MPS’ boost to art/music/PE showing results: school goes from 0 specialists to 3 full-time

Richard Kluge Elementary School just one example of district trend

MILWAUKEE – Back in 2011-12, years of budget cuts had left Milwaukee Public Schools’ Richard Kluge Elementary School with no specialist teachers in art, music or physical education.

Just two years later, as the 2013-14 school year is underway, students at the northwest-side school benefit from full-time specialists in all three subjects thanks to a two-year push by MPS to restore those specialists to district schools.

Art students at MPS' Richard Kluge Elementary School

Art students at MPS’ Richard Kluge Elementary School

In 2013-14 alone, 45 art/music/physical education specialist positions were added across the district, doubling the number of specialist positions at most MPS K-5 and K-8 schools and building upon efforts begun in 2012-13 to bring specialists back into classrooms. Over the course of two years, MPS’ efforts brought a net increase of approximately 92 art, music and physical education teacher positions to schools.

“The increase in quality instruction provided by certified teachers in art, music, and physical education has given our students the opportunity to be active, creative problem solvers,” Kluge Principal Deborah Jolitz said. “The boost helps our students have greater focus and engagement in the general curriculum. Students are now able to be successful in a variety of areas through their own individual learning styles thus increasing attendance, engagement and achievement.”

There are many examples beyond the northwest side’s Kluge in MPS schools across the city. In total, more than 100 MPS schools have seen a net increase in the number of art, music and physical education specialists between 2011-12 and 2013-14.


About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest school district, is expanding college and career readiness efforts and continuing to implement innovative reforms that give every student the opportunity to succeed. MPS’ high-quality school options for 3-year-olds to high school seniors feature school climates in which positive behavior is reinforced; certified, highly-trained teachers; 21st-century learning technology for students; and curriculum aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which set a clear, high bar for the topics students must master at each grade level. MPS’ graduation rate is 14 points higher than the rate for the Class of 2000, its Class of 2013 earned $24 million in scholarships and the district is home to some of the state’s best high schools according to the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.