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Milwaukee Public Schools initiative targets improving schools in the 53206 neighborhood

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 23:26:28-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools has been focusing their attention on specific schools that have been struggling from racial inequities.

The school district started the '53206 Initiative,' designed to help restructure schools and improve attendance within the community.

The plan was created in the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

It was mean to target the 53206 zip code which is one of the most segregated areas of the city, with one of the highest incarceration rates of black men in the county.

Of the students who attend the schools, 95-percent are African-American and 93-percent are economically disadvantaged. In an effort to provide those schools with more resources, the school board started the 53206 Initiative with goals for those schools.

“The five tenants are high quality instructional practices, social emotional well being, community partnerships, family engagement and the development of teachers and leader,” said Maurice Turner, MPS Instructional Leadership Director.

This effort is considered a community school model. It means that 53206 schools are working with outside partners like the United Way, Feeding American and the Amani Neighborhood Association.

For the 2019 School year, the community school model showed test score improvement.

  • 55 more early literacy students are reading at their level
  • 14 more students are reading proficient
  • 46 more students on target for math

But the school board says that their goals need to go beyond better testing.

“I would love to see to what degree are we affecting the a change in the segregation in the community. Is there less segregation, is there more segregation. We need to know,” said Tony Baez.

Administrators at these schools like Auer Avenue Elementary Principal Dr. Zannetta Walker said that teachers want more training and education on social issues that their students face.

“Within the community schools framework looking at culturally relevant teaching practices so we can stomp out racism and get equity across the board,” said Walker.

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