Superintendent Chronicle

Thursday, September 17, 2020

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Weekly Update from Superintendent Dr. Marlon King

The Nation is Watching JMCSS

Monday started off like any other Monday; gym, shower, bowtie. However, my excitement level went through the roof not long after I received a text from a friend later that day. The text was letting me know I am in the September edition of School Administrator magazine. I’m featured in the “People to Watch” section because of my successful career transitions - with my move to JMCSS being the latest (and the best). The American Association of School Administrators delivers this magazine to every public school superintendent in the United States who is an AASA member and others at the cabinet-level. School Administrator magazine is the leading magazine for school system leaders in the U.S. The nation is watching JMCSS. I am humbled and credit this work to the teams that I have had a chance to work with and improve the lives of students in West Tennessee. This work cannot be done alone. I look forward to the many years ahead in doing this work in the Jackson-Madison County School System. #Together We will #WIN.

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Extending Grace. Expanding Options

Earlier this week I used the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department COVID19 press briefing to give district stakeholders an update on our transitional return to in-person learning.

It was also an opportunity to ease tensions some parents are having during our distance learning phase. We have had students in our buildings since August 24th, so we feel comfortable about the protocols we have in place for keeping students and teachers safe. COVID19 numbers in our community have fluctuated as well as numbers in our district. If we follow the protocols in place, however, with limiting our contacts among each other - particularly our adults - we can reduce those numbers. A number of parents I have spoken with are concerned about grades and struggles their child has had with distance learning. As a fellow JMCSS parent, I can relate to many of the concerns you are feeling. Luckily, as the superintendent of this school district, I am in the position to provide a bit of relief for us parents in this difficult time. Students will not be issued any F’s this semester; they’ll get an incomplete at worst. We can’t hold students and families accountable until we are able to have a routine in place that makes achievement obtainable for all students. Getting additional devices for the district and beginning in-person instruction is just the beginning of that routine. Once traditional learners are back on campus full time on October 19, we will begin the process of expanding “in person” options to virtual learners and CyberSchool students. Yes, CyberSchool. We know CyberSchool is an entire school year option, but you’ve been gracious to us. Now it’s time for us to reciprocate that grace. Stay tuned.

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Mental and Social Health for Students

We must not overlook the mental and social health needs our students may have when they return to the classroom. They are returning to our school building after being in various living situations while they have been away from us. Identifying and addressing trauma among our student population must take place in order for the long term success - academically and emotionally - of our students. Our district will be announcing details of the efforts we’ll make to address this concern. We are called to educate students. Because a student’s mental and social health impacts their ability to learn, we must make an effort to identify and address those needs. Ms. Rhonda Heard, our Family & Community Engagement (i.e., FACE) will be working closely with our school counselors to create wrap-around services to ensure that we are supporting the whole child.

Faith based Community Partnership

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One of the greatest joys of being a community leader is getting to meet other community leaders. Our faith-based community partners are among Jackson-Madison County’s most impactful leaders. The continuation of many community projects has been impacted by COVID19. ​During this pandemic, many faith-based organizations having been assisting with family childcare. This has been a great resource for families. As we return students to classrooms, in the coming weeks, I will be meeting with the faith-based community collectively so that we can develop a plan around how their support structure can assist varied parts of our community.

Spreading Happiness...3,000 Bars at a Time

Every act of kindness goes a long way during challenging times. Samantha Nikfarjam, a makery manager at Buff City Soap, stopped by the Central Office on Tuesday to let our educators know they care. Buff City Soap employees put their support on display Tuesday by delivering 3,000 bars of handmade artisan soap to the JMCSS Central Office. Wow! It’s the little acts of kindness that go a long way. We will distribute these gift bags to our teachers - and every district employee - this week. I love our neighbors. This community is the BEST!

Take a look at our FAQ page updates concerning questions related to the Re-Entry Phase of our New Normal Initiative
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