The Office of Charter Schools in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Education is celebrating its 20th anniversary during October. An Oct. 17 dinner and program on the “Power of Connection” at the Italian Community Center marked the anniversary.
UWM’s office oversees 15 charter schools, public schools that are operate differently than traditional public schools and are exempt from some mandates affecting the other schools. Legislators made the decision in 1998 that UWM would become a charter authorizer, and the university’s office opened in 1999. Milwaukee Public Schools and the City of Milwaukee are also authorized to charter schools.
UWM’s office is responsible for granting charters to organizations, groups or individuals who demonstrate the capacity to operate high quality schools. The office also sets up clear expectations for performance, gathers data to make sure expectations are met, evaluates school progress, and then renews or does not renew charters based on school performance.
Paul Haubrich and Robert Kattman, the first two directors of the Office of Charter Schools, who laid the foundation for work that continues today, were recognized at the event.
Special guests included Johannes Britz, UWM provost; Keith Posley, superintendent, Milwaukee Public Schools; Nikiya Dodd, Milwaukee alderwoman, District 5; Latoya Holiday, special assistant to the state superintendent of schools; Kevin Ingram, chair, Milwaukee Charter School Review Committee; and Alan Shoho, dean of the School of Education.
Guests had an opportunity to learn about the new Power of Connection professional development series for charter school leaders, teachers and governing boards.