MPS

Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Facebook

Reaction is intensifying to state efforts to intervene in low-performing Milwaukee Public Schools.

It began bubbling to the surface Wednesday, when the leader of the state’s Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program, quit. 

Rachel Morello

Mequon-Thiensville Superintendent Demond Means announced Wednesday that he is stepping down from his post as commissioner of the state-mandated MPS turnaround program, indicating the process has become too adversarial.

Rachel Morello

Thursday marks a big deadline for Milwaukee Public Schools. It’s the day district officials must decide what they think should be done for failing MPS schools.

It’s a decision almost two years in the making. State legislators created the framework for a turnaround program in 2015, and debate has raged over the program’s design, even its mere existence, ever since.

Rachel Morello

Update, 3:45p.m.: In a joint statement Friday afternoon, County Executive Abele and Commissioner Means expressed their disappointment about MPS' decision regarding the duo's OSPP proposal -- and offered district leaders another chance to join them. 

Rachel Morello

Milwaukee Public Schools' Board of Directors voted to pass a 2017 budget plan at their monthly meeting Thursday night. 

We know what you might be thinking: budgets are dense. Lots of numbers, figures and heavy education-related jargon. 

Rachel Morello

When school budgets are tight, arts programming is typically the first thing to go. That's not been the case lately in Milwaukee Public Schools.

Since 2012, the district has put an emphasis on music, dance, theater and visual arts, adding teachers and class time when possible.

And the powers that be are taking notice. MPS will soon receive some more federal funding to help bring art into other parts of the school building.

Rachel Morello

new report from UW-Milwaukee researchers shows measured gains in student test scores and attendance at Milwaukee Public Schools' Carver Academy, thanks to partnerships with a handful of outside organizations.

Nicole Beilke

Every few days during the school year, a class of MPS 4th graders spills into the lounge of the Milwaukee Ballet School.

They drop off their backpacks then hurry to change clothes. In a few minutes, the 20 students reappear - the girls dressed in leotards and tights, the boys in white t-shirts and shorts - and all are wearing ballet slippers.

Nine-year-old Karena Hurtdo-Reyes explains the program’s name. “Relevè means to rise up,” she says.

After translating the French word, she demonstrates relevè by pressing up on her tiptoes and holding her balance.

Rachel Morello

We now know more about what the Milwaukee county executive and his designee plan to do with failing MPS schools.

Michelle Maternowski

The Milwaukee Public Schools system has been shrinking in terms of enrollment. Now, it could lose more buildings, too.

When a school closes, it goes on a list of vacant, or “surplus” properties.

Friday, the Common Council approved five interested entities who can buy those buildings. Not on the list: MPS.

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.

Rachel Morello

Milwaukee residents had their first chance Thursday night to speak up about the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program, an initiative lawmakers put in place to turn around the lowest-performing Milwaukee Public Schools. 

In November, County Executive Chris Abele appointed Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville district, to head the project. Means is tasked with devising a plan to boost student achievement, and says he wants public input on what that plan should look like.  

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. 

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and his new commissioner of failing MPS schools say they don’t intend to step on any toes. 

On Thursday, Abele introduced the person he’s selected for the job – Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville district.

State law now tasks him with taking control of the lowest performing MPS schools and boosting their student achievement. Means can restructure up to three schools in each of the next two years, and up to five, afterward.

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