Educators help nurture the ambitions of Milwaukee's children, whether they want to be doctors or red Power Rangers.
Educators help nurture the ambitions of Milwaukee's children, whether they want to be doctors or red Power Rangers.

Saying thank you to Milwaukee educators

As I prepare to pack up my stuff and head out to spend Thanksgiving with my family, I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude for the folks who work hard every day to educate Milwaukee’s children.

I’d say that in the current climate that is a thankless task but as I was reminded last week when I spent a little time with a quartet of smart, sharp, funny minds at Siefert Elementary during the MPS school’s amazing Comprehension and Conversations reading event (organized by energetic school support teacher Dannette Justus), the rewards come directly from the kids, even when they don't come from politicians and others far removed from the classroom.

I’d also like to give a special shout out to the folks at City Year Milwaukee, who work in MPS schools to serve as leaders, mentors and tutors. They are AmeriCorps volunteers who receive little more than a small monthly stipend to help cover their room and board.

The nonprofit does such good work that the Herzfeld Foundation recently gifted it $50,000, and just this week, City Year MKE announced that its VP and Executive Director, Jason Holton, is transitioning to the national senior leadership team, heading up talent recruitment. Fortunately for Milwaukee, Holton will remain here, where he will join in the search for a successor.

Holton will help City Year chapters across the country find talented folks like Milwaukee resident Faith Harper-King, pictured below. A student at MATC, Harper-King – who attended MPS’ Milwaukee High School of the Arts – signed on with City Year for a year to help make a positive mark on Milwaukee schools.

"I serve to help children in low performing neighborhoods so that we can change statistics and prove those statistics wrong," Faith Harper-King said. "The students I serve have taught me that it’s more than just giving to the community. It helps children to see that someone that looks like them cares."

City Year is in its seventh year in MPS. Last year, 29 percent of City Year students in grades 3-9 went from below grade level to at/or above their grade level on math assessments. That’s positive progress.

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