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Moving Forward

May 14, 2020

Everyone,

The school closures caused by COVID-19 were devastating to our seniors. When schools dismissed on March 13 due to the statewide health and safety order, it disrupted many of the traditions that make the final year of high school memorable.

Graduation is a big one. The original date of May 18 at the VBC was moved to June 29 at the VBC but that remained tentative under the constantly changing parameters of COVID-19.

Today, I’d like to report our plan on graduation. Madison City Schools will be holding graduation May 26 and May 27 at Madison City Schools Stadium following the schedule below. Handicap seating will be available. 

There will be two graduation ceremonies for each school to allow for proper social distancing. Also, attendees are required to follow these guidelines:

  • Individuals with compromised immune systems should not attend graduation ceremonies.
  • Please do not attend graduation ceremonies if you have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • All attendees are encouraged to wear a mask. 
  • If you are concerned about attending graduation, please make the best decision for you and your family. 
  • Family members, no more than 4 in a group, will be asked to sit six feet apart from other guests. Each graduate will receive 4 tickets. A ticket is required to attend the ceremony.
  • At the conclusion of the ceremony, everyone will be asked to immediately return to their vehicles.

James Clemens Graduation Ceremonies will be on May 26 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Bob Jones Graduation Ceremonies will be on May 27 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. (NOTE: TIMES WERE MOVED TO 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. TO ACCOMODATE WORK SCHEDULES). 
Rain dates are May 28 and May 29 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

Graduates will be spaced on the football field in chairs, six feet apart. Each graduate will be required to wear a mask which will be provided for them. Temperature checks will be conducted for students and faculty. 

Graduation will be live-streamed and a link will be shared closer to the time of graduation. 

Each high school will provide more details about the specifics of each graduation ceremony. If you have any questions, please reach out to your school. 

I wanted you all to have this update for your planning purposes. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. We look forward to honoring our seniors.

Mr. Eric Terrell
Interim Superintendent
Madison City Schools

More graduation details in this FAQ link. 


April 8. 2020

Everyone,

We are excited to begin e-learning tomorrow with your children. Administrators and teachers have been finalizing plans for this transition and are ready to begin virtual learning.   

The Academic Guide was sent out last week in a messenger along with a FAQ that we are updating regularly.

We also want to share some additional information about grades. The district has decided not to issue regular graded assignments K-12 for e-learning under this unprecedented period because we do not want to put additional strain on families during this already very stressful time.

The purpose of e-learning in this interim is to close gaps and strengthen the foundation as students work toward mastery of critical skills that are needed to move on to the next grade level, course or endeavor.

The district has decided to make a few exceptions with grades at the secondary level. The exception is for credit bearing courses taken for high school credit at either the high school level or the middle school level. These optional grading exceptions are explained in greater detail in the Middle and High School Grading Guidelines: (1) comprehensive project, (2) fourth nine-week credit bearing courses that began on March 9, and (3) opportunity for students currently failing a credit bearing course.   

During this time, we have worked to support student needs that go beyond academics. We are so grateful to our community partners who have committed to providing meals during the school closure. We are also proud of our CNP employees who have prepared, served, and in some cases, delivered, thousands of meals for students.

Of course, virtual learning cannot take place if students do not have the necessary technology at home. MCS employees have distributed over 2,500 chromebooks since school closed with over 1,500 of those devices being delivered to student homes just in the last two days. We delivered 500 portable WiFi hotspots, with 300 of those being delivered in the last two days.

Finally, I would like to share that The Enrichment Center will continue to provide mental health services through a HIPAA compliant platform called Doxy.me. Our behavior specialists, school psychologists, social workers and school counselors will also be available to work with our students. Please reach out to your child's counselor for more information.

I want to thank all of our employees and community members who have worked tirelessly during this time to ensure that we are meeting our students’ needs while being prepared for e-learning.

Tomorrow we embark on a new adventure in education. Some may be excited and others nervous. These are the same feelings we experience at the beginning of each school year. Although we will not meet face to face, our teachers are excited to start interacting with their students through this different format. We ask that you be patient as we navigate these unconventional times. I assure you we are trying our very best to provide opportunities for students while also recognizing the stressful times that are impacting all families. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, any Central Office staff, or your school administration.

Mr. Eric Terrell
Interim Superintendent
Madison City Schools

 


April 2, 2020

Everyone,

The school closure order by the governor finally gave us some direction in this period of uncertainty.

We now know traditional school will not resume this school year. Following the guidance of State Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, schools will be shifting to a distance learning platform.

Madison City students will face this new paradigm shift next week under a new framework. With the state issuing this alternative school format right before the start of Spring Break, our teachers will have virtual work days on April 6-8 to make final preparations. April 9 will be the official beginning of e-learning for Madison City Schools.

We will continue using Google Classroom as our primary platform. Please note that all students will be expected to participate in e-learning. Our district has developed an Academic Guide that provides e-learning expectations for the remainder of the school year. You will be getting more information on this from your child’s school soon.

We realize that these times of uncertainty bring many questions. We have prepared a COVID-19 chool Closure FAQ document. If you have questions, please click on the following link to share those with us: https://forms.gle/5BLr7ynkCDkov43XA. We will continue updating the FAQ as we receive questions.

I also want to announce one more outreach to get chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students who need them. In an effort to protect our families and ourselves, we have now moved to a home delivery model for needed devices for required e-learning. Parents must fill out the form below to have devices delivered to their home. The previous form for device checkout is no longer valid, therefore parents must fill out this form even if they have filled out any previous form. The deadline to complete the form is Sunday, April 5. All details are here: https://bit.ly/2QP5yhV

MCS will resume its feeding program Tuesday, April 7. I want to thank our church partners and volunteers for their wonderful outreach and continued support of MCS students and families. Madison City Food Distribution Plan

There’s nothing that can replace the value of a teacher in a classroom with a child. That interaction, in a school environment with classmates and other learning resources, provides a multi-dimensional experience that an online platform cannot match. Our teachers, principals and support staff will do everything they can to make distance learning work to the best of their ability.

There may be some bumps along the way. That is inevitable. Please bear with us as we strive to support you and your child.

The next seven weeks presents a challenge that we have never faced. But it also presents an opportunity for all to pull together in a way that we have never before. Let us take this opportunity to show patience, understanding, collaboration and empathy as we work through this together.


Mr. Eric Terrell
Interim Superintendent
Madison City Schools

 

  

March 26, 2020
Everyone,

This afternoon, Governor Kay Ivey and State Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey issued a directive for schools to remain closed for the rest of the school year and shift to alternative learning methods as established by the state superintendent. This goes beyond their original April 6 school restart date. Dr. Mackey shared that the school year can be extended through June 5. If we need to move beyond our approved school year calendar, then I will let you know in the very near future.

Today, they also shared that all field trips, activities, convocations or gatherings, and athletics, whether in-state or out-of-state, should be canceled through June 5, 2020.  We are very sorry for all of our students, especially seniors, who will be affected by this announcement. I know important events such as prom and graduation are on every high school students’ mind. Dr. Mackey mentioned the possibility of districts moving events such as prom and graduation to a later date, possibly summer. I can assure you that our district is exploring every possible option, and if the COVID-19 situation permits and resources/venues are available, we will certainly do our best to have these important events for students. 

While I would love for schools to reopen and see students and teachers engaged again in learning and extracurricular activities, I support their decision. The public health and welfare of all citizens outweigh the need to resume school too soon and put students, employees, and families at risk.

I share Dr. Mackey’s position that the emphasis moving forward is to put a strategic focus on students mastering critical standards and also ensuring that seniors graduate as planned so they can proceed with post-high school pursuits. Our Instruction Team has alternative learning plans that continue to be refined based on information coming from the state. As these details are finalized, information will be sent. 

Please remember that next week is our official spring break; therefore, there will be no alternative learning March 30-April 3.   

The district has issued hundreds of devices to students of Madison City Schools. We will continue providing chromebook/WiFi hotspot devices to families expressing a need. An additional pickup date and time will be announced.

As we did when schools first closed, we will be working on food assistance for our students and will provide additional information. We will continue with the community food assistance that has been provided the last few weeks. I want to thank our church partners and volunteers for their wonderful outreach to MCS students and families.

There are a lot of unanswered questions that my staff and I will be looking into over the next several weeks. I will keep you updated as decisions are made.

These are not ordinary times. The response to COVID-19 requires extraordinary actions.I want to assure you that we will continue to support our students and families to the best of our abilities during this time.

Mr. Eric Terrell
Interim Superintendent
Madison City Schools

 



March 20, 2020
Everyone,

We are now in full shutdown mode, although food assistance and at least one more device pickup will continue.

Chromebook/portable WiFi pickup is Thursday, March 26th, Asbury Church in Madison. Details here: Device Pickup

Food distribution locations and times are as follows: Food Pickup Locations

This is such a period of uncertainty. Currently, we are scheduled to come back to school Monday, April 6, after Spring Break. I cannot say at this point whether we will be cleared to reopen by then. State Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey has created a task force looking into that and many other scenarios. I will share that guidance when I get it. Here is the public information page on COVID-19 from the Alabama State Department of Education: ALSDE

I want to thank you all for the incredible outpouring of support these past few days.

We had overwhelming donations of food, household supplies and other items to give to families in need. PTAs worked side by side with school staff to make the school closing as seamless as possible. Volunteers and churches stepped in with food assistance, aided by local restaurant offers of free meals.

Our employees continue to work so that students can be fed, buildings cleaned, bills processed, technology and communications continue, and campuses remain secure.

Principals and teachers remain connected with students to ease their anxieties and ensure their well-being. This unprecedented phenomenon has brought out the best in people.

As we have seen, this health threat knows no boundaries. It is a worldwide occurrence affecting people from all walks of life.

Please follow the safeguards recommended by the experts. Take care of yourselves and your family. Let peace rule over panic. Faith over fear. We will get through this stronger as we all continue to pull together.

Mr. Eric Terrell
Interim Superintendent
Madison City Schools