For Immediate Release: February 26, 2016
Contact: Rachel Strauch-Nelson (608) 663-1903
Community Schools Coordinate Services and Supports for Families
The Madison School District announced today that Leopold and Mendota Elementary Schools will become community schools starting in the 2016-17 school year, providing coordinated services and supports to students and families in the schools’ neighborhoods.
“Community schools have the potential to take our support for children and families in Madison to a new level. Many of our families still struggle with access to community services, but through this work, we’ll be able to integrate coordinated services into schools, where our students and families are every day,” said Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham. “When students and their families are fully supported, our students can be ready to excel in the classroom.”
Community schools integrate services like health care, academic tutoring, mentoring, food access or parent leadership opportunities into school sites. Thanks to a grant from the Madison Community Foundation, the school district has been exploring the community schools model and gathering feedback from the community.
Based on need, 22 schools were invited to apply to be the first community schools in the 2016-17 school year. Based on implementation at the first two schools, the district hopes to expand to additional schools in the future.
“Creating opportunities for all Madison families to thrive is at the heart of MMSD’s Community Schools initiative,” said Bob Sorge, president of Madison Community Foundation. “We’re excited for the Mendota and Leopold communities to lead the way forward in strengthening our schools, our neighborhoods and the next generation of Madison residents.”
“We are extremely excited that Mendota has been selected to be a community school for the 2016-2017 school year,” said Mendota Principal Carlettra Stanford. “Becoming a community school will enable us to connect our families to needed community resources that will assist in narrowing achievement, equity and opportunity gaps. The avenue of possibilities that this will provide for our scholars, their families and the north side community are endless. We look forward to this journey with our families and community partners.”
Both Leopold and Mendota will have a resource coordinator tasked with planning and facilitating programs and services for families, students and the community. Each school will analyze the assets and needs of their school community in order to develop their plan for identifying and delivering services to families, students and the community.
“Our Leopold team, which includes our dedicated staff, amazing students, committed families and collaborative community partners, has been working for years to try to bring community school strategies to our doors,” said Leopold Principal Karine Sloan. “Becoming a community school will greatly strengthen our efforts to meet the needs of our families, for whom we have the honor to serve. The outpouring of support from our community to have Leopold become one of the first sites has been wonderfully overwhelming. We thank everyone for supporting this effort and the selection committee for recognizing years of effort."