One City Schools renovation project expands learning to secondary schools

A new initiative to close the learning gap in Madison is expanding.
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new initiative to close the learning gap in Madison is expanding.

One City Schools is an independent, tuition-free, charter school located at a former WPS building on Broadway in Madison.

The school is undergoing an expansion and renovation project which will add a middle and high school to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the current school building.

Founder Kaleem Caire says the pre-school and elementary schools have laid the groundwork over the past few years.

“It feels good that we’ve generated momentum toward what we feel is what public education should do for children,” said Caire. “It means a lot that this community believes in what we’re doing.”

He wanted to create a learning environment that did not exist when he was a student living in Madison.

“The majority of the young men and women that I grew up with didn’t go on to pursue a higher education,” said Caire. “No child should leave high school not ready to succeed as an adult.”

For the past few years, Kacia Stevenson has enrolled her children in One City Schools. Her daughter Karis is now a 3rd grader and her son, Jayce, is in 1st grade.

“We really love it here,” said Stevenson. “They both love going to school which I don’t think everyone can say.”

Stevenson says education and the opportunities it can provide is important.

“Being able to learn with other kids that look like them and teachers that look like them as well,” said Stevenson. “They really focus on looking at the achievement gap and making sure Black and brown students are learning and being taken care of well.”

Caire says he believes this renovation project is a sign of progress.

“We can accomplish great things for young people,” said Caire. “We just need to move beyond the boundaries and the barriers that we’ve created for ourselves.”

The goal is to open sometime in the fall of 2022 and gradually offer grade levels.

On October 1, One City Schools will kick off its capital campaign to raise the remaining funds to cover the renovation project.

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