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State’s report cards show MMSD meets expectations

State education officials say the majority of Wisconsin public schools and school districts meet or exceed expectations for student achievement.

The Madison Metropolitan School District was rated at 69.8, which is meeting expectations. That score is an improvement over last year’s score of 68.5.

While Madison remained in the bottom third of districts statewide, it moved up from 11th to eighth among districts located in cities.

“As a school district, we’ve been very focused on the school improvement process. That means tightening up the process by which we set measurable goals for them to choose a few powerful strategies for meeting those goals and then consistently monitoring them along the way so they can make adjustments,” MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “We believe this is how you raise student achievement to narrow achievement gaps.”

Center to host back-to-school 'Kick-back' with backpacks, food

An event at a Madison community center is meant to get kids ready for the school year.

The Back to School Kick-back at the East Madison Community Center will offer backpacks, haircuts, food and more, according to event organizers.

The event takes place at the center, 8 Straubel Court from 1 to 4 p.m.

The event is open to all ages.

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

The yearly chaos when students move out of their current apartments and into their apartments for the next year is happening in downtown Madison the next couple of days.

Leases for apartments turn over Thursday into Friday, and the massive move means Hippie Christmas on many downtown streets near campus.

Students are dumping what they don't want on the curb, which is everything from TVs and school supplies to old furniture.

Officials with the Tenant Resource Center are urging people to be mindful of bed bugs and other insects when picking up stuff off the street.

"Tenants are always very concerned they're going to be charged a thousand bucks for the heat treatment (to get rid of bed bugs)," said Anders Zanichkowsky, program director of the Tenant Resource Center. "Landlords are very concerned that if the tenant doesn't report it, it's going to spread to all their units before they even know about it."

Suspected 'McGyver' bomb at school inert, authorities say

Suspected 'McGyver' bomb at school inert, authorities say

Authorities said a suspected "McGyver" bomb found near an east side Madison school Tuesday night turned out not to be a safety hazard. Police said the department did not believe students or staff at the school were in danger.

The Madison fire and police departments said a custodian found a suspicious plastic soda bottle at Hawthorne Elementary School on Concord Avenue at 7:11 p.m.

The fire department said the 20-ounce bottle of diet soda half full with a purple liquid was in the school's parking lot.

Police officers were first on scene first and coned off the area. A fire department hazardous incident team member thought the bottle appeared to be a "McGyver" bomb and that the purple liquid might be toilet bowl cleaner, according to a release from the fire department. Police said there have been cases where liquid-filled plastic bottle have contained harmful household chemicals which can explode under certain conditions.

An opportunity to talk, with an emphasis on second chances

An opportunity to talk, with an emphasis on second chances

For many people, a room filled with retired senior citizens and teenagers from all walks of life is an unfamiliar sight. The two generations rarely interact outside of family gatherings, but when they do, something special can happen.

"Dialogue Across the Ages," a program run through the Work and Learn Center on the east side of Madison, brings high school students and older adults together for four sessions in the fall semester.

The Work and Learn Center is an alternative program in the Madison Metropolitan School District for students at risk of not graduating that combines academics and vocational placement and allows the students to attain their high school diploma. Dialogue Across the Ages provides a forum at Madison’s Senior Center for these students, who have often faced many struggles early in life, and senior volunteers to simply … talk.

Lockdown lifted at Madison College

Lockdown lifted at Madison College

Students at the Madison College Truax campus were asked to stay inside the building because of an emergency in the area Thursday morning.

The lockdown was lifted at 8:38 a.m.

Madison police said they took precautions because they received information that there was a suicidal person heading for the Truax area, but the threat never materialized.

The incident was also a test of the campus alert system.

Madison College administrators immediately put the school into lockdown after Madison police informed them of the threat.

A Wolfpack Alert, the school's emergency information system, went out to students and staff telling them to stay inside, draw blinds and shelter in place.

The school's communications manager said he's proud of how everyone cooperated.

National, city, school leaders to focus on out-of-school-time programs

National, city, school leaders to focus on out-of-school-time programs

Local education groups and leaders will be holding meetings to discuss the most effective ways that Madison can help families work with providers, schools and the local government for the well-being of children, according to a release.

The city of Madison, the Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Out-of-School Time will be hosting community conversations about family involvement with Madison's out-of-school-time programs, officials said.

Madison is one of 14 cities selected by the National League of Cities to partner with the U.S. Department of Education to hold community conversations with educators, parents and community leaders, according to the release.