Letter from the PTSA President

The days are now longer than the nights. It’s warming up and the cherry blossoms are starting to appear. More than half of the Madison student body and about 90% of the teachers are now back in the building for in-person learning. COVID restrictions are being eased and FCPS has promised the Class of 2021 graduation ceremonies will be held in-person. Spring has arrived and the Winter (and Fall and Summer and last Spring) of our Discontent is gradually dissipating. Things are from perfect, but better than they have been for most of the past year. 

This academic year posed unprecedented challenges for all students, parents, teachers and administrators. I greatly appreciate the unprecedented efforts of FCPS and Madison’s teachers and administrators to comply with various restrictions and formulate solutions so school classes and activities could continue in a very different manner. Students gained expertise with Blackboard Collaborate (while many parents shifted their work world to Zoom & Google Meet). Sporting events and school plays appeared on YouTube and FCPS operated school bus routes to deliver school lunches to those in need. 

I’m also proud and appreciative of all the PTSA members and other parents who stepped up to support their children and the entire Madison community. This year the PTSA has pivoted and adapted to support teachers and students while learning remotely. People greatly increased their support of the Madison Pantry which provides food and household necessities for Madison’s most needy families. Academic Boosters continued to offer practice ACT and SAT testing by shifting to online. Parent Programs and PTSA meetings also moved online which resulted allowed some people to attend who had been unable to make it to these sort of events in person. Thank you for all these creative and agile efforts. 

The 3rd quarter of school just ended so people are looking not only to SOLs, finals and graduation but also to next year. FCPS is planning to start the 2021-2022 school year with 5-day in-person learning. We all wonder what exactly school will look like. At Madison, construction on the new additions will be in full swing and mildly disruptive for most of the school year, so teachers and students will need to make adjustments for that. And every time there is a meeting or information session at school, some busy Madison parents or students may be wondering, “Could we do this via Zoom? Getting to school at that time is such a hassle.”

At this point we don’t know, but we do know lots of smart and dedicated teachers, administrators and parents will work to develop practical and equitable ways to make all variations of schooling and school experiences as positive as possible. I encourage all parents to join and actively engage with the PTSA to make sure your ideas are heard and be part of the solutions. Don’t like how the PTSA did something or upset the PTSA did not do something? Here’s your chance to walk the walk and make things better. 

Join us at our next PTSA meeting on Monday April 13 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Mr. Buckley will use the first 30 minutes to discuss SOL testing this year. During the regular meeting we will discuss PTSA Committee opportunities for next year and if parents would like to have PTSA meetings live streamed even when they are conducted in person. Lastly, the Baccalaureate Committee Chair remains vacant. If you would like to see Baccalaureate happen in some form this year, please contact me.  Thanks!

Christopher Lande,
President, JMHS PTSA