Hello Marquette Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. February is a time that some cultures reflect on the connections and relationships we have with others. This feels especially important this year. I want to thank you for everything you have done to connect with school staff this year. 

I also want to appreciate your efforts to help your child connect with teachers, friends, and loved ones this year. Some of those opportunities have been through school such as Fun Fridays, morning meetings, Mindful Mustangs, lunch bunches, Marquette’s Community Read, and other classroom events. Some of you have connected with friends and relatives in other safe ways during this time. Thank you for staying connected. It is so important now.

Many of you are wondering about the reopening of schools to include face to face instruction. We do not know when MMSD will reopen, but I want to update you on preparations that Marquette is doing to prepare. Our custodial staff has been preparing our physical environment and classrooms to support six feet of social distancing and cleanliness. All our staff has been adjusting our routines and procedures to keep students and staff in smaller groups or cohorts and socially distanced. We are purchasing supplies and materials needed to support learning and safety in this context. This process is ongoing, and we make adjustments based on new information or guidelines. 

Please know that we will be sharing more detailed information with families and students in advance of reopening to help you know what to expect. We want to make sure that reopening is successful and supportive for all of our students and families. 

Last month, I shared some ways you can start preparing your child for reopening now. You will find these suggestions again at the bottom of this letter. Wearing a face mask properly will be an important part of attending face to face instruction. Here is a video about mask wearing. If your child struggles with this skill, we encourage you to begin practicing now and to reach out to Nurse Mary Hutchinson (mjhutchinson@madison.k12.wi.us) or me (saparks@madison.k12.wi.us). This will allow us to partner together on this to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Thank you again for all your support. We appreciate the partnership of our families. Please reach out with any questions, ideas, or concerns.

Mrs. Parks, Principal, Marquette Elementary School

Some things you can do to help your child prepare for school reopening are:

  • Talk to your child about COVID and questions they may have. The MMSD Virtual Learning page includes a section on mental health and ways to help your child cope with COVID. https://studentservices.madison.k12.wi.us/node/979
  • Help kids understand how to appropriately wear a face mask and have them practice wearing a mask for longer periods of time. Video, Video 2
  • Make sure children develop a routine of handwashing with soap that is consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • Help your child develop new ways to greet others. There are many fun and child appropriate videos on You-Tube that teach this: Alternative Greetings. 10 Ways to Greet Someone
  • Help your child understand what “six feet away” actually is. GREET from SIX FEET!
  • Encourage your child to move and have physical activity
  • Develop healthy sleep and eating habits
February is Black History Month! We want to let you know about the schoolwide events Marquette will be holding to celebrate Black Excellence this month.
Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

Black Lives Matter At School is a national coalition organizing for racial justice in education that encourages all educators, students, parents, unions, and community organizations to join our annual week of action during the first week of February each year.

Though we have been lifting up Black Lives Matter at school all year, Marquette has adopted the week of February 1-5 for a special focus on the Black Lives Matter at School themes, which include: 

  • Restorative Justice, Empathy and Loving Engagement
  • Diversity and Globalism
  • Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming, and Collective Value
  • Intergenerational, Black Families and Black Villages
  • Black Women and Unapologetically Black
Read Your Heart Out Day
Read Your Heart Out Day is an MMSD tradition of honoring National African American Parent Involvement Day with reading celebrations across the district. We will welcome readers from the East High Black Student Union and enjoy an assembly with RYHO Day founder Michelle Belnavis.

Marquette invites our African American/Black parents and family members to participate in this year’s virtual celebration. You may fill out this Form to let classroom teachers know your availability on February 19 to come and celebrate with us. Once we have received your Form submission we will send you a Zoom link with the time that you will be joining us. We ask that you tell us a story, share a piece of spoken word, or read a book that features African American/Black protagonists, authors or illustrators.  
If you are interested in participating, please fill out the Form even if you are unable to join us during the day of February 19. There are other ways to participate that are included in the Form. The Form will also help us connect you with a book to read.

Author Visit: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

During the month of February we plan to enjoy a virtual visit from author and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton. The details are still being finalized at the district level. You can check out her work on her website: vanessabrantleynewton.com
Greetings from the Health Office
Parents and Guardians,

It has never been more important than now for your child’s school to have your CURRENT contact information, as well as LOCAL emergency contacts. It is important for you to set up the mailbox on your phones if we need to leave a message, and to also make sure that your phone mailbox is NOT FULL. If you currently do not own a phone, we will still need another alternate phone number.

We anticipate that when we do open, we may have to contact you urgently to pick up your child from school. We will be offering Covid-19 tests to symptomatic students and staff, but before we can do this, we will need to have a consent signed, and therefore, we will need current contact information. Covid-19 testing at school is an option only, and not required. IF you do not want your symptomatic child to be tested at school, you will be expected to pick up your child within the hour. At that point, the nurse will recommend Covid-19 testing at a provider of your choosing.  

Parents, we really need your help! We ask that you screen your child every day for Covid-19 symptoms, and this should include taking your child’s temperature. Any temperature 100.4 or over is a fever and your child needs to stay home. If we want our public schools to open and stay open, it will be necessary for EVERYONE to do the right thing!   

Below is an update regarding testing and vaccination, and updated board policies.

Thank you for your personal efforts for school health and safety at Marquette and O’Keeffe!

Mary Hutchinson, R.N.; M.S.N. School Nurse at Marquette/O’Keeffe

We have a team working closely with local health experts who are leading local COVID-19 testing efforts, to continue developing our own internal testing capacity. We are working with a rapid antigen test called BinaxNOW, which uses a nasal swab and is able to give COVID-19 results in only 15 minutes.

We currently have one site, Mendota MSCR Cares, participating in a voluntary 8-week research study pilot being conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Researchers are hoping to learn more about the feasibility of using twice -asymptomatic testing as a way of keeping programs open more consistently. We hope to be able to expand this pilot to a few additional schools in the coming weeks.

We are also in the process of developing our capacity to use BinaxNOW tests for symptomatic testing at all MMSD schools. Our goal is to be able to offer rapid antigen testing for any in-person student or staff member who develops symptoms while at school. We expect this to begin in the next few weeks. At the moment, our supply of tests is finite so it is difficult for us to anticipate exactly how long this will be available. We will continue to work with our health experts to consider all options.

We continue our efforts to get all staff designated in Tier 1a staff vaccinated as soon as possible. We are in regular communication with Public Health Madison & Dane County in order to fully understand decisions being made by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services regarding tiers and specific groups of staff. Together, they dictate to us which staff can be included in each group. You can find our latest update on vaccine availability here.

The Department of Health Services announced a weekly newsletter the public can sign up for to get direct information about the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout. Registration is now open, and archived copies of the weekly newsletter will also be available.

New board policies
On December 14, 2020, Public Health Madison & Dane County released new requirements and recommendations for school districts preparing to reopen. To satisfy new requirements, MMSD's Board of Education introduced new policies for hygiene, protective measures and cleaning on January 11 and plans to adopt them on January 25.
Lapham-Marquette - Parent Teacher Group (PTG)
Lapham-Marquette - Parent Teacher Group (PTG)
Next meeting for the 2020-2021 school year:
Tuesday, February 9, 6:30 pm

The next Lapham-Marquette PTG meeting is scheduled for February 9, at 6:30pm.  You can join the meeting on Zoom with this link. Or you can dial-in at 312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 991 7907 3539).

Erica Krug from Rooted will join us to discuss potential opportunities for changes to the garden and outdoor programming at our schools, including the new Rooted Farm to School (F2S) program that includes a partnership with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and AmeriCorps.

Make sure you subscribe to the mailing list, for ongoing communications from the PTG. Unable to join the meetings? You can also stay connected by following us on FacebookInstagram, or by visiting our website.  
Additional Links for Helpful Information
If you haven't already, you can opt in to receive texts from the district and your school(s) by texting the word YES to 67587 from your mobile device. 

MMSD is working with the Madison Public Libraries to ensure all students have access to books during this pandemic. Learn more about how your students can get library books.

Make sure to continue to check mmsd.org/COVID-19 for the latest updates on virtual learning, food and device distribution and more. 

The MMSD Student & Staff Support department has compiled a variety of COVID-19 Mental Health Resources on our website that you and your children can take advantage of. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you need additional support.  

​The schedule for our 40 school food distribution sites that are offering free curbside meal service for all children 18 years old or younger, along with a pre-order form and additional information is on our website here

How to contact your school: While we're virtual, we want to make sure you're still able to contact your school. There are currently three ways you can get in touch with your school. Find them here. You can also call Anna Brown, Marquette's administrator's assistant in the office at 608-204-3225 or email marquette@madison.k12.wi.us.

Attendance is being taken every day. Learn about how attendance works during virtual learning

Tech support and devices If you are having chromebook problems, please contact your school's LMTS. Learn more about the process here. Marquette's LMTS is Maegan Heindel and you can email her for help at mheindel@madison.k12.wi.us
Marquette Elementary - 1501 Jenifer St Madison, WI 53703
Office: 204-3220 | Safe Arrival: 204-3233 | Fax: 204-0467 
Sally Parks, Principal - saparks@madison.k12wi.us
Anna Brown, Secretary - 608-204-3225, abbrown@madison.k12.wi.us