District, University Join Forces to Improve Madison, Wisc. Schools


The University of Wisconsin-Madison is teaming up with the local Madison Metropoltian School District to promote teacher and principal quality and diversity, according to Pat Schneider in the Capital Times.

"Many people offer ways to close opportunity gaps for children, but we know that effective educators are one of the most important factors in student learning,: says Julie Underwood, dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "So we believe that we will help all children by working together to ensure that every child has a great teacher in the classroom and a great principal in the building."

Forward Madison: A Collaborative for Learning and Leadership, as the program has come to be called, is a multi-year endeavor with three central goals:

  • Stronger support for new instructors and principals
  • Efforts to strengthen the diversity of the school system workforce
  • Dedication to ongoing professional learning

According to a University news release, research suggests that instructors and principals share a major role in pupil learning. However, country wide statistics have found that 50% of all new instructors will drop out of teaching by their fifth year in the profession and that high quality initiation returns a better teaching quality and smaller instructor turnover.

Because of this, the School of Education and the Madison Metropolitan School District's partnership will center on how new teachers are ready to succeed professionally in a city school district. This new program for new teachers and principals will start for the 2014-2015 school year.

The partnership stemmed from the Wisconsin Idea, the central belief of which is that research done at the university could be used to better the quality of life across the state. Forward Madison will cost an estimated $1.3 million in staff and teacher time. However, most officials believe that it will be worth the cost in the end to give their students a better quality and diversity in their education.

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