Schools of Hope

WI Reading Comprehensive Test

For generations, a racial achievement gap has existed locally. United Way and Schools of Hope partners are changing that.

Schools of Hope began in 1995 as a civic journalism project of the Wisconsin State Journal and WISC-TV that looked at critical issues in the Madison Metropolitan School District. A leadership team led by United Way of Dane County was convened to address the achievement gap between students of color and their white peers, which continued to grow despite millions of dollars and “good efforts” that had been tried over the past twenty years. This partnership, which included the Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison Teachers Inc, the Wisconsin State Journal, WISC-TV 3, University of Wisconsin, 100 Black Men, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and local parents and youth, was able to ignite a community-wide effort to improve minority achievement.

Using community input, as well as hard data and research, the group determined to place volunteer tutors in school to work in concert with teachers. Volunteer coordinators were placed in the schools with the most students in need of reading assistance.

We began tutoring in 1998 in early grade reading. In 2008 we released a Mobilization Plan for Schools of Hope, which chronicled the growth of the program and results we had at the time. The plan recommended we continue to focus on third grade reading, increase the fidelity of the model, and expand middle school tutoring with a focus on both literacy and math.

We serve the Madison Metropolitan, Middleton and Sun Prairie School Districts with the elementary program, and the Madison Metropolitan, Oregon and Sun Prairie School Districts in middle school.

For more information about Schools of Hope, please contact Briony MacPhee at (608) 245-8072 or