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MCS District Update 8-12-2022

8-12-22

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

Superintendent

 

8-2-22

Dear Parents,

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,
Superintendent

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 hereSecondary 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