JMCSS Plans for School "New Normal" Initiative

June 17, 2020

JACKSON, Tenn. - Our world has been taken by storm with the coronavirus pandemic. Disruption, disbelief, and discontentment have plagued our nation. What seemed to have been normal only a few months ago has now changed, and people around the globe are exploring new ways of conducting business. Yet, through all the confusion, one thing that has remained consistent is the resiliency that teachers demonstrate around the world. Each year, our teachers experience a new normal with the changing of schedules, students, classrooms, programs, and more. Thanks to this resilience, JMCSS is confident that its teachers will rise to the occasion to ensure that every student has access to high-quality instruction and support to be academically prepared for the world beyond. With this shift in how schools operate in the future, it is a great opportunity to launch a bold, innovative approach to educating students in our public school system.

With the most recent use of virtual learning platforms and personalized learning options, it is apparent that the past practices of educating students can be adjusted and/or modified in innovative ways. Has anyone ever thought about a 4-day school week with the Friday option being virtual? Has anyone thought about having a cyber school? There are so many ways that our public school system can be reimagined. The Jackson-Madison County School System is committed to ensuring that all of its students are positioned to have equitable options and opportunities that will prepare them for college and/or career. Our goal is to ensure that our students are contributors to our economy so that the daily living experience of our community and beyond is improved.

While many around are putting together school re-entry plans, JMCSS is thinking about more than just re-entry. What better opportunity to launch a new way for students to have access to high-quality teaching and learning opportunities. It is more than simply re-entry.

Schools will not operate the same as they did last spring; therefore, the moment must be seized, to provide a new world-class educational system for our students and community. To do that, the school system has decided to launch a School “New Normal” Initiative that is comprised of four key areas: - Schools, Operations, Communications, Academics (i.e., SOCA). The table shows in each area a list of indicators that will be used to build each plan.

There will be work teams assigned to each area to build out plans for what the “new normal” will look like upon our student return. Dr. Catlett and Dr. Williams, the system’s deputy superintendents, have been charged with developing and guiding work teams. “This work cannot be done alone. It has been and will always be my approach to involve school leaders, teachers, families, and the community in critical decisions involving the school system,” said Dr. Marlon King. Therefore, before the teams begin their assignment, it is essential to gain context from teachers, principals, school staff, families, and the community. Hence, feedback is needed; therefore, an online survey has been created and will be sent out to gather information. The data collected in this survey will give the teams a starting point as the plan is being developed.

The incoming superintendent will be sending work teams’ nominees an invitation to participate. As the plan unfolds, weekly communication will be presented in “draft” form to keep stakeholders abreast.

School is slated to begin as quickly and safely as possible. The system will abide by the Governor’s orders and CDC guidelines, while working in concert with local government to ensure that, above all, safety is a priority. JMCSS’ new mantra is “Join Now,” so you might not want to wait until it’s too late. Stay tuned.

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JMCSS Communications