MILWAUKEE – The school year is now underway at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Rufus King International High School, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School and Academia de Lenguaje y Bellas Artes (ALBA) elementary school.
The three schools have all earned top accolades in the past year: King and Reagan were ranked among the best high schools in the state and nation by U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post – and ALBA, a school in which 98% of students are considered economically disadvantaged, was rated “Exceeds Expectations” on the latest state report card.
As the new school year begins, Reagan will be expanding its personalized blended learning program, which meets each student at his or her level and then propels all students toward college and career success. MPS provided more than 100 additional Chromebooks to the school to support the personalized learning work as part of a larger district effort to increase access to technology.
Reagan hosted a Day One celebration for the three schools August 10. Milwaukee Board of School Directors member Carol Voss, who represents the area that includes the school, joined MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver, school leaders and school partners to mark the start of the school year.
Year-round schools began August 3 and the majority of MPS’ schools – those on the traditional calendar – begin September 1.
The 2015-16 school year comes as MPS saw significant successes in 2014-15, including:
- The MPS Class of 2015 earned a record-breaking $39 million in scholarships
- A total of seven MPS high schools – including King and Reagan – were rated among the best in the state and nation according to U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post
- Eighty-two schools were honored for reinforcing positive behavior and supporting learning needs of all students
“These successes fuel our push to do more because we must continue to improve to meet the needs of our young people. We are on a mission to ensure equity, access and opportunity for every child in MPS,” Dr. Driver said. “We know what our young people are capable of achieving and it is our responsibility to help them achieve it. We are grateful for the partners who recognize that everyone in our community has a stake in the education of our students.”
Mission critical to helping students achieve is ensuring every student is in class all day — Day One and every day.
In addition to a focus on boosting attendance above the district’s current 90% average, MPS’ efforts in 2015-16 will focus on:
- Literacy across all subjects: MPS is working to strengthen the incorporation of reading and writing into subjects such as science and social studies to boost literacy.
- Rethinking high schools to better serve students: MPS has created a new support system to address the unique needs of high schools and convened a group of educators, business leaders and community partners to help in the work.
- Continuing to implement the Regional Development Plan to create more enrollment opportunities in high-performing schools: MPS is building additions to high-performing Fernwood and Maryland Avenue Montessori schools, exploring a second campus for the successful Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School, creating a comprehensive middle school for the gifted and talented on the northwest side and approving successful charter school expansions to serve more students including at Hmong American Peace Academy and Universal Academy for the College Bound.
- Providing additional support for reading and math interventions: Interventions are a critical tool to help students who may be struggling advance to grade level and to help give those students who are already on grade level an opportunity to continue to accelerate their learning.
- Continuing MPS’ commitment to the arts: MPS has appointed a new fine arts manager, the district is maintaining the 140 new art, music and physical education positions added over the past three years and it is working through a new collaborative involving dozens of local partners to strengthen arts opportunities for MPS students.