Governor, state superintendent help MPS ‘ring in’ new school year with big changes

MILWAUKEE – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers joined Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton, members of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association President Bob Peterson, Police Capt. Jerome O’Leary and County Supervisor Deanna Alexander to ring bells Tuesday morning marking the beginning of the opening of the 2012-13 school year. Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.

September 4 is the first day of school for MPS’ regular calendar schools. Twelve year-round calendar schools began on August 2. Rufus King International School and Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School began August 13.

The new school year comes with major changes aimed at moving Milwaukee’s children forward. They include:

– A new MPS Montessori school in response to demonstrated success and clear demand. Howard Avenue Montessori School, near Howard and Howell avenues, opens to K3 and K4 students.

New locations for Garland, Hayes Bilingual, MacDowell Montessori and Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning that give the popular schools room to grow.

Planning to implement the College Board’s SpringBoard program, which prepares students for college beginning in their middle-school years, in five MPS schools: Audubon Technology and Communication Center, Bay View Middle and High School, Golda Meir School, Morse Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning.

– Opening a second College Access Center – this one on the south side – to demystify the process of learning about and applying for colleges and universities.

Ten schools will be named GE “Demonstration” sites, giving the schools additional supports including more coaching services for teachers, time for teachers to meet, additional professional development for teachers and much more. The schools will develop models that other schools – both in MPS and potentially around the country – can follow.

Partnering with City Year to bring its Milwaukee Corps into two additional schools: James Madison Academic Campus and Rufus King International School Middle Years Campus. City Year provides targeted support for students both inside and outside of school hours.

Expanding the highly-regarded and successful Project Lead the Way into three new schools as MPS continues to grow the science/technology/engineering/math program. MPS already has the largest concentration of PTLW students in the country – and students in the program, 85% of whom are students of color, have impressive academic results. The new schools are Milwaukee Sign Language School, Roosevelt Creative Arts Middle School and Townsend Street School.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000 and growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years.