Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

As we look ahead to 2012, I can’t help but think about some of the exciting things ahead for MPS. I would be disingenuous not to share we have a number of challenges as well. We greet 2012 with the commitment and energy to ensure our children are successful. Our entire team – bus drivers, skilled labor force, cafeteria workers, teachers and Central Services staff – has taken the attitude “Failure is not an option.” We continue to inspire learning and drive classroom achievement. In the coming year, we recommit to strong, consistent and constructive instruction that effectively uses technology and expands the knowledge our students need to compete in 2012.

MPS continues to focus on literacy. We are in year two of the Comprehensive Literacy Plan (CLP), introduced in September 2010. I believe literacy instruction that is consistent school-to-school and delivered by trained teachers will create better rates of reading proficiency in our kids. We look forward to monitoring the progress of the CLP in the coming year.

We also look to the ever-growing emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum with hands-on lessons and projects. Thanks to Rockwell Automation, students are now exploring and experimenting in a new Project Lead the Way learning lab. This year, we want to see all high school students graduate and pursue college or career options that showcase their talents, fuel our economy and shape the future.

Our Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program highlights the good decisions and responsible behaviors of our students. Collaboratively, staff and students create guidelines for school environments that are conducive to learning and set behavioral expectations. One of my favorite examples of PBIS is this video from Victory School:

I encourage families to attend upcoming school conferences, performances and sporting events. You can find a listing of upcoming events on the District Events Calendar.

My relationship with our families and the community is important and critical to our success. Only by working together can we truly support the educational process, motivate children to learn and celebrate their accomplishments. I welcome your feedback and suggestions. If you had one wish for the new year in MPS, what would it be? Post your comments on our MPS Facebook page!

I look forward to a happy and safe 2012 for Milwaukee Public Schools. Students, enjoy the last few days of winter recess and come back to school rested and ready to learn. Happy New Year to all of you!