June 9, 2016

Hi Friends,

Summer is near upon us and I am excited to say that for the next few weeks, we’ll feature guest bloggers from among our stakeholders.
To kick off our summer blog series, I wanted to share one written by one of our biggest Milwaukee Succeeds’ advocates … Mayor Tom Barrett!
In addition, please be sure to read this New York Times column “Too Small to Fail,” yet another confirmation of why we continue to do the work we do and stress the importance of early childhood development and Goal 1: Kindergarten Readiness. “The road to college attainment, higher wages and social mobility in the United States starts at birth,” notes James Heckman, a Nobel-winning economist at the University of Chicago. “The greatest barrier to college education is not high tuitions or the risk of student debt; it’s in the skills children have when they first enter kindergarten.” As I stressed before, let’s commit with all that we are, to doing whatever we can to make sure that quality childcare is the rule and not the exception. If we all do what we can, our children win and their futures are brighter. Too Small to Fail -

On June 15th Precious Lives, a weekly radio podcast series about young people and gun violence is putting on a live performance at the Pabst Theater. Our friends at 88Nine are helping spread the word on their website and on air all week! Gun violence is a crisis in Milwaukee and our youth are affected daily, which is why United Way, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Bader Philanthropies have partnered with 371 Productions, WUWM 89.7 – Milwaukee Public Radio, WNOV 860 – The Voice and an array of other community organizations to help give a voice to these issues and amplify efforts to solve it. Our work in Goal 4 “Social & Emotional Health: All children and young people are healthy, supported socially and emotionally and contribute responsibly to the success of the Milwaukee Community” speaks to the performers in this show. Precious Lives: The Live Show is both a deeply human exploration of gun violence and a multimedia celebration featuring the many talents of people touched by such violence and working to end it. Listen to the weekly series: and purchase tickets for the show! Precious Lives LIVE Show.
Take it away Mayor Barrett…

See you soon,


As Mayor of Milwaukee, I visit many neighborhoods and the topic of education comes up frequently. I hear it from teachers and preachers, from parents and students, from taxpayers and renters. "What's going on with educating kids in Milwaukee and what can you do about it?"  I use it as an opportunity to talk about my work with the Milwaukee Succeeds collaborative.

At times I'm challenged and at other times I'm encouraged by the collaborative that includes educators, business and civic leaders, and elected officials rallying around the needs of the kids in Milwaukee. This is the first time our city has ever had this level of sustained involvement with city leaders locking arms with educators in public, choice and charter schools to change outcomes for children.

The turning point in our work came a little over a year ago when we staked a very intentional claim at changing outcomes for third grade readers, which I recommended for support early in our Executive Committee's formation. Since making that joint decision to move our work toward that goal, we've asked the State legislature to fund a Minnesota Reads model that has since evolved into our Wisconsin Reading Corps. We are also very encouraged about the work embedded in Clarke Street School and six other MPS, Charter and Choice schools that are involved in our Transformational Reading Instruction (TRI) model. I visited Clarke Street School in early March and witnessed the real time implementation of the work of the coaches and staff using the TRI model. The students were engaged, the educators were supported, and reading instruction was happening throughout each classroom. 

Through Milwaukee Succeeds we are engaged in a collective goal of achieving better outcomes in four specific goal areas by 2020. The Milwaukee Succeeds milestone report tells us we're making moderate headway for meeting those expectations. It is the joint effort that I believe holds the most promise.

I remain hopeful that our city will always value positive outcomes for children that translate to higher academic outcomes; school readiness for our youngest learners; the assumption of post-secondary access and completion; and career opportunities connected to a healthy local and regional economy. If so, Milwaukee Succeeds will have carried out its mission and we can all be very proud of that.


Mayor Tom Barrett



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Milwaukee Succeeds is a broad-based, communitywide collaboration that aims to improve educational outcomes for every child in Milwaukee, in every school, cradle to career.
Copyright © 2016 Milwaukee Succeeds, All rights reserved.

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