we reinforce our commitment to safety and security across MCS. Our district has many resources to keep our campuses safe yet we are always looking for ways to improve.

    After the tragic event in Uvalde, Texas, we conducted an audit of our safety protocols. This review included assessing facility vulnerabilities; forming a safety/security workgroup composed of teachers, staff, parents and administrators; and conducting a staff survey to get vital feedback. MCS currently has 10 School Resource Officers (SROs) assigned to our schools, along with 3 private security guards, and a safety and security coordinator solely dedicated to overseeing the district’s safety and security posture.

    The Madison Police Department provides MCS with SROs who receive unique, high-quality training that qualify them for these assignments. We also utilize resources dedicated to mental health, early warning detection, intervention processes, and personnel dedicated to addressing safety and security. 

    Each school is required by law to have an updated Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The school’s EOP is updated annually and staff are trained on their EOP and our district emergency response protocols. This school year we will have a renewed focus on staff training, use of available resources, and physical security. Although we will not share specific plans for security reasons, we feel confident that our schools are safe. That said, we continue to look for ways to improve school safety and avoid becoming complacent.

    Student and campus safety/ security will always be our top priority and our partnerships with the Madison Police Department, parents, and other community stakeholders will remain a vital part of this effort.

    As we launch into the 2022-2023 school year, we are preparing for New Student Orientations and Open Houses. Elementary Open Houses will be on Monday, August 1, in time intervals based on last name. See the school-by-school schedule here. Secondary students’ schedules will be available for viewing in PowerSchool prior to the start of school: Liberty and Discovery students can view schedules starting Friday, July 29, and Bob Jones and James Clemens students can view schedules starting Monday, August 1. More information about schedules will be released from schools.

    In the past, we have tried several scheduling options with Open House, including setting elementary, middle, and high school open houses on the same day, which posed difficulties for families with students in multiple grades. We considered this option when planning our Open House schedule for this year. In addition, we took into account the schedule changes that always take place at the middle and high school level, due to the balancing of classes and new students enrolling daily.

    With these things in mind, we made the conscious decision to hold the middle school Open Houses on August 9th and the high school Open Houses on August 11th (after the first day of school). For new MCS students and other students new to a building, our secondary schools are holding New Student Orientations prior to the first day of school. In addition, our teachers will allow our students time during the first few days of school to find their way around. Finally, our secondary schedules will be more accurate than schedules that we would have passed out in mid-July. Secondary students not involved in new student orientation can obtain bus route information by contacting the school on or after August 1. 

    Have a great week!


    Ed Nichols