Superintendent's Message

 

 

 

 

New School Year Message 2014-2015

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Madison School District 321: Welcome back!

I am very excited that another school year is about to begin!

We’ve been busy this summer adding enhanced safety entrances to Madison Middle School and Hibbard Elementary. In addition, we are working tenaciously to complete the renovations (5 new classrooms, upgrading the entranceway and bathroom fixtures, installing energy efficient windows and adding a gymnasium) to Kennedy Elementary.

These renovations are the latest steps in our continuing effort to improve school facilities. We feel that better facilities will enhance learning. 

Along with new construction, many of our teachers have been hard at work this summer aligning curriculum. Thank you all for participating in this effort.

I believe Madison is finest school district in the state of Idaho. The excellence we expect is a direct result of supportive parents, patrons and very talented professionals who care deeply about their students and work diligently to assist them to learn and grow as individuals. As our district motto states, we are “Caring Community Schools.”

I firmly believe in the old adage, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” At Madison 321, our goal is to provide an ideal place of learning where children feel physically and emotionally safe.

I was privileged to have an exceptional first grade teacher, Mrs. Wells. Not only did she believe in me but I always knew she cared about me. Through her guidance, she continually boosted my academic self-confidence. That was 47 years ago. Despite the decades that have passed, I can still remember quite vividly the uplifting feeling I had in her presence.

My sincere hope is that this year, and every year, each of your children have a positive “Mrs. Wells” experience that will last a lifetime.

Best wishes on a great school year!
 

 

End of 2012-2013 School Year

Dear Patrons,

As another incredibly successful school year comes to a close, you can be proud of Madison School District 321. We do not have a good school district, we have a great one!

This was a year of tremendous accomplishments by students and staff. There have been many achievements throughout all of our schools; so many in fact I am resorting to bullet points:

The District:

This year we reached a historic record student enrollment 5,127 – Representing a 20 percent increase since 2001.

We have enhanced our webpage to facilitate easier accessibility and greater information to our patrons.

Financially the district is very stable with a $ 1.6 million or 8 percent dollars savings account.

The district will be taking advantage of historic low interest rates and refinancing our current bonds thereby saving taxpayers an estimated 6.08 percent or $ 1, 498,076 million dollars.

In the past three years we have expanded and improved facilities at Adams, Hibbard, MJHS and this year the Board has approved a $ 2.6 Million dollar addition of Kennedy Elementary, adding five new classrooms, a more secure entranceway and a new gym – we are excited to be able to accommodate the continuing growth.

Despite a 15 percent reduction in operational monies, MSD 321 is only one of two SE Idaho districts that have not requested a supplemental levy from local taxpayers.

Madison invites partnerships with the community by providing usage of our facilities for hosting many civic functions free of charge or at very low cost.

Academics:

MHS named to the National AP Honor Roll (Only one of two districts in Idaho to achieve this honor).

Madison ranks in the Top Three ISAT Scoring Districts.

We enjoy a 98.6 percent graduation rate.

85 percent of graduating students go on to attend post-secondary education.

Highest Idaho Minority Student Test Scores (AMAO).

Highest ISAT Scores 96-97 Percent in Region / SE Idaho

Sub Group ISAT Scores 15 - 20 % higher than State Averages

MHS Robotics Team won the Idaho State Championship (2 Consecutive Years).

MJHS Robotics Team World Championship.

State Handwriting Champions Grades 1-4. Mrs. Garner from Hibbard has had a state champion five consecutive years!

MHS Speech and Debate won the District Championship.

Ongoing, extensive and involved educational partnerships at each of our schools with BYUI.

Matt Mogensen, Spencer Price, Mike Potter were the first MHS Culinary team to compete at State during the FCCLA convention in Boise, taking 4th out of 20 teams.

 

The Education Assistant program is alive and well. Currently at MHS has a class of 24 students assisting Elementary students in Burton, Hibbard and South Fork. They are making terrific marks on the lives of students who struggle with reading and math. Their influence is being felt.

 

Through the Bobcat Bakery, students have seen the positive outcome of running a small business and enjoy the confident feelings of being successful by providing food products that their fellow students buy.

 

Athletics:

MHS Won the 5 A State football Championship

MHS Girls Volleyball team placed second in state

Boys and Girls Basketball qualified for state. The Girls won the Consolation and Sportsmanship awards.

MHS Cheerleaders placed 2nd in the State championships

Boys Baseball qualified for state

Madison student, Richard Anau, 5A State Champion Wrestler (Two Consecutive Years)

Numerous students qualified for state track

Nine MHS students qualified for state tennis – we are taking more students than any other school tennis team.

Numerous students are participating in the elementary “Pacers” program with many having ran or walked over 26 miles this year!

Art and Music:

Beauty and the Beast, Hello Dolly and The Mousetrap were all wonderfully performed. Orchestra, band, choir concerts, recitals and performances were all huge successes.

Numerous MHS students qualified and won state level competition awards.

MHS students Eli Jenkins, Mark Kirkpatrick, Laura Schmidt, and Joey Watkins all qualified for the state solo competitions. Only the top two musicians in each instrument are selected from the seven Idaho regions to participate in this competition.

8th grade MJHS student Dallon Miskin had his original composition “Maelstrom,” performed at a recent MHS band concert.

Kennedy students won the state recognition for their Art and Poetry submittals.

MHS students won both first and second place in the regional art contest and qualified for state.

Service:

We are in year four of integrating the Madison CARES-Systems of Care grant assisting students and families facing mental or emotional health challenges.

All schools participated in the MSD 321 “37 Acts of Kindness”.

Implementation and integration of Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) efforts in every school.

Students worked together to send relief packets to Hurricane Sandy Victims and household items to the local Food Bank.

Madison won the Youth and Family Partnership Award.

Upcoming Developments:

2014-2015 Establishment of the Madison Professional Technical School

The new PT “school within a school” will provide greater opportunities for students both vocationally and academically. Students will be able to graduate high school with an Associates Degree and be much further along for their careers

Many school districts would be pleased to have just one of the above mentioned accomplishments. Madison is blessed to have all of them! The achievements are a result of many factors; we live in a wonderful community with great students, supportive parents, excellent teachers and talented administrators.

Congratulations to our graduating seniors. Best wishes to you in the future! Thank you again everyone for a great school year!!

 

 

October 2012

 
 
With the recent rain and snowfall, much cooler weather and trees shedding their leaves, fall has definitely arrived. With the change of seasons, it is helpful to review the first few months of school and see that Madison 321 is having another excellent year! Covering every aspect of our district would take numerous pages, so a few highlights are listed below:
 
Student enrollment is at an all-time high of 5,055 and the number of students continues to grow.

 

Education:
This year the district adopted K-6 English Language Arts curriculum which is much more rigorous in regards to writing. This coursework also aligns with the Common core State Standards or CCSS, has online features and online testing. “Think Central” is the main website where books and curriculum are housed.
 
At the secondary level, we have added Advanced Placement or AP Statistics, AP Calculus, and AP Language Composition classes. In addition, we are providing two more offerings to the ever burgeoning IEN (Distance learning) courses. Academically motivated students can now earn up to 40 college credits when they graduate from high school.
 
The MHS band placed at the Davis Invitational and won their division at Southern Idaho Invitational at Burley. We are also looking forward to the Production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Once again Madison fine arts are doing exceptionally well.
 
Our athletic teams are having excellent seasons as evidenced by the qualification for state in volleyball and our undefeated football team. I am very proud of our student athletes and appreciate our dedicated coaches and supportive parents.
 
Energy:
In the upcoming November board meeting, Energy Education will be reporting how our mutual energy conservation program is doing. Utility usage is the second highest expense in the district next to personnel. We are constantly seeking greater energy efficiency and methods to lower usage thereby more effectively utilizing the resources provided by our patrons.
 
Election:
I taught American Government for many years and I would remind everyone that has reached the age of 18 to make sure and register to vote and then exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is an important election in many respects and there are significant questions being posed regarding Idaho public education.
 
Numerous informational sites are available to assist you in learning about the educational propositions. I would encourage you to read about and become informed regarding these vital issues.
 
Voting is not only a right; it is our responsibility as American citizens to demonstrate our views via the ballot box and thereby help ensure the viability of our democracy.
 
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Chamber Forum where candidates for office had an opportunity to share their viewpoints. I am appreciative of those who have placed their hat in the ring and are running for elective office. It takes courage to place your good name on the line and be willing to serve the public.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the candidates for their love of the community and interest in serving the good people of Rexburg and the Upper Valley.
 
Thank you to all of our staff members for making Madison 321 the finest school district in Idaho!
 
 

 

AUGUST 2012

 

Madison Continues Growth Heading into New School Year

 

Welcome back! I’m thrilled to be a part of such an exciting school district! Every year we have something new taking place in Madison, and this year is no different.

 

As we begin the new school year, the district will have over 5,000 total students. This increase reflects the remarkable growth in our community, and as a district, we welcome the opportunity to expand our vision and services with this growing student body.

 

To help accommodate some of the growth and the district Consolidated Preschool, we have added six new classrooms to Burton Elementary. The project was funded from our Plant Facilities monies.

 

We have also continued our energy conservation program by partnering with Energy Education. Many of you will recall the grant money we received to install solar panels on Madison High School. In addition, we will be installing new energy conservation windows at Lincoln, Hibbard, and Kennedy Elementary Schools. The preliminary savings from the conservation program look very positive.

 

Other district improvements include making a handicap-accessible sidewalk at Lincoln elementary and resurfacing the outdoor track at Madison Jr. High.

 

And lastly, we are also hard at work implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Idaho, along with 46 other states, continues to work towards fewer yet more in-depth curriculum standards. There will be hard copy handouts and links provided on our district website in the near future where parents can go to learn more about the curriculum changes and its implications for Madison School District 321.

 

Parents and patrons will soon be able to participate in a survey regarding the format of the school calendar. The response will guide us as we implement a new calendar pattern for the next three years.

 

We’re grateful for the involvement and participation of parents, grandparents and the community every school year. Without your assistance, the school district could not maintain the excellence we enjoy.

 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and district administration we look forward to a successful experience for all students in the upcoming school year!

 

 

 

JULY 2012

 

 

236 years ago, Thomas Jefferson’s famous words began a revolution:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the   separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect    to the opinions   of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The revolution was not just one seeking freedom from British rule, it was a revolution of the way we view human rights.  Until that point many viewed rights as mere privileges that were bestowed by a

 

benevolent government, granted at its pleasure and discretion.  Jefferson boldly stated that rights were independent of government, and endowed by the Creator of all.  Human beings had natural rights!  Even more revolutionary was the notion that ALL men were created equal, that every human life had equal worth, and that no man should be able to rule over another.  Jefferson asserted that when governments usurp these natural rights, the people had the right, even the duty, to overthrow that government.

The American Revolution was a revolution of arms, but also of the mind and soul, of the human spirit, and has stood since that time as a challenge to every would-be dictator and despot.

 As I reflect upon the events of 1776, I feel humbled and deeply honored to be an American.  Our republic was the first to espouse the ideal that governments rule by the consent of the governed, that      human rights were natural, and that these rights could not be taken away by a King, or a mob.  I am forever grateful that our forefathers later drafted a Constitution which protects us from the excesses of government, as well as the excesses of pure democracy.  Freedom cannot exist with simple majority      rule independent of human rights.

Benjamin Franklin described pure democracy as “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.”  Without law restraining the wolves from violating the rights of the lamb, pure democracy      can quickly turn into mob rule.  In their wisdom, our founding fathers recognized this, and implemented a form of government known as a Democratic Republic; one which protects individual freedom while also allowing self-determination.   We are free to vote on the issues of the day, to elect those to      government with whom we agree, while at the same time respecting the rights of the minority.  It’s ingenious.

Our forefathers also understood that in order to concentrate political power in the hands of the people, the people need to be literate.  An informed and intelligent public is vital to making proper decisions.  To      cast an intelligent vote, a person must examine all sides of an issue, weigh the pros and cons, and be aware of the ramifications of adopting a given law or policy.  That’s just common sense.

 But in the early days of our Republic, many people were not literate.  When someone is unable to read, to study an issue, they rely only on what they’re told and are easily manipulated.  To fully realize the promise of equality, true equality, access to education needs to be universal.  Public education, then, is      vital to the ideals of the American Revolution.

As educators, it’s our duty to ensure that rising generations have the tools and resources necessary to make informed decisions.  We don’t tell our kids what to think and how to vote.  We teach them how to think for themselves, and encourage them to participate in the political process.  I can’t think of a more      important work than building an educated, informed and engaged citizenry.

And I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to those who sacrificed so much so that we could be free.

 

 

JUNE 2012

 

 

Recently, our district implemented a rigorous energy savings program with the assistance of Energy Education, a company which specializes in organizational behavior-driven energy conservation for school districts, universities, colleges and large churches.

We initiated this conservation effort because energy costs are rising and our utility costs are second only to salaries in our annual budget. Energy Education has a national record of reducing energy costs for districts like ours. In fact, they guarantee savings.

As part of our commitment to energy conservation, we have also become an ENERGY STAR Partner. This means we are teaming up with one of the most recognizable energy conservation brands in the world. While most people are familiar with ENERGY STAR on different consumer products, ENERGY STAR also works with schools districts and higher education institutions in saving energy through energy efficient practices.

You will begin seeing the ENERGY STAR logo throughout our district and we hope it will serve as a reminder of our dedication to be good stewards of our financial and environmental resources.