Mayor Barrett and Interim Superintendent Dr. Keith Posey Kick Off FAFSA Application

Mayor Barrett and Interim Superintendent Dr. Keith Posey Kick Off FAFSA Application

Concordia student, Dominick Snow Pierce, says filing the FAFSA helped him follow his dreams. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)

As surprising as it may seem, applying to universities and trade schools may be the easiest step when it comes to continuing education. The second step, often viewed as the most daunting one, is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid better known as FAFSA.

Over the years, FAFSA has gained a bad rep, although it’s working hard to change that. Recently, the FAFSA application process, which once began in April, changed to October. In other words, people can begin submitting their FAFSA applications as early as Oct. 1.

“FAFSA is the tool that opens the door to education,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

According to Interim Milwaukee Public School Superintendent, Dr. Keith Posey, in 2016 the FAFSA completion rate in MPS hit 49.9 percent. This year’s goal is 80 percent. To help achieve this goal, all the high schools will be participating in the Wisconsin Goes to College Campaign, Posey said.

Additionally, to encourage more students to apply to college and FAFSA, 20 new college career centers were established in MPS high schools. M3, which consists of UW-Milwaukee, MATC and MPS, are continuing their joint efforts to ensure that every student continues their education.

Dr. Keith Posey, interim superintendent, says the college and FAFSA application processes are community efforts. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)

Posey said FAFSA is a community effort. It’s not just the schools and the students, he said.
“[The students are] going to need your commitment and your support,” Posey said to parents.

Shannon Snow, the mother of Dominick Snow Pierce who graduated from MacDowell and now attends Concordia University, said the College Career Program helped Dominic with his applications.

As a mother, Snow said she always emphasized to her children that school was the top priority. MacDowell’s college advisors matched her commitment by following through with Dominick and making sure he filled out not only his college application, but FAFSA too. He’s eternally grateful his support system pushed him to do both, said Dominick.

“FAFSA is the best thing in life,” he said.

As a parent himself, Barrett said he knows how intimidating the FAFSA application can be. The name alone sounds scary he said. The first questions many people have is ‘What is FAFSA?’ followed by ‘How do I do FAFSA?’. Once the application process begins, it quickly becomes understandable, he said.

“We filled out the FAFSA,” he said. “[It was] one of the smartest economic decisions of my life.”

FAFSA helps the students and their parents establish a plan for their college years. Barrett called it a blueprint of do-ability that can help ease the discomfort of financial uncertainty. He said, as mayor, he speaks on behalf of the city. Milwaukee needs more kids to go to college, he said.

The job vacancies are there, but the applicants may not have the skills to even apply for the jobs, he said. Companies may decide to export the jobs if they can’t find employees in Milwaukee. This would be a huge blow to the city’s economic status. Wealth can be built in these neighborhoods, he said, and it can be built through education.

“The plus side is so huge, I think it’s worth it,” Barrett said.

Andrea Atkins, a single mother of seven MPS students, testified to how helpful FAFSA is. Of her children, four have attended college, so far, and three of them have graduated. Parents can support their child’s dream of attending college with FAFSA, she said.

“Our children are the future and we must invest in their education and success,” she said.

OPINION: Our Children Are at Risk

OPINION: Our Children Are at Risk

By Kay Coles James

I’m sure President Obama’s heart was in the right place.

A few years ago, his Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, studied school discipline data and came to a troubling conclusion: African American students in the 2011-12 school year had been suspended or expelled at a rate three times higher than White students.

This news sent shock waves throughout the community and government. There were already concerns of a “school-to-prison pipeline” that funneled disadvantaged children to jail. Now, there was renewed agreement that things had to change.

And so, in 2014, the Departments of Education and Justice put public schools on notice. If they suspended or expelled students of any racial group more than any other, they could face a federal investigation. In place of discipline to punish bad behavior, they were urged to use positive reinforcement instead.

As the grandmother of five school-age kids, I watched this closely. And as one of the Black students who integrated an all-White Richmond, Va., school in 1961, I was hopeful.

I hoped this policy would lead to safer schools. I prayed it would help students get a better education. And I felt confident it would open the door to a brighter future for our kids.

But like so many other parents and grandparents, I was wrong.

The federal government’s warning had an immediate impact. Schools across America quickly changed their discipline policies and reduced their suspension and expulsion rates. In doing so, they avoided the investigation threatened by the President. But at the same time, they put our children at risk.

Today, kids who bully and assault their classmates too often do so without fear of punishment. They know teachers have lost control. And they realize they can get away with behavior that never used to be tolerated.

As a result, when this summer is over, many students will once again face the fear of going back to school. That’s a tragedy! Schools should be joyous places where learning takes place. That’s what my classmates and I fought for in 1961. And it’s what should be the reality today.

Instead, danger lurks behind schoolhouse doors.

Joevon Smith is a heartbreaking example. A 17-year-old student with special needs who attended Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., Joeven was beaten up in his classroom and sprayed with a chemical. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but never recovered. A few weeks after his brutal assault, Joevon died.

According to media reports, Joevon’s assailants wanted to steal his cell phone. That may be so. But because they were repeat offenders, loosened school discipline policies are also at fault.

That’s the case up the road in Baltimore, too. There, Jared Haga, age 10, and his 12-year-old sister Tamar have been bullied and threatened with violence. Tamar has even been sexually harassed and assaulted. In school!

As chronicled by “The Daily Signal,” Jared and Tamar’s mother tried to get this to stop. But when she complained to the principal, she was told nothing would–or could–be done.

Joevon, Jared, and Tamar aren’t alone. According to numerous reports, public schools are now less orderly and more dangerous. As Walter E. Williams has observed, the policy President Obama put into place has allowed “miscreants and thugs to sabotage the education process.”

Teachers apparently agree. In anonymous surveys, they describe how badly school safety has deteriorated. As one stated, “We have fights here almost every day. The kids walk around and say, ‘We can’t get suspended–we don’t care what you say.’”

That sentiment was echoed by another teacher: “Students are yelling, cursing, hitting and screaming at teachers and nothing is being done but teachers are being told to teach and ignore the behaviors. These students know there is nothing a teacher can do.”

This is crazy.

Every child deserves to get the tools they need to make their dreams come true. But if they are too scared to focus, they won’t get them. Many will drop out, limiting their chance to get a job, raise a family, and pursue their life goals.

All because directives from Washington have made school districts fear they’ll be investigated for keeping their classrooms safe.

We can’t bring Joevon back, and Jared and Tamar may never forget the trauma they’ve experienced. But we can take action to fix the mistake that has been made.

For starters, the Education and Justice Departments’ school discipline policy should be rescinded. And if any threats remain, every family should be empowered with school choice, so they can choose safer learning options for their children.

I know President Obama meant well, but his administration’s action was wrong. So, it’s now time to make things right.

Our children should be at risk no more.

This article first appeared in The Milwaukee Courier.

Racial Divides Found in Student Loan Defaults

Racial Divides Found in Student Loan Defaults

By Charlene Crowell

With 44 million consumers owing student debt that now reaches $1.5 trillion and still climbing, a lot of people want to better understand how and why this unsustainable debt trajectory can be better managed. For Black consumers who typically have less family wealth than other races and ethnicities, borrowing is more frequent, and as a result, often leads to five figure debts for undergraduate programs and well beyond $100,000 for graduate or professional degrees.

Besides deep debt incurred to gain a college education, another sphere of concern presents yet another financial hurdle: student loan defaults.

New research by Judith Scott-Clayton of the Brookings Institution, focuses on explaining these defaults and what happens once they occur. Her research shows that a large racial gap exists in default rates between Black student loan borrowers and their White counterparts. This gap can only be partially explained by controlling for multiple socio-economic and educational attainment factors.

After accounting for variations in family wealth and income, differences in degree attainment, college grade point average and even post-college income and employment, a stubborn and statistically significant 11 percentage point gap remains between Black and White student loan borrowers. Before adjusting for these factors, the gap is 28 percent, with Black borrowers defaulting at a rate of more than double that of Whites—49 percent compared to 21 percent over 12 years.

The research also finds a strong disadvantage to attending for-profit colleges, in which Black students disproportionately enroll. More than a decade after leaving school, and accounting for the same background and attainment factors listed above, loan defaults of for-profit college borrowers exceed those of two–year public sector peers by 11 percent.

The author points to the need to understand what influences the “stark” remaining divide.

“The better we can understand what drives these patterns,” wrote Scott-Clayton, “the better policymakers can target their efforts to improve student loan outcomes.”

Among these influences are the widening racial wealth gap. As Black student debt is typically heavier and often takes longer to repay, the ability to build wealth becomes a heightened challenge. Years that might have been opportunities to become homeowners or begin other investments can have lengthy deferrals, due to large student loan debts.

Similarly, a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that focused largely on student loan repayment reached a similar conclusion. Authored by Thomas Conkling, the new CFPB research examining borrowers who were unable to fully repay their student loans early, “suggests that their required monthly student loan payments constrained their ability to pay down other debts.” CFPB also found that the typical student loan repayment lasts a full decade with equal monthly payments.

Further, borrowers repaying on schedule are not more likely to become first-time homeowners.

A portion of the Brookings report provides useful information that could help those at risk or in default.

Loan “default is a status, not a permanent characteristic.” Four ways to get out of default are cited: rehabilitation, consolidation, paying in full, or have a loan discharged.

For my money, paying in full is seldom a practical option unless someone’s lottery numbers hit a jackpot. But the other three options offered could begin to chart a path in important ways.

Rehabilitation of student loan defaults can only be used one time. It also requires, according to Brookings, successfully making nine payments over 10 months.

A second option, consolidating defaulted loans, can end default more quickly and is used by more than half of Blacks who have defaulted.

In recent years, loan discharge has been frequently pursued, especially by former students of now-defunct for-profit institutions. Others choosing public service careers may be eligible for loan forgiveness depending upon the type of loan, servicer assistance and employment.

Any loan default will worsen credit scores and will be a part of a consumer’s credit record for up to seven years. During this time, the cost of credit for other goods and services will be higher. It will also cost many job applicants to lose out on employment opportunities. For several years, credit score screening has become a part of the job application process for many employers.

“The numbers show that our current system is not working, and that higher education is not providing the pathway to financial stability that it once accomplished,” Policy Counsel and Special Assistant to the President of the Center for Responsible Lending, Ashley Harrington said. “We need federal and state policymakers to take concrete steps to effectively address this crisis, such as better regulation of for-profit colleges.

“As for loan servicers, it is time to hold them accountable for their errors,” continued Harrington.

“Standardizing income-based repayment plans, and when appropriate, refinancing of student loans, should be offered as alternative options before allowing borrowers to default.”

Charlene Crowell is the Communications Deputy Director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at

COMMENTARY: Education Chief DeVos: Failing to Make the Grade

COMMENTARY: Education Chief DeVos: Failing to Make the Grade

State Representative Leon D. Young

By State Representative, Leon D. Young

Before she was even sworn in as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos emerged as one of the most controversial members of the Trump Administration. Her confirmation required a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after every Senate Democrat and two Senate Republicans voted against her. In the months since, like many others in the Trump Administration, DeVos has set about rolling back Obama-era policies, from Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault to regulations on for-profit colleges. She quickly found support from conservatives who had backed her previous work as a school choice advocate, but she struggled to build broad national support for her initiatives. DeVos, a prominent Republican donor, faced criticism from Democrats, teachers’ unions and civil rights advocates, many of whom noted that she did not have a background as an educator.

It would be an understatement to suggest that DeVos’ first year alone has sparked a number of controversies, some of which include:

  • In September (2017), DeVos rolled back controversial Obama-era guidance on how universities should handle sexual assault complaints on campus. The 2011 guidelines had instructed universities to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when adjudicating sexual assault complaints instead of the “clear and convincing evidence” standard, which requires a higher burden of proof and was used by some schools at the time.
  • DeVos stoked further controversy when she held meetings on campus sexual assault in July (2017), speaking with victims of sexual assault as well as students who say they’ve been falsely accused. Coupled with the acting head of the department’s Office for Civil Rights assertion that 90% of sexual assault complaints “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk.’
  • Under her guidance, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice rescinded guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms aligned with their gender identity.
  • In June (2017), an internal memo indicated that the department was scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at public schools and universities. In the two months that followed, the department also closed or dismissed more civil rights complaints than previous administrations had in similar periods of time.
  • DeVos has also led efforts that blocked the Obama Administration’s protections for students attending for-profit colleges. The regulations would have provided debt forgiveness to students defrauded by for-profit colleges and would have cut off funding to for-profit colleges that burdened students with loans while failing to prepare them for gainful employment.

Let’s fast-forward to now. DeVos is once again making waves and headlines as she ponders whether to allow grants from the academic support fund to be used for a highly controversial purpose: guns. The $1 billion Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants is intended for the country’s poorest schools and school districts to use the money toward three goals: providing well-rounded education, improving school conditions for learning and improving the use of technology for digital literacy.

Given the fact that the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law in 2015, is silent on weapons purchases, that omission would allow Ms. DeVos to use her discretion to approve or deny any state or district plans to use the enrichment grants under the measure for firearms and firearms training.

In addition, such a move would reverse a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weaponry. It would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns.

DeVos is clearly an anomaly, who is ill prepared for the job. She is the first education secretary in the department’s 35-year history to not have been a public-school parent or student. DeVos attended private institutions for both grade school and college, and her four children were educated at private schools, too.

In my view, Betsy DeVos is unqualified, clearly unfit, and obviously too conflicted to serve as the U.S. Education Secretary and who, for all intents and purposes—appears bent on taking down the very institution she’s entrusted with.

This article originally appeared in The Milwaukee Courier.

Black Arts Fest MKE Welcomes the UW-Milwaukee Educational Experience

Black Arts Fest MKE Welcomes the UW-Milwaukee Educational Experience

Black Arts Fest MKE and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) are pleased to announce a partnership that will provide educational exposure for festival attendees. Black Arts Fest MKE will be held on Saturday, August 4 and is open from noon until midnight. The festival is at Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds).

Black Arts Fest MKE recognizes the importance and benefits of higher education. As the inaugural educational sponsor, the UWM Educational Experience tent will feature opportunities to engage with several departments, schools and colleges, as well as academic advisors that will be ready to interact with and assist festival goers with their higher education needs.

The tent will be located just south of the mid gate entrance. It will feature opportunities for attendees to engage with the University’s Trio and Pre-College programs, the Office of Admissions, the Office of Financial Aid and other departments that will be onsite to help the community navigate campus life.

UWM’s Trio and Pre-College Programs is home to more than eight different programs specifically designed to meet the needs of pre-college young people, from middle school through high school. These award-winning programs offer opportunities for year-round and summer programming exposure to higher educational and career-planning activities.

The UWM Office of Admissions will be present to work with the public to design customized academic experiences for prospective students that includes information regarding admissions, college visits, financial support and activities that promote student support. Representatives from several academic areas such as the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, the College of Nursing, and the School of Information Sciences will also be present.

“The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is thrilled and honored to be the Educational Sponsor for the inaugural Black Arts Fest MKE,” said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement, Dr. Joan Prince. “Our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and academic excellence sparks our desire to have the community share in the Educational Experience that will be encountered when they visit our exhibit area.”

“Education is vital for individual growth and that of the community,” said Black Arts Fest MKE Executive Director Patrice Harris. “UWM is one of the most inclusive and diverse colleges in Wisconsin and we are happy to have them complement the cultural experience of the festival with the UW-Milwaukee Educational Experience.”

UWM has always believed that education empowers and inspires future generations to achieve positive personal and social growth.

Milwaukee Education Partnership Celebrates New Racine and Milwaukee Public School Superintendents

Milwaukee Education Partnership Celebrates New Racine and Milwaukee Public School Superintendents

By Karen Stokes

July 28, 2018

Dr. Eric Gallien, Superintendent of Racine Unified Schools. Gallien’s new position began July 1, 2018. (Photo by Karen Stokes)

[/media-credit] Dr. Eric Gallien, Superintendent of Racine Unified Schools. Gallien’s new position began July 1, 2018.

The Milwaukee Education Partnership (MEP) held a special reception to welcome the new Superintendents for Racine Unified School and Milwaukee Public School Districts.

Gerard Randall, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Education Partnership welcomed the two new superintendents and members of the MEP, Dr. Eric N. Gallien, Racine Unified School District, and Dr Keith P. Posley, Milwaukee Public Schools.

The reception was held at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) that for years has been a creative environment that delivers curriculum and confidence using out-of-classroom spaces.
MPM President/CEO Dennis Kois, welcomed educators from neighboring Wisconsin school districts in attendance.

Dr Keith Posley, interim Superintendent to Milwaukee Public Schools appointed May 21, 2018 (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Public Schools)

[/media-credit] Dr Keith Posley, interim Superintendent to Milwaukee Public Schools appointed May 21, 2018

“The museum’s primary purpose of collecting, preserving, protecting, exhibiting, researching and formulating objects in our collection is to educate and that purpose is through school visits that we host,” said Kois. “This museum brings in 100,000 children. It’s the largest museum in the state and one of the oldest in the U.S.”

The Racine Unified School Board voted 8-1 to make Deputy Superintendent Dr. Eric N. Gallien the next superintendent of the Racine Unified School District. Gallien’s new leadership position began this month.

“It’s really humbling for me today, I grew up not even a mile from here. I would ask my mom if we could go to the museum and she would say, you know we don’t have money for that,” said Gallien. “Now I’m being celebrated in the same museum that I couldn’t afford to go to years ago.”

Gerard Randall Executive Director of Milwaukee Education Partnership (Photo by Karen Stokes)

[/media-credit] Gerard Randall Executive Director of Milwaukee Education Partnership

Gallien said his mother raised him, his brother and sister in a way that set high expectations for them and gave them enough rope to take risks.

“My leadership is strictly autobiographical. Unpacking the narrative of what can and cannot be done with children who come from humble beginnings. Some people call it poverty. Whatever you want to call it they have potential and when you see humanity in those children you can change the trajectory for all kids in this area,” said Gallien.

Dr. Keith P. Posley was appointed Interim Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools effective May 21, 2018, after Superintendent Darienne Driver departed MPS to become CEO of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Posley, a former teacher, principal and administrator has served for 29 years in a variety of positions for the Milwaukee Public School District.

Dennis Kois, President/CEO, Milwaukee Public Museum (Photo by Karen Stokes)

[/media-credit] Dennis Kois, President/CEO, Milwaukee Public Museum

“I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to stay,” said Posley. “As we commit ourselves to the success of every child, I will be focusing on Five Priorities for Success:

1)Student achievement and accountability
2) Develop the staff
3) Fiscal responsibility and transparency
4) Building district and school culture, working together as one unit
5) Clear, concise communication”

Posley thanked his wife, mother, staff, teachers, administrators, superintendents and representatives from universities. He also stressed the importance of working together.

“It’s truly going to take a village to make sure our children are going in the right direction,” said Posley. “We’re going to make it work, we’re going to make sure we are moving in the right direction and we’re going to show results. We’re going to make it happen in Milwaukee Public Schools,” Posley said.
Mark Sain, MPS, District 1 President who worked with both Gallien and Posley, recognized the educators from Franklin, Brown Deer, Racine, Milwaukee and West Bend school districts attended the event.

“When we talk about education, we talk about that village,” Sain said. “We have two brothers that are going to need the village to help them to propel what we need to be doing for the young people in our communities and it’s not just a Milwaukee thing, it’s not just a Racine thing but it’s what’s happening in Franklin, it’s what’s happening in West Bend. When it comes to education we really need to put our arms around our young people.”

Randall said since 1999, the MEP is an organization that brings together senior educators from around the city, business leaders as well as those who were involved in the nonprofit workforce development world that came together to bring young people to grade level academically, especially in reading, writing and science to get them into a 2 year or 4 year college and to ensure good teachers were in those classrooms with those students.

Parents’ Day: Helping Parents Work, So Children Can Succeed

Parents’ Day: Helping Parents Work, So Children Can Succeed

Parents’ Day

This past Mother’s Day about $1.9 billion dollars’ worth of flowers and $2.2 billion dollars in ties and other clothing items were spent to purchase gifts on Father’s Day. So, why is it that Parents’ Day, held on the fourth Sunday in July, usually passes without anyone noticing?

Secretary Eloise Anderson

Secretary Eloise Anderson

While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are wonderful tributes to the individual parent, it is Parents’ Day that should be more meaningful because it recognizes that kids do better when both parents are active and engaged in their lives.

Parents’ Day is also an opportunity for us to evaluate what we are doing to uplift and help parents serve as positive role models. At the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is it our job to make sure that parents who are struggling to find a job or stay employed get the support they need to flourish in the workforce and set a good example for their children. In my opinion there are few better ways for parents to be good role models than by showing their children that through hard work, they can achieve almost anything.

One of the greatest barriers to steady employment for low-income couples and single parents is the ability to find affordable child care. The cost of care is an issue for many families, but for low-income parents it can be especially burdensome. Recently, Governor Walker announced significant targeted rate increases to the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy to take effect on October 1, 2018 with an additional general rate increase implemented in January, 2019. These rate increases continue Governor Walker’s significant investments in early childhood education following his lifting of the child care rate freeze imposed in 2006, and his reform to end the “benefit cliff” in child care assistance, so that parents receiving assistance are always better off taking a raise or accepting a promotion.

Helping low-income parents afford child care is just one way Wisconsin is ensuring that every parent who wants to work has a support system that allows them to enter, stay, and advance in the workforce.

While their probably won’t be many gifts exchanged on Sunday, if we all take a moment to think about what we are doing support parents in our community and commit to giving them a helping hand, this Parents’ Day will be more impactful than any bouquet of flowers or even the most expensive neck tie.

WISCONSIN: Over 100 MPS School Placed in Academic Excellence

WISCONSIN: Over 100 MPS School Placed in Academic Excellence

By Nyesha Stone

The Milwaukee Public School system may not have the best reputation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t producing quality students. Last week, MPS announced that 108 MPS schools were awarded platinum, gold, silver or bronze for academic excellence and positive behavior by Wisconsin Rtl Center.

A student at Academy of Accelerated Learning spending his classroom time reading. Picture provided by MPS

A student at Academy of Accelerated Learning spending his classroom time reading.

Wisconsin Rtl Center is an organization that helps schools put in place a research-based multi-tiered system of support, according to a press release.

According to Wisconsin Rtl Center’s website, “a fully-implemented system is equitable, and provides increasing levels of student supports for all content areas.” There are three categories to place in: mathematics, reading and behavior.

To place bronze in one of the categories, the school has to fully-implement the Rtl system in that area at a universal level for at least one year, and at least two years for silver. To place gold, the school must meet the requirements for bronze for at least two years in two of the categories. And, to place platinum, the school must meet the requirements for gold in all three categories for at least three years.

Out of the 108 schools, only one placed platinum: Academy of Accelerated Learning.

“We’re very system driven,” said principal of Academy of Accelerated Learning, Eric Rian.

Rian said their success didn’t happen overnight. Their system of learning was implemented around seven years ago.

According to Rian, the school provides its teachers with professional teaching development training.

Plus, the staff understand their students in a way that helps the teachers teach better which in turn helps the students learn more.

Rian was the first one to learn about the great news, and before announcing it to the school, he met with his staff the night before to tell them to their face. The next day, during school he announced to the students that they won platinum.

“It’s work over time,” said K5 teacher April Gagliano. “Every year you have to add another levelto become successful.”

Third-grader Samiya and second-grader David were ecstatic about the news because of their love for the school, and their teachers.

Samiya, David and their classmates were given an assignment to learn more about themselves, which meant talking to their relatives. Through this experience, both Samiya and David found out interesting facts about their family, and themselves.

“My experience is really great here,” said Samiya. “It [the school] gives you a lot of opportunities [to learn].

“There’s so much [many] ways to learn,” said David.

Rian said he’s not big on celebrating but he did get a great feeling inside when he got the news.

“We know what we do, but it’s nice to know someone else knows,” said Rian.

For a complete list of the winning schools visit

Milwaukee Public Library Calendar of Events June 3 to 9

Milwaukee Public Library Calendar of Events June 3 to 9

Tour Historic Central Library

Tour the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., with the Friends. Free tours begin at 11 a.m. each Saturday afternoon in the rotunda. Tour goers receive a coupon for a free book at the end of the tour in the Bookseller Store and Café. To arrange for a special tour call (414) 286-TOUR.


Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine On display Monday, April 30 – Saturday, June 9 Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Many histories have been written about medical care during the American Civil War, but the participation and contributions of African Americans as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers have often been overlooked. Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine looks at the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses and how their work as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender. This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine with research assistance from The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.


Somos Latinas Book Launch

Twenty-five Latina agents of change share their inspirational stories in Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin

Latina Artists, co-edited by Andrea-Teresa Arenas, PhD and Eloisa Gómez who will speak at the event at the Mitchell Street Branch, 906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Tuesday, June 5, 6-7:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and Boswell Books. Books will be available for purchase.


Resume 101: First Steps to Building Your Resume

resume has become a necessary tool in the world of job search and employment applications.  Make it work to your advantage by learning what employers look for in a resumeand what style best markets your strengths.

Create a “ready to be typed” personal resume outline at this resume workshop at the Zablocki Branch, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave., Monday, June 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Discovery Lunch

This one-hour program lets you explore and connect with fellow learners at the Capitol Branch, 3969 N. 74th St., Tuesday, June 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Please call 414.286.3011 to register; a light lunch is provided. Eliminate Stress From Your Life: Learn simple, yet powerful techniques to quickly ease your mental and emotional distress in no more than 30-60 seconds.

Crosswords, Coloring & Contemplation

Perk up your afternoon by working on a crossword puzzle, a coloring sheet, or your own creative, contemplative project at the East Branch, 2320 N. Cramer St., Wednesday, June 6, 12-1:30 p.m. Beverages, crosswords, and coloring supplies provided by the library while supplies last.

Movies at Mitchell Street

Watch free movies twice monthly throughout the year at the Mitchell Street Branch, 9096 W. Historic Mitchell St., Wednesday, June 6, 5 p.m. Wednesday’s feature: Ferdinand (PG).

Prevent Stress From Affecting Your Health, Life and Productivity

Learn how stress affects you physiologically, physically, emotionally, and behaviorally at the East Branch, 2320 N. Cramer St., Wednesday, June 6, 6-7:30 p.m. Receive simple, yet powerful techniques to quickly ease your mental and emotional distress in no more than 30-60 seconds. Dr. Tony Piparo is an internationally bestselling author, speaker, coach and award-winning researcher.

Color Your Way to Calm

Color your way to calm at a drop-in coloring club for adults at the Zablocki Branch, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave., Thursday, June 7, 2:30-5:30 p.m. Coloring sheets, art supplies and hot tea will be provided.

Citizenship Classes

Free citizenship classes presented by Voces de la Frontera at the Mitchell Street Branch, 906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Saturday, June 9, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Registration required. To be added to the wait list call  Voces de la Frontera: 414-643-1620. Also June 16, 23, 30.

Active Adult: The Art of Poi Dancing

Poi is an art form that uses a set of two handheld tethered balls that you twirl around your body in beautiful patterns.  Simple poi movements will improve your coordination, balance your bilateral motor skills, sharpen analytical skills, boost endurance, and enhance self-awareness.  Learn Poi skills with Marilyn Besasie, Milwaukee’s most experienced instructor at the Tippecanoe Branch, 3912 S. Howell Ave., Saturday, June 9, 10:30-11:30 a.m.  Please arrive early; class space is limited. Also June 16, 23.

Bring Your Own Device

Get help downloading FREE e-books, magazines, music and more! Bring your library card and device and a librarian will get you started.

Washington Park Branch, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd., Tuesday, June 5, 6-7 p.m. Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday, June 9, 2:30-3:30 p.m.


Vegetarian Cookbook Book Club

Plant-based diets are good for you! Try recipes at home, then discuss each cookbook with fellow food enthusiasts at the Tippecanoe Branch, 3912 S. Howell Ave., Wednesday, June 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Featuring reader’s choice of: The Inspired Vegan, Afro-Vegan, or Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. Cookbooks are available to check out one month prior to discussion. No food will be prepared at meetings.


Beats & Rhymes Workshop

Interested but not sure where to begin? Experts from True Skool will be at the library to help you every step of the way. Plus, all the recording equipment, mixing technology, and software you’ll need to create your entry will be available for use. You can complete a small project within a two-hour workshop session or continue attending as many workshops as you’d like to further advance your skills and final project.

Atkinson Branch, 1960 W. Atkinson Ave., Thursday, June 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Capitol Branch, 3969 N. 74th St., Monday, June 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tippecanoe Branch, 3912 S. Howell Ave., Friday, June 8, 2-4 p.m.

Washington Park Branch, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd., Thursday, June 7, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Zablocki Branch, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave., Thursday, June 9, 2-4 p.m.

Superheroes and Villians: Sketch and Discuss

Summer sizzles with superheroes including Black Panther, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the Incredibles. Who is your favorite superhero? What makes a great superhero? Sketch and discuss your favorite character at the Center Street Branch, 2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Monday, June 4, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Scratch Sessions with DJ Bizzon

No matter your experience level, learn the fundamentals of DJing all the way to advanced techniques. Sessions include lessons on music selection, scratching and beat-matching, as well as event planning, promotion, and tips for becoming a professional DJ. Turntables and controllers and digital software such as Serato DJ and Traktor, will be available at the Mitchell Street Branch, Thursday, June 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m. If you have your own equipment, bring it along and continue your projects at home. Also June 14, 21, 28.


Sing-a-long Story Time

Hear stories and sing songs at this Saturday morning story time at the Bay View Branch, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Saturday, June 9, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Pajama Story Time

Families with young children are invited to have fun sharing stories, songs and rhymes designed to develop early literacy skills and encourage a love of reading. Come dressed in your coziest PJs and bring a stuffed animal friend to the East Branch, 2320 N. Cramer St., Monday, June 4, 6:30-7 p.m. Also June 11, 18, 25.

Playgroup With Stories

A 20-minute story time for children and their parents or guardian is followed by open play time with a variety of age-appropriate, educational toys.

Capitol Branch, 3969 N. 74th St., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m. For children ages 2 and under with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Wednesday, June 6, 9:30-10:30 a.m. For children ages 2 and under with a parent or guardian. Session repeated at 10:45 a.m. Also June 13, 20, 27.

Playgroup With Stories  (CONTINUED)

East Branch, 2320 N. Cramer St. Thursday, June 7, 10-11:30 a.m. For children ages 2 and under with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Mitchell Street Branch, 906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:15 a.m. For children ages 1-4 with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Tippecanoe Branch, 3912 S. Howell Ave., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m. For children ages 1 to 4 with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Villard Square Branch, 5190 N. 35th St., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m. For children ages 1 to 4 with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Zablocki Branch, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:30 a.m. For children ages 1 to 4  with a parent or guardian. Also June 14, 21, 28.


What’s the Scoop?

Celebrate the start of summer and enjoy an ice cream treat!  Make a sundae or create your own unique flavor at the Villard Square Branch, 5190 N. 35th St., Tuesday, June 5, 4-5 p.m.  Kids and teens welcome.

Saturdays at Central

Milwaukee Public Museum’s Digging Up Discoveries at the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday, June 9, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Enter the mind of an archeologist! Participants will examine real artifacts from MPM’s education collection.

Saturday Afternoons at Central for ‘Tweens

All Things Space at the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday, June 9, 2-3 p.m. Join the Milwaukee Public Museum as we investigate our corner of space and beyond! Learn how our understanding of the universe has changed over the years. Presented by MPM’s Educators.

Preschool Story Time

Preschoolers are invited for fun stories, songs, and finger plays designed to help them develop important literacy skills needed prior to learning how to read. Child care centers are welcome.

Atkinson Branch, 1960 W. Atkinson Ave., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Bay View Branch, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Capitol Branch, 3969 N. 74th St., Thursday, June 7, 10-10:30 a.m. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Center Street Branch, 2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Monday, June 4, 4-4:30 p.m. Also June 11, 18, 25.

Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Tuesday, June 5, 10:30-11 a.m. Also June 12, 19, 26.

Martin Luther King Branch, 310 W. Locust St., Friday, June 8, 10-10:30 a.m. Also June 15, 22, 29.

Washington Park Branch, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd., Thursday, June 7, 10:30-11 a.m. Also June 14, 21, 28.

Upon reasonable notice, efforts will be made to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities. For additional information or to request services contact the Library Director’s Office at (414) 286-3021, 286-2794 (FAX), or mail to Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233 Attn: Accommodation Request.


Visit the Bookseller, the library’s used book store, located at Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., and  R Café, the library’s coffee shop. Call 286.2142 for hours of service. ###

It Takes A Village: Closing the STEAM Gap Requires Early Education

It Takes A Village: Closing the STEAM Gap Requires Early Education

By Rajoielle Register
(Head of Brand Strategy and Growth Audience Marketing, Ford Motor Company)

We’re all familiar with the popular proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a 21st century society, this still holds true, literally and figuratively. For non-millennials, who grew up in a vastly different era, there is a nostalgic mindset that a diverse community of inspiring people interacting with children has a positive and sustained life-changing impact on their development. By no means should this mean the village is responsible for raising your children, but we all have a stake in their development and success.

Rajoielle “Raj” Register says that In order to awaken dreams and inspire the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers and leaders, it’s imperative to expose children to STEAM at an early age. (Ford Motor Company)

Rajoielle “Raj” Register says that In order to awaken dreams and inspire the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers and leaders, it’s imperative to expose children to STEAM at an early age. (Ford Motor Company)

Early exposure to career choices are often the first step in the “What do I want to be when I grow up?” conversation. Although definitive decisions won’t be made for years to come, dreams and thoughts about future careers begin early. Whether policeman, fireman, truck driver, doctor, dentist, teacher, musician, sports star, and/or whatever it is their parents and relatives do, most children are passively aware and relate to the limited pool of occupations to which they are exposed.

While teachers offer an impressionable climate for first-hand learnings and experiences, parents provide the most important impact and stimulus on a child’s early life. Early exposure to non-traditional learning environments not only creates a generation of new dreamers and thought leaders, but also provides them with an eye-opening and novel perspective on the limitless opportunities that is their future.

From elementary to middle school, efforts to prepare students for college and beyond are taking hold earlier than ever as a childhood surrounded by books, scholastic support and diverse role models leave permanent impressions on a young person’s mind well into their late teens. That’s why early exposure to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) fields are especially important.

Reflected in its legacy history, American industry was built on innovation. To awaken dreams and inspire the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers and leaders, it’s imperative to expose children to STEAM at an early age. If engaged, receptive and they’ve developed an interest by eighth grade, they’re three times more likely to pursue careers in STEAM fields later in life.

STEAM careers are at the forefront of some of the fastest-growing industries. Conversely, they also have some of the largest gender gaps as women comprise only 26 percent of all science, tech, engineering and mathematics jobs. As they continue to grow, women are getting left behind.

Many young girls are turning away from STEAM careers during their developmental years and have completely opted out by high school. That must change and we, the village (with torches in hand), must step up to lead, advocate and champion that change.

For over three decades, the Ford Motor Company has been committed to supporting innovative initiatives that encourage and inspire young people to pursue and succeed in STEAM fields—a career path many, if not most, of today’s youth (especially African American youth) believe are out of reach for them.

Both within and outside the village, this is an important conversation that we must have as the future of our children is at stake. In addition to sponsorships, scholarships and aligning with synergy partners such as the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Ford has demonstrated its commitment in a hands-on way, connecting with and supporting a host of STEM and STEAM focused initiatives including Girls Who Code, Tech Sassy Girlz, STEMinista project, Destination Imagination, School Retool, Michigan Technological University, Amphi Middle School’s Girl Power in Science & Engineering, FIRST® Robotics and #WomenInSTEAM, among others.

Here in the U.S. and around the world, women are severely underrepresented in STEAM fields—career fields that are expected to grow more than 9 million jobs by 2022. No surprise, both women and men are needed to fill those jobs and we, individually and collectively, must do our part to begin to narrow the gap, especially among African American youth.

For African American communities, integrating young women in science and technology begins with planting the seed at an early age, nurturing that seed to show the impossible is possible and, cultivating girls to become a part of those fields. Ever shifting, the formative and impressionable years between teen and young adult are a principal cause for why young girls are looking away from STEAM.

Ford remains committed to inspiring young people to seek knowledge, be curious, solve problems and—like Henry Ford himself—make their dreams of a better world come true.

Whether parent, educator, leader, STEAM alum, or just someone who cares about the village and its children, you can play a role in supporting an up-and-coming generation of young girls interested and desirous to pursue a career in STEAM.

Let’s unite as one to stimulate, inspire and change a life. At the end of the day, we’re all stakeholders in the future and success of our children.

This commentary was originally published at

Rajoielle “Raj” Register leads cross brand strategy and growth audience marketing at Ford Motor Company. A proud STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) graduate, Raj embraces her education advocacy and is especially passionate about advancing impactful educational initiatives as highlighted by her oversight of visionary community programs that support HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and STEAM.