September 17, 2020 - Updates to in-person schedulesUpdates were made today to our back to school schedule for traditional students. At the conclusion of our three-week hybrid schedule, students who selected “in-person” instruction in July will be able to attend class 5-days per week beginning October 19th. This is for all grade levels.*Students who selected the "virtual classroom" in July will have the option of switching to "in-person" instruction at the end of the first nine-weeks (October 26th).
September 14, 2020 - Transitional Return to In-Person Learning Begins Sept. 21
JACKSON, Tenn. - The Jackson-Madison County School System is pleased to announce the return of in-person learning options for district families. After thoughtful collaboration among district principals, Dr. Marlon King’s executive team, and local health officials, JMCSS will begin a transitional approach to traditional instruction beginning Monday, September 21st.
“Given the fact that we’ve had students coming to campus on a hybrid model for several weeks, we feel very comfortable with some of the protocols we’ve already established. So we look forward to bringing more students to give us an opportunity to see what this looks like before we offer this option fulltime to our students,” said JMCSS Superintendent Dr. Marlon King.
At the conclusion of a three-week hybrid schedule, all students who opted for in-person instruction in August will be able to attend school for the rest of the semester - in-person; Monday through Thursday for middle and elementary schools and Monday through Friday for high schools. Those parents who signed their students up for the virtual classroom option in July, will be required to continue those learning tracks until Monday, October 26th. After that time, you will have the option to switch to in-person learning should you choose.
“With the health officials’ blessings and context around what we’re doing and letting us know we're moving in the right direction, I think returning to in-person instruction is very important,” Dr. King said. “When you experience trauma, you need to have a recovery period. This hybrid period and transitional return for our in-person students is a recovery for us.”
August 18, 2020 - Orientation UpdateParents and guardians will be given the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher to adequately prepare for the expectations involved with learning from home. Each school in our district will offer a Back-to-School Orientation in an effort to set clear goals for distance learning. Your child’s teacher will be in contact with you to schedule a time for orientation.
August 13, 2020 - News Release: News Release: Distance Learning Replaces Traditional Option in New Normal Initiative
JACKSON, Tenn. - Our mission to educate students is important. Paramount, however, is student safety and the safety of our teachers. The continuing rise of positive COVID19 cases in Madison County is beginning to cast a shadow of doubt among our employees and their families. Despite early requests from teachers and parents for schools to reopen with traditional learning, the rising apprehension among teachers cannot be ignored. “Our conversations with faculty members during the Superintendent’s Road Show this week has only confirmed many of the issues our Senior Leadership Team (i.e., District principals) brought to my attention during our meeting last week,” Superintendent Dr. Marlon King said.
Positive cases today at Liberty Technology Magnet High School and Pope School, along with the subsequent protocol measures that have forced more than 10 teachers to quarantine, have forced JMCSS leadership to modify our re-entry plan for the 2020-20201 school year.
“In an effort to keep students and teachers safe, our traditional - in-person - learning option is being replaced with a distance learning option where learning will continue at home with books and weekly learning packets,” King said. This modification may require further adjustment to our staggered schedule for back to school week - which is set to begin on Monday, August 24th. “Learning will start again in the Jackson-Madison County School System; and with distance, virtual, and CyberSchool options in place, learning will continue with rigor and success thanks to the dedication of our talented educators and school administrators,” Dr. King said.
Based on district survey results in June and July, in-person instruction was a desire for many parents and teachers in our district. Adjusting the New Normal Initiative, however, will keep more students and teachers safe and also protect the continuous learning process.
“I will gladly pivot on the recommendation of our local health officials. Many of our teachers will sleep better and educate with a greater level of confidence with these latest adjustments,” Dr. King said. “I am thankful to the leadership and support of our school board members during this challenging time. Together we will win. For the District.”
August 7, 2020 - Back to School Update
As we countdown the days to the start of the new school year, please be aware that you will receive information next week concerning your child’s back to school schedule. Regardless of what option you chose for your student (Traditional in person, Virtual classroom, or CyberSchool), Parents will be contacted by phone and email with detailed information related to your child’s specific grade level next week.
Specific information regarding Pre-K and Elementary School, along with Middle School and High School information will be shared on Tuesday, August 11th. Remember to log on to www.jmcss.org on Tuesday afternoon for the latest scheduling details.
Check out our most recent FAQ for an update on masks and face shields:
- Q. Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?
- A. No, per the TN Health Department, a face shield is not a replacement for a cloth mask. JMCSS will require cloth face masks for all teachers, students, and support staff while on campus. However, teachers will be allowed to use face shields when instruction requires their faces/mouth to be seen.
July 31, 2020 - Pre-K Update
PreK will be most impactful when it is attended in person. The premise of Pre-K is to allow students experiential play and help them explore and develop language skills through conversations. Teacher and assistants include developmentally appropriate practices. In addition, research supports that children’s screen time should be limited. However, we understand that some have health conditions or other reasons to not want to attend during this time.
Students attend with their peers
Students will have “Big Experiences” aligned with the PreK curriculum Big Day
Students will be involved in using manipulatives inside centers for play and exploration
Students will develop social and emotional skills through interactions with other students
Students have scheduled meal, snack, and nap times
** For all students with IEPs, they will have in person therapy for OT, PT, speech, etc.
Students will attend class virtually during 4-5 scheduled times throughout the day. The PreK day will run for 5 ½ hours (@9:00-2:30) Students will not be on the computer continuously during this time.
Cumulative screen time will be 1 to 1 1/2 hrs
Students will need to have a personal device and internet to access their classroom
Daily whole group lessons might include: morning meeting (welcome), phonological awareness lesson, read-alouds, math lesson, and others.
Activities will be suggested for students to complete that align with the whole group lessons while students in classrooms are in their centers
Students will have feedback from teachers on their work
Students will view videos aligned to PreK standards/curriculum
Students will need to have a personal device and internet to access their classroom/videos
Activities will be suggested for students to complete that align with the video lessons or PreK curriculum
Teachers will check in periodically with students
Another option would be to reselect virtual every 9 weeks
**For Virtual and CyberSchool, all students with IEPs, they will have the therapy through the platform teletherapy for OT, PT, speech, etc.
July 29, 2020 - Message from Dr. King
Our community has risen to a new level of support for the Jackson-Madison County School System. Over the last three weeks, we came together to decide on options for the first phase of our School New Normal Initiative: Re-Entry. There were many meetings, in the early morning and late evening, for stakeholders to provide their feedback and expertise. Faith-based leaders, health professionals, business owners, internal school staff, board members, teachers, and parents were all represented on our work teams. These work teams are a clear indication that we are bound to do great work with the interest of all JMCSS students in mind.
We are regularly reminded of the unprecedented conditions in which we find ourselves. Some districts in our region are deciding to suspend “in-person” classes due to the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in West Tennessee. While we are hopeful and will continue to provide the traditional on-campus learning option, we will resume conversations with local leaders as well as the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department around our statistics. Their guidance is almost certain to change the complexity of our road map throughout the school year. Although leading during this unprecedented time has been a difficult task, it has been amazing to see the pieces of the puzzle come together.
There have been many concerns around masks and other face coverings. The use of masks will continue to be expected and encouraged. In fact, several face shields and masks have been donated for use by students, faculty, and staff this school year. We will continue to seek the collective feedback of our work teams in this and all other areas of our School New Normal Initiative. In preparing to return, principals and central office staff will be working together on what school will look like for the 10-day teacher in-service.
Below, you can access our Continuous Learning Plan as well as protocol around our School New Normal. Also, we have embedded our FAQ page along with more questions and answers to assist families in making decisions as well as to keep our staff informed. Hopefully, this will provide additional clarity. Should you have additional inquiries, please click the link and complete the form to send in those questions. As always, thanks for your patience today as we work to provide our students with learning options that will prepare them for opportunities tomorrow; even during this unprecedented era we find ourselves in.
July 27, 2020 - FAQ Update
Accuracy requires thoroughness and thoroughness requires time. We thank you for your patience! Central office staff and school leaders have worked with great effort to provide a transparent and consistent message in regard to the 2020-2021 school year. Our Frequently Asked Questions page addresses the most pertinent issues that will impact students across the K-12 spectrum. Please be mindful that guidance from state and local health officials may impact the complexity of our road map as COVID-19 cases have increased in Madison County. The most accurate and up-to-date information has been shared on our district webpage as well as the road map for our School New Normal Initiative. Additional information regarding Pre-K will be added this week.
July 21, 2020 - Virtual Registration Update
The deadline to register for virtual learning options is Saturday, August 1st.
The CyberSchool option, which will mirror closely to the Tennessee Virtual Academy, is a permanent option for the school year. Unlike the virtual classroom, CyberSchool will not be six and a half hours in front of a computer. There are scheduled communications and check in points for English Language Arts and mathematics. Much of the learning is video based; however the video instruction is provided by teachers who have been assigned to our CyberSchool. CyberSchool teachers will check in with students virtually to provide assignments, and to provide direct instruction and teaching.
The virtual classroom option will be 9-weeks of instruction facilitated by your child’s teacher. This will include daily contact- 5 days a week; as students will use their district issued laptop or tablet to observe lessons during their scheduled class period. The virtual classroom option will parallel with the traditional six-and-a-half-hour school day. Students will use their district issued laptop or tablet to login to attend their classes, virtually, each class period and in real time. Scheduled breaks between classes will be given – just as they occur for those students who attend in-person. Assignments, Grades, and Teacher feedback can be viewed by parents in PowerSchool. You will be able to make a decision to continue virtual learning after 9-weeks or move forward to traditional in-person learning on campus.
July 14, 2020 - Update Tomorrow
UPDATE TOMORROW: The Jackson-Madison County School System will announce start dates on Wednesday for the 2020-2021 school year and new details concerning our School New Normal Initiative.
July 9, 2020 - Parent and Staff Survey Results
Our work teams met this Monday to continue building our plan for school reopening. These groups of community members, school and district staff, and families, are a vital part of building our new normal plan. Team members started their morning as early as 7:00 a.m. at Liberty Tech. Others ended their day after 5:00 p.m. at Lincoln, with several meetings throughout the day to discuss all aspects of the plan, from transportation to academics.
“There are so many moving parts to consider,” said Madison Academic teacher Linda Lane after participating in a work team meeting. “Dr. King, Dr. Catlett, and Dr. Williams and their entire staff are moving thoughtfully and carefully... They are thinking of all scenarios and reaching out for input from numerous sources. That is a good sign!”
We are committed to providing conditions that support teachers in their efforts to educate our students. By involving community members and various stakeholders, we hope to offer a solid plan in the coming weeks.
Thank you to all the everyone who took the time to fill out a survey! We had over 5,000 responses between both surveys! These survey results were reviewed in depth with each work team and will inform the decisions we make moving forward.
Take a look at the detailed survey results here (best results if viewed on a computer or in landscape mode on a mobile device): https://sway.office.com/Pm3Z5rEHIy5LgGYS?ref=Link&loc=play
June 29, 2020 - Roadmap to School New Normal Initiative
Moving forward we have decided to provide a Roadmap for our School New Normal Initiative to have a one-stop-shop to house all of the information around our plan. Currently, the Roadmap has all of the information that has been presented thus far. The Roadmap is our way of being transparent and communicating with stakeholders as often as possible as we navigate these unprecedented times.
This month, the state board of education passed a policy around a Continuous Learning Plan (i.e., CLP). This plan will ultimately drive what schools look like in the Fall. While we are uncertain of when school will start, please know that we are doing every thing within our authority to prepare for a safe and on schedule return, we must continue to observe guidance from the national, state and local levels.
Now, putting on my parent hat — my wife and I are facing the same struggle as many. Our jobs require us to report to work daily while we must decide what do we do with our son. So where does that leave us? Imagine that! You thought it was just hitting your house. I share all of that to say, I will always consider both sides, leader and parent, as I think through situations, issues and/or crises. In my past experiences as a superintendent and a parent of a child who experienced the life of public schools, families have appreciated my decisions around schools and students.
Please click here to observe the latest information. Surveys will go offline this week and we will be providing an analysis of the results. Click here to take a look at guidance from the state as well.
June 22, 2020 - Please take our school reopening survey!
Reopening Survey for Parents
Jackson Madison County School System is actively exploring options for reopening schools as safely as possible in the fall, and we are collaborating with other school districts, the local health department; as well as reviewing CDC resources. While many uncertainties remain, your feedback will help as we consider options and assess parental preferences. We will continue to consult with the Tennessee Department of Education and the Jackson-Madison County Health Department before finalizing any specific courses of action.
Please fill out the parent survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/jmcssreopening
Reopening Survey for Employees
Employees received a link to an employee survey via district email. This survey requires a login to verify you are part of the organization.
June 18, 2020 - Invitations are ready
Work team invitations are ready and lists are being generated for distribution! Please don't discard this email. We need you!
June 17, 2020 - JMCSS Plans for School "New Normal" Initiative
JACKSON, Tenn. - Our world has been taken by storm with the coronavirus pandemic. Disruption, disbelief, and discontentment have plagued our nation. What seemed to have been normal only a few months ago has now changed, and people around the globe are exploring new ways of conducting business. Yet, through all the confusion, one thing that has remained consistent is the resiliency that teachers demonstrate around the world. Each year, our teachers experience a new normal with the changing of schedules, students, classrooms, programs, and more. Thanks to this resilience, JMCSS is confident that its teachers will rise to the occasion to ensure that every student has access to high-quality instruction and support to be academically prepared for the world beyond. With this shift in how schools operate in the future, it is a great opportunity to launch a bold, innovative approach to educating students in our public school system.
With the most recent use of virtual learning platforms and personalized learning options, it is apparent that the past practices of educating students can be adjusted and/or modified in innovative ways. Has anyone ever thought about a 4-day school week with the Friday option being virtual? Has anyone thought about having a cyber school? There are so many ways that our public school system can be reimagined. The Jackson-Madison County School System is committed to ensuring that all of its students are positioned to have equitable options and opportunities that will prepare them for college and/or career. Our goal is to ensure that our students are contributors to our economy so that the daily living experience of our community and beyond is improved.
While many around are putting together school re-entry plans, JMCSS is thinking about more than just re-entry. What better opportunity to launch a new way for students to have access to high-quality teaching and learning opportunities. It is more than simply re-entry.
Schools will not operate the same as they did last spring; therefore, the moment must be seized, to provide a new world-class educational system for our students and community. To do that, the school system has decided to launch a School “New Normal” Initiative that is comprised of four key areas: - Schools, Operations, Communications, Academics (i.e., SOCA). The table shows in each area a list of indicators that will be used to build each plan.
There will be work teams assigned to each area to build out plans for what the “new normal” will look like upon our student return. Dr. Catlett and Dr. Williams, the system’s deputy superintendents, have been charged with developing and guiding work teams. “This work cannot be done alone. It has been and will always be my approach to involve school leaders, teachers, families, and the community in critical decisions involving the school system,” said Dr. Marlon King. Therefore, before the teams begin their assignment, it is essential to gain context from teachers, principals, school staff, families, and the community. Hence, feedback is needed; therefore, an online survey has been created and will be sent out to gather information. The data collected in this survey will give the teams a starting point as the plan is being developed.
The incoming superintendent will be sending work teams’ nominees an invitation to participate. As the plan unfolds, weekly communication will be presented in “draft” form to keep stakeholders abreast.
School is slated to begin as quickly and safely as possible. The system will abide by the Governor’s orders and CDC guidelines, while working in concert with local government to ensure that, above all, safety is a priority. JMCSS’ new mantra is “Join Now,” so you might not want to wait until it’s too late. Stay tuned.