The district began its community schools program in 2016-17 at Leopold and Mendota elementary schools and expanded to Lake View and Hawthorne in 2018-19. The schools, which are staffed with a community schools resource coordinator position, ask parents, students and neighborhood residents to help identify issues and solve them.
A $300,000 grant from the Madison Community Foundation allowed the district to explore the community schools idea initially, and MCF later awarded a $1.1 million challenge grant to the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, with FMPS required to raise a matching amount of money by the Dec. 31, 2023, end of the grant period. The grant provides $220,000 each year toward the community schools program.
District officials discussed an expansion to the program in early 2020 for the 2021-22 school year, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted education in a variety of ways. Jones said he’d like to see the program expand throughout the district in the future.