Philadelphia’s Universal Companies Dedicated to Improving Communities through Education
Milwaukee Public Schools and Universal Companies, a Philadelphia non-profit organization dedicated to improving communities through education, real estate, social services technology and wellness, announced today that they are partnering to bring a new charter school to the Milwaukee area.
Universal Companies will launch Universal School of Milwaukee at two campus locations in fall of 2013. The MPS campuses will implement a unique and innovative curriculum for “college and career bound” students by offering program specialty areas at both school sites catering to students with an aptitude for the arts, or who have excelled in other schools or show the potential for gifted and talented programs.
“Families and community must work together to educate our children,” said Ronn Johnson, Executive Vice President of Education – Midwest for Universal Companies and longtime local proponent of high quality educational opportunities in the city.
“The Milwaukee Public School system supports and celebrates this progressive stance by offering educational options for parents within its own school system by embracing new and innovative ways to educate our young people.”
Universal Companies is a not-for-profit community development and education management corporation formed under the efforts and direction of one of Philadelphia’s greatest talents, world-renowned music composer and producer Kenneth Gamble.
Devastated by the blighted conditions of the south Philadelphia neighborhood where he was raised, Gamble, along with his wife Faatimah, cofounded Universal Companies to challenge and reverse the effects of urban decline. Since 1993, Universal Companies has been working to rebuild predominantly African American communities with a comprehensive holistic approach to community revitalization.
The Universal Plan integrates real estate and economic development with education, social and supportive services to build stronger communities and change lives for the better.
Universal School of Milwaukee marks the company’s expansion into other educational markets. The company chose Milwaukee because it shares similar characteristics with Philadelphia, from student demographics and low student achievement levels to neighborhoods characterized by disinvestment and high poverty rates in urban areas.
“We cannot control the color of our skin, the family we are born to, or our nationality,” said Chairman Kenneth Gamble. “We cannot control life, nor can we control death. We focus on the things we can control: quality of life, ignorance and poverty.
“Universal Companies has developed a mission around finding solutions to the problems that continue to devastate our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities and our country. Education is at the core of true community development.”
“Milwaukee represents a welcoming and congenial environment for charter schools,” said UC President Rahim Islam. “We’re very enthusiastic about the opportunity presented to Universal, not only by the well-known and loved school campuses, but by the vibrancy of the communities surrounding them.”
The elementary school (Universal School of Milwaukee – Millennium Campus) will be located at 8th and Capitol Drive (the former MPS Green Bay Avenue School) and will serve 400 students age kindergarten through 5th grade for the 2013-2014 school year.
The middle school campus (Universal School of Milwaukee – Renaissance Campus) will be located at 55th and Green Tree (the former MPS Webster Middle School) and will serve 200 students in 6th and 7th grade. Once accepted, students may remain at USM until graduation from 12th grade.
The schools will begin accepting applications for enrollment in early April. In addition, the schools will be accepting applications for 24 classroom teachers, 16 specialists and 30 support staff members.
For more information on the schools, please visit UniversalSchoolMilwaukee.org, call 414-355-5858 or call Ronn Johnson at (414) 233-8173. For information on Universal Companies, please visit universalcompanies.org.