MPS

Emily Files / WUWM

The about 70,000 students enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools will continue with virtual learning for the foreseeable future.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 4:17 p.m. CT

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on school enrollment in Wisconsin – especially in the youngest grades.

Public schools lost about 25,000 students, or a 3% enrollment decline. That’s compared to roughly 0.5% declines the past two years. The biggest drop is in 4-year-old kindergarten. 4K numbers fell by about 16% this fall. Regular kindergarten enrollment fell by about 5%.

Emily Files / WUWM

Many children in the Milwaukee area have started the school year with remote learning. But not all parents have the ability to stay home and supervise.

So, some child care programs are adapting to facilitate virtual learning. One of them is the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which has been running child care programs throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Emily Files / WUWM

All Milwaukee Public School students are back in school this week – virtually. Tuesday was the first day for traditional start schools, which includes most elementary students. High schools and middle schools, most of which are on the district's early-start calendar, started on Aug. 17.

Emily Files / WUWM

Monday is the first day of school for most Milwaukee public high schools and middle schools. The rest of MPS schools start on Sept. 1.

It’s going to be a very different year. Milwaukee Public Schools, like many large districts across the country, is starting the semester virtually because of the risks posed by the coronavirus. The virtual learning will continue until at least Oct. 9.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 10:22 a.m. CT

New research on Black-white disparities in metropolitan Milwaukee draws a sobering conclusion about education: Black students here attend the most racially segregated schools in the nation.

Not only that, but schools have resegregated over the years. Black children are as racially isolated as they were in 1965.

Some Milwaukee education leaders say, with the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, now is the time to change the segregation picture.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 3:48 p.m. CT

On Monday, southeastern Wisconsin teachers’ unions and community groups organized a car caravan from Kenosha to Madison, calling for state action on school reopening.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 21 at 5:49 p.m.

After some confusion and criticism, the Milwaukee Health Department clarified Tuesday that it does not intend to keep all city schools closed this fall.

Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik says the department will issue a new order that allows schools to open for in-person classes if they have an approved safety plan in place.

Original story

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated on July 17 at 3:12 p.m. CT

Emily Files / WUWM

As coronavirus cases increase in Wisconsin, the state’s largest school district is proposing a virtual start to the upcoming school year. Milwaukee Public Schools leaders are calling for a phased-in reopening of schools — beginning with virtual instruction for all students, for at least the first 30 days.

Emily Files / WUWM

Milwaukee Public Schools is seeking feedback from families and staff about how to reopen in the fall, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The survey is available online and closes on July 8. It asks families whether they want their kids to be back in classrooms, stick with virtual learning, or do a combination. And it asks staff whether they feel comfortable returning to schools and what safety measures are important to them.

Courtesy Claudio Martinez / LIT

The Milwaukee School Board unanimously voted Thursday night to end contracts with the Milwaukee Police Department. Board members said they've repeatedly heard from students who say they feel criminalized by the presence of police at schools. 

>>As Schools Pledge To Fight Against Racial Injustice, MPS Looks To Cut Ties With Police

Emily Files / WUWM

As protests over police brutality and racial injustice sweep the nation, some Milwaukee-area schools are speaking out and taking action – including a push to cut ties with police in Milwaukee Public Schools.

Last week, leaders at a charter school on the northwest side of Milwaukee organized a silent protest. Teachers, students and parents knelt for nine minutes on the sidewalk outside of Rocketship Transformation Prep.

Emily Files / WUWM

As the current school year wraps up, Milwaukee Public Schools leaders are considering a range of scenarios for the fall. Whether students can safely go back to school remains uncertain due to the coronavirus.

Emily Files / WUWM

If voters didn't approve a tax referendum for Milwaukee Public Schools in April, the district would have been in a dire situation. That’s according to researchers with the Wisconsin Policy Forum, which analyzes the MPS budget each year.

Emily Files / WUWM

Milwaukee Public Schools fielded criticism over the last couple of months about the district’s slower shift to online learning as students stay home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Between March 16 and April 20, teachers were not required to engage students in remote instruction. Even when the district told teachers to start supporting students’ learning from home, the expectations about what that should look like were unclear.

Emily Files / WUWM

As Milwaukee Public Schools begins its budget process, it’s facing an uncertain future but some reassurance from a recently approved tax referendum. Superintendent Keith Posley wants to spend about half of the referendum revenue on employee salaries and benefits, and use much of the rest to add 229 new positions.

MPS’s total budget is about $1.2 billion. The referendum will increase funding by $57 million next school year, gradually growing to $87 million in 2023.

Screenshot

Wisconsin’s largest school district, Milwaukee Public Schools, is facing criticism from some teachers and families for its handling of distance education during the coronavirus shutdown. MPS has provided paper packets and links to educational websites. But it’s been slower than many other districts to distribute computers and implement teacher-led remote instruction.

Emily Files / WUWM

On Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers extended his stay-at-home order — it includes keeping all Wisconsin K-12 schools closed for the rest of the spring semester.

Since schools first shutdown mid-March, some have been quick to implement virtual instruction. But Milwaukee Public Schools has been slower to make that shift.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

Updated April 24, 6:23 p.m. 

Milwaukee Public Schools will get an additional $87 million each year to spend on educational programming after voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum allowing the district to raise revenue through a property tax increase.

The referendum funding may help MPS deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered schools indefinitely beginning mid-March.

Courtesy Naoshi Johnson, Jeremiah Baez and Moo Ko Wah.

This is the time of year when many high school seniors are making one of the most important decisions of their lives — where to go to college. But the coronavirus has created tremendous uncertainty as students try to plan for their future.

"I feel like at this point, I’m so lost," says Moo Ko Wah, a senior at MPS’s South Division High School. "At school I have my coaches, my mentor. And here I don’t have nobody."

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated April 6 at 1:15 p.m. CT

Gov. Tony Evers called off in-person voting on April 7 and moved it to June 9. All ballots already cast via absentee voting or early voting will count toward the results. 

Original post

Emily Files / WUWM

Monday was the first day of coronavirus-related school closures for thousands of children across Wisconsin. Late last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered all Wisconsin K-12 schools to shut down in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

ALESANDRA TEJEDA

When Andrew Martin was hired to work in MPS in 2012, he showed up to his assigned high school and was greeted with confusion. “The principal said, ‘Oh I didn’t know we were getting somebody. What position are you here for?’ And I said 'Well, I was hired as a social studies teacher,'” he remembers. 

The mix-up was sorted out, and Martin stayed with MPS for eight years. But along the way, he kept hearing other stories about human resources mishaps and delays that frustrate even teachers who really want to work for MPS.  

Emily Files / WUWM

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of Wisconsin’s most important education stories of the year – many of which will continue to play out in 2020.

The year started on a high note for public school advocates, with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers taking office. Evers spent his career in education, eventually becoming Wisconsin’s superintendent of schools, and then ousting Republican incumbent Scott Walker for the governor’s seat in the November 2018 election.

Emily Files

In April, Milwaukee Public Schools will ask voters to approve a property tax referendum for the first time in 26 years.

The school board decided Thursday night to ask for $87 million in additional revenue. This would allow the district to exceed state-imposed property tax caps.

READ: MPS To Consider Referendum For Educational Programming

Emily Files

Raising money through voter referendums has become a common tool for school districts across Wisconsin because the state restricts their taxing authority. And now the state’s largest district, Milwaukee Public Schools, plans to follow suit.

The last time MPS attempted to raise taxes through a referendum, voters shot it down. That was in 1993 and leaders were seeking $366 million for building projects. Now, more than 25 years later, the district plans to try again on the April 2020 ballot.

Emily Files / WUWM

As part of our Beats Me series, we spotlighted Milwaukee Public Schools parent coordinators, who are tasked with the on-the-ground work of connecting families and schools. But that mission extends beyond a single person in each building.

Emily Files / WUWM

Tjuna Eggson has worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for more than 20 years. Twelve of those years, she’s had the title of ‘parent coordinator.’ "One of the things that I found out is the position is really underrated," Eggson says.

Emily Files

Milwaukee Public Schools is gradually improving on state report cards that measure school districts' overall success.

The report card for the 2018-19 school year, shows that even though MPS struggles with test scores, it's getting better at closing achievement gaps and advancing student growth. But the district is still one of the lowest-ranking in Wisconsin.

Pages