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Schools of Hope

Schools of Hope is an effort to reduce the gap in academic achievement between students of color and their white peers in Dane County schools. Working closely twelve middle schools in Dane County, the Urban League recruits, trains and matches tutors with students to ensure that all students are adequately prepared to successfully complete algebra and other academic subjects when they enter high school.

Schools of Hope Background

As a tutor, you will be a part of a larger community initiative called Schools of Hope. Schools of Hope began in 1995 as a civic journalism project of the Wisconsin State Journal and WISC-TV that looked at critical including safety and discipline, cost, race and culture, family involvement and academic standards and achievement. A Leadership Team, led by United Way of Dane County, was convened. As a result of reporting on the issue of achievement in the schools, it was apparent to the Team that the achievement gap between students of color and their white peers was growing larger. This was in spite of millions of dollars and "good efforts" that had been tried over the past twenty years at the school district to reduce the gap. The leadership team expanded the activity related to the achievement gap into a community effort, led by United Way of Dane County, that supports the work of the schools to reduce the gap between the achievement scores of white students and students of color.

In 1995, Schools of Hope set a goal of reducing the racial achievement gap in 3rd grade reading by 2000. By placing trained tutors in over 25 Madison elementary schools, the gap began to narrow three years ahead of plan. Through financial support from the United Way, the City of Madison, and MMSD, the Urban League and Madison School-Community Recreation (MSCR) set out in 2000 to replicate this success primarily in the area of middle school math. Since that time, other community partners such as Madison Area Technical College (MATC) and Centro Hispano have joined in. Working closely with area schools, the League recruits, trains and matches tutors one-on-one and in small groups with struggling students.

How Can You Help?  For more information, click here, or click here to download our volunteer application!

Get Involved

To apply to be a middle school tutor, please us:


For more information on elementary school tutoring, click here.