The City of Milwaukee and “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Milwaukee (IHDF-MKE) along with other committed partners are pleased to announce the launch of a new cohort of first-grade students who will be attending the Milwaukee Academy of Science (MAS), a City of Milwaukee Charter School, this fall.
“I’m proud of the role the City of Milwaukee has played in spearheading and launching “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Milwaukee,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “The city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in this program to date along with our other major partners. I commend IHDF-MKE Board Chair Margaret Henningsen, IHDF Board member Barry Mandel, MAS CEO Dr. Anthony McHenry and everyone else involved in this expansion effort.”
Developer and IHDF national board member Barry Mandel along with Margaret Henningsen, IHDF-MKE Board Chair, have launched a fund-raising campaign to raise $4 million that will fund operational costs needed to cover support services that will be provided to students and their families in the cohort beginning as first-graders and lasting through their post-secondary education.
Support services available to families will focus on key factors that include: stable housing, access to broadband Internet services, access to health and wellness services, family education, training and job placement, addressing stress management and life skills, and financial literacy. Additionally, up to $10,000 in tuition assistance will be provided to student participants for any post-secondary education they may choose. The goal is to keep the students and families together as a cohort for at least 12 years.
An affiliate of the national “I Have A Dream” Foundation, IHDF-MKE provides students – dubbed “Dreamers” – from under-resourced communities a chance to achieve their full potential by promoting from an early age, values of higher education and career success with opportunities guaranteed through financial resources, and other services. It offers programs and activities for young people during the school day, after school, and during the summer.
“Education doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Kahina Cargile, executive director at IHDF-MKE. “This is a tremendous opportunity to impact the lives of students at Milwaukee Academy of Science. We’re committed to addressing barriers to learning that can exist beyond the classroom in order to make a transformational impact on our Dreamers, their families, and the broader community.”
IHDF-MKE was launched by the City of Milwaukee at Clarke Street School in 2008 along with other committed partners who share the belief that every child in Milwaukee deserves a chance for a future that includes a higher education. The Clarke Street School cohorts received programmatic funding from the Brady Corporation Foundation and Ted and Mary Kellner through their Kelben Foundation. Additionally, Brady employees provided tutoring early on in the program to the students. Since 2019, both foundations have supplied scholarships and helped with other college costs for this group of Dreamers.
The Clarke Street School program has impacted 132 students and their parents. Between 2019 and 2020, there were 45 Dreamers in the program, all of whom graduated high school on time, and 43 of which went on to pursue post-secondary education. Accomplishments within this group have included studying abroad, acceptance for competitive internships, participating in research programs, launching on-campus organizations, and receiving professional certifications. Additionally, students’ parents were supported as they returned to school, pursued higher-paying jobs, and improved their financial literacy.
One of the biggest lessons learned from the Clarke Street cohort was the broad support needed to create a pathway of success for students coming from neighborhoods plagued by high crime, poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancy and high dropout rates, Cargile said. Perhaps most importantly, family stability is the key to a student’s academic success, which is why the new cohort at MAS will provide a broad range of wrap-around support services for both the Dreamer and their family.
“This is an incredibly unique opportunity to have a multi-generational impact on the lives of students and their families, while exhibiting an innovative approach to addressing challenges regularly experienced within urban education,” said Mandel, chairman and CEO of Mandel Group, Inc. and a supporter of “I Have A Dream” Foundation on a national level.
“In launching this new cohort, a great advantage that we have is access to a number of established and successful community assets with whom we will be collaborating, including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, and other nonprofit organizations and academic institutions,” Mandel added.
“I applaud IHDF-MKE for this innovative approach to improve so many lives,” said UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone. “We are excited about bringing together the talents of our faculty, staff, and community partners to improve educational outcomes. We expect this collaboration to have significant generational impact.”
“As a college that offers strong wraparound support for our students, we are excited about this kindergarten-to-career model that takes an innovative support approach for entire families,” Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) President Dr. Vicki J. Martin said. “We look forward to ensuring families can connect to the opportunities at MATC that provide students with in-demand careers that pay a family-sustaining wage.”
MAS is a STEM-focused charter school authorized by the City of Milwaukee and located on Milwaukee’s Near West Side. It serves a primarily African American population, 96% of whom come from economically disadvantaged homes; 90% of the 1,350 students at the school receive free bus transportation, ensuring equal access to the school no matter where a student moves in the city, which significantly impacts the school’s impressive retention rate of 93% of students returning from year to year.
“Milwaukee Academy of Science has always been committed to providing its entire student body with a quality education, however, it’s no secret that many of our students and their families face challenges that undermine the learning process,” said Anthony McHenry, CEO of MAS. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to provide our scholars and their families with the support and resources needed to reach their full potential.”
Importantly, the partnership will include a longitudinal study, headed by Dr. Leonard E. Egede, MD, MS, tenured professor and Director of the Center for Advancing Population Science (CAPS) at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The study will measure the impact of the combined and individual multifaceted components of this uniquely holistic approach.
“This is a great investment being made by the community and the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, both in the students themselves and their families to support in-school learning and building stable learning environments within the home,” said David Crowley, Milwaukee County Executive. “As we look to build a better future for the underserved in our communities, it would be my hope that this collaborative model can pave the way for similar efforts with other schools and students in the area.”
About I Have A Dream Foundation – Milwaukee
At the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, we provide individualized social, emotional, and academic support to young people from low-income communities from kindergarten all the way through college, along with guaranteed tuition support. We believe that when given equal access to the resources they need to succeed, all children can ignite their innate potential and achieve their dreams. Learn more at milwaukee.ihdf.org.
About Milwaukee Academy of Science
Established in 2000, Milwaukee Academy of Science is a K4-12 public charter school serving 1,350 students from across the city of Milwaukee. Its mission is to graduate urban students prepared to compete successfully at the post-secondary level and to become a nation model for urban and STEM education. Learn more at milwaukeeacademyofscience.org.