Community Voices - PAVE & Schools that Can Milwaukee


Why did your organizations sign up as hosts of On the Table MKE?

Both PAVE and Schools That Can Milwaukee know that the quality of K-12 education is the single biggest issue facing Milwaukee right now. The city has a very complicated school landscape, with a lot of choices. However, there are not nearly enough high-quality choices to meet the needs of students and families. Both our organizations are focused like a laser beam on the same goal, which is ensuring that every child in Milwaukee can attend a great school, though we approach our work through unique, and complementary, ways. And we both know that no one can do this work alone. On the Table MKE is a great opportunity to broaden the conversation, to talk not only about the success stories happening in all kinds of Milwaukee schools, but to discuss how we, as a city, can build on those successes.

How do you think this conversation can advance your agencies’ missions?

Ultimately both STCM and PAVE understand that to really fix education in our city, we need to engage more people in the effort, and work toward a common vision. It really is all about people – school leaders, teachers, parents, volunteers, and board members working together. On the Table MKE provides us with an opportunity to reach more people who can tap into their own unique talents and networks, whether as parents, school leaders, or volunteers to help create great schools in our city. On the Table is a great chance for those who work in schools or support organizations like ours to hear directly from parents and other stakeholders what their concerns and aspirations are, and for people who care about Milwaukee education to network and learn what’s happening in the city around this issue.

What actionable steps do you hope will come from this conversation?

We hope that people who come to our On the Table events choose to get engaged, whether with STCM or PAVE, or both, or with one of our partner organizations, such as City Year or Teach for America. There are lots of ways to volunteer, both in individual schools, or through organizations like ours. We hope participants walk away with not only an understanding of the challenges, but how they, personally, can help make change. We really are all in this together, and while education can seem like a divisive issue, all of us want great schools for Milwaukee students.

What project(s) are your agencies currently working on?

PAVE provides our network schools with the resources they need to build the strong backbone organizations they need to be successful, with a special focus on the governance of schools. We work closely with school leaders and board members to help them build the strong governance that undergirds strong organizations. We recruit local leaders and community members, train them in governance and organizational development, and match them with high impact service opportunities as volunteer board members. After five years and over 100 participants in this work, we are expanding our work into connecting local skilled professionals with service opportunities to help schools improve through improving “back office” operations – things like financial oversight, marketing and human resources.

Schools That Can Milwaukee engages, empowers, and connects transformational school leaders to foster more high-quality schools for the kids and families who need them most. Great leaders are the heart of great schools, so STCM is working to ensure a transformational leader for every Milwaukee school. To do that, we identify and recruit leaders at all career stages and in every type of school, we help them get better through hands-on support, and we foster an open and collaborative environment that transcends school sector, instructional models, and personal politics – all for the good of our city’s kids.