U.S. Dept of Education DEPUTY Secretary Commends MPS Investments in Education

Milwaukee, WI – On Friday, September 8, U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten and U.S Congresswoman Gwen Moore joined Milwaukee Public Schools leaders to tour schools as part of the Department’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” initiative. MPS has used federal support to expand specialized Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs to new schools, with a focus on reaching special populations, including females and other groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

“Milwaukee Public Schools leadership and educators are Raising the Bar in providing equitable, relevant, rigorous and joyful STEM learning by investing their American Rescue Plan relief funds in cutting-edge STEM learning tools, lab equipment, and teacher professional development. I commend Superintendent Posley and his team for investing in STEM resources because all students should know they belong in STEM,” said Deputy Secretary Marten. “Because all students, regardless of their ZIP code, deserve to receive high-quality STEM education that equips them with the skills and knowledge to dream big and ensures their career readiness and global competitiveness.”

During Friday’s visit, Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten and U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore toured Riverside University High School and led a discussion with students in the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Innovations class. Deputy Secretary Marten also visited several STEM-focused classes, and the GE Innovation Lab and robotics classrooms at Audubon Technology and Communication Center High School to see how MPS’ investments align with Raise the Bar’s key focus on STEM learning.

“We are so proud to have an opportunity to share our STEM investments with the Deputy Secretary and the community,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley. “When we received this funding, it was extremely important to engage families and the community, as well as school leaders, to ensure we were making long-term investments in the future of our children. Our STEM program is a wonderful example of how we are doing that.”

Since 2021, MPS has invested millions of dollars in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to enhance STEM programming, including expansion of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programming to five new schools: Kagel School, Curtin Leadership Academy, Fifty-Third Street School, Milwaukee Parkside School, and Congress School. The expansion will increase the number of students served by specialty PLTW programming for grades K–12 from 9,000 students to approximately 11,000 students.

Multiple schools already have received STEM upgrades and additions or will see them soon. Additional STEM investments include funding for additional teachers, professional development, curriculum development, and STEM-specific investments in supplies and equipment, including software, computer equipment for students and staff, robotics equipment, coding resources, classroom supply kits, and resources to help students showcase and compete with their STEM projects in robotics leagues and science and engineering fairs.

In addition to STEM investments, since 2021, MPS has enhanced its offerings by investing millions of ESSER dollars to accelerate learning, promote health and wellness, improve facilities, invest in technology, and enhance extracurricular engagement. 

About STEM Programming at MPS 

The Milwaukee Public Schools mission for STEM education is to engage students in the practices of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers; to demonstrate students’ understanding of the natural and designed worlds; and to prepare them for success in college, careers, and citizenship within the global marketplace.

MPS utilizes Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) STEM curriculum in many schools. Research demonstrates that PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for post-secondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, health care providers, and researchers compared with their non-PLTW peers. Students find PLTW programs relevant, inspiring, engaging, and foundational to their future success. More information is available at pltw.org.

About MPS Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Grant Programs

Between March 2020 and March 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills under ESSER with allocations of funding for school districts. These funds provide emergency financial assistance to address the impact that COVID-19 had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools.

MPS worked with federal, state, and local leaders, school leaders, teachers, parents and guardians, and community stakeholders to implement programs to invest these funds in four priority areas, in alignment with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education: accelerating learning; health and wellness; facilities; technology and extracurricular engagement.

Information about ESSER programs, including fall and spring reports, is available at mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us. 

About “Raise the Bar: Lead the World”

“Raise the Bar: Lead the World” is the U. S. Department of Education’s call to action to transform P–12 education and unite around what truly works—based on decades of experience and research—to advance educational equity and excellence. Raising the bar means recognizing that our nation already has what it takes to lead the world—if we deliver a comprehensive, rigorous education for every student; boldly improve conditions for learning; and ensure every student has a pathway to multilingualism and to college and careers. When we partner with parents, families, and educators to raise the bar in education, all our nation’s students will build the skills to thrive inside and outside of school. Our students will reach new heights in the classroom, in their careers, and in their enriched lives and communities, making a positive difference in the world, for generations to come. 

More information is available at ed.gov/raisethebar.

Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten talks with students in the GE Innovation Lab at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Audubon Technology and Communication Center on September 8.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley, MPS Board Director Henry Leaonard,U.S. Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, and U.S. Rep Gwen Moore at Riverside University High School on September 8.

Audubon High School student, Daijohn Hughes, Audubon High School student Antoinette Harris, MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley, Audubon High School student Renada Nervig, U.S. Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, and U.S. Rep Gwen Moore at Riverside University High School on September 8.