The Foundation for Madison's Public Schools in Madison, Wisconsin, has announced a $1.2 million commitment over three years from local philanthropist Mary Burke to accelerate student achievement in Madison Metropolitan School District elementary schools.
To be administered by FMPS, the We Can Do It grant program will be open to non-charter public elementary schools in the city with a low-income student population of at least 50 percent; through the program, two schools will each receive up to $200,000 a year over three years. The program aims to reduce the achievement gap more quickly than might otherwise be the case by implementing strategies highlighted in How It's Being Done, a book by former Washington Post education columnist Karin Chenoweth. Those strategies include greater collaboration among teachers, data-driven instruction, frequent assessments of student progress, and a focus on building strong personal relationships.
The grant will enable the foundation to double the approximately $400,000 it currently distributes to the school district, FMPS executive director Stephanie Hayden told the Wisconsin State Journal. "We would hope that others in the community would step forward and fund similar things," Hayden added. "We really view these as a demonstration project to show it can be done."
Burke has served on the Madison School Board, co-led and supported the AVID/TOPS college preparatory program, and volunteered and mentored Madison public school students.
"It is our community's responsibility to support every single student, providing opportunities so that all can succeed," said Hayden. "Our schools can make significant progress to close the achievement gap, but they can't do it alone. With this grant, FMPS will provide additional resources to ensure a promising future for all students and our community."