Maya Cole’s Schoolcast Update

Maya Cole:

Dear friends,
First, I would like to let you know that I have new podcasts and blog posts up on my website! You can get information on how our superintendent search evolved and learn how school districts lobby the legislature at a state level through the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.
I am also happy to report that several of us on the Board have begun to meet (after a long hiatus) as members of the Dane County School Board Consortium. The Madison School Board will be hosting other districts next month at LaFollette High School. We will be discussing how we can engage and listen to the public on boundary changes. We hope to come together in the future and combine our lobbying efforts as representatives of Dane County schools. If you know of any state or local officials who would be interested in joining us to learn more about issues facing school districts, please feel free to send them my e-mail address.
I also have two new podcasts, five minutes in length, that explain all you need to know about No Child Left Behind and its re-authorization this year. I met with Sennett school teacher David Wasserman and promised him I would work on engaging the public on this important issue. Please take a listen and pass it on to your friends.
These past few months I have been working hard on many issues on behalf of the school district. I met many fascinating educators and members of the community that are interested in our schools. Some of the Board highlights include, but are not limited to:

  1. Selecting a new superintendent from public input sessions leading to a nationwide search and a great list of finalists.
  2. Working with staff and the rest of the Board during our series of meetings on the topic of expulsions.
  3. The administration is working concurrently on the Codes of Conduct.
  4. We selected a Citizens Naming Committee which met and gave us a final list of names for the new school. This committee did a great job and provided us with an excellent report which I hope we can use as a “best practice” for BOE committees in the future.
  5. The Board approved the use of Title I money for the expansion of the Play and Learn program to include “mobile” Play and Learn Groups for caregivers and their preschool-aged children. We also approved the purchase of additional books for the Reading Rooms in our Title I schools with the additional Title I money that was above that budgeted for this school year.
  6. The Performance and Achievement Committee has reviewed a variety of topics, including: a review of School Climate Surveys; discussions on Youth Options and Charter School Policy (under the development of a new Board policy chapter titled, “Educational Options”); and, a review of District Performance Goals.
  7. The Community Partnerships Committee, of which I am the chair, has worked on fine-tuning the definition of “partnerships” in the district; has made connections with the Foundation for Madison Public Schools; is working on creating new avenues of support for our schools (volunteers) and programs (athletics.) The committee is now working on a review of the Parent Involvement policy.

Our Board President, Arlene Silveira, sends out monthly reports on Board actions – if you would like to see the latest, you can go here.
Finally, I know that I don’t get to talk to many of you individually; but, I want you to know that you are on my mind. Behind the scenes, I have been working on learning about and advocating on behalf of: Early Childhood Education in Madison (4K); TAG issues facing the district; charter schools; Equity; reviewing our advertising policy; changes in our fine arts and other specials allocations and its impacts on learning.
The district and its children mean a great deal to me and the job of a school board member is a day and night, weekday and weekend operation.
If there is anything you want to talk to me about, please feel free to get in touch with me at my school district e-mail or by phone at 259-0549. I value your interest and your perspective on what is going on in our schools. Stay in touch and stay engaged!
Maya P. Cole
Madison Metro School District
Board Member