It’s summer, but there’s still school news

Here are some tidbits to remind you that school is just around the corner. Remember, first day back is Thursday, Sept. 1.

There is a Milwaukee Public Schools board meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 28, at 5225 W. Vliet St. You can see the full agenda here. And then you can go and make your voice heard, if you are so inclined.

Bay View Middle and High School Community Listening Session: In recent months I’ve been hearing from a number of folks in Bay View that they want the school to have more of a neighborhood feel. They want BVHS to be great and they want their kids to go there.

More than a couple people have said that the waiting list at Reagan and the long commute to other schools, notably King, will likely force them to move to the suburbs to find alternate high school options once their kids get to that age. But, they say, they really love Bay View, and would prefer that Bay View High School – which will have a new principal, Jesse Mazur, after Thursday’s board meeting – become an option for them.

To that end, Parents for Bay View Schools, the Bay View Neighborhood Association and District 8 School Board Member Meagan Holman will host a listening session for community members, teachers and students to discuss plans for boosting college-preparatory programming at Bay View Middle and High School.

The event is slated for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, in the auditorium at Bay View High School, 2751 S. Lenox St.

The groups then hope to take the results of the meeting to a conference with MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton in autumn.

Arne Duncan in Milwaukee: Word is that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will do another Back to School Bus Tour in September and that one of his stops will be Milwaukee, where he will visit the Milwaukee Campus for Trades, Technology and Media (which you likely know better as Custer High School). I haven’t been able to confirm this yet with the U.S. Dept. of Education, so treat it as rumor, but it seems well-founded.

Highland may stay on Highland for now: In June Highland Community School, an MPS non-instrumentality charter (a public school that doesn’t use MPS employees) Montessori school since 1996, entered into a lease deal with the district for Wisconsin Avenue School, on 27th and Wisconsin. The school has been bursting at the seams at its 3030 W. Highland Ave. location.

But it looks like the Wisconsin Avenue building won’t be ready for occupancy in time for the start of school. So, the school is hoping to get a one-year deal to stay in the 2,700-square feet of space it leased last year at the former Sarah Scott Middle School on 12th and Highland.

The board will vote on the deal, which would bring about $6,700 in rent to the district, on Thursday.

More new principals: The superintendent will put forward more recommendations for new principals when the School Board meets on Thursday. They are:

  • Katrina Fisher, Franklin Elementary School
  • Harry Russo, Riley Elementary School
  • Debra Rash, Maple Tree Elementary School
  • Larry Farris, Morse / Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented
  • Erick Owens, Neeskara Elementary School
  • Melinda Gladney, Metcalfe Elementary School
  • Jesse Mazur, Bay View High School

Thornton has also reassigned some staff members to fill other principal vacancies:

  • Rosana Mateo, Hamilton High School
  • Michelle Morris, Golda Meir Elementary School
  • Michele Pena, Bethune Academy

A number of other positions are being filled, too. One regional director of school support job will likely be filled by Kathy Bonds, who was replaced as principal at Custer as part of that school’s recent School Improvement Grants restart. Bonds is the wife of School Board president Michael Bonds.

Milwaukee steps up for schools: The board will also officially accept a list of donations from outside the district. There are way too many to list here, but I’ll include a few highlights, so you can get an idea of the kind of gestures being made:

  • $1,000 to Craig Montessori from Brewers Community Foundation for sports equipment.
  • $150 to Garland School from Bluemel’s Garden Center for plants for a school fundraising event, which drew many other donations, too.
  • $54,590 to Milwaukee German Immersion School from the Milwaukee German Immersion Foundation, for general school support, is the largest gift. You see now why a number of MPS schools are eager to start foundations to help facilitate community giving to their programs.
  • $1,000 to Pierce Elementary by the PPG Industries Foundation for “public education support.”
  • $10,000 to Riverside University High from Mrs. Margaret F. Scott for participation in an annual tour of historically Black colleges and universities.
  • $656.83 to Mitchell Integrated Arts School from Kiwanis Club of Milwaukee for “school needs.”
  • $60 to Silver Spring from United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay “for students to read.”

Also listed are numerous donations by teachers, via PTOs, to their own schools.

Did you know Harford School Kindergarteners attend UWM?: The board will consider a proposal by MPS administration to continue a decade-old relationship with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Children’s Center on Kenwood and Maryland to provide kindergarten services for Hartford University School, located just across the street.

UWM would continue to take 30-35 full-time K4/K5 kindergarteners (depending on enrollment) at the basic per-pupil allocation of $4,520 and the kids would then be guaranteed K5 or first grade seats at Hartford.

According to the proposal, “This collaboration develops a feeder pattern into MPS and increases the enrollment in MPS of students who would otherwise enroll in private schools or program. It draws in parents who live or work in the Hartford neighborhood, the great majority of whom will likely transport their children themselves. It provides MPS children with quality early childhood education that is expected to fuel future academic success and strengthens the relationship between UWM and MPS.”

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