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At Institute Day 2020, Madison City Schools employees tuned online for words of encouragement and announcements of their colleagues’ honors. CONTRIBUTED

Nichols charges teachers at Institute Day to ‘step out’ in unprecedented year

MADISON – Institute Day 2020 for Madison City Schools had a different look and feel but persevered to encourage employees for the unprecedented 2020-2021 school year.

Held before classes resume, Institute Day is the annual all-hands meeting of school and district employees. Institute Day is considered the launch of the school year and was held two weeks before the start of classes for students.

Instead of one of the high school auditoriums, the Central Office’s board room was the venue for Institute Day because of COVID-19 constraints. Employees watched the session from their individual schools. Members of Madison Board of Education and Central Office staff attended in person, John Peck, MCS Public Relations Manager, said.

James Clemens High School Color Guard presented the colors. Bob Jones High School Ambassadors led the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Daphne Jah, MCS Personnel Coordinator, sang “The National Anthem.”

In his comments, MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols charged employees to love their students, remain positive and continue vigilance in communicating with student families. This year, many pressures will apply to teachers, along with challenges and a learning curve for new skills and concepts.

“I want us to be the thermostats for this community,” Nichols said. “I want the community to see the most positive, focused, dedicated, loving and understanding group of educators anywhere.”

Recently, a resident told Nichols that this year will be the worse school year ever. “My answer is we can make this the greatest school year. I believe we will because of the men and women in MCS … that they will take the challenge and step out,” Nichols said.

To achieve MCS’ mission statement, “Empowering Students for Global Success,” students must show resilience, flexibility and adaptability. “They will learn those skills this year by watching us. They will see our skills, our adaptivity, our flexibility, our readiness for change. They will see our attitude, and it will be infectious and show them how to prepare for life,” Nichols said.

“We need you to be creative, innovative, agile, flexible and brave. And you are up to the challenge. You are ready to do what you were called to do and that is to educate and love your students,” Nichols said.

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