More MPS students going to college as College Access Centers top 5,000 visits

White House puts spotlight on efforts to improve college access for low-income students

MILWAUKEE – As President Obama shines the spotlight on getting more low-income students into college, statistics show MPS — a district in which about 80% of students come from low-income families — is already moving in the right direction.

The share of Milwaukee Public Schools students going on to post-secondary education within 16 months of high school graduation grew eight percentage points between 2005 and 2010, the most recent year available. The increase means a majority of MPS graduates (51.3%) are now going on to college.

MPS’ college and career readiness efforts are aimed at accelerating that growth in the district.

One key component of those efforts is the district’s two TeamUp College Access Centers, funded through a grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, which help students prepare for and demystify the process of applying to colleges and universities. The two centers have logged more than 5,000 visits since 2011, when the first center opened in 2011 at 2730 W. Fond du Lac Avenue, Milwaukee 53210. A second center at 3333 S. 27th Street, Suite 300, Milwaukee 53215, opened in 2012.

In addition to the College Access Centers, MPS’ college and career readiness efforts include:

Expanding Advanced Placement programming: MPS is implementing the College Board’s SpringBoard pre-AP program in seven schools beginning at 6th grade. More than one in five MPS high school juniors and seniors – 21.2% – took AP courses in 2012-13, up from 18.3% in 2009-10.

Expanding International Baccalaureate programming: MPS offers rigorous IB programming at six schools and two additional schools – Hawley Environmental School and Lowell School – are now IB candidate schools with plans to implement IB’s “Primary Years Programme.”

Expanding Project Lead the Way programming: MPS offers pre-engineering and biomedical sciences programs through the rigorous, hands-on Project Lead the Way program in more than 30 schools beginning at middle-school grades, including three schools new for 2013-14.

Other efforts include adding College Possible sites, leveraging the MPS TEAM GEAR UP grant project resources and ensuring eligible students earn the Degree Project scholarship.

MPS’ College and Career Readiness efforts work to get MPS students on the right track for the future – and finding the right fit for them, including at the best colleges and universities.

“We are partnering with the country’s leading experts to motivate students to aim high, to develop and expand on successful programs and to provide direct services from our school counselors and TeamUp College Access Centers that connect our students and families to college and career pathways,” said Rudy Ruiz, MPS’ Director of College and Career Readiness.

The district’s efforts are beginning to yield results: in addition to more students going on to college and more students taking AP courses, MPS’ scholarship total for the Class of 2013 grew to $24 million, up from $18 million the year before. Read success stories at mpsmke.com/succeed.

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’ 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. More MPS news is available at http://mpsmke.com/news.