I hope that you all enjoyed a pleasant Spring Break!
March is Women’s History Month at Madison Public Schools. I want to begin this message by acknowledging the many unsung female heroes that have contributed to the establishment of our great nation, the state of New Jersey, and the community of Madison. At MPS, we strive to ensure that girls have equal access to all programs and opportunities so that they may thrive and know their worth as equal citizens and future professionals.
As April approaches, please consider the following items:
Call to Action: Parents should talk to their students about the harmful effects of discriminatory and hateful language.
Over this school year, we have observed an increased frequency in the use of discriminatory language and behavior by students across our schools. While an unfortunate cluster of events has been reported at MJS, these cases are part of a larger trend in which racial slurs and racially insensitive language suddenly appear somewhat normalized among students in society at large. In Madison, we have seen this language used casually between friends, as well as aggressively in harassment, intimidation, and bullying incidents. Students from all racial categories have been observed using this language, as well as being victimized by this language. And while most instances have occurred at MHS and MJS, we have also seen examples of racially-biased behavior among elementary students.
To ensure that students understand the power of words and the importance of respect, MPS provides instruction and programs that celebrate diversity, foster empathy, and promote the development of healthy relationships. We also have age-appropriate systems of consequences and support to protect victims, change the behavior of aggressors, and restore relationships. Parents can help us to reduce these incidents by:
Talking to your child about the harms of racial bias - There are many resources on this topic available online, for example, this UNICEF guide is helpful for parents of children of all ages. If you're unsure how to start, consider asking your students how the students at school treat each other. Depending on their age and understanding, you may ask them if they hear students use hurtful words. Based on their responses, you can decide how you want to address this topic using your own parental discretion.
Paying attention to your child’s media consumption - From social media to video game chat rooms, our children today are at increased risk of exposure to biased and hateful speech. Be aware of who your child follows and how they are spoken to when gaming. Depending on the age of your child, supervise or restrict their use of social media and chat rooms. For examples of the hate speech that has become common within popular games, see this press release from a community of gamers confronting racism online.
Teaching your child to stand up against bias in all forms - Our recent increase in reported incidents is the result of students feeling more empowered to speak up and take action. This upstanding behavior is to be encouraged if we are to see bias-motivated behavior end in our schools. If someone you or your child knows is experiencing exclusionary or discriminatory behavior, please contact your child’s school, complete a HIB report, or use the anonymous “RSVP-3 Morris County, NJ” App” (available in the App Store and on Google Play).
Parents and students should also know that bias-related language may have unintended and lasting consequences in our digital world. School discipline and HIB records remain confidential after a student graduates. However, a student's online behavior outside of school may follow them well after they become an adult. For example, it has become increasingly common for employers to conduct social media background checks on job applicants. Additionally, the following articles highlight colleges and universities that have taken action in response to public evidence of bias-related behavior from scholarship recipients and applicants:
Your child is never too young or old to be taught about the harms of bias and the value of being an upstander. Please join us in ensuring that all students feel equally and unconditionally respected by discussing bias with your kids this week.
Please watch the 2022-23 State of the Schools Address, which took place on Monday, February 24, 2023.
The Address aims to provide our community with an objective analysis of our student’s academic performance trends. Drawing from multiple measures, the presentation includes an analysis of learning loss throughout the pandemic, our district’s performances relative to the rest of the state and peer schools, and a report of the results of our recent student climate survey. The Address also provides commentary about areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
The 2022-23 Annual School Calendar will likely be amended to give back two unused snow days.
The Memorial Day weekend will be extended if we do not use any more snow days. For students, the last day of class before the break will likely be May 24, 2023. Students will likely return on June 1, 2023 (faculty members will return on May 31 for professional development). These changes will be recommended to the Board on April 18, 2023. Once the final calendar revision has been authorized, this change will be announced to the school community.
Superintendent of Madison Public Schools
Upcoming Events - To sync events to your personal calendar, select an event on our website calendar and use the “Add to calendar” button on the right.
April 3-4 - Parent Teacher Conferences
April 7 - NO SCHOOL - Good Friday
April 17 - Superintendent Coffee
April 18 - Board of Education Meeting - Final Budget Hearing and Adoption
May 2 - Board of Education Meeting - Special Meeting for Personnel Matters
May 22 - Superintendent Coffee
May 23 - Board of Education Meeting
May 26-30 - NO SCHOOL - Memorial Day & Staff Professional Development
June 14 - Last day of school
June 20 - Board of Education Meeting
June 21 - Superintendent Coffee (rescheduled in observance of Juneteenth)
KEEP MADISON SAFE! If you see something, say something:
For emergencies and immediate threats, call 911
For all other health, safety, and welfare concerns, report anonymously using the “RSVP-3 Morris County, NJ” app
For child abuse, call 877-NJ ABUSE, or 1-877-652-2873
For bullying concerns, contact your child’s teacher, guidance counselor, or principal.
Together we are Madison Strong.