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Madison Metropolitan School District

Strategic Framework

We developed our Strategic Framework with over two thousand students, families, community members and staff members, amplifying the voices of those who have been historically marginalized. Through each of our nearly one hundred meetings and deep engagement with a planning team, we worked to gain the perspectives necessary to formulate a plan for the future.

This process led us to a refreshed strategy that builds on what we’ve learned, draws on our community’s experience and expertise and aims to bring our shared vision to life.

It is shaped by the voices of many and belongs to us all.


Every school will be a thriving school that prepares every student to graduate ready for college, career and community.

We approach this commitment with a belief that all of our fates are linked. More than half of our 27,000 students are students of color, including 21% who identify as Latinx and 18% who are African-American. Over a quarter are students who are learning English, coming from homes where nearly 100 different languages are spoken. Fourteen percent are students with disabilities. These bright and beautiful children are the future of Madison. Every single child must thrive if we are all to thrive, and we want them all to graduate with the knowledge, skills and mindsets needed to make their dreams come true.

MMSD Graduate Vision, Mastery of content, growth mindset, interpersonal skills, confidence, cult. competence, cummunity, well
student artwork of hands reaching for hearts

Core Values

To make our vision a reality, we must be a values-driven organization from the classroom to the boardroom. The values articulated below represent our commitment as an educational institution to anti-racism, inclusion and alliance to all children and their families. These values will drive our decision making at every level.

We will ensure that our youth develop core competencies and engage in deep learning through rich, challenging, inclusive and culturally responsive learning experiences, in academics, the arts, and social-emotional development.
We believe that students, staff and families of all races, ethnicities, faiths, home languages, immigration statuses, disabilities, sexual orientations and gender identities are valuable members of our community. By creating positive supportive relationships, we will cultivate a sense of belonging for all.
Racial Equity and Social Justice.
We will take responsibility for the ways that our current policies and practices serve to reproduce inequities, and we will take action to close the gaps in opportunity that lead to racialized outcomes for children and youth of color.
We will seek out and elevate the voices of all in our community, with special attention to the influence and leadership of our students, staff and families of color.
We will be accountable to the community for high-quality implementation of practices that produce positive results and dedicate the time and attention necessary to manage complex and sustainable change.
We will make space for new ideas, embracing the creativity of educators and grassroots innovation in and beyond the classroom.


To accomplish our vision, we must also strive to meet a new set of ambitious goals for the future. These goals will help us stay focused on what really matters – keeping students on track for graduation and the fulfillment of their dreams, making sure our students experience thriving cultures and climates that lead to healthy identity development and holding high expectations for all. We’ll track progress on our goals, disaggregated by all student groups, and report publicly every year.

Students clapping at graduation ceremony

Goal 1

Every child is on track to graduate ready for college, career and community.

Measured by:

  • Reading Proficiency Level
  • Reading Growth
  • Math Proficiency Level
  • Math Growth
  • Four-Year Completion Rate
  • High school students with
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Percent of students on track to achieve graduate vision using
  • self-reported survey
  • Postsecondary enrollment rate
Teacher assisting two middle school students

Goal 2

The district and every school in it is a place where children, staff, and families thrive.

Measured by:

  • Student climate survey power question
  • Staff climate survey power question
  • Parent climate survey power question
  • Percent of students with 90% attendance or better
  • Percent and number of teachers of color
  • Staff retention
  • School safety climate survey power question for students, staff and parents
African american student enjoying a book in the library

Goal 3

African-American children and youth excel in school.

Measured by:

  • Child readiness for school
  • Grade 3 Reading Proficiency Level
  • Grade 8 Math Proficiency Level
  • Advanced Learner participation rate
  • Grade 9 On Track
  • Advanced coursework participation and success rate
  • Student climate survey power question 

The Strategy

To achieve our goals and make our vision a reality, we will rely on five major levers for change. Each of these levers builds on where we’ve been but proposes a shift in our strategy, one that we believe will propel us forward. Related to each lever are actions that we will further develop as we learn together over time.



We will empower principals along with school teams, providing them the resources, flexibility and integrated support necessary to collaboratively create strategies with students, staff and families that accelerate student progress.



We will commit to investing in and fully supporting our staff, with a focus on anti-racist, culturally responsive and inclusive teaching and powerfully aligned hiring, placement, induction, professional growth, coaching and evaluation practices



We will focus the work of the central office team on breaking down systemic barriers and filling gaps in access, services and resources.



We will think and plan long-term in partnership and collaboration with our students, families, staff and the larger Madison community.




To address challenges without clear solutions, we will adopt new mindsets toward risk-taking and support people in bold, new and innovative work within the classroom and beyond.

Ways of working, layers of strategies


Ways of Working

To ensure effective execution of our strategy, together we will utilize several crucial ways of working that build on our past practice but are in better alignment with our core values.


Ongoing Advocacy: The Superintendent will work with our Board of Education and other elected officials, school districts and institutions to advocate for change at the local, state and national levels to ensure policy and funding that support teachers and the teaching profession, public education, children and families.

Teacher Voice: We will be more intentional about utilizing a range of diverse teacher voices when making decisions – both at the school and district level. That includes thoughtful representation of teachers on school-based leadership teams as well as on central office cross-functional teams tasked with priority projects.

Gaining Perspectives: District leaders will continue to meet with several key advisory groups to gain their perspectives on how our work is unfolding and with what effect. This will require that we deepen our ongoing engagement with staff, students and parents who too often are marginalized in our school system.


Continuous Improvement: Through quarterly reviews of progress and regular school and classroom visits, schools and central office will continue to be held accountable for progress, but with more attention toward the complexity of our work, which will require asking more questions and staying attuned to learning from emergent strategies.

Scaling What Works: We will sharpen our processes for piloting and determining what needs to be brought to scale and at what pace. We will ensure that new ideas address clear gaps or needs, determine metrics for success at the outset and discontinue what doesn’t work. Most important, will ensure that ideas brought to scale are sustainable and supported by the community we serve.