‘Schools of Hope’ celebrates 20 years of making a difference

‘Schools of Hope’ celebrates 20 years of making a difference

For two decades, “Schools of Hope” has offered thousands of minority and low-income students in Madison, Middleton, Oregon and Sun Prairie tutoring tools to achieve their full academic potential.

Under the United Way of Dane County’s leadership, LaDell Cannon, one of 4,257 Madison students who participated in the program last year, says it improved his academic performance.

“Less stress, better grades,” LaDell said. “And you’re just proud of yourself period. At homework club we have at least an hour and that helps because I have time I need to get everything done.”

In fact, all of LaDell’s siblings have gone through the Middle Schools of Hope program, a partnership with MMSD and Urban League of Greater Madison.

“It teaches these kids discipline,” said Michelle Bozeman, LaDell’s mother. “As soon as they get out of school to get right to their homework, get right into their studies, because their minds are still fresh.”

The Madison Metropolitan School District credits the high reading scores the district recorded saw last year, in part to the “Schools of Hope” program.

As a former participant, and now tutor, La’Neice Cannon said she has seen the program’s full circle impact changing lives.

“If I can just change one kid’s life, if it’s in school or sports, to me that’s all that matters,” Cannon said.

The United Way of Dane County partners with a number of organizations, like AmeriCorps and Centro Hispano, and community leaders to decrease the academic achievement gap.

“Schools of Hope” began in 1995 as a civic journalism project by WISC-TV and the Wisconsin State Journal.