All posts by Arlene Silveira

Madison School District Strategic Planning Update

On July 21, the Board unanimously approved the following components of the new strategic plan.

  • Mission
  • Beliefs
  • Parameters
  • Strategic Objectives

We have not yet approved any of the action plans.
New Mission: Our mission is to cultivate the potential in every student to thrive as a global citizen by inspiring a love of learning and civic engagement, by challenging and supporting every student to achieve academic excellence, and by embracing the full richness and diversity of our community.
Strategic Objectives:

We will ensure that all students reach their highest potential and we will eliminate achievement gaps where they exist. To do this, we will prepare every student for kindergarten, raise the bar for all students, create meaningful student-adult relationships, and provide student-centered programs and supports that lead to prepared graduates.
To improve academic outcomes for all students and to ensure student engagement and student support, we will strengthen comprehensive curriculum, instruction and assessment systems in the District.
We will implement a formal system to support and inspire continuous development of effective teaching and leadership skills of all staff who serve to engage and support our diverse student body while furthering development of programs that target the recruitment and retention of staff members who reflect the cultural composition of our student body.
We will rigorously evaluate programs, services and personnel through a collaborative, data-driven process to prioritize and allocate resources effectively and equitably, and rigorously pursue the resources necessary to achieve our mission.
We will promote, encourage, and maintain systems of practice that will create safe and productive learning and work environments that will unify and strengthen our schools, programs, departments and services as well as the District as a whole.

Next steps:
We did not approve any action plans. We went around the table and listed our priority areas and the Administration will develop action plans to support those areas and bring them back to the Board in August. There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion around the action plans brought forward. We have structured our process this way to ensure we keep moving forward as the plan is Important for setting the future direction of the District.

Wisconsin State Budget Forum, Wed. April 1, Wright Middle School, 6 p.m.

Joe Quick:

Dear MMSD Advocate,
Every two years, state government adopts a biennial budget that funds nearly every program in state government. Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget mostly protects K-12, but many K-12 programs were cut by 1%. Due to the floundering national/state economy millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds for Wisconsin are being used to provide a one-time boost to state funding for schools over the next two years.
Short-term, there are some important items in the budget that will help MMSD; but long-term, little is being done to end the annual ritual of either going to referendum or determining what programs and services for students must be cut to balance the local budget.
In the two-year legislative cycle, April in odd years is probably the most important time to contact your legislator to advocate for school programs. Whether it’s SAGE, the K-3 class size reduction program funded by the state, or funding for students in special education — the biennial budget provides the resources.
If you want to advocate to protect school programs/services, please come to the State Budget Forum on April 1st (see attached flier [54K PDF]) to learn about the issues, receive information to help you with that advocacy and find out what is being done to bring about comprehensive school funding reform.
Please forward this information to others who might be interested. Hope to see you April 1st,
Joe Quick
Legislative Liaison/Communication Specialist
Madison Schools
608 663-1902

Madison School Board: Legislative Session and Fine Arts Task Force

Legislative Informational Community Session: We are holding a special Board meeting to focus on legislative issues on Wednesday April 1 at 6:00pm at Wright Middle School. At this session we will provide updates on school funding and state budget issues that affect the MMSD. We will discuss and share strategies on how the community can get involved in advocating for our schools.
Fine Arts Task Force (FATF) Informational Community Sessions: The focus of each session will be a presentation of the findings and recommendations of the FATF followed by an opportunity for discussion. The Executive Summary and complete FATF report can be found at Tuesday, March 10, 6:00-8:00pm, Memorial High School. Thursday, March 12, 6:00-8:00pm, La Follette High School LMC.

Informational Community Sessions on the Madison Fine Arts Task Force

Tuesday March 10, 2009 6 to 8p.m.
Memorial High School – Wisconsin Neighborhood Center [Map]
Thursday March 12, 2009 6 to 8p.m.
LaFollette High School in the LMC [Map]
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) will be sharing the recommendations of the Fine Arts Task Force. We are cordially inviting you to attend one or both of these sessions.
The focus of each session will be a presentation of the findings and recommendations of the Fine Arts Task Force followed by an opportunity for discussion. The Executive Summary and complete Fine Arts Task Force Report can be found at
We are looking forward to sharing this information with you and hearing your thoughts about the research and recommendations provided by the Fine Arts Task Force.
Feedback from sessions and the recommendations from the Fine Arts Task Force will assist in improving the MMSD K-12 Fine Arts program and opportunities for our students,
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Julie Palkowski at
Lisa Wachtel
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
Julie Palkowski
Coordinator of Fine Arts
Please share this information with others that may be interested in attending these sessions and/or sharing their comments.

MMSD Board of Education Progress Report – November, 2008

The major focus of our meetings in November was on aligning the work of the Board to the district’s mission and research regarding effective school boards. The emerging literature regarding the role of school board governance in improving student achievement suggests that the manner in which the Board does its work can lead to positive student achievement results. Superintendent Nerad has provided us with great amount of research and experience to guide us in our discussions. An overview of some of our major changes is below. There are a lot of details behind each of the items listed below. If you have any questions, please let us know via email:
Arlene Silveira (516-8981)
Committees: We voted to replace the existing committees with the committees listed below in order to create a greater focus on student achievement and the need for improved student achievement and related development outcomes for the district. The committees are structured along key governing lines. Each committee is composed of the board as a whole with co-chairs.
Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring: Focuses on the district’s mission and will consist of matters related to factors leading to the improvement of student learning. Governance function: district’s mission – work and related accountability for student learning. Co-chairs: Johnny Winston Jr., Maya Cole
Planning and Development: Focuses on ensuring effective planning related to the district’s strategic plan, demographic planning, facility planning and budget planning. Governance function: planning for improved results. Co-chairs: Ed Hughes, Marj Passman
Operational Support: Focuses on financial management, building maintenance and operations, land purchase and district administrative operations, retention and hiring of staff and staff equity issues. Governance function: internal functions and ensuring quality business, finance and human resource systems. Co-chairs: Lucy Mathiak, Beth Moss
Engaging/Linking Stakeholders: We are expanding engagement practices with the goals of determining stakeholder perceptions about the district and educating members of the public to build public will and support.
6 Regular board meeting/year will be held in different schools. As part of the agenda, principals and staff will present learning data and their School Improvement Plan.
Each Board member will serve as a liaison to 7 schools to assist the Board in understanding the learning-related work in our schools.
The Board will schedule 4-6 meetings/year within the community to collect input from community stakeholders regarding “big” questions related to the district’s strategic plan and/or educational programs/services.
Ensuring a Focus on Results and Accountability:
Data retreats: As part of the work of the Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring committee, 4 meetings/year will include a data presentation related to specific student achievement and student performance measures.
Program evaluation: As part of the Student Achievement and Performance Monitoring committee, a schedule of program evaluations will be identified and implemented.
Improvement benchmarks: When the district’s strategic plan is completed. District level improvement benchmarks will be identified for each student based strategy within the plan.

Community Forum – Math Task Force Recommendations

There will be 2 forums to receive community feedback on the Math Task Force report/recommendations.
* Monday, December 8 – 6:00-8:00pm at Memorial High School
* Tuesday, December 9 – 6:00-8:00pm at La Follette High School
There will be a brief presentation on the task force recommendations, followed by a break-out session for community feedback and comments.
The Superintendent will use the feedback and comments in developing his recommendations for the Board.
As a reminder, the Math Task Force info can be found at
Thank you.

Community Input on Math Task Force Recommendations – SAVE THE DATES!

Hi – there will be 2 community input forums to gather input from the community on the recommendations of the Math Task Force. The report of the MTF can be found at:
The forums are scheduled for:
Monday, December 8 from 6:00-8:00pm at Memorial High School
Tuesday, December 9 from 6:00-8:00pm at LaFollette High School
I am not sure of the format yet but know this is a busy time of year so wanted to give you an opportunity to mark your calendars if you plan on attending on of the forums. I’ll send more information when available.