In order to transform our great schools to extraordinary ones, the community must get involved. One of the unique ways that FMPS fosters community involvement is through the Adopt-a-School program. Through this program, Madison’s public schools are “adopted” by a local business, forming a mutually enriching partnership for both the school and the business.

Each Adopt-a-School partnership is unique and tailored to match the specific needs of a school with the resources available through the local business. These partnerships serve as a commitment by both the school and the adopting business to work together to promote the academic achievement and personal growth of the students involved.

From helping schools with food and clothing drives, to employees offering tutoring services, to launching rockets with 8th grade science students, each Adopt-a-School partnership gives schools innovative and creative methods to increase academic achievement and inspire every child to excel. Not only are Adopt-a-School partnerships beneficial for the schools involved, but they are also a chance for business partners to increase community involvement, share ideas with students and educators, and help the students of today become the future community leaders of Madison.

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On June 2, 2014 the Foundation hosted its second Adopt-a-School Summit at the CUNA Mutual Conference Center. With close to 100 people in attendance, the Foundation was able to engage with community members in rich conversations about the Adopt-a-School program. Steve Goldberg, CUNA Mutual Foundation’s Executive Director welcomed both current and potential Adopt-a-School partners, as well as representatives from many schools. Stephanie Hayden, FMPS’s Executive Director, spoke about the Foundation’s mission to develop partnerships to strengthen Madison’s public schools, and the goal to establish Adopt-a-School relationships for each school. Jennifer Cheatham, Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent, provided insight on the Adopt-a-School Program in the context of the School Improvement Plans and the importance of Family and Community Engagement.

Summit attendees learned Adopt-a-School best practices from a panel featuring Amy Kerwin, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation Vice President – Community Investments, Sean Storch, Black Hawk Middle School Principal, Jill Jacklitz, Group Health Cooperative Community Care Manager, Kathy Costello, Thoreau Elementary School Principal, and Kathy Price, MMSD Community Partnerships Director.

Attendees then participated in one of four breakout sessions:

  • Faith-based Organizations as Adopt-a-School Partners:
    Designed for both existing and potential Faith-based Adopt-a-School partners who were interested in expanding their current support of a school, or exploring how best to support a school in their neighborhood.
  • Potential Adopt-a-School Partners:
    Participants learned how to establish a relationship, had their questions answered, and explored Adopt-a-School best practices.
  • Utilizing School Improvement Plans (SIP) in Support of Your Partnership: Every public school in Madison has a formal SIP plan to help ensure all students succeed. This session explored ways Adopt-a-School partners can align their efforts in support of school SIP goals such as: increasing reading and math skills, actively engaging family and community members as partners in this work, and providing exposure to career opportunities.
  • 50 Ways to Support a School:
    Session explored various combinations of human, material, and financial resources Adopt-a-School partners provide their adopted schools, based upon the needs of the school.

The Foundation thanks all those who were able to attend this year’s Summit as well as the many presenters and volunteers who helped to make this event a success.

If you were unable to attend the Adopt-a-School Summit, you can access handouts from each breakout session below.
50 Ways to Participate Handout
Pen Pal Handout
Other handouts and session notes as they become available.

To learn more about the Adopt-a-School program or to become an Adopt-a-School partner, please contact Mary Bartzen at

To see a complete list of the current Adopt-a-School partnerships, click here! Or if your company is interested in adopting a school, click here to see the schools in search of a partner.