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Two elementary schools in the Madison school district will become community schools in the 2018-19 school year, doubling the number of district schools set up to help and support the students and families in the neighborhood.

The district announced Hawthorne Elementary School, 3344 Concord Ave., and Lake View Elementary School, 1802 Tennyson Lane, will join Mendota and Leopold elementary schools in the program designed to deliver services to families, students and the community.

“Community schools build on the strengths of our school communities and prepare our students to excel in the classroom,” said Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham.

“When students and their families are fully supported, our students can be ready to excel in the classroom,” Cheatham said. “We are so energized to add these two community schools to our district.”

The announcement on Tuesday comes on the heels of a $1.1 million challenge grant made by the Madison Community Foundation to the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools to expand the community schools program. The grant will be spread over five years starting in 2019, with $220,000 going to community schools each year as long as the school foundation raises the same amount.

“This unprecedented grant will make more community schools a reality, and will directly impact the futures of youth in our community,” Cheatham said.

Last September, CUNA Mutual Group committed $500,000 over three years to support the community school model.

“Early results for Madison’s first two community schools are positive, and we want to help expand their good work,” said Beth Cutler of CUNA Mutual Group.

Services brought into Mendota and Leopold when the program first started in the 2016-17 school year included health care, tutoring, mentoring, parenting and access to healthy foods.

“Public schools are our most important community asset,” said Bob Sorge, president of the Madison Community Foundation. “Nearly 87 percent of kids in Madison are educated in our public schools.

“So even if you don’t have kids in our schools, this is a topic that directly affects you,” he said. “Public schools are the foundation of civil society and nothing has greater power to shape our community’s future.”

Nineteen elementary schools out of 32 in the Madison district were invited to apply to be community schools in the next school year. Hawthorne and Lake View will have resource coordinators to plan and facilitate programs and services for the families, students and community served by the respective schools.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.