Madison Messenger

A Monthly Communication for Madison Families

Dear Families,

Welcome to the new year! We are looking forward to all that 2021 has to bring! As we move into the winter months, we have a few updates below to share.


Wishing you an abundance of happiness and health.


Mr. Gaona

Mrs. Van Straten

Inclement Weather/Power Outages

As we approach winter months, the Mount Vernon School District would like to help staff and students prepare for inclement weather and potential school schedule changes.


The district may cancel in-building Plus services due to poor weather/unsafe road conditions. If that happens, this is still a school day for students and a workday for staff as our remote teaching and learning will continue. Announcements regarding the cancellation of Plus services will be issued through automated blackboard connect messages to the text or email accounts we have on file in Skyward. For emergency situations like this, it is important that you keep those numbers current. Information will also be posted on the district website (www.mountvernonschools.org) as well as social media.


If Plus services are cancelled, the childcare partnerships held in our buildings with COV, Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA are also cancelled.


Food distribution will continue from LaVenture and Jefferson if Plus services are cancelled unless otherwise announced. There will not be meals served at Madison.


If your child's teacher experiences power outages during live instruction, please focus on off-line learning and the asynchronous learning activity that the teacher provides, and check back periodically to see if the teacher is back online.

Star Testing and Remote Learning

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the Mount Vernon School District began giving students a Star assessment. Star assessments help teachers better understand what students know and can do in the areas of early literacy, reading, or math. At Madison, students take the Star Reading and Star Math tests in both Spanish and English. Kindergarten students take the Star Early Literacy test in both Spanish and English. Each Star assessment is computer-adaptive which means that as a student takes the test, the software selects items based on the student’s responses. If the student answers correctly, the next item will be more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the next item will be less difficult. By adjusting the difficulty of the items to what students show they can or cannot do, the assessment is an accurate way to help teachers identify what skills students are ready to learn. Star assessments help teachers better understand what students know and can do in the areas of early literacy, reading, or math. Star is not a test for a grade, it will be used for teachers to know how to best support your student.


Teachers typically give this test in the fall, winter, and spring while students are in school. Since students are currently unable to be at school, they will be taking the Star test while at home. Second through Fifth grade students will be taking the Star tests the weeks of January 11 and January 18. Kindergarten students will take the Star Early Literacy assessments the week of January 11 and first grade students will take the Star Early Literacy assessment the weeks of January 18 and January 25. Teachers will use information from the assessments to guide their remote learning instruction.


How can caregivers help prior to Star assessments?

The caregiver can help the student log in and select the correct assessment, but no assistance should be given once the test begins.


How can caregivers support students during Star assessments?

  • This assessment is designed to help teachers support students in daily instruction. Students should take this assessment in a similar location to where they receive daily instruction.

  • Provide scratch paper and a pencil for your student to use during math testing.

  • Check that the computer audio is set appropriately (volume turned on). Star Early Literacy is an audio-based test. Audio for Star Math can be turned on by the teacher if needed.

  • Discuss with your students the importance of doing their best in order for their teachers to know how to best help them in class.

Mid-Year Classroom Switch

In order to balance access to instruction to Spanish and English, part of our biliteracy model includes a mid-year switch. The mid-year switch will take place on Monday, February 1. This means that students will begin their day with their partner teacher and will end their day with their homeroom teacher. Students who began their day with their Spanish teacher during the first semester will begin their day with their English teacher. Students who began their day with their English teacher during the first semester will begin their day with their Spanish teacher. Students will continue to use the same Zoom link.

Wednesday Class Zoom Time

Starting this Wednesday, January 6, 2021, we are making one change in the weekly schedule. Each Wednesday will begin with a 30-minute live and online classroom meeting. The purpose of this is to communicate more directly with students about the expectations for the off-line work that happens on Wednesdays. We believe this change will better support student engagement and student learning on this day. Students will enter the classroom at 9:00 and will engage with their teacher and classmates until 9:30. Students then have the rest of the day to complete assignments. Students must either join the Zoom Session or complete classwork and Google Form for students to be marked present.