MILWAUKEE — Community members urge Milwaukee Public Schools to go entirely online, so students do not fall further behind. MPS is working on getting Chromebook computers to every child in the district who needs one, but that process is not complete.
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When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools in March, Milwaukee Public Schools moved "Stop, Grab and Go" distribution sites. There are 25 locations that children can get breakfast, lunch, and a packet of school work.
"That's a good start, I guess, but moving to online learning is going to be infinitely better," said Helen Harris.
Harris has two grandchildren in Milwaukee schools, and she is a former MPS administrator. She says she knows they can be doing what suburban schools are doing. That's why she, along with a half a dozen community members from the group Wisconsin Common Grounds, wrote into the school board to ask for online learning and accountability.
"One of the main things I want to see is actually reaching and learning with teachers actually teaching curriculum," said Harris.
Thursday night, Superintendent Keith Posley spoke about the move towards more online learning at the school board meeting. Teachers will offer online engagements with students starting April 27th. But school board members say they are hearing concerns that not everyone has gotten a computer and even if they have one lacks online access.
"Have we been able to find a solution for people who have neither the Chromebook nor the internet?" asked School Board Member Megan O'Halloran.
"I feel pleased today that we are able to meet those needs, but I am concerned that it is for a short period of time," answered Posley.
The school district says they have given out a thousand WiFi hot spots. Plus, students have used temporary free internet access that is available. However, there are still students who do not have access so they cannot go fully online and do away with learning packets.
"What we want is the effort to be there to make sure all of the children are receiving and education they need and deserve," said Harris.
The district is still trying to reach families that need a Chromebook. If your child needs one, MPS says you can call the district, your child's school, or show up at a distribution site with your child's school ID and ask for one. Or you can find more information on the MPS page.