MPA Gains National Attention

The School of Education’s participation in the Milwaukee Partnership Academy (MPA) has strengthened its links in the community and gained national recognition. The MPA is a coalition of education, labor, business, university and community groups whose purpose is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Core MPA members include UWM, MPS, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, and the Private Industry Council (PIC).

Nationally, the MPA was recognized with a Holmes Partnership award for its contributions to urban education. The Kenneth Howey Award for Contribution to Urban Education was presented to the MPA at the Holmes Partnership’s eighth annual conference held Jan. 16-17 in San Diego.

"The Milwaukee Partnership Academy is a national leader in showing how very different groups can successfully work together to resolve the complex issues tied to education in urban communities," said Alfonzo Thurman, UWM School of Education dean. "Receiving the Holmes Partnership Award for our contributions to urban education is significant in that it brings to light that urban partnerships like the MPA, while rare, are working."

Howey, a former professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, is now at the University of Cincinnati with his wife, former UWM Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. Howey was among those who established the Holmes Partnership — a national network of universities, schools, community agencies and national professional organizations working in partnership to create high-quality professional development and significant school renewal to improve teaching and learning for all children.

“This prestigious national award is the first of its kind for the MPA,” said Christine Anderson, MPA executive director. “It recognizes the sincere commitment of everyone involved, and the effectiveness of our collaboration.”

Also on the national front, the MPA gained financial support through a $40,000 Broad Foundation grant to study other urban public school district’s best practices. The Broad Foundation focuses on K-12 educational issues with a mission to dramatically improve K-12 urban public education through better governance, management and labor relations.

“This grant will give the MPA a unique opportunity to personally assess how other public school districts are making the very most of their resources during tough budgetary times,“ Anderson said. “Most important, we’ll see first hand what’s being done to help students succeed — even in the face of program cuts.”

The grant covers expense for site visits to four school districts nationwide to study best practices at those schools. Various MPA members will go on the site visits to study how other urban public school districts have successfully handled differentiated pay issues along with best practices in student learning techniques, teaching, finance and administration. The grant also will cover the costs of eight MPA members to attend the Education Trust 2004 National Conference.

Locally, the MPA is launching several communications initiatives to help the community gain a richer understanding of the partnership’s work. A new Web site is under development with an anticipated launch in the fall. The MPA Web site will be located at a new address: rather than be imbedded within UWM Web pages which made the site difficult to find. This new Web site will be easier to find and navigate and will ultimately become the best source for new information as well as historical background on the MPA.

Until the improved MPA Web site becomes available, a new brochure is now available to individuals and organizations seeking more information about the partnership. The brochure provides a solid overview of the MPA and how its work impacts parents, businesses, educators and the community. For more information about the MPA or to receive a copy of the brochure, call Anderson at 414-270-1701 or send an e-mail to

← Articles