Meet Samantha: James Madison Academic Campus Community School Coordinator
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Meet Samantha: James Madison Academic Campus Community School Coordinator

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April 5, 2016

Written by Samantha Garrett, United Way Employee

James Madison Academic Campus (JMAC) chose Community Schools as a reform strategy as a part of their Commitment School grant with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) in early 2015. Schools often have various partnerships, but the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership (MCSP) is helping JMAC to build on local assets and leverage and align partners to work around common goals. Rather than having resources that work in silos, JMAC is using the Community Schools model to bring people, partners, staff and resources together to connect their work to a larger community school vision. At JMAC, our vision is to nurture, educate and create future leaders. MCSP is working to help everyone–staff, partners, parents, students, and community–rally behind this unified mission.

While this is a relatively new initiative in Milwaukee, we have seen quite a bit of early success and believe that every school and community can benefit from being a Community School. Currently we are working to accomplish site-based goals using metrics around reading, math and climate found in JMAC’s School Improvement Plan. Five years from now, we envision a school that is engaging staff, students, families and community members as leaders and decision-makers allowing for collective ownership and accountability of James Madison Academic Campus.   

Meet: Samantha Garrett

What was your favorite book as a child?

Hattie be Quiet, Hattie be Good By: Dick Gackenbach

Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?

My favorite teacher was my shop teacher from high school. I was the only girl in his class, but he made special effort to encourage me to keep taking welding and sheet metal classes. He really encouraged me to embrace the side of myself that learned through hands on experiences–to be bold, to be myself, and to not worry about traditional gender roles. He always told me: “Shop class is an elective just like home economics, but who wants to bake cookies?”

What did you want to be (career) when you were a child?

For a long time, I wanted to be an underwater welder. I watched a National Geographic show about crazy jobs when I was a kid and the exoticness of it stuck with me for a while. Even to this day, my brother will joke with me about it. 

Explain your most embarrassing moment as a child?

I remember wearing a really cute dress and white tights to church one Sunday. I went to use the bathroom and I accidently had tucked my dress into my tights. I walked all the way back to my seat like that before an older woman pulled me aside and pulled my dress down for me!

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