PROGRAMS AND METHODS IN MILWAUKEE SCHOOLS

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Milwaukee…home of the Packers and the Cheeseheads. It is also home of some very interesting programs within the Milwaukee Schools. Some of these programs include the TABS program (Truancy Abatement and Burglary Suppression), the Six Trait Writing Model, School Choice, and Chapter 220: the Voluntary Student Transfer Program.
 
The Six Trait Writing Model is a method used in Milwaukee Schools to teach writing. It was developed to give Milwaukee Schools’ writing teachers a uniform way to teach and evaluate writing. The six traits are as follows: 
 
·         Ideas:  Refers to the content, or main theme.  Can be considered the heart of the message.
·         Organization:  The internal structure of the writing (i.e. beginning, middle, end)
·         Voice:  The personal voice of the author comes through.  This gives the reader the sense that a real person is speaking via the writing.
·         Word Choice:  The use of precise, colorful, and rich words to communicate.
·         Sentence Fluency:  The writing flows together, often with a rhythm or cadence.
·         Conventions:  Mechanical correctness, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
 
Teachers in Milwaukee Schools have found that giving children specific guidelines and expectations as they form a foundation of skills creates much more fluid, coherent and creative writers.
 
Another program instituted by Milwaukee Schools is Chapter 220, also known as the Voluntary Student Transfer Program. This program aims to racially integrate Milwaukee Schools within the district. Minority students (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans) may attend any of 23 suburban districts that participate in the program. The students may choose from schools depending upon the transportation region they live in. Available seats in the suburban district they wish to attend are also considered when approving the transfer request.
 
Another program that Milwaukee Schools offer is a variety of choices in types of schools:
 
  1. Neighborhood Schools
  2. Neighborhood Specialty Schools
  3. Charter Schools
  4. Citywide Specialty Schools
  5. Contracted Agency Schools
  6. Partnership Schools
  7. Small High Schools
  8. Other Schools
 
A fourth program instituted by the Milwaukee Schools is the TABS program. The Truancy and Burglary Suppression program is in place to intervene with students who are considered high-risk due to consistent absences. The TABS program began in Milwaukee Schools on November 29, 1993. The mission of TABS is to intervene with students who are truant, deterring them from involvement in criminal activities. This mission is accomplished through a collaborative team approach. Members of the team include the students themselves, their parents, their Milwaukee School, law enforcement, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. This program is carried out by a dedicated group of 10 professionals. The Milwaukee Police Department provides four officers who work in teams of two, combing the streets during the day, looking for truant students.  The officers escort the students to one of two centers where the Milwaukee Schools provide two school liaisons who complete an initial evaluation with the student and access current attendance information. Authorities notify the student’s parents, and instruct them to come to the center to pick up their child. TABS also employs a Milwaukee Schools’ social worker who provides follow-up activities with habitual truants and their families.

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