1/11/22 MCS DISTRICT UPDATE
Dear MCS Parents,
This has certainly been an interesting start to 2022. Thank you for your continued support as the district navigated the winter weather last week.
The disruption from school closings was limited by being able to shift to virtual learning. Teachers, principals, and instructional leaders deserve a lot of credit for building a virtual learning platform that enables students to do schoolwork remotely. Credit also goes to our technology team who worked tirelessly over the past several months to get electronic devices in the hands of all students.
Last Thursday at our Board meeting, the Board of Education approved the middle and high school rezoning plan. Click here for the rezoning information. They also approved the Middle and High School Curriculum for the 2022-2023 school year. Information about middle and high school course registration for the 2022-2023 school year will be sent out from schools in the near future. If you have a rising 7th or 8th grade student who is zoned for Journey Middle School starting in the 2022-2023 school year, your student will have the option to complete a waiver request form to remain at their current school. The form will come home this week and is for rising 7th and 8th grade students only who are zoned for Journey.
As a reminder, elementary and middle school report cards came home today. High school grades can be viewed in PowerSchool. Printed report cards for high school will be sent home on Friday.
Congratulations to the James Clemens medical academy students who were the first to attempt and pass the newest industry credential that we are offering to high school students–Certified EKG Technician. Congratulations to Mrs. Ashley Steinert and her students on this outstanding accomplishment. Students are Alice Shin, Emily Tieszen, Evan Harvey, Jade Parkes, Kim Phan, Kyleigh Castillo, Minh Phan, Ria Sethi, Tyler Gohlich. Students earning their CPCT credential (Certified Patient Care Technician) were Ava Baker, Jade Parkes, Ria Sethi, Christian Lomack, Alice Shin, Shayla Hawkins, Minh Phan, Elizabeth Busby, Emily Tieszen, Nicole Lipski, Evan Harvey, Tyler Gohlich.
I am proud to share that toward the end of last semester the Discovery Scholar’s Bowl team made an outstanding showing at multiple tournaments. Another Discovery team went undefeated in a scholars tournament that will air on APT on Saturday mornings. Click here to see all that they won. Congratulations to all of these students and their sponsor, Mrs. Sara Baragona.
I want to commend two of our students for acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point: Jillian Pennell from Bob Jones and Tyler Gohlich from James Clemens High School.This is a prestigious honor that took a lot of hard work.
Two of our coaches also deserve recognition for recent achievements: Luther Tiggs, head basketball coach at Bob Jones High School, for snagging his 400th win in 22 years as a head coach in a victory against Austin High School. I also want to recognize Chad McGehee, head football coach at James Clemens High School, for coaching in the Under Armor All American Game in Orlando on January 2. McGehee was also selected as 7A Coach of the Year for the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
We are closely watching the current Covid-19 situation in our community and in our schools. Currently, the positivity rate is a little over 40% in Madison County. We are seeing the effects of this in our schools. Last Friday, we reported 135 positive cases with 35 of those cases reported to our staff. We are doing our best to secure substitutes for our staff and maintain our current educational programing.
Please be reminded that the new quarantine guidelines allow for those that are fully vaccinated to continue without isolation from school if they are asymptomatic. At no time will our staff require you to show a vaccination status when your student is considered a close contact. However, please know that if we continue to see a rise in cases, we could reach a position where the district has to use a virtual platform by classroom, grade level, school, or district due to staffing demands. Therefore, please assist us by closely monitoring any symptoms for your student.
Finally, this is School Board Member Recognition Month. We are blessed in Madison to have a very dedicated group of Board members. These servants volunteer for Board service and spend an incredible amount of time in service to our district solely on a volunteer basis. They are very dedicated to our MCS staff and students.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Ed Nichols1/7/22 FRIDAY VIRTUAL DAY; COVID PROTOCOL UPDATE
Currently, the NWS expects temperatures and wind chills to be near the single digits in the morning, causing both road issues for drivers and health concerns for students. With safety for our students and staff in mind, Madison City Schools will have a virtual learning day tomorrow (Friday, January 7).
Elementary students will utilize iReady lessons or teacher assignments. Secondary students will access asynchronous assignments through Schoology. If students have difficulty accessing assignments, they should communicate with their teacher. Virtual assignments should be accessible after 9:30 am on Friday. More specific instructions will come from your child’s school.
Additionally, I wanted to update you on some Covid-19 procedures for quarantining. As you may be aware, the CDC and the ADPH have updated guidelines that relate to quarantining for Covid-19. After review and guidance from the Alabama Department of Education, Madison City Schools will utilize the procedures listed below for Covid-19 exposures and positive cases.
- If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 (whether vaccinated or not), they will need to be isolated at home for a minimum of 5 days.
- If after 5 days there are no symptoms or symptoms have resolved, they can return to school but must wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
- If symptoms are not resolved after 5 days, then the person should remain isolated for the full 10 days.
- If a person is unable to be around others with a mask, home isolation should continue for 10 days.
- If a student or staff member is exposed to someone with COVID-19 and they have been fully vaccinated:
- They can continue to attend school and will be required to wear a mask around others for 10 days.
- Please monitor your symptoms, and if symptoms develop, stay home and contact your health provider.
- If possible, they should be tested on day 5.
- If a student or staff member has not completed all vaccinations or is unvaccinated:
- They will need to isolate themselves at home for 5 days and then can return to school and wear a mask for the next 5 days.
- Please monitor your symptoms, and if symptoms develop, stay home and contact your health provider.
- If possible, they should be tested on day 5.
If you have any questions concerning Covid-19 symptoms or testing, please contact your school nurse for assistance.
As a reminder, masks must continue for all students and staff when the Madison County positivity rate puts the school district's mask matrix in mask-required status, regardless of any 5 or 10-day conditional in the abovementioned protocols.
On a final note, report cards were scheduled to go out tomorrow. With the winter weather, reports cards will now be issued on Tuesday, January 11.
Thank you all so much for your support of our school district.
Schools Closed; Virtual Learning Jan. 6, 2022
As you may be aware, the weather forecast for tonight through the morning presents the potential for snow and/or ice. This forecast is still very unstable. However, instead of waiting until the early morning hours, I feel it is best to make a decision on school closure now so you have time to prepare.
Therefore, Madison City Schools will hold an asynchronous virtual learning day for ALL students tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 6) due to the potential for hazardous winter weather. School campuses will be closed.
Elementary students will utilize iReady lessons or teacher assignments. Secondary students will access asynchronous assignments through Schoology. In most cases, students are bringing home school-issued chromebooks. If students have difficulty accessing assignments, they should communicate with their teacher. Virtual assignments should be accessible after 9:30 am on Thursday. More specific instructions will come from your child’s school.
Thank you for your support and patience as we do our best to keep our students and staff safe during potentially hazardous conditions. We will keep you updated on any effects of this weather that might impact school on Friday.
Finally, we have received new information from the CDC and the ADPH concerning quarantining as related to Covid. We will inform you of any changes in our procedures from these updates on Friday.
MCS UPDATE: Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022
Dear MCS Parents,
I hope all of you have enjoyed your break and spent time with family and friends.
As you are aware, the Covid positivity rate has increased in our community in the last few weeks.
On Nov. 4, 2021, the Board of Education approved a Covid Matrix that determines our requirement for masks in the district based on the positivity rate of Madison County as reported each Friday.
With the past two weeks reaching above the High Level of the ADPH, we will begin the new semester in a mask required status for ALL staff and students.
This mask status will remain in effect until we fall below the Moderate Level for two weeks as determined on Friday of the ADPH website.
Furthermore, we are aware that the CDC has issued some new guidance on the time frame as it relates to a positive test and close contact exposure.
We are reviewing these updates with our local ADPH officials and will update you on any changes early next week. However, until clarification has been made by ADPH, we will continue to follow the same protocol for isolation and exclusion that was used before the Winter Break.
Madison City Schools
MCS UPDATE: Monday, DEC. 20, 2021
Dear MCS Parents,
I hope your holiday break is off to a great start. I wanted to share one more messenger before we return in January.
Last Tuesday, the Board met in a special session to fill some school leadership positions made vacant by several mid year retirements. Miranda Bolden is the new principal at Columbia Elementary, replacing Jamie Hill, who moves to Discovery Middle to replace retired Kim Stewart. Several assistant principals were also approved to backfill positions left vacant by promotions.
You can see the latest assistant principal changes in this link. The district is fortunate to have such a talented pool of leaders to promote from within.
Wednesday, I attended the Redstone Federal Credit Union branch opening in James Clemens High School. These branches at both Bob Jones and now James Clemens are a convenience to school employees and serve as a teaching tool for student workers interested in the financial services industry. Through this partnership, we have a Madison City Schools Affinity Card. Redstone Federal Credit Union gives 10 cents to the district for every purchase made with the MCS affinity card. We are fortunate to have this partnership with RFCU. I look forward to seeing all the positive things that can come from it.
I would like to commend all of our teachers who recently received their National Board Certification: Judy Bagwell (DMS), Dr. Stephanie Bostick (BJHS), Lauren Cecil (MTES), Peggy Dupree (CO), Sophia Hall (RES), Savannah Lyles (MCES), Lory Schieler (LMS), Dr. Lori Shrode (LMS), Susan Vest (MTES), and Beth Woodard (MES). I would also like to congratulate the following National Board Certified Teachers who recently renewed their certification: Michelle Breeden (LMS), Jane Haithcock (LMS), Dr. Ambra Hamilton (LMS), Jodi Jones (LMS), Karen Jump (CES), Missy King (JCHS), Robin Lakso (BJHS), Susan Maynard (MCES), Leah McRae (JCHS), Stephanie Nguyen (CES), Tabitha Odom (LMS), Amy Protos (JCHS), Debbie Scott (BJHS), Adrian Wells (HRTG), and Kristy Wheeler (BJHS). There are now 92 National Board Certified Teachers in MCS. Congratulations to all of you for earning and/or maintaining this certification!!!
Congratulations to Heritage Elementary Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson for being selected as a finalist for a national SOAR Award for Principals. This is the Science of Reading Star Award given to educators for their strong emphasis and programs in reading proficiency. Congratulations also to Esports teams at Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools for claiming 1st place in three of the four state championship competitions held last week in Birmingham: JC placed 1st in League of Legends and BJ won in both Rocket League and Madden.
Two more MCS standouts, Jamie Hill and Candice Storey Lee, deserve recognition for their recent induction into the Huntsville-Madison County Hall of Fame. Hill, incoming principal at Discovery Middle, was selected for his baseball excellence at Hazel Green High School, MTSU, UAH and the Texas Rangers system. Ms. Lee was a girls basketball team standout for Bob Jones High School in the mid-90s and later Vanderbilt University, where she is now athletic director. Learn more about the 2022 inductees here.
I would like to commend James Clemens senior Alana Sperling, a cadet in the JCHS JROTC program, for her appointment and full scholarship to the U.S. Army Service Academy at West Point. Alana grew up in a military family, moving 10 times and attending 9 different schools and finally stabilizing in her high school years. She is a member of the girls varsity basketball team, co-captain of the girls varsity tennis team, and is actively involved in her church and youth group. I know that Maj. Rezell Linen is proud to have one of his students attain this high honor.
As we enter the winter break, let me close by wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful and joy-filled holiday. I was reminded of the joyfulness of the season while dressing as Santa and making the rounds to our elementary schools and PreK center. Nothing conveys the spirit of joy more than young children looking up with such wonder in their eyes. May that wonder remain with these young students throughout their school experience in Madison City Schools. The wonder of learning, of involvement in school activities, of making lasting friendships, and charting a course for their future. May we ALL be joyful and never lose our sense of wonder.
MCS UPDATE: Monday, DEC. 13, 2021
Dear MCS Parents,
I would like to start by commending the work of our Strategic Planning Committee which wrapped up another collaborative session Friday. This group of stakeholders in the community - parents, school employees, local business reps, PTA members - has been meeting regularly to assist our administration in the development of a long-range plan for Madison City Schools.
Their collaborative efforts will help guide decisions over academics, communication, faculty/staff, operations/facilities, support services and the many facets of our school district. Areas they are looking at include student achievement, academic and extracurricular opportunities, employee recruitment and retention, professional development, financial strength, building maintenance, technology infrastructure, culture/climate, mental health, community partnerships and more. Community input is a key reason for the historic success of MCS. We plan to build on that foundation with a blueprint that meets the growing and changing demands. I hope to have this strategic plan ready for adoption some time this spring.
We know from city development records that the majority of current and future residential growth of Madison is happening in Limestone County. More households mean more families, which translates to more students. MCS has been growing 300-500 students a year steadily for the past several years. If that trend continues, we will be in need of an eighth elementary school in the very near future. The Board recently approved a purchase agreement on a 16.77 acre tract of land in Limestone County. This property is due west of the intersection of Hardiman and Burgreen roads closer to Segers Road. Boards of Education in fast growing areas like Madison must be proactive in securing land before it is developed. The 17-acre tract where Midtown Elementary is now and the 80 acres at James Clemens High School were purchased by MCS several years before Board approval as school sites.
Another school need from our growing enrollment is more PreK classrooms. Last week officials from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education joined me in a walk-thru of the old West Madison Elementary School. We were given the go-ahead on plans to renovate WMES for use as a PreK Center. I am excited that this historic school that has been such a vital part of Madison will continue to educate children. I will keep you updated as we move forward on this large project.The Council of PTAs for Madison City Schools came to our Board meeting last week to present its Golden Apple Awards. This recognition is for schools that have 100 percent of their certified teachers belonging to the PTA, which is fitting since the “T” in PTA stands for teachers. MCS values the work of our PTAs and all that they do for their schools and the community.
Last week, students in the Madison CEO program met with business and community leaders in the Leadership Greater Huntsville Flagship Class (L-35) to share details about the CEO program. The students shared the purpose of the program, which is to help develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills. The students discussed their class business that was formed earlier this school year. Several of the students also pitched ideas for their individual businesses. When students return in January, they will be working hard on developing their individual business, and in May, they will showcase their business at a local trade show. Students in the Madison CEO program include Bob Jones students Parker Runnion, Adam Baer, Aleksei Fadairo, Austin Minor, Justin Bonney, Ryland Segerson, Sean Scherer, Thrush Patel, and Cameron Cummings and James Clemens students Griffin Derby, Kenneth Lobo, Ethan Benko, and Madeline Shaw. The Madison CEO class facilitator is Mr. Michael Marty. Madison CEO is funded through investors who value building capacity in students who will hopefully one day serve the area in business and community leadership roles; the CEO program is offered at no cost to students or the school district. Students from St. John Paul II Catholic High School also participate in the Madison CEO program. Click here to learn more about the Madison CEO program.
Last week I recognized Bob Jones cheerleaders for several 1st place finishes in state competition. I’d like to commend James Clemens cheer for its 1st place finish at state. The Lady Jets set a school record in the Gameday competition, scoring 98.5 out of a possible 100.
The site work and subgrade package have been completed for the Bob Jones DD Wing project. The contractor has begun working on the footer for the building and anticipates beginning to pour concrete over the next two weeks.
Earlier this year, we expanded our Partners in Education program to two of our schools. This was a pilot program in the 2020-21 school year, and has proven to be a success and we hope to continue to see growth in this area to ALL of our schools. The program is a partnership between Madison City Schools, PTA, and local businesses and families to create a bridge between our community and schools. We would like to partner with our businesses and schools to make a positive impact, teach skills, and provide opportunities for all students in Madison City. We will begin next semester by highlighting the local businesses and families that have joined this program. If you are interested in joining or know a company who is, please contact our Development Office - email@example.com.
As a reminder, the Board of Education voted to make December 16 a ½ collaborative day for all students. Dismissal times for both December 16 and 17 are as follows: PreK, 10:30; Elementary, 11:00; Middle School and High School ,11:45. There will be no extended day on December 16 and 17.
I wish you a wonderful last week of the semester, and I hope you all have a wonderful winter break.