Gary Grice, aka The GZA is known by many as The Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan, despite ending his formal education in the 10th grade. While his lyrical contributions have proven him more than worthy of the title, he’s gone the extra mile to distinguish himself as a mind to be reckoned with.
According to The NY Times, GZA is teaming up with a Columbia University professor to make the sciences more appealing to school students using Hip-Hop. After doing research at M.I.T. for his upcoming album, “Dark Matter,” GZA met Dr. Christopher Emdin on a radio show and realized they had a shared desire to bridge the worlds of science and hip-hop.
“Next month, the two men, along with the popular hip-hop lyrics Web site Rap Genius, will announce a pilot project to use hip-hop to teach science in 10 New York City public schools. The pilot is small, but its architects’ goals are not modest. Dr. Emdin, who has written a book called “Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation,” hopes to change the way city teachers relate to minority students, drawing not just on hip-hop’s rhymes, but also on its social practices and values.
The pilot program will use interactive learning via rhyme ciphers as one of the tools to engage students, illicit feedback and reinforce principles.
“It was always about crafting the best rhyme in the most articulate, witty or smart way,” GZA said. “For us, it was always about educating the listener.”
Partnership provides urban teens with greater access to a college education
In an effort to provide underprivileged youths with access to educational opportunities, leadership training and mentoring, BMO Harris Bank has committed to a five-year, $600,000 partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Marquette University. This strategic partnership will provide the target population with greater access to higher education along with the necessary support to help students reach college graduation.
“Education is one of the cornerstones in how we help our communities, and this partnership will help ensure that more students get into college,” said Kara Kaiser, Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. “We want to make the dream of a college education a reality for more of our youth because there is so much untapped potential that we need to lead us forward.”
“We are thrilled that more young people in the community will have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of earning a college degree,” said Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “We showed BMO Harris Bank what the Clubs and Marquette University have been able to do for young people who want to continue their education and work toward a brighter future, and they saw the value in helping us take our efforts to the next level.”
“Thanks to the support of BMO Harris, Marquette can continue to make a difference in the lives of young men and women from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee,” said Marquette University President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. “This work is at the heart of our mission, and we’re proud of the impact our students go on to have in our world.”
Half of BMO Harris Bank’s donation will help expand Boys & Girls Clubs’ Graduation Plus program, which works with high school students to make college accessible and graduation imminent. Staff members teach students about the college application and enrollment processes, provide ACT preparation workshops, take students on college tours and help with college course selection. In addition, the Clubs provide employment to students who need to save for college, and then it matches their savings to help finance their education. Once in college, Graduation Plus participants have the added benefit of support staff who help them work through any barriers to graduation. The first class of Graduation Plus participants graduated from college earlier this year – some of them from Marquette.
The other half of BMO Harris Bank’s donation will provide increased scholarship opportunities to Boys & Girls Clubs’ Graduation Plus members who go on to attend Marquette. Currently, there are eight Graduation Plus participants enrolled at Marquette, several of them on full scholarship as Marquette University Urban Scholars. Boys & Girls Clubs and Marquette have worked together for years with the common goal of helping members of the urban community, many of them first-generation college students, realize their dream of college graduation. By sharing resources and collaborating on training and mentoring opportunities, the Clubs and Marquette have created a fluid transition for students from high school to college, all the way through graduation.
BMO Harris Bank’s support will also create a career readiness program, which provides internships and job shadowing opportunities at BMO Harris Bank for Graduation Plus students enrolled at Marquette. In addition, BMO Harris Bank will facilitate financial literacy classes for students at Boys & Girls Clubs to help them develop good financial habits. Students who take these classes and participate in the career readiness program will be encouraged to mentor younger students when they enroll at Marquette.
People from all walks of life experience mental illness. They often feel alone and many do not know where to turn. But there is help.
The United Way-funded Grand Avenue Club supports people dealing with mental illness; not only through job placement, education, and recreational activities, but by making them feel valued and accepted in our community.
“Grand Avenue Club has helped me feel more comfortable about waking up and facing the day with goals and intentions,” says Jonathan, who was initially shy when he joined the program in 2010.
He quickly gravitated toward the Culinary Unit and was offered a temporary position at Outpost Natural Foods.
He attended work support meetings and eventually became less anxious and more willing to engage others. Soon Outpost hired him as a regular employee, and eventually he was named “employee of the month.”
Jonathan has also let his creative side come to life and exhibits paintings at the club’s art gallery. He describes his current circumstances as “a full life – paid work, art, friends and volunteer work at two places that I care about.”
Jonathan says he is thankful that Grand Avenue Club was there to help him. “No matter your situation, having a place to find yourself is what really matters.” To hear more about Jonathan, visit www.UnitedWayMilwaukee.org.
The SME Education Foundation has selected Milwaukee Public Schools’ Bradley Tech High School as an exemplary school to participate in the PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program, a comprehensive community-based approach to manufacturing education
Dearborn, Mich., and Milwaukee — The SME Education Foundation <http://smeef.org/> is taking a community-based approach to manufacturing education and creating strong partnerships between organizations, businesses and exemplary schools. Milwaukee Public Schools’ Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade High School is one of nine exemplary schools selected for year two of SME Education Foundation’s PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education <http://www.sme.org/prime> program, which launched in fall 2011 with six schools in six different states.
On October 23, 2012, representatives from Rockwell Automation and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation presented Bradley Tech High School with a check for $15,000 to enhance their exemplary manufacturing education program.
“PRIME was developed as a response to the growing skills gap crisis in our nation along with our greater mission to inspire, prepare and support STEM-interested students,” said Bart Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Upon graduation, they will leave school with the tools to further that education and become future innovators and contributors to industry. An advanced manufacturing curriculum, dedicated instructors and involvement from local industry provides the right mix of academic and real-world experience. We feel that this approach will lead not only to the success of the individual, but will help to create communities with a strengthened manufacturing base. It is truly a positive outcome for everyone involved.”
One of those involved parties is Rockwell Automation, a Milwaukee based manufacturing leader. Rockwell Automation and Bradley Tech High School have a long-standing history. As a community partner, Rockwell Automation has invested in several STEM (science technology, engineering and math) education initiatives at Bradley Tech High School, including: Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). “Support for PRIME makes sense for us because our goal is to Inspire Young Minds™ to become the next generation of skilled employees, customers and partners,” said Sue Shimoyama, SME Education Foundation Board Director and Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing Operations, Rockwell Automation. “We are working to change the perception of careers in manufacturing today and PRIME strengthens our efforts.”
The PRIME designation come with a three-year commitment by the SME Education Foundation to provide assistance in creating and fostering strong partnerships with the local manufacturing base to provide job shadows, mentoring and internships. In addition, PRIME schools receive funds totaling $35,000 for the three years to support post-secondary scholarships, equipment upgrades, continuing education for instructors and a STEM-based camp for middle school students.
“Bradley Tech High School was given this designation because of their skilled and dedicated instructors, engaged and active students, strong administrative support and an involved local manufacturing base,” said Aslin. “This program has a rich history of providing the manufacturing community with stellar contributors. Our hope is that through PRIME, we can make that job a little easier.”
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
The Florida Board of Education has officially declared that Black students are intellectually inferior to students of other races.
No, you’re not misreading that.
Last week the Florida board that governs state school policies passed a set of reading and math standards based on that racist assumption. Under the new guidelines, Florida schools will now establish reading and math proficiency standards for Black students that are nearly one-third the level of White and Asian children. By 2018, state school goals require that 90% of Asian and 88% of White students to be proficient in math and reading. The official ‘goal’ for Black students is set at only 74%.
The implication of these racially based goals isn’t written in brail, but in a form of English that state officials imply Black and Hispanic children cannot read.
As expected, the state school board’s new mandate has ignited a firestorm of controversy, as did similar policies in Virginia and Washington, D.C., both of which also passed race based benchmarks in recent years. None of those outcries were enough to dissuade school officials from retreating from their declarations, which officials have said are dictated as the only viable option to comply with terms of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA).
Ironically, the NCLBA was sponsored by the late Senator Ted Kennedy and considered the hallmark of the Bush Administration. Its intent was to force greater accountability in public schools and to close the achievement gap between Black and White students. Most school districts and teachers unions hate the provisions of the NCLBA, which has brought to light not only the glaring achievement gaps between students of color, but also the inherent dichotomy of urban education.
But you can’t entirely blame the NCLBA for the declarations of the states and District of Columbia to ‘racialize’ public education in their respective states. Obviously, these racially based goals can be viewed as a politically convenient way around dealing with the failures (or inability) of public school systems to educate all Black children, even though this strategy brings to light the intrinsic assumption that Black children are intellectually inferior.
Get mad at me if you want, but that fact can’t be denied, or ignored. Look beyond the code words—poverty, dysfunctional families, or urbanization—and you’re left with a blinding light of racist assumptions.
And if you can see beyond that premise, you’re left with two uncomfortable extremes: something is either wrong with the system, or something is indeed wrong with our children (or their parents, society and our socioeconomic status).
Before you venture into the unsettling abyss that will provide your ultimate answer to that question, consider that a legitimate case is offered by the officials of the three aforementioned school systems that the proficiency goals for Black children are actually higher than they are currently. In Florida, for example, “the percentage of White students scoring at or above grade level (as measured by whether they scored a three or higher on the reading FCAT) was 69% in 2011-2012, according to the state. For Black students, it was 38%, and for Hispanics, it was 53%.”
Can racism alone explain those stats?
Remember also that it was but three years ago that Milwaukee Black fourth graders had the lowest reading proficiency rates in the United States. Do you recall what school officials said to explain that sad statistic?
Moreover, according to the Department of Public Instruction, an achievement gap exists even among Black students who have ‘escaped’ the Milwaukee Public Schools under the Chapter 220, inter or intra district transfer programs. (Incidentally, numerous national studies reveal that Asian children outperform White students throughout the country.)
None of this is to say there are not many exceptional Black students. But the racists will quickly note they are the exception, and not the rule. In fact, the sad part of this phenomenon is not that the racists believe Black children are intellectually, morally and culturally inferior. But that many liberals believe it as well.
I’ve been in this game long enough to have come to the realization that there is little difference in the educational outcome for Black children if someone believes Black children are intellectually inferior, or those who blame poverty or dysfunctional families for the ‘inability’ of Black children to reach their God given potential. And truth is if you don’t have high expectations for Black children, the end result is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But that’s just one jagged piece of this complex puzzle.
The other pertinent reality we must put on the table is the question of why Black children perform so much better at Black controlled schools that utilize an Africentric model? And what about those institutions in Milwaukee like Messmer, Hope and St. Marcus, which stress strong discipline and religious values?
It was just a few weeks ago that local educational expert Taki Raton posed that former question to an audience at Community Brainstorming, asking the audience why Black children attending dozens of small, under-funded Africentric schools around the country excelled in spite or despite their socioeconomic status? Raton provided irrefutable documentation that those models work.
But an Africentric curriculum isn’t the only viable option. Replace a strong cultural foundation with a value or spiritual based, mandated parental involvement and high expectations for all students and you end up with local stalwart institutions like Messmer and Hope, both of which not only have graduation rates in excess of 94%, but proficiency rates for students of all races which are essentially identical.
(For point of reference I’m not mentioning public school like King and Reagan solely because they have admission requirements that imply they can, and do, cream the best of the best. But they also strengthen my point that some schools outperform others in setting Black children on the path to academic achievement.)
So what is the secret, or the difference?
In the cases of the three private schools, poverty is not viewed as a mountainous handicap, but anthills to be stepped over en route to established goals of excellence. Teachers are goal oriented and mission driven. Parents are part of the educational partnership.
And least you think otherwise, the student populations at each of those schools is identical to the MPS student population—80 plus percent of the students are eligible for free lunches and nearly 70% come from single parent households.
One final point for your consideration as you work your way through this dichotomous phenomenon. Studies have shown that the average Asian student in America studies in excess of four hours each night. The average White child puts in about two hours. And the average Black child ‘dedicates’ less than 50 minutes to his or her educational endeavors.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out the outcome of those varying degrees of dedication and discipline.
Social Development Commission and Kaplan University to Co-Host October 25th Event
Milwaukee County Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II invites job seekers from the 5th District to attend the “Employment, Training & Education Expo,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee. Supervisor Stamper, the Social Development Commission (SDC) and Kaplan University are co-hosting the Expo.
“I am grateful that we are able to offer residents this resource to promote local, economic development,” said Supervisor Stamper. “Our expo in August was well-attended, and I expect turnout at this week’s Expo to be even greater.”
Supervisor Stamper, the SDC and Kaplan University encourage Expo attendees to arrive early, to dress professionally and to bring several copies of their resume to share with potential employers.
Anyone wishing to contact Supervisor Stamper about the Employment, Training & Education Expo or other matters can reach him at (414) 278-4201. Anyone wishing to receive additional information on employment opportunities through SDC can visit the agency’s website at cr-sdc.org, click on the “Programs” tab and then on the “W-2 Training Opportunities” link.
Winners of the 2012 Housing Authority Spelling Bee with (from left, back row): Education Specialist Darrell Finch; Education Assistant Tracy Revels; HACM Public Safety Chief Gregory Moore; Talk Show Host Eric Von; HACM Senior Asset Manager Beverly Johnson; and HACM Housing Management Supervisor Mindy Biedrzycki
Over one hundred family members and friends watched in anticipation as fifty-five youth competed in the 12th Annual Housing Authority Spelling Bee on Monday. With the theme, “Bee Positive, Bee Different, Bee You,” the competition brought together youth from several of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, including Highland Homes, Hillside, Westlawn and Carver Park. The event was held at the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee’s Community Services Building, 650 W. Reservoir.
Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders prepared for the competition for weeks through the programs of the Housing Authority and its partners, including the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center and the Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club.
Eric Von, WMCS 1290 talk show host, served as pronouncer and the judges were Beverly Johnson, Mindy Biedrzycki and Public Safety Chief Gregory Moore of the Housing Authority. HACM Education Specialist Darrell Finch organized the event.
First-place winners were: Shak’la Harrington, 5th grade; Andrae Mahr, 6th grade; Kaetryn Koneazny, 7th grade; and Antionette Howard, 8th grade.
The Spelling Bee is an annual event of the Housing Authority’s Education Initiative, which provides a holistic approach to education that emphasizes daily attendance in school and academic achievement, but also develops family-focused environments for educational success.
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) provides safe, high-quality and affordable housing options to over 10,000 Milwaukee families. HACM further provides a wide range of educational, employment, and social services to enhance residents’ self-sufficiency.
Atonement Lutheran and Carmen High School of Science and Technology named Member schools by STC National
Schools That Can Milwaukee, Inc. (STCM), a nonprofit organization developing and expanding high-performing Milwaukee schools, is pleased to announce Atonement Lutheran and Carmen High School of Science and Technology as the newest validated Member schools.
Schools like Atonement and Carmen, along with other STCM Member schools, are leading the way in demonstrating that all schools can provide a high-quality education and all students, regardless of circumstance, can achieve academic excellence. During the 2011-2012 school year, STCM worked with 24 traditional MPS, charter and choice schools, training and supporting more than 80 school leaders and ensuring student achievement for more than 10,000 Milwaukee students.
STCM is at the helm of a movement to transform education in Milwaukee and ensure dramatic improvements in student achievement. Working to expand Milwaukee’s highest performing schools and develop its highest potential, Schools That Can Milwaukee’s vision is 20,000 students in high-quality Milwaukee schools by 2020. By generating a critical mass of high performing urban schools (20,000 students and approximately 50 schools), within communities where we typically see the most excuses for failure, Milwaukee will reach a tipping point for systemic change that will create an environment in which our community will cease to accept low-performing schools and student failure.
“Atonement and Carmen exemplify the ‘no-excuses’ and ‘high expectations’ attitude that it takes to transform Milwaukee’s standard of urban education and provide high-quality education to Milwaukee students,” said Abby Andrietsch, Executive Director of Schools That Can Milwaukee. “They are an example of what it takes to go from high-potential to high-performing.”
The criteria for Member validation includes: (1) strong leadership; (2) student population that is non-selective and at least 60 percent or higher free or reduced-priced lunch; (3) 75 percent of students are advanced or proficient on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) (ACT indicators used for high schools); (4) an average daily attendance of at least 93 percent; (5) a no excuses culture committed to high expectations for ALL students; and (6) use of school and student performance data to drive academic rigor in the classroom.
The great majority of STCM Member school children are students of color from low-income families. During the 2011-2012 school year, students at STCM member elementary schools outperformed WI state averages on the WKCE and performed dramatically higher than the MPS average. Member elementary schools averaged 86.1% in reading and 83.6 percent in math, where Wisconsin averaged 82.6 percent in reading and 79.2 percent in math and MPS averaged 61.6 percent in reading and 52.9 percent in math.
MPS has the largest collection of public Montessori schools
in the United States
Prospective parents, prospective teachers, current Montessori families, the media and community members who want to learn more are invited to take a look as MPS which operates the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S. hosts a Montessori Summit on Saturday, October 6.
The summit will feature a ³glass house² demonstration at 1 p.m. during which attendees can observe Montessori preschool, elementary, middle and high school classrooms in session.
Prominent author Trevor Eissler who wrote Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education will speak at 2:30 p.m. He argues that those who spend 30 minutes observing a Montessori classroom will never see education the same way again. His presentation will be followed by breakout sessions for those interested in learning more about Montessori, one for current parents and one for those interested in becoming Montessori educators.
The summit takes place at MPS¹ MacDowell Montessori School, 6415 W. Mt. Vernon Avenue, Milwaukee 53213. The school site is just south of the intersection of N. 64th St. and W. Blue Mound Road.
The MPS Montessori Community is excited to host parents, teachers and professionals from across Wisconsin and northern Illinois to talk about Montessori education and the success we¹re seeing with Montessori education in the district,² said Phil Dosmann, principal at MPS¹ just-opened Howard Avenue Montessori School.
Milwaukee Public Schools operates seven Montessori schools, the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the U.S.
– Barbee Montessori, on the north side
– Craig Montessori, on the northwest side
– Fernwood Montessori, in the Bay View area
– Howard Avenue Montessori, on the southeast side
– Kosciuszko Montessori, on the south side
– MacDowell Montessori, on the west side
– and Maryland Avenue Montessori, on the east side
In addition, MPS authorizes a charter Montessori school, Highland Community School on the near west side, for a total of eight Montessori schools within the MPS family.
Nearly every 3rd-through-8th-grader in the four longest-running MPS Montessori elementary schools Craig, Fernwood, MacDowell and Maryland outperforms the district average on state test scores. More than a third 35% exceed the state average. Two of the district¹s top 10 performers ont the most recent state standardized tests were Montessori schools.
Montessori education was developed more than 100 years ago by a young doctor named Maria Montessori and is now embraced in 110 countries around the world. In the Montessori classroom the students meet the Common Core State Standards adopted by both Milwaukee Public Schools and the state of Wisconsin through choosing lessons that have been presented by the Montessori teacher. Students have the freedom to follow up individual interests within the curriculum in multiage classrooms using Montessori materials that foster a deep understanding of concepts through hands on activities.
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin¹s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS¹ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for the class of 2000.