The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has awarded $1 million to help raise student achievement in 15 Milwaukee Public Schools. All 15 were among the 2010- 11 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition — schools honored for solid student achievement while also having high poverty rates. The grant funds will be used in the following schools: Academy of Accelerated Learning, Alcott Elementary, Clement Avenue Elementary, Curtin, Elm Creative Arts Elementary, Milwaukee French Immersion, Garland Elementary, Hawley Elementary, IDEAL, Lowell Elementary, Morgandale Elementary, Rufus King High, Milwaukee School of Languages, Milwaukee Spanish Immersion, and Whitman Elementary.
“We appreciate that these grant funds from DPI are going to high achieving schools,” said Superintendent Gregory E. Thornton. “These schools deserve the recognition and additional resources the grant will provide.”
DPI used American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to offer a grant program to the Schools of Recognition to support new, or newly expanded, programs to close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, provide incentives to increase teacher effectiveness, and address identified local priorities. Priority was given to applications that worked toward increasing teacher effectiveness. Grant awards ranged from approximately $26,000 to $250,000 per school. DPI received 68 applications for 111 schools, requesting a total of $13 million — nearly three times the amount of available funds.
In collaboration with Milwaukee’s 15 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition, the district, led by the Chief Academic Office, will develop a network of model demonstration sites focused on improving teacher practice and effectiveness to close persistent student achievement gaps. Schools of Recognition will host educators from visiting school sites within MPS.
The proposed project, Teacher Effectiveness for All Learners (TEAL), will help MPS to expand the expertise and effectiveness of teachers in Schools of Recognition to improve student learning in their buildings and to develop the professional practice of teachers in other targeted schools. It is also designed to help more children have access to a highly effective teacher and achieve to high academic standards. All participants will model lessons, share student work, examine student data, identify best practices, and reflect on progress in meeting the needs of lowperforming students, notably students of color and students with special education needs.
“This year, MPS has more Schools of Recognition than any other district in the state,” said Dr. Heidi Ramirez, MPS Chief Academic Officer. “This award is significant in that it will bring together these and other schools to learn from each other, continuously improve, and help create more high performing schools and close achievement gaps across the district.”
Milwaukee Public Schools serves more than 81,000 students.