In his first week, the former Memorial High School associate principal said he learned that there are “just a bunch of wonderful people” in Madison.
“This energy that’s happening right now from people inside the district and outside the district, really wanting Madison to move forward,” Jenkins said. “There’s a momentum, and people just want to build on that momentum.”
[‘I believe Dr. Carlton Jenkins gets it’: On first day, superintendent helps rebuild a parent’s trust]
He’s having to feel that momentum and meet the community in creative ways, with virtual meetings remaining the safest due to COVID-19. He said that while he is a “human relations” person who misses handshakes and seeing people’s body language when talking, it’s also likely “giving me an opportunity really to see probably more people than I would’ve normally seen during this time.”
“This is the same thing that transfers over, not just work relationships but when we have our students,” Jenkins said. “We’re missing our students as part of what we do. We’re in the human connection business.”
In navigating his own district through “crisis mode” this spring, including a shift to virtual learning, Jenkins said he saw how key good communication was for the social-emotional well-being of both students and staff. He held more frequent full-staff meetings, he said, and worked quickly to get students that didn’t previously have devices online.
“We had to get devices for the young children because they were crying missing the teachers and the teachers were crying missing the students,” he said.
2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results