Milwaukee Public Schools

Photo Courtesy of Danceworks

In the 2005 documentary film “Mad Hot Ballroom,” viewers saw how the lives of New York City public school kids were impacted by dance.

Around that same time, dance was taking center stage in pop culture. Movies like “Step Up” and television shows like “Dancing With the Stars” scored big audiences – many of the viewers were kids.

Leaders on Milwaukee’s dance scene took notice, and decided it was time to open up the art form to kids who might not otherwise experience it.

Jabril Faraj / Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

The so-called recovery school district within Milwaukee Public Schools - the entity made up of a handful of struggling schools which the state put under the control of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele - has gotten much of the attention and headlines in recent months. Abele recently appointed Mequon-Thiensville superintendent Demond Means as the part-time commissioner of the district.

But a less-heralded retreat on charter schools held by the MPS board could also usher in significant changes in the school climate here. 

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has chosen Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District and an MPS graduate to lead the Milwaukee Turnaround District. The newly formed district will consist of several of the worst-performing Milwaukee Public Schools. State leaders gave Abele the authority to appoint the head of the new district in the 2015-2017 state budget. WUWM recently spoke with Means about his theories for raising academic achievement among students of color.

FRANK JUAREZ / FLICKR

The Milwaukee School Board will hold its first meeting Thursday since the Legislature’s budget committee approved several items that could greatly impact MPS. Perhaps the biggest would be the creation of a Recovery School District. 

It would give an independent commissioner oversight over failing MPS schools. At Thursday night’s school board meeting, members are expected to discuss giving the MPS superintendent similar powers.

Milwaukee School Board member Larry Miller says the state budget language stunned him.

Emory Maiden / Flickr

Two Republican lawmakers are working on a plan that would turn over control of several struggling Milwaukee Public Schools to an independent body.  Details of the plan by Representative Dale Kooyenga and Senator Alberta Darling emerged this week, though no bill has yet been introduced.

Brad Wilson / Flickr

Even before Hurricane Katrina changed just about everything in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana had started the process of reshaping the city’s public schools, creating an entity known as the New Orleans Recovery School District.  But the storm sped up the process and was used as the catalyst for nearly a wholesale state takeover of control of schools there.

Milwaukee Public Schools

It’s probably not stretching things to point to a parallel in the decline of the manufacturing sector in Milwaukee, and the academic decline in a high school that has traditionally placed graduates into manufacturing jobs.  

Bradley Tech High School, by most measures, is struggling – so much so that Milwaukee Public Schools named it as one of just over a dozen schools worthy of extra intervention.

MPS will close schools for a second straight day, because of the cold. Thursday and Friday evening activities - including sports, are also canceled.

It’s been about three months since the Milwaukee Public School System named 36-year-old Darienne Driver as its Superintendent.

Seth Sawyers / Flickr

There has been a lot of effort spent in recent years to improve the dropout rate in the state’s largest school district.

howardfuller.org/

There are few people in the Milwaukee education community who don't have strong feelings, one way or another, about Dr. Howard Fuller.

interfaithmilw.org

As students head back to school, so to are a team of volunteer literacy tutors.

LaToya Dennis

The union is pleased the proposed budget for Milwaukee Public Schools adds art, music and physical education teachers but says students deserve more.

We talk with two people honored for their contribution to arts education today.  John Waite is the director of instrumental music at Hamilton High School in Sussex and the winner of the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s 2014 Music Teacher of the Year Award.

Helen H. Ri, Getty Images

The time of transition continues in Milwaukee Public Schools.  The state’s largest school district is looking for a new superintendent after the announcement earlier this year that Gregory Thornton is leaving to run the public school system in Baltimore.

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