MPS Superintendent releases reform plan


Amid legislative turmoil and the foreseeable end of the GOP-majority “takeover” plan of failing MPS schools, MPS Superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver is lobbying the state Department of Public Instruction on a number of major, dramatic proposals to improve the district.

At a recent school board meeting, Dr. Driver laid out her plan.

One of the proposals is to enact one standard earlier start date for all MPS students. Under the proposal, students would begin school in the second week of August and end towards the end of May.

Other initiatives Dr. Driver is proposing include a district-wide uniform policy, new report cards for lower-performing schools, more accountability for all schools – including MPS charter and voucher schools, and improvements to the districts early-literacy programs.

The Journal Sentinel reports:

Saying that Milwaukee Public Schools has not effectively engaged children of color, Superintendent Darienne Driver is proposing a slate of major reforms, including mandating student uniforms, launching the school year in August and imposing principal coaching and potential staff changes at the lowest-performing schools.

If anyone was waiting for a mic drop from the superintendent, who is two years into her tenure and still shy of 40 years old, this might be it.

“I think we’re in the right mind-set for improvement and it’s time to kick it into action,” Driver told the Milwaukee School Board Tuesday night after she revealed the ideas, which also include creating an office of black and Latino male achievement. More details will be released to MPS staff and parents this week, with a districtwide survey going out Friday.

“We want to get as much feedback about this as possible,” Driver said.

Another twist: Some of the proposals cross the borders of MPS. Driver has called for turnaround plans to be put in place at all the city’s lowest-performing schools, including independent charter and private voucher schools over which MPS has no jurisdiction. Driver and Board President Mark Sain have also proposed that MPS become the sole authorizer of charter schools in the city.

“We know people may classify it as some type of takeover, but really, it’s about conversation,” Sain said Wednesday.

For more on Dr. Driver’s plan, visit Journal Sentinel.