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District Updates


District Update 6/06/2024

Dear MCS Parents,
It is hard to believe that the  2023-24 school year is over. From the $72 million of scholarships offered to the Class of 2024 to the many state, regional and national awards received by our students and teachers, MCS continues to be a leader in the education of our children. While the summer is a time for a break, our district is continuing to prepare for the new school year.

As a reminder, we are collecting feedback from parents, students, and community members through our end-of-year surveys. Please take a few minutes to provide feedback through one of our surveys: Parent/Guardian Survey, the Student Survey for Middle and High School Students, or a Stakeholder Survey for community members who do not have a school-age child.

Madison City Schools is offering Youth Mental Health First Aid training to MCS parents and guardians on June 13. This program is for those who want to understand more about mental health challenges among children and adolescents and how to respond effectively. Click here for more information and registration: https://www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/domain/2411.

The school year-end also closes Season 2 of our Sittin With The Supe podcasts, which I thoroughly enjoy hosting. Breaking from the traditional format, the end-of-the-year podcast in the link below features brief video interviews with some of our 2024 graduates giving advice to underclassmen. I think students and parents alike will enjoy the wisdom of these grads. You can hear what they have to say in this video link.

I want to thank you all for an amazing school year and wish everyone a wonderful summer break.

“Empowering All Students”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent

District Update 5/17/2024
Dear MCS Parents,
The 2023-2024 school year is in the final stretch. It seems like only yesterday we were welcoming students and holding new teacher orientations.
Graduation is Monday, May 20, at the Von Braun Center. James Clemens starts at 2 p.m. Bob Jones at 6 p.m. Both ceremonies will be live-streamed by CEVA productions via this link.
Please know that admittance will not begin until one-hour before each program. Videos of each graduation can be ordered in these links: James Clemens High School and Bob Jones High School.
Monday is an E-Learning Day for everyone so students will not report to school. Tuesday (May 21) and Wednesday (May 22) are both half-days for students. That will bring the school year to a close.

The 2024 graduating class we will be celebrating Monday night continues the longstanding tradition of academic excellence by our seniors.
Here is a snapshot:
*1,027 seniors (551 at JC, 476 at BJ)
*63 percent (647 seniors) earned $72.24 million in scholarships, with $30.2 million accepted for an average of $46,751 accepted.
*182 (18 percent) scored a 30 or above on the ACT, and 38 percent had a 4.0 or higher GPA.
*MCS had an impressive 28 National Merit Finalists, a U.S. Presidential Scholar (one of only 3 in Alabama and 161 nationwide) and a Presidential Scholar semifinalist.
I am so proud of all of our graduates and the paths they are about to embark on, whether that be heading straight into the workforce, technical school, military or higher education.

I feel incredibly blessed to be part of Madison City Schools and excited to think of the positive future for our district. The successes are a testament to the wonderful teachers, principals, administrators, support workers, students, parents, citizens, and community partners in our school family. The dedication of our employees is reinforced each year in annual visits to schools and district operations to present Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Year awards. See our 2023-2024 TOTY SMOTY winners here. The visits also allowed us to thank our retirees with a gift bag and to wish them well.

The closing of a school year means that our team is busy preparing for the opening of the next school year. Part of that includes revising our strategic plan with input from stakeholders. As we wrap up the 2023-2024 school year, I would like to ask you to take a few minutes to provide feedback through one of our surveys: Parent/Guardian Survey, Student Survey for Middle and High School Students, or Stakeholder Survey for community members who do not have a school-age child.

I would like to commend Coach Smith and the Bob Jones baseball team for winning the state championship this week in Jacksonville. The Patriots won the state 7A playoff against Central of Phenix City. I also commend Heritage Elementary for being recertified as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School for continuing growth of innovative learning programs. JC’s innovative JetsPress arts and audio-visual program, under the direction of instructor Clay Combs, recently earned JC a statewide School of Distinction award by CLAS (Council of Leaders of Alabama Schools). 
Congratulations also to James Clemens Principal Dr. Kerry Donaldson for being named state PTA Principal of the Year, and to Bob Jones senior Samantha Si-Wai Chan for being named a U.S. Presidential Scholar finalist. There are only 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars nationwide and three from Alabama so this is a tremendous honor. MCS is also proud of our 28 National Merit Finalists split nearly evenly between BJ and JC.

We had a number of student recognitions at our last Board meeting for outstanding achievements. These include: Mill Creek and Bob Jones greenpower teams for national wins at Talladega; Liberty Middle baseball for back-to-back County Championship wins, PTA Reflections Contest winners and several of our wonderful PTA officers.
I would also like to congratulate James Clemens senior Finley Koswoski and Journey Middle 8th grader Kyla Chandrakasem for winning DAR essay contests in American History, and Bob Jones and James Clemens  track and field athletes, and to Esports teams at both schools for performances in recent state competitions. Special recognition goes to Kristen Brown, Liberty Middle science teacher, for being in the Final Four for Alabama Teacher of the Year. That’s a huge accomplishment with approximately 48,000 schoolteachers in Alabama.

Finally, I would like to commend our Madison City Schools Transportation Department for continuing its unblemished safety record in bus inspections. A state review of inspection proficiency showed no major deficiencies for the 11th year in a row. That’s an important safety record to uphold with a bus fleet of over 100 that covers 1.1 million miles a year transporting more than 6,000 students daily.

“Empowering All Students”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent


District Update 5/03/2024

Dear MCS Parents,

The school year is winding down fast with commencement just around the corner. Graduations will be Monday, May 20th, at the Von Braun Center, with James Clemens at 2 p.m and Bob Jones at 6 p.m. I look forward to seeing our seniors, families and friends as we celebrate this important milestone. I want to remind you that Monday, May 20, is an e-Learning Day for all students so there will be no on-campus classes that day. Then Tuesday and Wednesday, (May 21-22) are half-days in school for students for teacher collaborative time.

This Saturday, May 4, will mark the first MadFest Day in Madison, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Madison City Stadium. This is a student-initiated, student led community wide event that combines festival fun with community service. I am so proud of our students for initiating and planning this free event that should appeal to the entire family. Learn more at https://www.madfest.info/ You can also listen to my podcast interview on MadFest with student organizers Drew Crocker, Simon Adkins and Sophia Johnson.

I want to give a big shoutout to Bob Jones baseball for winning the area championship. Both BJ and JC baseball advanced to the elite 8 state playoffs this week. James Clemens won last night to advance to the state semifinals. Bob Jones plays this afternoon in their pursuit to advance to the state semifinals. Good luck also to BJ and JC track teams which also advanced to the state track and field championship.

Our World Languages programs are closing out the year on a busy note, with language competitions, tests and other foreign language challenges for students. Here’s a snapshot of recent activities: a National French Contest by JC students, a Spanish Assembly at Discovery Middle School involving BJ, DMS, Journey Middle and Liberty Middle Spanish programs; JC award winners from the National Latin Exam.

Our JetsPress program at JC is working on a full length movie, “Tomatoes and Marigolds,” that they hope to premier later this year in local theaters. I am very proud of the program under the leadership of Mr. Clay Combs. Check out the
story that WAFF48 aired. Also, JC’s Career Tech Academy recently won several awards at the Skills USA competition in Mobile, including 1st Place in the Digital Cinema category. Special congratulations to students Diya Patel and Arden Sindel, and to Mr. Combs for leading his students to excellence. Kudos also to the JCHS Technology Student Association for its awards from the recent TSA State conference.

I want to commend Madison City Chess League students for their performance at the recent state chess championship. It was an honor to recognize them at our Board meeting.
I also want to thank The Schools Foundation and Committee of 100 for their continued support for the National Board Certified Teacher program. They gave a sizable contribution at the Board meeting to help more teachers become NBCT certified. Also at the Board meeting, the Tennessee Valley Authority awarded generous STEM grants to Mill Creek, Heritage, Rainbow, Columbia and Horizon elementary schools, and Journey and Discovery middle schools.

Athletic signings are great to celebrate but we also like to celebrate students for their academic pursuits. Bob Jones recently held a signing ceremony for students embarking on an education career: Reagan Burgess, Mississippi State; and the following UNA-bound students: Katerina Fedoseyev, Savannah Gaertner, Annie Gehring, Naomi Madkins, Abigail (Abby) Preus, Congratulations. BJ and JCHS will be holding signings for students embarking on a military path and various academic disciplines.


We had another successful round of Career Expos at both JC and BJ. They each were attended by hundreds of students. I want to thank our Career Tech coaches, Ms. Sara Baragona, Michelle Hyams and Jodi Jones, for the hard work they put into organizing job expos, industry tours, industry speakers in classes, and more, to help students find their career/college/military interests and learn the pathways to get there. Watch for an article on our college and career coaches in the May edition of Madison Living Magazine.

I would like to congratulate Liberty Middle science teacher Kristen Brown for advancing from a Sweet 16 finalist to the Final 4 in the State Teacher of the Year program. The Alabama State Department of Education will soon announce the finalist, and we know she is the most deserving.

On a final note, I am excited to share that we have two new opportunities for rising seniors for the 2024-2025 school year: Madison Hospital Ambassador Program and Dual Enrollment EMT on our campus. The Madison Hospital Ambassador Program will be available for seniors who have completed a minimum of two classes in one Career Tech Academy. Applications are due Friday, May 10. Click here for the application and more information about the Madison Hospital Ambassador Program. The Calhoun Dual Enrollment EMT program will be open to BJ and JC seniors and held on the campus of James Clemens. Click here for more information about the EMT program. More details will be released soon from the high schools. Please send questions to Michelle Hyams at mghyams@madisoncity.k12.al.us for JCHS or Sara Baragona at sjbaragona@madisoncity.k12.al.us for BJHS. 


“Empowering All Students”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent


District Update 4/17/2024

Dear MCS Parents,
It is an exciting time in our school district as we enter the last few weeks of school. I recently met with our Student Advisory group and had excellent feedback on areas our students feel make our district outstanding. They also shared ideas on improving our district and programmatic and facility needs for the future. Meeting with these students is such a blessing to me. We are so fortunate to have wonderful students who want our district to be the best in the nation.

In the meeting, the students discussed the success of the district in providing many electives and extracurricular programs. These opportunities for our students are a hallmark of the district. However, as the district grows, it will be a challenge to continue all of these programs due to funding issues. Many of these programs have to operate in subpar facilities. In a few weeks, I will present to our Board a 2030 Capital Plan for the future of MCS. This plan will address upgrading aging facilities in our older schools both academically and athletically.
As we know, by the year 2030, the district will be approaching 15,000 students. The plan will address meeting that challenge and being able to continue to provide opportunities for all of our students. I look forward to sharing this plan in the summer and fall in several meetings around our district and gathering input from our community members.

Our next Career Fair for certified position employment in the Madison City School system is tomorrow (Thursday, April 18th) at Journey Middle on 217 Celtic Drive, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the gym. Come meet and talk with elementary and secondary administrators to learn about employment opportunities in this outstanding school district. A Job Fair for non-certified positions like custodian, transportation, CNP, and other paraprofessionals will be April 22, 4-6 p.m. at the Central Office.

The next Mental Health Matters VIRTUAL learning series for parents will be on May 1st, at noon, led by school-based therapists from The Enrichment Center. The session, titled Technology and Mental Health, will provide insight into how technology can impact mental health (in both positive and negative ways), signs to be aware of, and resources and tips to help.
Click here for information and Zoom registration.

Over 400 James Clemens High School students participated in the Redstone Federal Credit Union Reality Fair on April 11 to help them understand financial literacy and obligations. This is a large-scale version of the “Game of Life” interactive budgeting simulation. The students started with a random budgeting scenario, an assigned occupation and starting salary, to see how well they could manage their financial decisions while visiting 12 booths that simulated different categories like housing, transportation, meals, entertainment, childcare, and credit. RFCU Employees as well as JCHS student tellers facilitated the 12 stations. We appreciate the partnership with RFCU and their Youth Financial Education program.

Bob Jones High School hosted a Career Expo on campus last Friday with dozens of exhibits for students to visit. The Career Expo provides a platform to expose students to different career paths, along with networking opportunities with professionals in the field. On-the-spot interview opportunities were also available for students planning to enter the workforce immediately after high school. A similar Career Expo will be at James Clemens High School April 24.

I am proud of the many ways our teachers go above and beyond their classroom duties to improve their instructional skills. Four of our teachers recently earned grants from the national “Fund for Teachers” organization that awards money for professional development: Rebecca McDaniel, Rainbow Elementary; Kristin Stundtner, Heritage Elementary, Beth Woodard, Madison Elementary; and Liz Vaughn, James Clemens High School. You can learn more about the national Fund for Teachers program and the focus of these teachers’ grants in this link.

I had the pleasure of attending a Make-A-Wish reveal celebration last week at James Clemens High School where students raised over $10,000 to make the dream of a Mill Creek 5th grader a reality. I am so proud of our students for making a dream trip to Los Angeles and Hollywood possible for our student amidst a major health issue she is dealing with. Giving to others is an important life skill that is modeled in all of our schools. WHNT story here: https://tinyurl.com/2usttmrs
Journey Middle School has joined all of Madison City Schools as a Purple Star School. This is a state credential that schools and school districts can earn with support systems in support for military families. All MCS schools have qualified as Purple Star Schools since the state program was launched in 2021. We are pleased to add our new Journey Middle School as a state-sanctioned Purple Star School.

Congratulations to Discovery Middle student Nikita Prabhakar for recognition at the National Stem Festival in Washington, D.C. for her development of a non-invasive sensor for monitoring blood loss in menorrhagia - an innovation of which she’s been directed to pursue a patent for. Her science teacher at DMS is Scott Smith. Congratulations also to Lydia Hosmer, 7th grader at Liberty Middle, for placing 3rd in the State Archery Tournament. Her PE teacher/coach, Martha Prichard, said Lydia is reported to be the first MCS student to place individually in the Alabama State Archery Tournament.

Finally, I would like to invite you to check out my latest Sittin’ WIth The Supe podcast on our wonderful Outdoor Classroom programs. My guests are Beth Woodard, gifted specialist and Outdoor Classroom Manager at Madison Elementary; and community partner April Waltz of the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

“Empowering All Students”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent

District Update 4/05/2024

Dear MCS Parents,
It has been an exciting few weeks since we enjoyed spring break. Each day brings more and more activities that highlight our wonderful students. With only seven weeks left until summer, all our schools are in high gear with field trips, field days, sports and extracurricular activities, and final preparations for graduation. The 2023-2024 school year has brought highlights at the state, regional, and national levels from our students and staff. I cannot thank our MCS family for your support and dedication to Empowering ALL of our Students!

April is the Month of The Military Child and our schools will hold activities to honor our military children. While military members serve around the world, we often forget the challenges faced by their children. Military families move on average every two to three years, impacting military children through changing schools and support networks. Madison City Schools has S2S (student-to-student) peer groups in every school to help military children and all new students build peer friendships and adjust to their new schools. This year our annual “Purple Up” day will be celebrated on Friday, April 19 and everyone is encouraged to wear purple that day in support of our military students and their families.

I am always in awe of the many students who take on leadership roles serving our district. Two students deserve mention this week: Erik Wu and Neyan Sezhian. These two juniors from James Clemens High School developed, organized, and ran a district math tournament last week for middle schoolers. JC Math teacher Kristin Hartland said the students were motivated by the lack of local math competitions and events and decided to do something about it. From question development to fund-raising from sponsorship, logistics, and outreach, their dedication was instrumental in shaping this initiative.

Our high school drama/theater programs continue to show their talents in performances. Mark your calendars for the musical, Mean Girls, at Bob Jones HS on April 11-13th, and 18-20 at 7 p.m. each night; with 2 p.m. shows on April 13 and 20th. James Clemens Theater will put on Cyrano de Bergerac on April 18/19th at 7 p.m., and April 20th at 2 & 7 p.m.

Congratulations to the following:
*MCS recipients of Madison Visionary Partners awards including BOE member Alice Lessmann (Philanthropic Businessperson of the Year), BJ senior Drew Crocker (Youth Volunteer of the Year), and nominees MCS educator Michelle Hyams, BJ senior Savannah Gaertner, and JC senior Finley Koswoski.
*Congratulations to LMS Science Teacher, Mrs. Kristen Brown, on being announced today as an Alabama Sweet 16 Finalist for State Teacher of the Year! Congratulations, Mrs. Brown!!!
*Liberty Math team for its 1st place finish at the State MathCounts competition. Eighth-grader Jeffrey Duan won 1st in individual scores and will compete at Nationals.
*Bob Jones Chess Team for winning the State Chess Championship. Players include Xavier Bruni, Andrew Yang, Steven Pan, Nirvana Rajbhandari, Aadi Saxena, and Jacob New.
*BJ Patriot Racing green power team for excellent finishes in the GreenpowerUSA Diverse Power Grand Prix in LaGrange, GA. The BJ Red team placed 1st in the F24 Advanced modified division while Blue teams in the Advanced modified and Advanced custom divisions placed 2nd. The wins secured BJ a spot in the Greenpower USA National Championship in Talladega in May
*Elaine Weng at JCHS for her self-portrait winning best in show in the statewide Visual Arts Achievement program contest.
*Optimist Club Essay Contest winners: Justin Roh (1st), Andrew Crocker (2nd), and Millie Hoksbergen (3rd), all from BJHS. Winning teacher Nichole Murray. I also want to thank the Optimist Club for its faithful support of our schools. At last night’s BOE meeting, Optimist leaders awarded several thousand dollars in grants to 17 MCS programs across various schools for STEM, ESL, Library, Greenpower, math and robotics teams, and more.

I would like to thank Redstone Federal Credit Union for committing a team of about 30 employees to lead a Financial Literacy Reality Fair for career prep students at BJ and JC.
This is a “Game of Life interactive budgeting simulation where students start with a random budgeting scenario and salary. The challenge is seeing how well they manage their financial decisions while visiting a dozen booths that simulate different expense categories like housing, transportation, meals, entertainment, childcare, credit, and unplanned expenses like health and major auto expenses. The BJ Fair was gratifying seeing so many students actively engaged and surprised by their money at the end of the month. JC’s Reality Fair will be next week.
 
On April 8, a solar eclipse will cross North America. While north Alabama is not in the path of totality, a partial eclipse will be visible. Schools sent permission forms home for students to view the eclipse the afternoon of April 8 with certified, solar eclipse glasses that will be provided. Students must have a signed permission form in order to view the eclipse. Please remind your student that the eclipse will still be occurring during some dismissal times and students should refrain from looking at the sun without protective solar eclipse glasses.

“Empowering All Students”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent


4/01/2024
Early Dismissal Tuesday, April 2

Dear Parents,

I want to inform you that school will be dismissed early tomorrow due to the forecast of severe weather conditions. High winds, heavy rain, and the possibility of tornadoes are expected. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we believe it is best to release students early to ensure they can get home safely. Pre-K will release students at 11 a.m., elementary schools at 11:30 a.m., and middle and high schools at 12:15 p.m.  All after-school activities are canceled.

We will continue to monitor the weather closely and provide updates as necessary.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Best regards,
Ed Nichols

 

3/25/2024

Dear MCS Parents,

I hope everyone had a relaxing and fun few days during the recent spring break. We have now started the final 9 weeks of the school year. It seems like yesterday that this new year kicked off in August. Of course, these final few weeks will be filled with state-mandated testing, awards ceremonies, and graduation. Before we know it, the Class of 2024 will toss their mortar boards into the air and head out on the next journey of life.

Our band and choir programs continuously demonstrate excellence at all their performances. Their latest scores from this year’s festivals highlight the talent that we have in our student performers and their instructors. Choirs from Discovery, Liberty, and James Clemens received straight superior ratings this year. Our middle school bands from Discovery and Liberty received Superior ratings for their Symphonic Band and their Concert Band. Journey Middle School Band received an Excellent rating in stage and a Superior rating in site reading. At the high school level, Wind Ensembles at Bob Jones and James Clemens scored all Superior ratings. In addition, the James Clemens Symphonic Band 1 and Symphonic Band 2 scored straight Superior ratings in stage and site reading, while Bob Jones High School Concert Band and Symphonic Band received Superior ratings. Although I would expect nothing less from these talented young musicians, often if a group is so consistent, they may be overlooked. I want to use this opportunity to shine a light on all our performers this week and thank our tremendous fine arts teachers.

I would like to congratulate the following MCS students and educators for outstanding achievements:

*JC senior Bhavya Chalasani for numerous academic awards/recognitions including Early Acceptance into the College of Medicine at USA and a coveted spot in its Mitchell Scholars program which includes the largest business scholarship in Alabama.
*Katy Scott, Midtown 3rd grade teacher, for being featured as Fox-54’s Top Teacher.
*Recipients of the Madison Visionary Partners awards which celebrate people who make a positive difference in MCS and the greater Madison community. Recipients include BOE member Alice Lessmann and several of our students and faculty members.
*Shemeaka King, 2nd grade teacher at Mill Creek Elementary for her leadership in the use of technology in the classroom to amplify and transform learning in our schools. Shemeaka was recently featured on GoGuardians Teacher Page for incorporating this technique.
*James Clemens HOSA students for winning numerous awards at the state HOSA conference. Also, JC SGA students for awards from the recent Student Council Association’s State Conference.
*Members of the Lady Patriots Basketball Team at BJ for signing athletic scholarships last week: Janiyah Bone and Alana Obianozie (Shelton State), and Jordan Fields (Bishop State).
*JCHS athletes signing scholarships last week: Cade McCombs, Auburn University (swimming); Austin Abney, University of Montevallo, (track and field).
*Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle, and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program. Brooke Sigler was selected as the 2023-2024 elementary teacher for this award at the local post level and Sara Baragona was selected as the 2023-2024 middle school teacher for this award at the local post level. Sara Baragona was also selected as the District winner and will advance to the state competition. Congratulations, Mrs. Sigler and Mrs. Baragona!

The Bob Jones Science Academy will be hosting the science challenge for 3-5th grade students in Madison City Schools. A fun day for all with a short test followed by science labs and activities (including kits from Hudson/Alpha, stethoscope/blood pressure, trophies, poster/cartoon contests and more). BJ science students will lead this free event. Click here for more information.

On April 8, a solar eclipse will cross North America. While north Alabama is not in the path of totality, a partial eclipse will be visible. Schools will be sending out permission forms for students to view the eclipse the afternoon of April 8 with certified, solar eclipse glasses that will be provided.

Check out the latest “60 seconds” in Madison City Schools showcasing highlights from across the district.

“Empowering All Students”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent


3/06/24
Dear MCS Parents,
Friday marks the last day of school before Spring Break and concludes the third nine weeks of the school year. It is hard to believe that we only have nine weeks remaining of the 2023-2024 school year. This year has brought many wonderful moments and accolades for our schools and students. We continue to see student growth, and are currently planning not only our new elementary school but how we will address increased student enrollment at our high schools. I look forward this spring to sharing future plans for our ever-growing district. I hope everyone has an enjoyable spring break and look forward to seeing everyone when school returns March 18.


Madison City Schools welcomes the newest member of the MCS family - Daryl, the facility dog at Midtown Elementary. Daryl joins Madison Elementary’s, Barnie, as the District’s 2nd facility dog assigned to one of our schools. They are a great addition to our team in the mental health and wellness in our schools. Applications are pending for two more facility dogs for our elementary schools.

Speaking of mental health, MCS is hosting a virtual Mental Health Matters session later this month that we invite you to be a part of. The virtual Mental Health Informed Parent session will be Wednesday, March 20, at noon, led by school-based therapists from The Enrichment Center. The program will help supportive adults learn how to identify signs of a mental health struggle as well as ways to proactively support youth mental health. Registration and more info can be found in this link.

The CDC updated its Respiratory Virus Guidance to align Covid-19 with other respiratory illnesses. The specific guidelines can be found on our district website.  

I would like to congratulate Bob Jones baseball for its huge win last weekend at The Perfect Game tournament in Hoover. The Patriots beat Florida’s private IMG Academy which was the nation’s top ranked team entering the tourney at Hoover Met Stadium. The Pats’ 11-6 victory snapped IMG’s 36-game winning streak since April 2022. Great performance over an elite private school with a high number of D1 commits.

I had the pleasure again of taking part in the annual State of Schools event hosted by The Schools Foundation. It was an honor to join fellow superintendents Dr. Clarence Sutton of Huntsville City Schools and Mr. Ken Kubik of Madison County Schools to discuss issues, highlights and challenges in our respective districts. We also shared concerns about the governor’s proposed school choice act, which would redirect millions of state education dollars from public schools for parent tax credits to use for private schools, without holding private schools to the same accountability standards. Bob Jones senior Jonah Moro took part in a student panel discussion on ways internship opportunities help prepare students (his was at STI Electronics). Third grade teachers Lindsey Mullin (Midtown) and Melissa Miller (Mill Creek) attended as my special guests to recognize during the superintendents’ discussion.

Congratulations to Ebba Dutelleo of BJ for being awarded a women’s soccer team scholarship with Union University, and to BJ basketball players Alana Obianozie and Janiyah Bone for being selected to the state’s 12-player roster in the Alabama vs Mississippi girls All-Star basketball game this month.

I also want to commend Heritage Elementary for earning a spot on the Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll, the highest honor the national Leader In Me initiative can award a school. Congratulations to Heritage also for being in the top 25 percent of schools in Alabama in Academic excellence. James Clemens High School also earned high honors recently by being named a CLAS School of Distinction for its award winning JetsPress Arts A/V program. CLAS is Council For Leaders in Alabama Schools.

If you are not aware of the mobile HEALS Clinic which makes its rounds to several of our schools, a James Clemens senior has produced some wonderful PSA spots that explain what HEALS does. For her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Lexi Regensburger produced some
short videos and graphics with QR Codes that are posted in health services on our website.  Great work Alexia. While on the subject of student wellness, I would like to congratulate Columbia Elementary school nurse Laura Dickinson for attaining National Board Certified School Nurse accreditation. She joins MCS Supervising Nurse Becky Turner and JCHS clinic nurse June Lawniczak in earning this professional school nurse credential.

March 3-9 is School Social Workers week. Join me in thanking our district social workers Briana Hawkins, Heather Meyers and Deanna Haataja for all that they do for our MCS students and families.

Finally, our latest “Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast features STEM teachers Julie Vandiver from CES, Kawanna Gardner (PreK), Megan Gowan (Horizon) and Chrissy Stegherr (MES). Join us in this enlightening discussion about our growing STEM programs in elementary schools and their benefit to student learning. 

Have a great Spring break!

“Empowering All Students”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent

 

2/22/24
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
Superintendent

 

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
Superintendent

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
Superintendent

 

1/22/2024

Parents,

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


1/21/2024

Schools Closed Monday, Jan. 22

 

Parents,

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

 

1/18/2024

Parents,

Madison City Schools will remain closed Friday, Jan. 19, due to forecasts for a 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

1/17/2024

Parents,

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

1/16/2024

Parents,

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).

1/15/2024
Parents,

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

1/14/2024

School Weather Update 1/14/2024

Parents,

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

01/11/2024

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:

https://youtu.be/DZfqgovxPYo

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,


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
Superintendent


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
Superintendent

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
Superintendent

 

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 Trunbauer 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
Superintendent

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
Superintendent

 

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
Superintendent


District Update 9/18/2023

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
Superintendent

 

Madison Bowl Message 9/7/2023
Dear MCS Parents,

Tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 8) 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
.
MADISON CITY STADIUM GUIDELINES

  • 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. 

PARKING & GATES

  • 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
Superintendent

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 link 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

Superintendent


 
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
Superintendent

District Update 6/12/2023
Dear 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
Superintendent

 

District Update 5/09/2023

Dear MCS Parents,
I would like to remind everyone that Monday, May 15, will be an e-learning day for all students. That is graduation day for Madison City Schools. Ceremonies for Bob Jones start at 2 p.m. and James Clemens at 7 p.m. Both will be in the Von Braun Civic Center arena. Here is the livestream link for both graduations: https://player.castr.com/live_378d47e0eddb11ed9d03a357e01044fe

This is the time of year we announce our Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Year (TOTY-SMOTY) at each school, the Central Office and Transportation.Traveling around the district to personally inform them of the honor along with a $500 check is always a highlight. These employees are selected by peers at their respective workplaces. We are blessed in MCS to have the best teachers, principals, admins and support staff anywhere.

Giving back has always been a major hallmark of Madison City Schools.That virtue played out big recently at Bob Jones High School where hundreds of volunteers - under the direction of SGA leaders - packed food boxes for more than 50,000 meals. The food will be distributed to local food pantries. It was an honor to work alongside such giving students, teachers, parents and community volunteers to provide food assistance for those in need.  

I would like to give a shoutout to our U.S. presidential scholar semifinalists. Two of the 10 in Alabama are from Madison City Schools: Thais R. Arslanbekov of Bob Jones and Max A. Wyche of James Clemens. Congratulations to both for their hard work.
Also noteworthy is our strong Seal of Biliteracy program. James Clemens and Bob Jones have approximately 38 students each who will be graduating with a Seal of Biliteracy distinction on their diploma. The achievement signifies the students’ proficiency in both the social (speaking and listening) and academic (reading and writing) uses of language in English and one or more other languages. This year’s Seal of Biliteracy students spread across 10 different languages.
Congratulations to the Mario Kart varsity esports team under coach Pam Paquette at James Clemens HS for winning their 2nd Central Region Championship. Now, on to the national PlayVSCup!.

Congratulations to Ashwin Prabhakar at BJHS and Shreya Sunil at JCHS for being 2023 Gorgas Scholarship recipients and Alabama Science Scholar Search. Congratulations also to Bob Jones Tennis (boysfor its highest ever finish at the recent AHSAA State Tournament.

Saturday’s Madison CEO Showcase at Signalink was a hit. I was very impressed with the creativity and business-savvy skills of our students. A big thanks to the Madison City Chamber and business partners for giving students insights into business practices such as product development, marketing, competition, cost controls and more.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending an awards ceremony by CLAS (Council of Leadership for Alabama Schools) where Columbia Elementary was named as a CLAS Banner School of Distinction.The recognition was for Columbia’s Buddy Program fostering more interactions between students in general education and those in self-contained classrooms. The Buddy Program makes sure each child - regardless of their differences, unique abilities or challenges - feels loved, accepted and celebrated.
Our May 2 Board meeting was packed with student and team recognitions. It is always a pleasure to recognize students and teachers for their achievements. I want to commend the DMS Soccer team, and the Science Olympiad teams from LMS, JC and LMS Science Bee for their top performances in recent competition.
Congratulations also to the Council of PTA student scholarship recipients, PTA Reflections winners, PTA chapter awards and PTA teacher and staff members of the year.
I am pleased to offer the latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast featuring our archery program. Tune in to hear what students from Horizon Elementary and their coach and faculty sponsor say about the program and its benefits.

Finally, I want to take a moment to recognize our wonderful teachers during this Teacher Appreciation week in Alabama. Their role in the learning and development of our students cannot be overstated. Our PTAs are rocking it at local schools during Teacher Appreciation week. At the district level, MCS, Huntsville City, and Madison County partnered with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber with special deals this month. I hope you will take time to thank a teacher, support staff, bus driver, nurse, CNP worker and others involved in their education and development at your child's school.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

District Update 4/24/23

Dear MCS Parents,
I will begin with some very exciting news. 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.

For those who may have missed it, I am excited to report Dr. Kerry Donaldson has been named  the new principal at James Clemens High School. The Board approved moving him from interim to permanent principal. Dr. Donaldson brings dedication, leadership, respect, insight and enthusiasm to the job. He is a valuable asset to the Jet family and to Madison City Schools.

I would like to remind everyone that there will be NO school this Friday, April 28. That is a weather makeup day that was built into the 2022-2023 school year district calendar. The district implemented E-learning days rather than close schools when inclement weather was forecast.

I was honored last week to celebrate Columbia Elementary being named a CLAS Banner School of Distinction. CLAS is the Council of Leadership for Alabama Schools. The selection centered on Columbia’s Best Buddy program with its focus on increasing interactions between general education and special education students. We want to make sure that every student - regardless of their differences, abilities or challenges - feels loved, accepted, and most importantly, celebrated.

This past week, 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. Furthermore, the district will adopt a software package that will streamline information concerning discipline and mental health issues in the district. Finally, Dr. West is working on updating external security at all locations this summer. These enhanced security measures are just the first steps in upgrading our procedures and policies in this area.

April is the month of the Military Child. MCS values its military families and tries to support them through strong S2S (student-2-student) support chapters in schools, special events, and numerous other ways that are included in the Military Section under the Parents & Students tab of our website. Guests for my latest Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast discuss our S2S programs and Alabama’s new Purple Star school program sanctioning all Madison City Schools.

This summer, Drake State is hosting STEM summer programs for interested teachers and students. The Drake State STEM Summer Bridge CAMP for rising 10th - 12th grade students will be held June 5-22. Students will receive instruction in math, physics, and computer science as well as an introduction to college life and a STEM career overview. Use the following link to apply for this opportunity: https://forms.gle/jHV6JyThpXGkYJU78. For math, science, and STEM teachers in grades 6-12, Drake State is also hosting a week-long STEM teacher training. It runs from June 12-16, 9:00 am - 2.30 pm. The training features a NASA-inspired curriculum, industry tours, and hands-on activities. Use the following link to apply for this opportunity: https://forms.gle/jXhfMvVaoQ7D9mhV7

Congratulations to EL teachers Beth Massey of Madison Elementary and Lauren Hillis from Rainbow Elementary for being awarded a $10,000 grant in the coveted “Fund for Teachers Grant” for a study trip to Japan. Their application listed a learning goal to immerse themselves in the culture and everyday experiences of Japan. They will use this experience to help shape teaching approaches and develop a deeper understanding of Japan’s culture to better connect with students and their families.

Whether in team or individual competitions in academics, sports, music, or arts, our students excel in so many of those events that it is impossible to recognize them all. Here is a sampling from this past week.
Congrats to the JC Girls Tennis team on their 2nd place finish in the 7A sectional competition, advancing to the State Championship in Mobile. Boys moved to the semi-finals.
The Bob Jones Boys won sectionals and advanced to the State Championship in Mobile while Girls Tennis finished a strong 3rd in sectionals.
Liberty Middle won 1st in 15 of the 23 events in the State Science Olympiad. JC also won so both LMS and JC will be competing at the National Science Olympiad Tournament in Wichita later in May. It’s the first state win for JC in the Science Olympiad.
Bands did a fantastic job at the recent Festival Disney in Orlando with LMS being the only middle school to have two competing bands. Symphonic Band earned a Superior rating and won the Gold Mickey trophy for the top score in its division. Liberty also won Best in Class over all middle school groups. Virginia Hardy won Festival Disney solo competition with a clarinet solo, while Anna Stewart and Evie Gibbons won the Festival Disney small ensemble competition with a flute duet.
The Technology Student Association at JC placed 1st in state in Audio Podcasting, Biotechnology Design, Data Science and Analytics, Prepared Presentation; and 2nd in Forensic Science, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Coding.
Bob Jones Band demonstrated its excellence at the recent WGI World Championship in Dayton, Ohio with BJ Winds winning the Scholastic A Class competition with a score of 93.850 with its show, “The Cloud Makers.” The BJ drumline, as well as the BJ Color Guard, also performed exceptionally well even after being elevated to more competitive divisions.


Glad To Be Here!
Ed Nichols
Superintendent


District Update 4/10/2023
 

Dear MCS Parents,

Madison City Schools takes a proactive approach in educating our kids and community against substance abuse and its consequences. Our longstanding relationship with the Partnership for a Drug Free Community results in countless lessons to secondary students on the dangers of illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol and vaping.
Today, I want to call your attention to the rising - and often deadly - trend of Fentanyl use across our community, state and nation. The seriousness of this drug and its increasing emergence in our teen population cannot be overstated.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11)  Madison City Schools and the Partnership for a Drug Free Community are hosting a  free program on Facts About Fentanyl. The program is from 6-8 p.m. in the main board room of the MCS Central Office, 211 Celtic Drive. Attendees will hear from a panel of professionals, ask questions, and leave with a Parent Toolkit.

Our School Resource Officers play a vital role in our push against illegal and dangerous substances by building healthy relationships with students. Elementary SROs begin this outreach in their "Too Good For Drugs" program starting in 5th grade that informs about the dangers and includes skills on making healthy choices, building positive friendships, developing self efficacy, communicating effectively and resisting negative peer pressure. The push against drugs, alcohol, tobacco and vaping continues in secondary schools with instruction on consequences, which could include expulsion and criminal sanctions.
Just like every community, Madison faces the growing and ongoing challenge to keep our kids away from harmful substances such as nicotine, alcohol, vapes, and illegal drugs including Fentanyl. Unfortunately, many of these are easily available to students so schools are forced to address them.

We ask for parents to have age-appropriate conversations on these dangers with their children. There have been many instances throughout the country where students have taken a substance later determined to be more harmful than portrayed or assumed. I want to commend our Security and Emergency Management Coordinator, Dr. David West, for his role in student safety through programs such the one on April 11. Mark your calendars to attend. It is open to anyone in or outside the Madison City Schools district.

I want to congratulate our Special Education Department for the successful Best Buddy Field Day program last week at James Clemens High School. Staff, teachers and student and parent volunteers did a great job making this a meaningful day for both our elementary and secondary SPED students.

As we close out the year, our team will be updating and reviewing the Strategic Plan adopted by our Board. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete a survey that will help our team update our Strategic Plan. The survey will close this Friday, April 14. Thank you in advance for your feedback.
Collaboration was also key in the mock trauma simulation at JC involving Madison emergency responders and students from the health sciences program, theater/drama classes and JetsPress.The staged accident simulation, on the day before prom, served as a great reminder for students on the dangers of drunk or distracted driving.

The recent jobs/career fair at Bob Jones High School was a huge success. More than 30 employers were on hand to distribute flyers and answer questions about summer jobs, career/training opportunities and more. WHNT-19 aired a story focusing on our employment outreach to SPED students.
Last week the Board of Education approved a slight adjustment to the 2023-2024 school year calendar. Students will start school on August 3. Click here to see the revised 2023-2024 school year calendar.

I would like to recognize library-media specialist Bonnie Howard at Madison Elementary for being a finalist for Teacher of the Year for Alabama. She made the sweet-16 cut across the eight state school board districts in Alabama and is in the running for the final pick. This recognition is very deserving and we appreciate all of Ms. Howard’s work every day. Congratulations also to the student winners of the Optimist Club’s essay contest and to Allison Shratter at JCHS for being named the state’s Best Latin Teacher by the World Language Association of Alabama.

Finally, I want to remind our secondary students and families that tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11) is a virtual day for all 9th,10th and 12th graders at Bob Jones and James Clemens due to state mandated testing for 11th graders. All other schools will be holding a normal school day.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

 

District Update 3/28/2023  

Dear MCS Parents,

As I send this update, I know that all of us are saddened by the tragic school shooting yesterday in Nashville. The loss of student and staff lives is truly heartbreaking. Please know that our safety team, headed by Dr. West, is evaluating this situation as they do any situation like this across the country that affects a school. Prior to this event, our team was reviewing new additions to our safety and response programs for the district. We are planning several upgrades to our facilities this summer. In a few weeks, I will share with you some details on these upgrades. Facility upgrades would not be possible without your commitment to our district from the recent property tax increase. 

Adopting new textbooks is a requirement of the Alabama State Department of Education. The SDE develops statewide textbook committees who approve books for schools to use in Alabama. Each local district adopts a textbook committee that reviews the approved material and then makes a recommendation for the district. Part of the process is to allow the community to review these materials. Elementary ELA textbook review materials will be available for public review in the Madison City Schools Boardroom at 211 Celtic Drive on Wednesday, March 29, from 2 - 6 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to review samples from the state approved ELA programs the schools are currently reviewing. The materials being reviewed are Open Court (CORE program), Amplify CKLA (CORE program), and 95 Percent (supplemental phonics/word study program).

Technology and protecting our kids is a topic of growing concern to parents/guardians.
The next Mental Health Matters workshop sponsored by Madison City Schools addresses this. Come to the Madison Public Library tomorrow (Wednesday, March 29) from noon-1 p.m. for a program entitled: “Technology, Youth and Mental Health.” There, you will learn how technology affects our youth’s mental health in both positive and negative ways and what we can do to safeguard against dangers. Tips and resources will be discussed, including a phone contract, safety recommendations and helpful parental monitoring apps. These workshops are free but attendees are requested to pre-register through this link. I would like to thank our Mental Health Coordinator, Stephanie Allen, and our community mental health partners for these outstanding programs.

Cybersecurity programs in Madison City Schools are going strong. Last week, CyberHuntsville - a non-profit group designed to promote cybersecurity in the Tennessee Valley - reported that teams from Bob Jones and James Clemens earned the rank of state champions in the recent state CyberPatriot XV competition. JCHS won the Platinum Open Division and BJ the Platinum All Service Division. JC also had a runner-up team in the Silver Open Division. MCS Cyber programs will be featured in the April edition of Madison Living magazine.

Congratulations to Bob Jones senior Ashwin Prabhakar for securing the 2023 Gorgas Scholarship for Alabama, and senior Austen Wyche of James Clemens for being awarded the 2023 Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship. Congratulations also to Mill Creek’s Destination Imagination team for placing first in a recent state competition and Liberty Middle’s Science Bowl Teams for making the semifinals at a State Science Bowl competition last week in Mobile. I also want to commend all of our chess teams and individual players for their outstanding performance in state competition. It was an honor recognizing them along with their leaders, Ranae Bartlett and coaches, at our March 23 Board meeting. MCS is also proud to share that JC’s Ms. Allison Shratter won the Alabama World Language Association Best Latin Teacher award at its recent state and regional conference.

My guests for the latest Sittin’ With The Supe Podcast are leaders with our ELL (English Language Learners) program: federal programs specialist Kaetlyn Hermann, Liberty Middle teacher/EL Summer Camp teacher Micah York, and Heritage EL Teacher Jessie Mayes. You can access the Podcast here.

Within the next few weeks, I will be sending out surveys to gather feedback from our students, teachers, staff, and parents. Click here to preview the surveys.

Finally, I want to congratulate Travis Cummings for his reappointment by the City Council to the Madison City Board of Education. Mr. Cummings has been a tireless leader for Madison City Schools. His passion for students, vision for excellence and advocacy for employees have helped make Madison City Schools one of the best school systems in America. 

 

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent


District Update 3/10/2023

Dear MCS Parents,

As we finish this week and move into Spring Break, I want to wish everyone a safe and refreshing break. It is hard to believe that we are going to begin the last quarter of the school year. It just seems like yesterday that we held our open house meetings. I am certainly proud of our district and the many awards and accomplishments that have been part of this school year. Many of our students, teachers, staff and organizations have been recognized in our region, state and nationally. I recently had the pleasure of sharing these many accomplishments with community leaders in the Madison/Huntsville area. We are blessed to live in a community that supports our school system.

At our Board meeting last night, the Board approved purchasing bonds to build a new elementary school in our district. In this period of rapid growth of our city and school populations, we are continuing our efforts to keep our facilities balanced to meet the rising student enrollment. Our projections are that the school system will be around the 15,000 enrollment mark in the next 6 to 9 years. Our new elementary school will be needed to maintain a comfortable student balance in our schools. While this new school project begins to move forward, we are beginning the plans to expand our high schools.

I am asked many times if we are considering a new high school. The answer is no. There are many reasons for this answer, but the main reason is that the cost of  a new high school would certainly exceed 100 million dollars. The district currently does not have sustainable revenue to afford this type of debt service. Therefore, we are currently developing plans to add 10 additional classrooms at each high school. As we move closer to the end of the school year, I plan to send you a more detailed outline of our plans for future facilities. I want to thank you and our community at large for expanding our revenues a few years ago with our 12 mill tax increase. This overwhelming support of our community has allowed us to keep moving forward with facility expansions.

Our community partnerships are vital to the success of our district. I would like to thank the Madison City PTA Council for its annual sponsorship of the Reflections Arts Contest for students. This activity provides a wonderful way for students at all grade levels to submit creations in the categories of Visual Arts, Dance Choreography, Literature, Film Production, Music Composition and Photography. What a wonderful way to stimulate learning outside the classroom. See the 2023 Reflections winners here.

My latest Podcast is on our PreK program with guests Nichole Phillips, (administrator), lead teacher Lisa Koerlin and MCS Elementary Instruction Coordinator Melissa Mims. Use this link to access the program.

Congratulations to JC and BJ track team members for their performance in the recent Battle Royale track meet at JC involving more than 20 schools, and to JC HOSA and BJ HOSA students who placed in the Health Occupations Students of America State Leadership Conference last week.

Congratulations also to BJ Theater/Patriot Players for their performance at the South East Theater Conference (SETF) where they performed Opening Night For the Diva which earned a state trophy and two All-Star Cast members (Evan Willis and Mikala Calhoun) as well as Best Costumes and Outstanding Technical Excellence.

Last week, I was excited to attend the Special Olympic basketball game between James Clemens and Austin High. I am so proud of the JC student body that attended the game and cheered enthusiastically for both teams. There was even a line dancing exhibition by the Principal, Dr. Kerry Donaldson and the Superintendent. As I was leaving the game, I heard a young lady's voice call out my name. As I turned I recognized a former student that was playing on the Austin team. Many years ago, I helped her with swimming at a neighborhood pool. Today she is a young woman preparing to leave school. However, she reached out to me to remind me of the fun she had swimming that day as a small child. I am certainly proud that our district recognizes and supports the gifts of all of our students.

Mark your calendar for March 28 and April 20 for job/career fairs for Madison City Schools. Check out the employment opportunities in one of the best school systems in Alabama and America.

I would like to commend CNP staff at several of our schools for spearheading a peanut butter/non nut butter food drive for the “Spread the Love” campaign by the Food Bank of North Alabama. Together, CNP programs at BJ, JC, Madison, Heritage, Discovery and Liberty collected more than 1,000 jars of peanut butter totaling 1,403 pounds.

I am also proud of the cross country team at Heritage Elementary for fielding the most participants of any school in the Paper Chase 5K benefiting Free2Teach. The showing earned Heritage $1,500 from First Bank for technology and resources for its library,

I want to thank the Schools Foundation for its continued strong support for learning programs in our schools. The Foundation presented a check to the Heritage Elementary Greenpower Team to replace its aging Goblin car.

Congratulations to the BJ staff of the Patriot Pages news site and the staff of the Eclectic literary magazine for placing 1st in each category at the Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s competition. Also to Madison Tanner for winning the Bailey Thompson Award in Editorial Writing.

Finally, I would like to call your attention to the Science Challenge Fair hosted by BJHS on Sunday, March 26, for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Deadline to register is March 18. View website here  and event details here.

Remember to set your clocks ahead when going to bed Saturday night for Daylight Saving Time.


“Glad To Be Here!”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent

District Update 2/22/23

Dear MCS Parents,
Curriculum Night for our secondary schools continues this week and next. Journey Middle School will hold a Curriculum Night Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Discovery Middle School gymnasium for students being rezoned from Discovery. Time slots are 5 p.m for rising 6th graders and 6:30 p.m. for rising 7th and 8th graders.Journey-bound students from Liberty Middle had a Curriculum Night at LMS earlier this week.
Remaining Curriculum Nights for MCS secondary schools are as follows: Bob Jones High School on Feb. 23, Discovery Middle School on Feb. 28, and Liberty Middle on Feb. 28.

The Alabama State Department of Education is seeking feedback on the following courses of study that are being developed: Arts, Audiovisual Technology and Communications; Health Science; Human Services; and Science. Feedback is being accepted through 5:00 pm on March 2. Click here to access the draft state courses of study and the state feedback form.

As our district looks to adopt new textbooks, we provide opportunities for parents to review potential textbooks and give feedback. This year we have Career Tech (CTE) textbooks up for adoption. CTE textbooks will be available for review and feedback at the following times and locations: Liberty Middle School - February 21, 22, 23, 24, and 27 in the LMS Media Center from 3:30-4:30 pm; Discovery Middle School - February 21, 22, 23, 24, and 27 in the DMS Media Center from 3:30-4:30 pm; Bob Jones High School - February 23, 24, 27, 28, and March 1 in the BJHS Media Center from 3:30-4:30; and James Clemens High School - February 23,24, 27, 28, and March 1 in the JCHS Media Center from 3:30-4:30.
 
Our Seal of Biliteracy program continues to help grow students to be proficient in another language and prepare them for our increasingly global society. These JC German language students are the latest example of high performers. Congratulations!

My latest Sittin’ with the Supe’ Podcast features four of our amazing seniors - Olyvia English and Parx White from the Bob Jones Engineering Academy and Tara Flynn and Akshat “AK” Dubey from the James Clemens Health Science Academy. Tune in to hear them discuss their internship experiences and the course pathways that lead them toward their career interests.

The next Mental Health Matters workshop for parents is this Friday, Feb. 24, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Madison Public Library. This free program entitled, “Building Emotional Skills,” will cover ways to teach our children to understand their emotions as well as how to respond appropriately. The Madison library is at 130 Plaza Blvd.

Spring is a busy time in our schools as students prepare to transition to new schools for the next year. I certainly appreciate our teachers, counselors, staff and administrators for working to assist our students and parents in this important education transition. 


“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

 

District Update 2/13/23

Dear MCS Parents,

Congratulations to the BJHS, JCHS, and LMS cheer teams for their outstanding performances at Nationals. BJHS cheerleaders placed 12th in the nation in Small Varsity D1 (out of 114 teams). JCHS were named Champions at Nationals in Game Day NB, Small Varsity D1 (out of 114 teams), and Small World Champions. Congratulations also to JCHS and Liberty Middle Winter Guard teams for their performance in the Thompson Classic this past weekend. JC Varsity placed 1st in its Division and the JV Team placed 3rd. The LMS team placed 1st in their division.  

The Board and I were pleased to recognize the Bob Jones band for emerging as grand champions in three of four recent competitions, beating out dozens of bands. The band also won numerous "Outstanding" caption awards in categories such as Music, General Effect and Most Entertaining Show. U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalists from BJ were also recognized (JC semifinalists will be honored at a future BOE meeting.) See the jc/bj presidential scholars semifinalists here.
As a reminder, there is no school on Monday (Feb. 20th) in honor of Presidents’ Day. Also, this Friday (Feb.17th) is a collaborative work day for teachers, meaning a ½ day for students. Friday early dismissal times are as follows: PreK, 11; elementary, 11:30; middle and high school, 12:15.

Course registration for our secondary schools begins this week with the James Clemens High School Curriculum Night tonight (Feb. 13th).

The other secondary school curriculum nights are as follows: Journey Middle School on Feb 21st and 23rd; Bob Jones High School on  Feb. 23rd; Liberty Middle School on Feb 28th, and Discovery Middle School on Feb. 28th. For students who are interested in dual enrollment with Auburn First or UA Early College, click here for more information. For students who might be interested in the Academy of Craft Training program provided by the state department, click here for more information. 

Finally, the next Mental Health Matters workshop for parents is Friday, February 24, at the Madison Public Library, from noon-1 p.m. This free program, Building Emotional Skills, will focus on teaching children to understand their emotions as well as how to respond to them in a healthy, proactive way. MCS is pleased to offer these workshops by our Mental Health Services department.


“Glad To Be Here!”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent


District Update 2/13/23
 

Dear MCS Parents,
February is here and planning for the 2023-2024 school year has already begun. A big reminder of that has been happening every day outside my office window in the construction of the new Journey Middle School. I am happy to report completion is near and plans are being made for the opening this fall. Board members and I took a walk-through tour of Journey on Feb. 1. Here are a few pics from our site visit.

Guests for my latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast are Dr. Heather Donadson, Chief Academic Officer for MCS; and Mrs. Sharon Powell, Coordinator of Secondary Instruction. They talked about our secondary curricular offerings including AP and Career Tech options, updates in the state’s College and Career Readiness requirements and more. I urge secondary students and their parents to visit their school on Curriculum Night to help decide course options, review electives, and understand the educational pathways to each area of interest. Above all, ask questions. Teachers, school counselors and administrators are there to help. The Curriculum Nights schedule is as follows: Bob Jones, Feb. 23; James Clemens, Feb, 13; Discovery Middle, Feb. 28; Liberty Middle, Feb. 28; Journey Middle, Feb. 21 and 23. Access the podcast here or on Apple or Spotify podcasts.

National School Counseling Week is February 6-10. Our MCS school counselors help increase student success and provide a much-needed resource for students, teachers, parents and administrators. Please join me in recognizing the integral role they play in our schools and thank them for all that they do.

Congratulations to the Mill Creek Greenpower team for its 1st place finish at the Choccolocco Green Prix Race in Oxford. In addition to the team’s top placement, students earned several top three finishes as well. See Madison Record report.

The winners for the 2023 State Superintendent’s Visual Art Exhibition include two students from Madison City Schools: Rachel Zhang, 5th grader at Columbia; and Aashima Martin, 8th grader at Liberty Middle. That’s fantastic! MCS is proud of you. See their art here.

Liberty Middle and Discovery Middle 6th grade Scholars Bowl teams had a close 1-2 finish in recent state competition. LMS team members, coached by David Clifton, are: Oliver Baker, Eiliyah Hafiez, Levi Jordan, Prachi Khadka, William Kimberl and second-place medalist Colin Krefting. DMS members, lead by Coach David Sippel, are: Cindy Halter,  Captain (5th place individual medal); Elise Datcu-Charrault, Blaise Bruni, Preston Anderton, Ahsan Sohel, Thomas Arent. Great job!

James Clemens boys and girls track teams continue to shine in area and state competitions. Check out this story in the Madison Record. The Jets should be especially proud to have a first-ever three runners make the AHSAA Cross Country All-Star team: Emma Bothern for the girls and Cole Robinson and Michael Dylan Dryer for the boys. Outstanding!

I’d like to give a shout-out to Bob Jones E-Sports for its performance in the recent AHSAA State Championship in Birmingham. Corey Robinson won in Madden. Team Fusion claimed yet another State Championship in Rocket League, with League of Legends placing 2nd.

Finally, I would like to thank our local Knights of Columbus chapters for generous support of MCS Special Education programs. KOC leaders from the Most Merciful Jesus Catholic and St. John the Baptist Catholic parishes gave more than $14,000 in proceeds from the recent Tootsie Roll 5K in Madison. This was the 5th annual Tootsie Roll Run and it attracted 400 participants. The 2023 Tootsie Roll Challenge is set for Nov. 4 at Madison City Stadium.
I hope to see you there.

“Glad To Be Here!”

Ed Nichols
Superintendent

District Update 1-25-23

Dear MCS Parents,
It has been a busy start to the semester. Besides the strong academic performances I’m seeing in schools, I have had the pleasure of attending events including bowling, dance team competitions, basketball and wrestling; theater programs (Aladdin by CES Drama was outstanding by the way), and more. Having strong drama programs in elementary and middle schools explain why our Bob Jones and James Clemens theater programs do so well. I am pleased we recognized them at our most recent Board meeting.

At the Board meeting this week, the instruction team presented the curriculum proposal for the 2023-2024 school year. Click here for the details of the approved curricular offerings.

I had the privilege recently of joining UAH President Dr. Charles Karr and my fellow Superintendents Christy Finley and Ken Kubik at a major grant announcement at UAH aimed at strengthening our EL programs. This partnership is timely with families increasingly moving here from all over the world.

Madison City Schools continues to be a state leader in the National Board Certified Teachers program. We were honored to recognize our latest batch of new NBCTs at the Jan. 23 BOE meeting along with those renewing their certifications. Congratulations to these outstanding MCS educators.

Having the best teachers is certainly a factor in why our students fare so well academically. Madison City Schools once again had among the most U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalists in Alabama (17 percent of the state’s 70 total) than any other district. I am proud of each of them and what that also says about our teachers.

Congratulations to Coach Wade Thaxton at Bob Jones for leading the girls BJ Swim and Dive team to a state title. BJ worked hard climbing from a 3rd place finish in 2020, to 2nd in 2021 to 1st place this past fall. We were glad to recognize the team with their impressive trophy at our Board meeting.

As mentioned before, January is School Board Appreciation Month and Madison City is blessed with the best. Words cannot express how appreciative I am for their leadership, vision, and passion to serve. Check out this brief Board appreciation video produced by JCHS senior Riyan Barnett. And if you haven’t done so already, please reach out to our Board to thank them for their service.

Finally, my latest Sittin’ WIth The Supe podcast was a dog-gone pleasure to host. Tune in to learn all about Barnie - the facility dog at Madison Elementary. Barnie joined us on the set, but his story had to be told through his handlers, counselor Stefanie Cook and gifted teacher Beth Woodard along with MCS District Mental Health Coordinator Stephanie Allen.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

District Update 1-09-23,

Dear MCS Parents,

I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Winter Break, and that 2023 is off to a great start.
It’s exciting to have our students back and school events ramping up again.
I would like to begin by calling your attention to January being School Board Member Appreciation Month. While we are blessed with great faculty, staff and administrators, our School Board is front and center of all things Madison City Schools. I invite you to take time to reach out to these selfless school board leaders to thank them for their service. They and BOE members before them deserve much of the credit for the total school experience in Madison City Schools and MCS placing at or near the top of many state and national school system rankings.

While we are beginning 2023 in a positive direction with Journey Middle opening in fall, the planning for an 8th elementary school is under way. We are excited that we will soon have the  opening of a special education wing at Bob Jones High School and conversion of the West Madison Elementary building into a PreK Center. I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the tremendous accomplishments from 2022.The accolades are many, but here are a few: #1 in Niche, most National Merit Scholars, Mental Health Fairs, all A’s on the State Report Card, 12 new National Board Certified Teachers bringing us to 100 NBCTs in Madison City Schools, continued growth in Career Tech with the addition of Welding, playground renovations at all elementary schools, securing a $2 million DODEA grant geared toward elementary STEM.

My latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast can be accessed here: https://rss.com/podcasts/sittinwiththesupe/. Hear Sally Warden, Marc Jacobson and Greg Curtis talk about their role in the formation of the Madison City School District as MCS celebrates its 25th anniversary. These podcast guests, along with many others in the community, were crucial in our transition from Madison County Schools to what we now know as Madison City Schools.

Our Mental Health Matters programs, sponsored by the MCS counseling program, continue into the new year. The next one is Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 4-5 p.m. at the Madison Public Library on the topic, “Building Self-Confidence in Youth.”

Columbia Elementary Drama will present Alladin Jr next week. Performances will be at Bob Jones High School on Friday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.; and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Tickets can only be purchased online through https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/69914.

Congratulations to these Bob Jones volleyball players for being named to the Al.com Huntsville All Regional Volleyball team: Kennedy Vaughn, Rachel Mecklenburg, Riley Lovell, Meg Jarrett from Bob Jones. They are among the many talented athletes we have throughout MCS. 
Finally, Monday, Jan. 16, is a school holiday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enjoy the extended weekend.

 “Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

District Update 12/13/2022

Dear MCS Parents,

The semester is winding down fast. I would like to wish everyone a safe, joyous, and restful holiday. I remind you that this Thursday and Friday will be half-days for all students. Dismissals both days are as follows: PreK, 11 a.m.; elementary, 11:30 a.m.; middle and high schools, 12:15 p.m. Schools resume for students on January 4th. I can’t wait to see all the great things our teachers and students will be doing next semester.
I’ll begin the district update with a progress report on construction projects around the district. The construction manager reported at our Board meeting last week that Journey Middle School’s final inspection is expected in February. I look forward to adding Journey to the lineup of outstanding schools in Madison City. Our Special Education wing at Bob Jones is moving along and we anticipate it being completed in February. 

Another project of interest has been the long-awaited jet display at James Clemens High School. Board approval of the pedestal contract moves the jet display closer to reality. This project has been greatly enhanced by the generosity of Northrop Grumman, our local legislative delegation and many individuals who have made donations. 

The construction of new playgrounds has begun at our elementary schools. By spring break, we anticipate that all of our elementary schools will have a state-of-the-art area to utilize for outdoor activities. These areas will also have specialized equipment for students with special needs. I am certainly grateful to our School Board for their support of this project. 

Both James Clemens and Bob Jones theater programs placed well in the recent state competition at Troy University. BJ’s 1-Act play won Best in Show, Best Costumes and was selected to represent Alabama at the Southeastern Theater Conference in March. More on BJ’s individual awards in this link. Students in James Clemens theater won 12 individual awards and its play Shuddersome won Best in Show which is in the top 5 of the state as well as Best Ensemble. More on JC theater’s performance at State in this linkAlso,  JC’s Amy Patel won Alabama Theater Teacher of the Year. Bravo to Ms. Patel and everyone in the BJ and JC theater programs.

Congratulations to BJ’s Girls Swim and Dive team for winning 1st place at the state meet in Auburn. JC’s cheer team won 1st place in state competition in traditional and 2nd in game day, while BJ cheer placed second in traditional. Congratulations to both cheer teams!

Speaking of James Clemens, I want to wish Dr. Brian Clayton well in his next role as Superintendent of Hartselle City Schools. Dr. Clayton did an outstanding job as JCHS principal leading it into becoming a powerhouse school. He leaves behind a legacy of excellence. Our plan for filling the vacancy is to name an interim principal later this week while we continue to take applications and review data from the surveys. Interviews for the full time position will start after spring break.

We had a very successful Computer Science Education Week. It was exciting to see students flexing their computational thinking skills and using technology in creative ways. I want to congratulate Ms. Shemeaka King’s 2nd grade class at Mill Creek and 4th grader Estaban Jerez in Ms. Hulvey’s class at Horizon for winning our districtwide tech challenge. The contest tasked participants to explain what this year’s theme, #CSEverywhere, means to them. Special thanks to VEX Robotics for donating robotic kits as prizes. Click here to view their winning projects.

Madison City Schools is blessed with excellent counselors. Last week, the Board recognized four of our counselors for winning statewide and regional honors: Stephanie Allen, Sadie Sturdivant, Carissa Davis and Carol Torello. They play a vital role in the success of our school system. 

In another nod to excellence, MCS continues to add National Board Certified Teachers to its ranks. The latest additions raise the school district’s total of NBCTs to 99. I congratulate the following new NBCTs and hope to formally recognize them at an upcoming board meeting: Stacy Branson, Kristen Brown, Amy Carter, Neil Clement, Heather Courtney, Megan Gowan, Sarah Peppers, Jamie Ratcliffe, Jeanne Simpson, Kristen Steele, Marissa Weir, and Molly Wright. Also, congratulations to our NBCTs who successfully renewed this year: Sara Baragona, Nicole Coker, Kylie Dunkerley, Rachel Gibbs, Sharon Harris, Lisa Kiss, Amber McMillin, Amber Merrill, Alicia Mulloy, Noel Newquist, Patrice O'Donnell, Amy Patel, Jessica Pinegar, Jackie Smith (Robinson), Natalie Smoak, Lisa Snyder, Tosha Swearingen, Teresa Tarter, Liz Vaughn, Rebecca Wilson, and Megan Kunzli. More about NBCTs in this link.
Finally, the latest Sittin’ With The Supe podcast is on our E-sports programs in Madison City Schools. My guests are E-sports coaches Aubrey White at Bob Jones and Pam Paquette at James Clemens.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

 

District Updates 12/05/2022

Dear Parents,

Let me begin by sharing some exciting news about PreK. Last week our Board met in a special session to approve a construction project that will renovate the closed West Madison Elementary School building into a
 district wide PreK Center. I can think of no better use for the WMES property than turning it into a learning center for our rising PreK population. We know from long waiting lists at annual PreK registrations that demand far exceeds capacity. The West Madison renovations will create 21-23 total PreK classrooms - nearly doubling capacity now.
This project would not have been possible without passage of the 12 mill property tax by Madison and Triana residents in 2019. Money from that levy built Midtown Elementary and is paying for the new Journey Middle Schools, the special education wing at Bob Jones High School and the PreK expansion into the WMES campus.

Midtown Elementary had a very successful International Festival last week. What a wonderful way to showcase the different cultures we have in MCS.
I want to commend the following students for qualifying last week as Coca-Cola Scholarship semifinalistsThey are just a small example of students whose academic achievements earn financial assistance to further their education after high school. 

Congratulations also to BJ Swim and Dive for its performance in the state meet in Auburn. Girls placed 1st and boys 5th. The girls’ team top finish put Principal Sylvia Lambert and Coach Wade Thaxton in the pool for the traditional dip from winning state.
This week is Computer Science Education Week. It is exciting to see the hands-on assignments our teachers are leading to strengthen student learning in coding and other technical skills. View some of the CSE activities here on the MCS Facebook page.

I had a productive meeting today with my 
Superintendent’s Student Advisory CouncilWhile I always appreciate feedback from parents, employees and community members, I always value input from students on things MCS is doing right and ways we could do better.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that the free Mental Health workshop on Depression in Youth will be Wednesday, Dec. 14 in the Central Office Board room, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The program had previously been canceled due to inclement weather.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

District Update 11/29/2022
 

Dear MCS Parents,

I want to welcome everyone back from the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all enjoyed some good family time and relaxation.

Just three weeks remain before schools dismiss for the winter holiday. Please encourage your student(s) to make sure all assignments are up to date to close out the fall semester.
The last day for students before Winter Break is Friday, Dec. 16, and they will not report back to school until Wednesday, Jan. 4. I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, Dec. 15 and Friday, Dec. 16 will be a half-day for all students. Half-day dismissal times have been changed to the following times: PreK, 11; Elementary, 11:30; Middle and High Schools, 12:15.

I’d like to recognize the following students and teams for spectacular performances in recent competitions: Liberty Middle Scholars Bowl.; Bob Jones and James Clemens bowling teams; Bob Jones Swim and Dive, with girls winning 1st as a team and boys 2nd as a team; Bob Jones Esports for ending the season 1st in state in Rocket League and 2nd in state in League of Legends.

The James Clemens Science National Honor Society is hosting its second annual science fair for K-8 students in Madison City Schools. If your child would like to participate, they must register by Dec. 14. More about the
 JCHS Science Fair here.

For those who missed it, the latest “Sittin’ With the Supe" podcast is on our theater programs. You can 
access it here . The next Podcast is scheduled to be on our E-sports programs. 

“Glad To Be Here!”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent

District Update 11/18/2022

Dear MCS Parents,

The Alabama State Department of Education has released its school and district report cards for 2021-2022. I am pleased to report that Madison City Schools yet again earned straight A’s. Not only did we get an “A” for the district as a whole, every single one of our schools earned an “A.” MCS was one of five districts in the state where every school in the district received an” A” rating.

In this Thanksgiving season, let me express how thankful I am for our students, teachers and staff, administrators, board members, and parents for the role they play in making our school system great. I certainly appreciate the support we receive from our community and community leaders that allows us to provide a high-quality education for the children of Madison.  I am in classrooms every week and see the outstanding things that are happening in each of our schools. While we are pleased by this outcome, we celebrate this with the understanding that a letter grade is only a symbol. The most accurate measure of our effectiveness is how well we are preparing our kids for their future. So we accept this with a commitment that we will never become complacent where we are. We will constantly seek ways to improve.

The state report cards are a measure of academic achievement, academic growth, chronic absenteeism, and progress in EL proficiency for our elementary and middle schools. For the high schools, the state report cards are a measure of academic achievement, academic growth, graduation rate, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism, and progress in EL proficiency.

The straight-A performance by our schools affirms that no matter where one lives in Madison, they are zoned for a quality school. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family.

“Glad To Be Here!”
Ed Nichols
Superintendent

 

 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
Superintendent

 

District Update 11-10-22

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
Superintendent

 

District Update 10-31-22

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
Superintendent

 

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
Superintendent


10-17-22

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-19The 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
Superintendent

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

Superintendent

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/eventsThe 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
Superintendent

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
Superintendent

 

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

Superintendent

 

 

9-2-22

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. 

https://www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/site/default.aspx?DomainID=2411

“Glad To Be Here!”

Ed Nichols

Superintendent


8-26-22

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 is 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 by 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
Superintendent

8-19-22
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
Superintendent

 

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