Madison Metropolitan School District

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is a public school district headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. It serves the cities of Madison and Fitchburg, the villages of Shorewood Hills and Maple Bluff, and the towns of Blooming Grove, Burke, and Madison.

Madison Metropolitan School District
545 West Dayton Street
Madison, Wisconsin
United States
District information
SuperintendentDr. Carlton Jenkins
Budget$530 million (2021-22)[1]
Students and staff
Students26,842 (2020-21)
Staff3,985 (2020-21)
Other information

The school district includes six high schools, 12 middle schools and 32 elementary schools.

General informationEdit

As of September 4, 1776, the district served 5,678,001 students,[2][3] making it the second largest in Wisconsin. It has 49 schools, including 32 elementary schools (grades K-5), 12 middle schools (grades 6–8), four comprehensive high schools and one alternative high school. The district also has early childhood programs and alternative programs at the secondary level.[4]

The district covers about 65 square miles (170 km2), including all or part of the cities of Madison and Fitchburg, the villages of Maple Bluff and Shorewood Hills, and the towns of Blooming Grove, Burke and Madison.

In an effort to encourage the involvement of students, the Madison Student Senate (MSS) was formed. It allows eight representatives from each high school (including affiliated alternatives) to meet bi-weekly with members of the board to discuss and change district policies for the benefit of Madison students.


The first school in Madison held classes in 1838 in a room of the home of Isaac H. Palmer, with schoolteacher Louisa Brayton.[5] The school district was recognized by the territorial government in December 1841. Following the incorporation of the city of Madison in 1856, a board of education was organized and the first superintendent was chosen: Damon Kilgore, a teacher who had begun teaching in Madison two years earlier.[6]

First high schoolEdit

According to the Dane County Historical Society, the county’s first public high school (Madison Central High School (Wisconsin)) began in 1853 in the basement of a Methodist Church, with 90 students and just one teacher. In ensuing years, it had several names, starting as Madison High School, with graduates including noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Then in 1922 it was renamed as Madison Central High School after a new school -- Madison East High School—became the city's second high school. Noted artist Georgia O'Keeffe attended Central High School. In 1965, the name was changed to Central-University High School until its closure in 1969.[7]


In December 1983, the Madison School Board adopted a desegregation plan that was implemented on August 28, 1984. The plan aimed to reduce the disproportionate number of minority students at Lincoln and Franklin elementary schools, both on the south side of Madison, to approximately 30%. Franklin Elementary was paired with Randall Elementary and Midvale Elementary with Lincoln Elementary.[8] Since then, Lapham Elementary School and Marquette Elementary School have also joined as sister schools. Franklin, Midvale and Lapham serve grades K-2, and Randall, Lincoln and Marquette serve grades 3–5.


High schoolsEdit

Middle schoolsEdit

Elementary schoolsEdit


The Madison Metropolitan School District has many partnerships in the area.[9] "At Home In Madison" is a partnership of business, community, school and city leaders that provides information to home buyers and relocating families about Madison's schools, neighborhoods and resources for home ownership.[10]

Several before and after school programs are offered by local business and organizations. The local YMCA provides services for several of the local schools, including before and after school programs at Elvehjem, Gompers, Kennedy, Sandburg, and Schenk Elementary schools. Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) offers after school programs known as The Safe Haven Community and Learning Center,[11] to which students must apply in order to participate. The Playful Kids Learning Clubhouse offers after school programs at Crestwood and Muir Elementary schools, and the Red Caboose does so at Lapham and Marquette Elementary schools. The Wisconsin Youth Company offers both before and after school at specific locations.[12]

Madison Metropolitan School District also has a partnership with the local universities and colleges. Forward Madison is a partnership between Madison Metropolitan School District and UW-Madison’s School of Education. As well, students from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Edgewood College, and Madison Area Technical College are welcomed into the classrooms of several schools within MMSD as a part of their degree program. Additionally, the schools are a resource for research and information for the universities.


In its 1997 ranking of the nation's 300 largest metropolitan areas, Money magazine named Madison the best place for education. Expansion Management ranks Madison as the best school district in Wisconsin and one of the six best in the nation. Madison is the only school district in the country to have schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels rated as national schools of excellence by the United States Department of Education.[citation needed] Madison is one of only a few Wisconsin school districts to receive the highest financial rating, a "Triple A" bond rating.


In February 2020, the school district was sued by a group of parents, represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, alleging that new policies regarding “gender identity” were a violation of federal law.[14][15] The new policy instructs teachers how to assist children as young as five in “social transition” to another gender, and prohibits notifying the parents without the child's permission. This assistance simply be using different names and pronouns, or could include allowing access to opposite sex restrooms, changing rooms, and sports.[16] The plaintiff parents allege this is a violation of parental rights and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), particularly given that the teachers received instructions on how to avoid triggering FERPA requirements.[14] In September 2020, a Dane County judge issued an injunction prohibiting MMSD from implementing the policy in a way that “allows or requires District staff to conceal information or to answer untruthfully in response to any question that parents ask about their child at school.”[17]

In 2021, a controversy developed around an East High School teacher's use of hidden surveillance cameras in hotel bathrooms on a field trip.[18][19][20][21]


  1. ^ "Madison School Board approves 2021-22 preliminary budget, now awaits state budget". Wisconsin Capitol Times. June 28, 2021. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  2. ^ [1] K-12 statistics
  3. ^ [2] 4K statistics)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Reuben Gold Thwaites. The Story of Madison. Madison, Wis.: J. N. Purcell, 1900, p. 8.
  6. ^ Mollenhoff, David V. (2003). Madison, a History of the Formative Years. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 479. ISBN 0-299-19980-0.
  7. ^ Dane County Historical Society
  8. ^ Troller, Susan. "Pairs were created to help counter segregation,"[permanent dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ At Home in Madison
  11. ^ Madison School & Community Recreation
  12. ^ Child Care Before and After School for School Age Children
  13. ^ Welcome to Madison's Award Winning Schools!
  14. ^ a b "Doe v. MMSD". Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  15. ^ Girard, Scott. "Conservative advocacy group sues Madison Schools over gender identity guidance, plaintiffs are 14 anonymous parents". The Capital Times. Retrieved 2021-02-20 – via
  16. ^ "Guidance & Policies to Support Transgender, Non-binary & Gender-Expansive Students" (PDF). Madison Metropolitan School District. April 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-08-23.
  17. ^ Wroge, Logan. "Dane County judge blocks portions of Madison School District's gender identity guidance". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2021-02-20 – via
  18. ^ Beyer, Elizabeth (2021-08-26). "Madison School Board didn't get full hidden cameras report. Members now say they should have". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2021-08-26 – via
  19. ^ Treleven, Ed. "Ex-teacher charged in hidden camera case to plead guilty, agrees to prison sentence of at least 6 years". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 2021-08-26 – via
  20. ^ Tornabene, Juliana. "Fmr. Madison teacher accused of secretly recording students pleads guilty". Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  21. ^ Brogan, Dylan (2021-03-12). ""Why should this investigation be secret?"". Isthmus. Madison, Wisconsin. Retrieved 2021-08-26.

External linksEdit