F. J. Gaenslen K-8 School is located in a quiet, residential area on the west bank of the Milwaukee River known as the “Riverwest Community”. The school, named after Dr. Fredrick J. Gaenslen, first opened in December, 1939 as a school for children who were suffering with Polio. In 1988, Gaenslen, and their neighbor, Fratney School, merged and moved into our present site. F. J. Gaenslen School, a state of the art facility, was architecturally designed to meet the academic and physical needs of regular education students and children with physical and other special education needs.
Our school serves approximately 600 students in K3-8th grade. 39% of our student population has special needs. These students contribute to the diversity and enrichment of the school. The ethnic breakdown of Gaenslen’s 05-06 population is as follows: 66% African-American, 19% Hispanic, 9% white and 6% other. Gaenslen is a SAGE School with three teachers at each grade level, K5-3rd grade. We are privileged to have enough space in the building so that all SAGE teachers can have their own classroom. This provides a true 15:1 ratio of students to teachers. We have two of each of the grade levels from 4th-8th with 25-32 students in each classroom. We have one K4 all-day classrooms that include students with special needs. All the classrooms at Gaenslen School are equipped with dividers so that regular and special education teachers have the option of combining two classrooms into one for integration purposes.
Our mobility rate is low, 7%. Our special education population is very stable. When the special education students come into our school as preschoolers, the parents usually choose to keep them at Gaenslen until they graduate from 8th grade. Many parents of our special education students also choose to send their regular education siblings to Gaenslen in order to keep all of their children at one school.
The original Gaenslen School was located on what is presently the parking lot and playground. In the spring of 1988, the students and staffs of the Gaenslen and Fratney Street Schools merged and moved into the present facility, allowing for the total integration of exceptional education students with regular education students. The new building was built to accommodate students in wheelchairs, i.e. extra-wide hallways, large custodial bathrooms, an elevator in each corner of the building, ramps that go from the second floor to the ground for fire escapes, and a full-size pool with a ramp for wheelchair-bound students. Gaenslen has the largest population of severe/profound handicapped students in the state. We currently serve approximately 153 children that require a MRP (Most Restrictive Placement) unit. Consequently, Gaenslen has a very high ratio of classified to certificated staff. F. J. Gaenslen School offers a continuum of special education services.
Gaenslen School believes that…
Achievement, sense of community, and utilization of technology, along with positive student relationships maximize the potential of all students. Gaenslen offers fully integrated programs for regular education, grades K-8, and students with disabilities, ages 3-14. By reaching hearts and minds, our program strives to develop well-rounded students who are prepared to meet the future and have the skills and motivation to contribute to the community. A dedicated staff of 140 including administrators, teachers, aides and therapists work together to create a productive atmosphere for learning.
F. J. Gaenslen School is committed to quality education for all students. This is accomplished by providing equity of learning opportunities and conveying high learning expectations to all students. Through a continuous, rigorous and sequential study of the core curriculum, the rate of learning is at a pace appropriate for each student. Emphasis is placed on developing the uniqueness of, as well as an awareness of , the similarities of all students. Gaenslen is committed to having students reach their highest levels of academic, social, and personal potential in order to prepare them for high school graduation, the world of work, and life in the 21st century.