Contact: Rachel Strauch-Nelson, MMSD, (608) 663-1903

             Rick Uhlmann CUNA Mutual Group, (608) 665-8940

 Funding Supports Cutting-Edge Partnership with UW-Madison for New Educators

 CUNA Mutual Group announced Thursday it is committing $1.2 million to the Madison Metropolitan School District’s (MMSD) efforts to improve student success. The largest grant in the CUNA Mutual Foundation’s history will help fund Forward Madison, a new program that strengthens the relationships between the school district and UW-Madison’s School of Education by supporting new educators, improving the diversity of MMSD’s workforce and providing continued professional learning for educators. The grant will fund the entire new educator mentoring portion of Forward Madison, which will begin this fall. 

“Educators deserve the utmost support and collaboration that our communities can bring to bear,” said Robert Trunzo, President/CEO of CUNA Mutual Group. “It’s our hope that Forward Madison will represent something meaningful and sustained in the area of educational betterment. Not only is this program about educator preparation, it’s about a cause – something enduring that joins us together in a common focus: our children and our future.”

Forward Madison includes three strands: comprehensive support for educators in the first five years, efforts to improve the diversity of the district’s workforce and providing continued professional growth for district employees. New educator support will begin this fall.

“Together, we are committed to closing the opportunity gaps that produce different results for our students. To do that, we must have the very best educators with the very best support at every school,” Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “Thanks to our partnership with UW-Madison and the generous support of CUNA Mutual, we will begin our new educator induction program this fall. Thank you to CUNA Mutual for making this one-of-a kind program a reality in our district.”

The School of Education’s faculty leads for this project are Gloria Ladson-Billings, UW–Madison’s Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education, and John Diamond, the university’s Hoefs-Bascom Associate Professor of Education.

 “On our campus, we talk about the Wisconsin Idea -- directing our abilities to help effect positive change for our community, our state and our world,” School of Education Dean Julie Underwood said. “We, and our partners with the Madison Schools, know that effective educators are one of the most important factors in student learning and ensuring that every child has access to a free, high-quality education. The Forward Madison collaborative is another example of the Wisconsin Idea at work, and it’s wonderful to see CUNA Mutual Group making such a significant commitment to supporting these ongoing efforts to provide a first-rate education for every child."

Read more about Forward Madison on our website.