Skip To Main Content

Select a School

Madison Metropolitan School District

Community schools

On May 17, 2018 the Madison Community Foundation offered a $1.1 million challenge grant to the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools to expand our Community Schools initiative. Read the Wisconsin State Journal story. Check out the video above to see how the Community Schools model comes to life at Mendota Elementary!

Our first two Community Schools, Leopold Elementary and Mendota Elementary, were selected in the 2016-2017 school year, providing coordinated services and supports to students and families in the schools' neighborhoods. Two more schools -- Hawthorne and Lake View -- are now community schools for the 2018-19 school year.

Community Schools Resource Coordinators

Hawthorne Elementary School: Ericka Brown
Lake View Elementary School: Rachel Deterding
Leopold Elementary School: Rosalia Gittens
Mendota Elementary School: Sonia Spencer

Community Schools Coordinators

“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.”

What is a Community School?

A Community School is a welcoming and inclusive place that builds on the assets of the community to help serve the identified needs of the students, families and community through well integrated and coordinated, strategic partnerships..

Based on the Madison Community School Framework developed in 2015, Community Schools integrate programming and services that students, families and community members feel is needed — health care, academic tutoring, mentoring, food access, parent leadership opportunities and more — directly into schools, making them hubs of coordinated support.

Community Schools Process Graphic

In April 2015 the Madison Community Foundation awarded MMSD a three-year $300,000 grant to support community planning and implementation of four Community Schools. (Read the Capital Times article "Madison Community Foundation's $300,000 grant aims to make schools hubs of support.")

Madison Community Foundation Banner

“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.”
– Leopold Principal Karine Sloan

“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.”

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.

Based on implementation at the first two schools, we hope to expand to additional schools in the future.

What are some benefits to Community Schools?

Community Schools help families access the programming and services they need by bringing many different health and human service providers and other community partners to one centralized location. Teachers and principals can help students and families by making sure they know how to get connected to the resources they need.

Students participating in the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiatives (TASCI) outperformed their peers by 32 points in math and by 19 points in reading. You can learn more about TASCI the in the video below.

“We are extremely excited that Mendota has been selected to be a community school for the 2016-2017 school year. The avenue of possibilities that this will provide for our scholars, their families and the north side community are endless.”
– Mendota Principal Carlettra Stanford

Key community partners are critical to the success of Community Schools. You can learn more about the key partner role in the video below featuring the YMCA of metro Chicago.

What role can you play?

If you are interested in learning more about the district's Community School strategy, please contact Nichelle Nichols at

If you are interested in getting involved at Leopold or Mendota please contact the school's Resource Coordinator:

  • Mendota Elementary - Sonia Spencer
  • Leopold Elementary - Rosie Gittens
  • Lake View - Rachel Deterding
  • Hawthorne - Ericka Brown

If you are interested in supporting Community Schools, visit the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools website.