Dane County, Partners Set to Open New Center to Serve North Madison Neighborhoods, Families
June 01, 2017
Josh Wescott 608-266-9069
Brand New "Early Childhood Zone" Aims to Reduce Poverty, Address Disparities and Achievement Gap, Improve Well-Being of Kids Growing up on Northside
An innovative community initiative aimed at helping families and addressing poverty in North Madison has secured a location to serve as the hub of those efforts, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
The new North Madison Early Childhood Zone, a collaboration between Dane County, the United Way, City of Madison, Madison School District, and other partners, has secured a building at 2830 Dryden Drive, just off Northport Drive, to serve as the project's headquarters. The County Board is slated to give final approval tonight for the county's lease of the new North Madison Childhood Zone Center.
"By bringing all the resources right under one roof that moms, dads, and kids need to help get the right start as young families, we can make a real difference at reducing poverty and increasing the number of kids who are ready for 4K and educational successes for many years to come," County Executive Joe Parisi said.
The North Madison Early Childhood Zone was created by new dollars Parisi put in his 2017 county budget, teamed with financial commitments and other resources from the partner agencies.
Just a couple of years ago, the United Way coordinated an effort to better evaluate the needs of neighborhoods across Dane County. That Born Learning delegation, co-chaired by Parisi and former Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Michael Morgan, found a high concentration of students requiring free and reduced lunch services on the north side of Madison. That data informed creation of the new North Madison Childhood Zone that will now work with hundreds of young families with kids over the next several years in the Blackhawk Middle School attendance area which includes Mendota, Gompers, Lindberg, and Lake View elementary schools.
“We live in a community where everyone deserves access to the same opportunity to work and raise their children safely in stable home environments," Parisi said. "Poverty is clearly a barrier to kids succeeding in the classroom. By working with our partners and pooling our resources through the new North Madison Childhood Zone, we're confronting the barrier of poverty and readying the next generation for academic, personal and professional successes."
Renovation and remodeling work is underway at the new North Madison Childhood Zone Center. The county and its partners have hired a Coordinator for the project and a public grand opening for the office is expected in the next couple of weeks.