Milwaukee Public Schools Send Seniors Off in Style

MPS Seniors were treated to a “Senior Send-Off” at North Division on Friday to celebrate their new endeavors in the fall (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

MPS College & Career Centers organized the 2017 MPS “Senior Send-Off” for seniors graduating and attending college in the fall. Seniors and their guests attended the sunny and warm event on the football field at North Division High School on Friday.

Upon entrance, seniors were given a backpack with useful college supplies and offers as well as a special t-shirt that students could customize with their graduating high school and the college they’re attending in the fall.


Seniors recorded the name of their graduating MPS high school and the name of the college/university they will be attending in the fall (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Seniors proudly show the schools they will be attending in the fall (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Demetrace Jude is a proud MPS mother (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Seniors were treated to a catered picnic lunch of hot dogs, brats, burgers, veggies with dip and fresh fruit.

Seniors and their guests enjoyed a catered picnic lunch (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

The event included games, college-friendly raffle prizes, a picnic lunch, and dancing. Seniors earned tickets from the games that were entered into a raffle filled with dorm friendly items to take to school and start the year off on the right foot.

Students played games where they earned entries into a raffle to win prizes (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Photo credit: Joe Brusky.

Donated raffle prizes await MPS college-bound seniors (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A happy raffle winner (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).


All the raffle prizes were donated to the event (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Every student left with at least one raffle prize (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Several vendors, including The League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and City Year had tables set up to provide information to seniors.

The League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County provided voter information and stickers to students (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Two seniors were also presented with a “Senior of the Year.” award. This award was given to students that took full advantage of the district’s College and Career Center’s services and because of their self-advocacy were more than prepared to take on the next academic challenge in their lives. This year’s winners were Matthew Avendano and Jesse Frye. Great work to the both of you!

Winners of the “Senior of the Year award were presented plaques, new laptop computers, and other dorm-friendly gifts (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).


Congratulations to all MPS seniors and best of luck in whatever the future holds for you. You make us #MPSproud!

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MTEA President Kim Schroeder Reacts to Proposed $90 Million Cut to Proposed K-12 Budget: Our Students Will Suffer

MTEA President Kim Schroeder speaks to a crowd outside the Milwaukee Joint Finance Committee public hearing on the two-year state budget, where overwhelmingly public education supporters demanded a per pupil increase for K12 funding (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

MILWAUKEE – June 6, 2017 – Today the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) president, Kim Schroeder, released comments on Assembly Republicans’ alternative budget proposal that would cut $90 million from the Governor’s already modest K-12 budget and reduce the per pupil funding by $50 per student.

The following statement can be attributed to MTEA President Kim Schroeder:

“Since Walker’s Act 10, Wisconsin students have experienced the greatest cuts to public education since the great depression. The decision to disinvest in public education has resulted in severely understaffed and under-resourced schools, not just in Milwaukee but across the state. From Milwaukee to Shawano, educators are supplementing a significant portion of their classroom materials with funds from their own pockets.

“Wisconsin students and educators cannot suffer one more cut. In a district with over 75,000 students, reducing the Governor’s budget proposal by $50 per student would result in $4 million less to spend on resources that have a direct impact on our students.

“All children have the right to attend fully funded public schools with professional educators, class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, libraries, safe playground equipment for recess, current technology and textbooks. Every Wisconsin student, regardless of their zip code, needs Wisconsin legislators to commit to at least $200 in per pupil.

“Budgets are about choices. Over and over again we heard parents, educators, and community members testify in support of increased funding for public schools. We call on state legislators to choose our children in this state budget and fully fund our public schools with a minimum of $200 in per pupil funding.”

For over 50 years, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has been a champion for public education in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association represents over 4,600 educators and support personnel who make Milwaukee’s public education system possible. MTEA, an affiliate of the National Education Association and is the largest educator local in Wisconsin. Learn more at

Statement from the Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) can be found here.

Public education advocates painted a banner in February calling for the full funding of public schools in Wisconsin (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).



MPS Administration and School Board’s Budget Shows How Little They Value Educators

MTEA members Gwendolyn Anderson, Crystal Ealy, and Michael Glabere attended a recent school board public hearing on the MPS budget (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

By Kim Schroeder

On May 23, 2017 progressive MPS School Board Directors proposed a modest budget amendment proposal that would have raised MPS’s lowest wage workers to $15/hour by 2022 and included raises for all MPS employees making less than $80,000 a year. The proposal recognized the hard work educators do every day, directly affecting our students. The original budget put forward by MPS administration included no raise or step increases (not even the cost of living), instead saying there needed to be a “pause” on any salary increases.

We thank Larry Miller for introducing the proposal and Tony Baez, Terry Falk, and Annie Woodward for their unwavering support for our districts lowest paid workers and front line educators. All four fought hard in the attempt to pass this modest budget amendment.

Budgets are about choices. Our school board directors had the opportunity to choose our classrooms and our students. We know that the MPS budget is stretched thin, but we also know that investing in the frontline of care for our students strengthens our schools.

On May 23, school board directors Michael Bonds, Wendell Harris, Paula Phillips, Mark Sain, and Carol Voss voted not to support the amendment and instead revisit the budget during a work session in October. October is too late. . Educators across MPS are now faced with deciding whether they can afford to stay in the district.

Milwaukee Public Schools is the largest employer in the city of Milwaukee. School Board Directors who campaigned as progressives in support of a $15 minimum wage need to stay true to their promise to educators. The Milwaukee County Board had the courage to pass a living wage ordinance for all county employees to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour by 2021. But, thousands of Milwaukee Public School educators are left behind, unable to meet their basic needs.
School Board Director Wendell Harris has continued to let us down.  Although he said he supported raises for MPS employees, he flip-flopped on his position, stabbing MPS educators and students in the back. He ran for office as a champion of public schools and our students. His actions show he is anything but.

Investing in the frontline of our classrooms should be a priority. Together MTEA’s members will join with our colleagues across MPS to continue push for steps and raises.

Please reach out the school board directors who voted against the amendment. (Bonds, Harris, Phillips, Sain, and Voss). Let them know that you are outraged at, their unwillingness to prioritize attracting and retaining great educators. They need to put forward a bold budget initiative that invests in the districts most valuable resource–educators. And they need to do it now.

We need a budget that funds the frontline of our classrooms – not one that puts our educators as an afterthought.

Mark Sain
Board President
District #1

Wendell J. Harris, Sr
District #2

Michael Bonds
District #3

Paula Phillips
District #7

Carol Voss
District #8


MPS Educator Provides Moving Testimony in Support of Budget th… from MTEA Union on Vimeo.


Craig Montessori Students Organize Peace March

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

“I don’t know what you’ve been told! The violence is getting old!”

– Chant from the Craig Montessori students

The fifth and sixth grade students at Craig Montessori School made posters and banners for a Peace March outside school on Monday afternoon. The students waved their signs for passersby to see in an effort to bring attention to violence in the city of Milwaukee. Thanks to teacher Kenneth Spears and MTEA member and teacher Christina Disterhaft for helping facilitate this important action with your students!

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Our future is bright!


Flickr album with photos from the Peace March can be found here.






MPS Students Collaborate on Performance of “The Wiz”

Students from Rufus King Middle School, Golda Meir, and Story Elementary are performing in “The Wiz” this week at RKMS (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Classrooms from around MPS were treated to a brilliant performance of “The Wiz” Wednesday morning at Rufus King Middle School. The students of RKMS, Golda Meir and Story Elementary collaborated to make it happen. Check out these photos from their performance.

Photo slideshow below:

RKMS & Golda Meir Students Perform "The Wiz"
There will be a public showing on Friday at 6pm at Rufus King Middle School.

Tickets are $5.00, and can be purchased at the door (121 E. Hadley Street – enter on the Palmer Street entrance). Please come out and support the Rufus King International Middle School Generals, Golda Owls and Story Gators. This is what collaboration looks like!


Milwaukee Marches for Justice on May Day

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“Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here!”

Well over thirty thousand students, immigrants, refugees, and workers made a powerful statement on May Day in Milwaukee. The daylong general strike and march, dubbed a Day Without Latinos, called on participants to cease working, shopping, or attending school to cast light on several key issues:

  • Stop Anti-Immigrant State Legislation
  • Allow Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants
  • Fire Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
  • No 287g (Bill would deputize sheriff officers as ICE agents)
  • Stop Trump’s War & Deportation Budget
  • Health Care for All
  • Fully Funded Public Schools
  • Living Wage Jobs

The day started when Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) students from Racine, Wisconsin joined YES students at South Division High School walking out and rallying outside the school (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Racine Horlick student Fernanda Elena Jimenez spoke to students outside South Division High School (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students held their fists up in the air during student speakers (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students and supporters took a group photo (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

After rallying, students marched to Voces de la Frontera where they met up with the larger march (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The crowd swelled quickly at Voces de la Frontera (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Attendees sprinted under massive parachute banners as they were thrusted up into the air (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A young signholder along the march route (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The front banners position themselves in preparation for the beginning of the march (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students lead the way to start the march to the Milwaukee County Courthouse (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The parachute banners provided beautiful visuals and fun for families along the march route (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A family walks in front of a “No 287g” parachute banner (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students help carry a parachute banner a “Keep Families Together” message (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A view of the march heading up Wells Street to the Milwaukee County Courthouse (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The march arrived at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, where a parachute banner was laid down on the courthouse lawn (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Student rally on the steps of the courthouse (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The energy and intensity of Monday’s march and strike demonstrated clearly the people are ready to fight for Wisconsin families and students. Let’s make those in power listen!

Can You Hear Us Now!

Students Ready to March on May Day from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Voces de la Frontera Delivers Demands to Governor Walker

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“Walker, escucha, estamos en la lucha!” (English translation:“Walker, listen, we’re in the fight/struggle.”)

Voces de la Frontera executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz delivers over 10,000 signatures to Governor Walker’s office demanding the firing of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The immigration rights advocacy group Voces de la Frontera delivered over 10,000 signatures and three demands to Governor Walker’s Capitol office Monday morning.

• Fire Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
• Block anti-sanctuary legislation
• Support driver licenses for immigrants

After delivering the petition and demands the group held three different 24-foot parachute banners in the stairwell over Walker’s office.

Massive 24-foot parachute banners were unfurled in the stairwell over Governor Walker’s office (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Voces de la Frontera is organizing a nationwide strike for May Day and will be holding a march in Milwaukee on Monday, May 1 beginning at 11:00am. Please join the march if you can! Here’s how you can help.


Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe brusky

Voces de la Frontera Delivers Demands to Governor Walker from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

NEA Leadership Visits Milwaukee to Learn More About Community Schools

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Milwaukee Public Schools has been getting some well-deserved attention for its commitment to the Community Schools model–which has grown from the advocacy of educators in the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.

The district established the first three community schools in 2015 and has now expanded to a total of seven thriving community schools. Early growth shows improved school culture and climate, significant increases in literacy rates in early grades, dramatic growth in school and community partnerships, increased math proficiency in early grades, increased community engagement, and increased college and career pathways for students.


Authentic Community Schools link culturally relevant classroom practices with community services, social supports and neighborhood engagement. The Center for Popular Democracy identifies six research-based strategies that allow for greater student-centered learning and community investment. These strategies include: strong culturally relevant curriculum, high quality teaching; shared leadership; community support services; restorative practices; and family and community engagement.

Milwaukee’s early success with the model prompted National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Vice President Becky Pringle, and Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss and members of the NEA Executive Council to visit. NEA’s trip signals the growing interest to strengthen and build the public Community Schools model nationwide.


The visit started with a trip to James Madison Academic Campus (JMAC), where the MPS Administration shared successes and challenges with implementing the Community Schools model.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and her leadership team sit at the table with MTEA leadership and MPS Administration to discuss Community Schools in Milwaukee (Photo: Joe Brusky).

JMAC’s Community School Coordinator and Parent Coordinator provided their expertise to the group. These two positions are critical to establishing engaged parents and community for successful school outcomes.

The Community School Coordinator for James Madison Academic Campus (JMAC) presented to the group (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Following the visit to JMAC, the group made their way over to the newest Community School in Milwaukee, Lincoln Avenue, where the school’s “Lincoln Cheer Team” greeted them.

The Lincoln Cheer Team greeted the group upon their arrival (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Beck Pringle and Lily Eskelsen Garcia react to the festive welcome (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Lincoln Avenue’s parent coordinator showed off the school’s Parent Center. The center provides a hub for parents to increase engagement in the school’s operation as well as expand access to needed resources, such as Internet and laundry facilities.

Lincoln Avenue’s Parent Coordinator shares the early successes with the Parent Center at the new Community School (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Ryan Hurley of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County spoke on how his organization facilitates community partnerships by helping identify and mobilize neighborhood groups and resources. These neighborhood collaborations provide the school with additional support such as access to health services or other critical needs that must be met to ensure learning occurs.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia observes a reading group (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Finally NEA leadership got to see the model in action. They toured several rooms, including a bilingual kindergarten classroom. Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Becky Pringle, and Princess Moss used the opportunity to work and speak with students to experience how students are excelling. The early results on the Community School model are encouraging, but there’s no greater proof of the model’s success than seeing students thriving firsthand. We know when our students’ needs are met they flourish.

NEA Vice President Becky Pringle checks in on a young writer (Photo: Joe Brusky).

As the model grows nationwide, we look forward to making Milwaukee a place for other NEA educators to come and learn about how the model can enhance the quality of classroom practices and increase community involvement. Public community schools galvanize our educators around a vision inclusive of community control of public education which stands in stark contrast to the corporate destruction of our public schools system.

Lincoln Avenue students ask Lily Eskelsen Garcia and MTEA Vice President Amy Mizialko take a photo as they left the school (Photo: Joe Brusky).


Learn more about Community Schools here.

Public Education Advocates Flood Milwaukee Joint Finance Committee State Budget Hearing

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Just in case GOP legislators on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) had forgotten how dramatically their last state budget hurt Milwaukee Public Schools, parents, students, educators, and community members came to the April 5 State Fair public budget hearing to remind them.

Public education supporters arrived early to the Milwaukee JFC hearing from all over Southeastern Wisconsin (Photo: Joe Brusky).

The hearing provided a steady flow of public education supporters who, one-by-one, stepped up to the microphone to testify in support of fair and equitable public schools. The last two-year state budget that passed, not only continued the massive cuts to Wisconsin’s public schools by over $2 billion dollars, but it also snuck in the Midnight Takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools. By inserting the non-fiscal Takeover plan into an Omnibus state budget bill at the last minute, legislators knew they could pass the controversial provision without holding public hearings. The Takeover was eventually defeated by a popular uprising against it and the sham Takeover Czar it empowered over the city’s democratically elected school board. But, the residents of Milwaukee have not forgotten, nor are they willing to allow it to happen again in the next budget.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee were seated above public hearing attendees and were separated by a yellow barrier fence (Photo: Joe Brusky).

The JFC is mandated to hold hearings around the state, and usually a wide array of issues are spoken to. This year, the one issue that came up again and again was public education. Kilbourn Elementary teacher Shari Redel took a personal day out of the classroom to speak up for her MPS students who currently receive thousands of dollars less in per pupil funding when compared to their suburban school counterparts:

MTEA member and Kilbourn Elementary teacher Shari Redel speaks before the JFC. Every time a public education supporter spoke, other advocates wearing “Go Public” t-shirts stood in support (Photo: Joe Brusky).

As a proud Milwaukee Public School teacher for the past thirty years and as the parent of a child who attends public school in a suburban district, I see firsthand the funding disparities, such as the unequal access to specialist teachers, lack of fully resourced libraries, large class sizes, and even the quality of hot lunch. I love my child very much, but I love my students too. It literally breaks my heart to know that my students are treated as less than because many are impoverished. I am asking you to raise the revenue limits so my students have the same opportunity as my own child.

The funding disparities that Redel speaks of have real consequences as Wedgewood teacher Julie Meyer attested to:

MTEA member and Wedgewood Park teacher Julie Meyer testifies before the JFC (Photo: Joe Brusky).

My principal made the choice to fund a social worker, yet because of that choice I have thirty-nine students in my class. We should not have to make that kind of a choice. We should have well funded public schools so I can address the needs of all my students with a smaller class size and I can have a social worker to address those imminent student needs. I ask you to please maintain the budgeted request for a $200 increase per pupil. Thank you!

MPS parent Jenni Linse Hofschulte registered her outrage over the last few state budgets included many public education killing provisions:

MPS parent Jenni Linse-Hofschulte speaks in favor of fair and equitably funded public schools (Photo: Joe Brusky).

These measures were not measures that were asked for by the constituency and parent and students in our state. In the next budget cycle the voucher scheme cap was expanded, but without accountability, a measure not being asked for by the constituency. In the next budget cycle, voucher accountability, as promised, never arrived and funding for our public schools was not restored, and finally in the cloak of darkness came the gifts of the OSSP otherwise known as the Milwaukee Takeover, a measure that was not being asked for by Milwaukeeans. I could have stood hear and asked for a lot today, but my request is really fundamental, please do not use the budget and Omnibus to strip local control and force measures on our schools. Show my 6 year old that you value and respect our voices, our community, and our public schools.

Another public school parent shared a story of how her desire to find the best education for her child with special needs led her to stumble upon why handing public dollars to private institutions only hurt public school children:

A public school parent and supporter of “Save Our Schools – Wauwatosa” testifies on what she discovered when she inquired about sending her child with special needs to a private school (Photo: Joe Brusky).

By the time Sam was four he finally found the right therapists to begin helping him and they told me to get him a public school evaluation. Prior to making that appointment I had called and toured several private schools to see what kind of services they could provide for Sam and his special needs. Each school’s representative told me they could not accommodate a child with special needs. So I was unsure if a public school could help if a private school couldn’t and I began to worry. I nervously called the Wauwatosa School District…and I was immediately put at ease as they reassured me that Tosa could meet our needs. Sam is now 9 years old, thriving at school, learning from incredible teachers on how to use coping strategies for any frustrations that pop up. This is the power of public school! I ask that you raise the revenue cap, providing $300 per year per student, and pause voucher school expansion until they have the same accountability measures as all publicly funded schools.

Students were also present at the Milwaukee JFC hearing. A group of students from Youth Empowered in the Struggle collectively stepped to the microphone to speak as well:

Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) students testify before the JFC on how budget cuts have hurt them and their teachers (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Today, we are here to demand that you fund our schools and stand up to Scott Walker, who already cut state tuition for undocumented students. This makes it harder for us to attend college. Our schools are underfunded and that is not a coincidence. We are Black and Brown working class students who live in impoverished communities. The lack of funding in our schools contributes to the school-to-prison-pipeline. How are we supposed to be productive citizens when you keep taking resources away from us? We are tired of being told their no money for art programs. We are tired of having to share worn down textbooks from the 1980s. Our teachers should not have to use their checkbooks to better serve us.

Students, parents, educators, administrators, and community supporters spoke all day long in support of a state budget that respected Milwaukee Public Schools and other public districts in our region. Public education advocates kept tally of speakers throughout the day. Of the 216 total speakers, an astonishing 73 spoke in favor of a strong public education budget that respected MPS, but will the legislators be listening this time?

Public education advocates set up camp on the State Fair parking lot outside the Milwaukee JFC public hearing, where these posters were hanging for all arriving to see (Photo: Joe Brusky).


YES Students Testify Before the Joint Finance Committee from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

YES Students and MTEA Members Collaborate to Win Sanctuary District in Milwaukee

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On March 30, the students of Youth Empowered in the Struggle in Milwaukee, along with a group of MTEA educators, successfully organized and won a Sanctuary District resolution for Milwaukee Public Schools. The resolution was passed unanimously by the Milwaukee school board and proved a major organizing victory. But our work is far from over. Students and educators are now employing similar tactics in Sheboygan and Racine, Wisconsin where they hope to win the same policy for students there.

How did YES students, allied with MTEA members, win in Milwaukee? YES students and supportive MTEA educators formed an Education Task Force Committee to help spur success. The committee met weekly to collaborate and develop petition language as well as a plan to win support. MTEA leadership also met with select school board members to develop resolution language that protected students and engaged district staff in the policy. The Education Task Force of students and MTEA members backed that work up by composing the petition below to help build support for the resolution and to mobilize other students and educators to action.


Education Task Force Committee members circulated the petition before and after school to parents, educators, and community members to build a list of supporters. YES students attended MTEA’s March Representative Assembly meeting to share personal stories with union leaders on why the resolution was important. Leaders immediately passed a resolution supporting the work of the committee with a pledge of greater commitment to helping make it happen.

YES students and members of the Education Task Force speak to the MTEA Representative Assembly to build support for the Sanctuary District resolution (Photo: Joe Brusky).

YES students reached out to each school board member and invited him or her to Voces de la Frontera, where the students shared stories of what life was like for undocumented students in school.

YES students invited School Board President Mark Sain and Director Carol Voss to hear their personal stories. After meeting with the students they took this group photo (Photo: YES).

The students used their newly forged connections with MTEA members to attend school staff meetings at select schools, where they again shared powerful and moving testimonials with staff to build wider support.

YES students attended a morning staff meeting at Wedgewood Park School to share personal stories and build support for a Sanctuary District policy (Photo: Joe Brusky).


The student and teacher Task Force Committee’s collaboration produced nearly 2,000 signatures in support of the policy. The committee scheduled an “art build” the weekend before the final school board meeting to paint a banner and screen print signs in preparation for a short rally before the board meeting. They also used the opportunity to phone bank signers of the petition to ensure a packed room for the vote, which is exactly what happened.

The Education Task Force held an Art Build and phone bank to drive supporters to the March 30 rally and school board meeting (Photo: Joe Brusky).



Education Task Force Paints Sanctuary District Banner from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

The March 30th school board meeting was full to capacity and an additional auxiliary room was opened to handle the swelling attendance. A yes vote was unanimously reached on the resolution.

The entire MPS School Board auditorium was full and an additional room was opened up for those attending in support of the resolution (Photo: Joe Brusky).

MTEA member, Education Task Force member, and South Division teacher Berta Barillas testifies in support of a Sanctuary District (Photo: Joe Brusky).

YES students are now utilizing the same template and plan in Sheboygan and Racine, where they hope to have similar success. Racine Horlick High School junior and YES member, Fernanda Jimenez was present for the March 30th Milwaukee board meeting and is now organizing in Racine:

I went to go see that board meeting where they passed the resolution. It felt loving to be there. All the district members were really there for their students and students felt joyful to be part of that district. That’s what we want to feel here.

YES students in Racine attend a school board meeting to register support for a Sanctuary District policy (Photo: Ricardo Torres).

The Education Task Force Committee crafted the blueprint to bring this policy to other districts around the state and country and they hope their efforts will be duplicated elsewhere.


Union educators are taking an active role in supporting students working towards a safe space in their schools. The YES students in Wisconsin are taking the initiative to make sure their fellow classmates are given a safe space to learn. It is imperative for educators to step up and help make sure their voices are heard. We owe it to our students to amplify their voices and guarantee their needs are met.


NEA has developed sample resolution and district policy that can be used as a template or guidance for local school districts to create their own Safe Zones resolutions.



Thanks to the following MTEA members for their efforts on the Education Task Force:


Jeanette Arellano (South Division High School)

Berta Barillas (South Division High School) – Video testimony is here.

Joe Brusky (MTEA released organizer)

John Fleissner (Hamilton High School)

Cynthia Frankowiak (Vieau Elementary)

Kenicia McKinney (Parkside School of the Arts) – Video testimony is here.

Julie Meyer (Wedgewood Park)

Henry Leonard (Bethune Academy) – Video testimony is here.

Monica Pallo (Greenfield Bilingual)

Yesenia Saavedra (Wedgewood Park)