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Alverno College

Alverno college students Julia Polk, Sandra Kelsey, Frances Rominski, Mary Sulgit, Nancy Hall, and Charlene James, smiling in their Fall outfits. Some wear glasses and coats, some hold books, as they pose in front of a building.
Alverno College, a Catholic women’s liberal arts college on Milwaukee’s South Side, is most recognized for its role as an international leader in non-graded, ability-based education. That distinction is closely tied to its founding order, the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), and this order’s dedication to the education of all women across Milwaukee. Alverno… Read More

Cardinal Stritch University

Aerial shot of Cardinal Stritch University. The photograph shows the university's buildings complex and its surrounding areas filled with green trees.
Between 1937 and 2023, Cardinal Stritch University was dedicated to offering a liberal arts education and providing for the underserved. Stritch’s story began in the depths of the Great Depression when Milwaukee Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch urged the city’s women’s religious communities to establish teacher training schools for the nuns within their orders. The Sisters… Read More

Carroll University

Aerial shot of Carroll University and its surrounding area in grayscale tone.
Founded by territorial charter in 1846 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Carroll College grew out of the then five-year-old Prairieville Academy, a preparatory program to fit young men for entry into the state university or eastern colleges. Carroll’s official charter, signed on January 31, 1846 by Territorial Governor Henry Dodge (two days before he signed the Beloit… Read More

Charter Schools

Facade of Tenor High School in daylight. The image shows the three-story building's exterior wall composed of bricks. The facade consists of three bays. Groups of rectangular windows are set on the left and right bays. The center bay has an entrance below a tall arched window. Atop the door is inscribed "gymnasium." On top of it is the building's sign that reads "Tenor High School."
The concept of a public charter school emerged as a response to calls for public school reform, with the first charter school law in the United States passed in 1991 and the first school charter awarded in 1992 in Minnesota. Since then, more than forty states and the District of Columbia have established charter school… Read More

Concordia University

Long shot of the School of Pharmacy's facade against the cloudy blue sky. The modern design features exterior walls made of windows surrounded by brick. The school's monument sign stands on a stone base that appears from the center to the right portion of this image. A wire scuplture of a vintage pharmacist's mortar and pestle sits behind the monument sign. A group of landscaping plants surrounds the monument sign.
Over the past 135 years, Concordia University, a Milwaukee-area institution of higher education affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), has broadened its original mission of preparing young men for seminary in the Lutheran Church to a mission of preparing adults of all ages for meaningful vocations in Wisconsin and across the world. Concordia began… Read More

Educational Segregation and Desegregation

Grayscale full shot of a woman holding a child's hand in their warm clothes as they walk the sidewalk with protest signs hanging from their necks. The sign reads, "Stop School Segregation Now! CORE" The O in the word STOP is in the shape of a hexagon stop sign with the word STOP written in it.
The Milwaukee metropolitan area is often classified as the most racially segregated metropolitan area in the United States. This segregated residence pattern resulted in racially segregated schools in the Milwaukee area. African Americans began to settle in Milwaukee increasingly after 1900. Most rented homes in a nine-square block area north of downtown. They were employed… Read More

Indian Community School

Five sets of colorful paper crafts are hung on the interior windows of a classroom. Each sheet of newsprint carries words written in Anishinaabemowin and English as well as numbers corresponding to various days in May. The first from left is entitled "Ma Hitawus Haap! May Day!" decorated predominantly with flower-shaped cutouts. The second has heart-shaped papers and is entitled "Hi'uni haap! Mother's Day!" The third sheet contains a list of May holidays. The fourth is themed National Apple Pie Day and the last one represents Memorial Day.
In 1969, three Oneida women—Marj Stevens, Marge Funmaker, and Darlene Funmaker Neconish—took it upon themselves to offer an alternative education for their own children and other disillusioned Native youth in Milwaukee. Born of their frustrations with the public school system, discrimination against Native students, and a lack of cultural direction, these Oneida women began teaching… Read More

Kindergarten Education

A grayscale group photo of kindergarten students poses in three rows. The children in the first two rows are seated while the third one is standing against an exterior wall made of brick. An adult in dress stands in the last row on the right.
Kindergarten is a preschool education approach designed to transition children from home to school. “Kindergarten” is a German word that means “garden for the children.” It traditionally emphasized learning through playing, singing, drawing, and social interaction. The first kindergarten was established in Blankenburg, Germany, in the late 1830s. In America kindergartens usually enroll five-year-old children,… Read More

Marquette University

Elevated view of a building complex pm the Marquette University campus and its surrounding area. The Alumni Memorial Union is seen at the image center. Green lawns and landscaping plants arranged in different shapes adorn the yards between buildings in the campus area. Milwaukee's buildings appear in the far background under the blue sky. The Milwaukee County Civic Center and Jail are visible in the left background.
John Martin Henni, the first Catholic bishop of Milwaukee, came to his adopted city in 1843 with several ambitions. Among them, he wanted to open a college. The biggest difficulty with this part of his plan was the absence of an intellectual culture in Milwaukee conducive to such an enterprise. The village—Milwaukee was not even… Read More

Medical College of Wisconsin

Bird's eye view of the Medical College of Wisconsin and its surrounding area. The complex has a series of multiple-story structures standing near roadways and other buildings. Above is a clear blue sky.
The Medical College of Wisconsin has its origins in private, for-profit Milwaukee medical colleges that opened in the late 1800s. One of these enterprises, the Milwaukee Medical College, became affiliated (educationally, though not financially) with Marquette College in 1907. Five years later, a group of local physicians urged the University to strengthen its oversight and… Read More

Milwaukee Area Technical College

Long shot of the Milwaukee Area Technical College downtown campus on a street corner. Bricks compose the multiple-story building. The structure has repeating windows across its walls. Trees grow next to the campus. The roadway below is empty. Above is a clear blue sky.
As Milwaukee Area Technical College enters its second century as one of the Midwest’s largest two-year technical colleges, constant updates and changes continue to be the hallmark of the school, echoing the words of Robert L. Cooley, the institution’s founder, who proclaimed in 1912 that “the needs of the students shall determine the curriculum.” The… Read More

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Long shot of the Jane Bradley Pettit building stretching from the right foreground. The multi-story structure sits along the Milwaukee River that spans from the left back to front. Some people gather in a pedestrian area on the river bank.
Founded in 1974, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), a successor college to the well-respected Layton School of Art, has become an academic anchor in the city’s redevelopment of its Historic Third Ward, once a gritty manufacturing district. MIAD’s academic enterprise offers a career-oriented education in the arts that focuses on the needs… Read More

Milwaukee Public Schools

Facade of South Division High School facing slightly to the right in grayscale. The entrance tower has a domed cupola atop. The three-story wings flanking the center section consist of repeating rectangular windows.
During most of the twentieth century, the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) fashioned a record of accomplishments of which most Milwaukeeans were proud. Over the last third of the century, demographic and economic changes produced daunting problems that weakened public trust and resulted in an educational landscape quite different from that of 1950. Creating a Public… Read More

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Facade of the Milwaukee School of Engineering Grohmann Museum by the street. The building features a corner entrance with the red Milwaukee School of Engineering flag atop the roof. Brick walls compose the multi-story structure that flank the glass entryway. Several statues of farm and industrial workers stand on the roofline.
The Milwaukee School of Engineering began as a technical institute in the fall of 1903. Its founder, Oscar Werwath, had arrived in Milwaukee from Germany only months earlier and immediately found work as an electrical engineer at the newly-merged Allis-Chalmers Company, under the guidance of Louis Allis. Milwaukee’s population was more than a third of… Read More

Milwaukee-Downer College and Seminary

A large group of Milwaukee-Downer College graduates in gowns gathers on a yard, standing from left to right. Most of them also wear their caps. A man in a suit and tie stand in the center foreground gazing down at a student in a gown and cap who shovels soil onto a newly planted tree. Multiple-story college buildings appear in the background along with some leafless trees.
Milwaukee-Downer College and Seminary represent some of the earliest attempts at women’s education in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Female Seminary, one of Milwaukee-Downer’s predecessor institutions, was founded in 1848 by Lucy Parsons, a progressive advocate for female education from New York. The school’s board of trustees drew representatives from Milwaukee’s prominent families, including Increase Lapham. Parsons’ connections… Read More

Montessori Schools

Monument sign of the Craig Montessori School stands in the right foreground. Text under the school name reads "On Our Way to Becoming the Best." A green lawn appears in the left foreground. A group of people marches along the sidewalk in the background. Some of the people are carrying signs.
The term Montessori refers to the educational method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Montessori, an Italian physician, gained world-wide recognition for an academically focused program meeting “the needs of the young child” through multi-aged groupings, constructivist curriculum, and hands-on materials. A Montessori classroom is ideally an exploratory environment with young students developing self-chosen skills… Read More

Mount Mary University

Long shot of Mount Mary University building and its green space. A multiple-story building with a central tower stands in the background. The building is partially obscured by a wide yard adorned by green trees, well-trimmed shrubs, lawns, and paths. A rectangular light-blue pond with a small fountain appears prominently in the foreground. Next to the pond is a Mary statue atop a stone base.
Mount Mary University is a private women’s university located on the northwest side of the city of Milwaukee, directed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), a Catholic order of nuns dedicated to the principle of transformative education for women. Over its one hundred years, Mount Mary has committed itself to educating young women… Read More

Nature Education

Exterior view of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center against the blue sky. Four people walk on a path toward the building's entrance. Green plants surround the left and right sides of the pathway.
While people have been learning from the natural environment in the Milwaukee area as long as it has been inhabited, the organized movement of advocating nature education and of building facilities in which this learning could take place has its roots in the 1960s. This was part of a larger “nature center” movement across the… Read More

Peace Education

Grayscale photograph of a protest sign on the exterior wall of UWM's Kimberly Hall. The sign is titled "Education Faculty Telegram to Nixon-5-8-70." The text beneath the title announces the support for the student strike at UWM. The bottom part mentions the group that created the message. It reads "Students & Faculty-School of Ed.-UWM."
Peace education provides the opportunity to examine values and attitudes, acquire knowledge, and develop skills useful for understanding wars and violence and promoting a culture of peace and global understanding. Anti-war education shaped the Civil War era, and continues today: people protested against slavery and war during the Civil War; German settlers pled for neutrality… Read More

Public Education

A grayscale group photo of dozens of Kindergarten students in three rows. Children in the first and second rows are sitting and those in the last row standing as they smile. An American flag is installed in the left corner of the room.
Public education is the system in which states and localities own and operate schools. These schools are paid for at public expense and are open to all children in a school district or community. Each district is governed by an elected school board. The school board sets broad policies, appoints a superintendent and other administrators,… Read More