Northside Listening Session Opens Dialog Between Police, Community

Describe a time when you felt like a part of your identity (your race, your gender, your job) was being profiled or stereotyped. What was the experience and how did it make you feel? That was the question for residents and police who attended a listening circle on the North Side of Madison on Wednesday night. As the night wore on it became clear that everyone has a story about how they’ve been made to feel profiled. Stereotyped.

SSFP: Local Neighborhood Foundation Helps Students Develop Real-Life Skills

The Mellowhood Foundation’s Summer Initiative is a paid summer program in the southwest Madison Meadowood neighborhood that teaches a large age-range of children about independence and real-world responsibilities. The initiative draws on the knowledge students already have from school, while also teaching them skills such as independence and self-determination. Mellowhood student Amaria has learned valuable lessons through the program, such as “working hard, getting good grades, and failing from time to time.”

The initiative focuses on team-building through activities such as gardening and group prayer. Students work together to develop menu plans using the food they grow and are served lunch and dinner. There is also an emphasis on helping students improve in core academic subjects like math, science, and English.

The interactive game, Dane Changers, is now available as an app

The United Way of Dane County’s interactive game “Dane Changers” is officially available as an app. Users can now play the game on their mobile devices by downloading it through Google Play or the Apple App Store. The digital engagement tool, which launched in August, teaches users about widespread and critical issues in Dane County like poverty, educational achievement gaps, health inequalities and poverty. Approximately 12 percent of Dane County residents, or 64,000 people, live in poverty, but Dane County remains one of the best places to live in the United States. The United Way paired with Acme Nerd Games to produce the game and app.

The Bus Stops Here: Public Transit, Good Government and Citizen Engagement

Do you think that an interested “adult city resident” should be able to contact another “adult city resident” who sits on a city government oversight committee advisory to the Common Council? Do you think a Dane County citizen has the right to know who is on a county government office’s “working group” tasked with making policy recommendations for adoption by the larger council? Are you suspicious when someone has special access to governmental decision making (and its purse) but does not have to provide basic contact or naming information in return for that access? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then welcome to the idea of good governance. Welcome too to the reality that our current government is less transparent.

Partnership between MMSD and MATC brings STEM degrees to a diverse group of high school students

College students really are getting younger. This year, 26 students from East High School and La Follette High School spend their days taking classes at Madison Area Technical College’s Truax Campus. They are the first cohort of MMSD’s Early STEM Academy Program.  

By the time they graduate high school in May of 2020, they will have not only earned their high school diploma, they will also have earned an Associate’s Degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field. The STEM Academy is the result of an agreement between MMSD and MATC to create a dual enrollment program for high school students.

Stopping the school to prison pipeline in Madison schools using restorative justice

Every 53 minutes, a gentle chime invites students into the hallways of East High School, where their principal, Michael Hernandez, stands to the side of one corridor and greets them. “Hey, did you get those credits to transfer,” Hernandez asks one student and shakes the hand of another. He looks for one student in particular in order to spot a rare smile. “I know a few students who walk down the hall because they know I’m going to joke around with them,” Hernandez said. Students walk past “even if they don’t have a class down that way, because they know someone is going to acknowledge them.”

Hernandez is a stark contrast to the stereotype of the authoritarian school leader, but he represents a  change in Madison’s schools.

November 2018 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Hannah Nowakowski, Sierra Club Foundation-John Muir Chapter

Hannah Nowakowski has been an invaluable member to the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter. As a student intern for the organization, Hannah showed a strong commitment to the organization’s goals of protecting natural areas and promoting responsible use of the earth’s resources. Through her work as an intern, Hannah has helped champion efforts to move Wisconsin away from energy production that depends on dangerous oil pipelines.

Phase one of the Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Plan has been completed

The City of Madison's Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee has completed phase one of potential special area plan elements of the strategic assessment for the reuse of the former Oscar Mayer headquarters and food production facility. The initial phase consisted of regional positioning analysis, public participation on the key issues, future vision and redevelopment objectives of the location, and examination of the existing conditions in the area of the Oscar Mayer plant. The Oscar Mayer plant was forced to end production in 2017, and the plant employed more than 4,000 workers in Madison at its peak. The vision developed by Madison officials leverages the corridor’s “unmatched infrastructure capacity and location between the airport and downtown to rise as a regional economic hub. Physically and economically woven into the diverse surrounding neighborhoods, the transit-oriented, employment centered, mixed-use district is now the inclusive gathering hub of the northside.”

The redevelopment objectives from of the area are to maintain housing affordability and minimize displacement, to leverage the corridor’s existing infrastructure and building stock, and to ensure economic recovery boosts diversity in ownership and local businesses.