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Borsuk: Rise of quality early education programs are bright spot for Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“There’s an energy surge in quality early childhood education in Milwaukee, and this is good news. “Quality early childhood education has been rising to the top of a lot of people’s agendas because the data is so clear that the foundation for success in school doesn’t begin on the first day of school; it begins the day a child is born,” said Tom Schneider, executive director of COA Youth & Family Centers, a long-standing north side agency offering programs for kids. Tracey Sparrow, president of Next Door, another high-quality north side nonprofit, said, “It feels like there’s a growing recognition of the importance” of early childhood learning.” (more)

Borsuk: Wisconsin Reading Corp tutors combat literacy crisis one child at a time

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“As someone recently put it to me, improving Wisconsin’s overall results in reading will not come from pushing one button. It will require pushing maybe 10 buttons. A lot needs to be done. Some of the buttons that should be pushed connect to what goes on in school. Some connect to things beyond school, including what happens at home and what happens in a child’s earliest years. Some may not be so hard to push; others are enormous challenges. I hope — I even expect — that the Wisconsin Reading Corps will be a button that brings good results.” (more)

Kids in Crisis: Putting therapists in schools helps children with mental health needs

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Rory Linnane and Annysa Johnson

“At this time last year, Monica Pendleton felt like her 5-year-old son was in a constant temper tantrum. She’d get calls from his school: He was screaming or kicking tables and chairs, or both. Teachers were at a loss. Pendleton would have to leave work to pick him up. “The front office knows me and him personally,” Pendleton said.”(more)

Borsuk: Character counts — and these 6 schools prove it

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“I like character education for two simple reasons: One is that there are so many schools where the atmosphere created by the way people treat each other impedes education. This goes not only for how kids act but for how adults in the school sometimes treat kids — and other adults. (I’ve witnessed these things.) So much class time in so many schools is taken up with behavior problems. More broadly, a positive school culture leads to more positive outcomes. The other is that I am convinced the well-designed efforts around character and conduct can make differences. It is possible to create a more positive atmosphere in a school. Intentional efforts around character education can be a part of that. South Milwaukee offers strong evidence of two of the most important traits of a successful character program: persistence and pervasiveness.”(more)

Borsuk: Mental health issues becoming pervasive for schools

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of precise numbers, but experts in the field say there has been an increase nationwide in mental health needs of kids. Possibly, a factor may be that we’re paying more attention and doing more about problems. The statement is frequently made that one in five school-age children have mental health issues that go beyond normal, and 80% do not get professional help. The state Department of Public Instruction recently cited estimates that 95,200 of Wisconsin’s 1.4 million children had “serious mental health needs.” That’s a 7% rate. As with other social issues, some people would ask why mental health problems are something a school needs to deal with. Isn’t this for parents and professionals?.”(more)