In the fall of 2004, Dr. Kirk Harris, an adjunct faculty member in the Planning Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) presented his colleagues with the possibility of involving the department in educational reform efforts ongoing in Milwaukee. From this discussion, a graduate seminar was offered in the spring of 2005 to further investigate the idea. Seminar participants started to explore the possibility of starting a public high school that would employ the themes of architecture and urban planning to impart relevant skills and encourage educational and life success for Milwaukee youth. Determining through research and discussions that the idea was a feasible one, in August 2005 The School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM convened a school planning team, consisting of high school teachers, a high school student, UWM graduate students and faculty, and community representatives. Since then, the planning team has been meeting to discuss the concept in greater depth and formulate a shared vision that will enable us to achieve our goal of providing a quality educational opportunity for Milwaukee youth. SUPAR’s planning team chose to seek charter status as an MPS Instrumentality High School. Charter approval was received in October 2006 from the MPS School Board.
SUPAR strives to
• Create a learning community in which every individual is empowered and supported to do their best work. Students will achieve proficiency in math, science, literature, composition, and social studies through project-based learning focused on a wide range of issues that will engage students in problem-solving and knowledge acquisition. In addition, students will learn interpersonal communication and build leadership skills while developing their own self-confidence. Students at SUPAR are supported to learn self-discipline; students are responsible for their own learning in a supportive school environment.
• Connect professionals in urban planning and architecture, along with community partners, to support teachers in creating this engaged learning environment. Through these partnerships and mentoring relationships, students will be highly motivated to make a difference in their communities and to achieve their own development for future success. Students will learn through a wide range of experiences in the community, including job shadowing, service projects, and internships.
• Provide regular contact with UWM faculty and students and visits to the UWM campus, students in order to develop a sense of familiarity and belonging in a college environment. Students will learn directly about a range of career choices in the fields of planning, design, and community building. Following graduation, students may choose other career paths, but all will continue to be engaged citizens, applying the skills they learned at SUPAR to create equitable, prosperous, and sustainable communities.
• This means that rather than taking assignments from a text book and working through them individually, students learn by developing projects or solving problems. Each project or problem is tied to multiple competencies that students must meet for high school graduation. The benefit of project-based learning is that it encourages students to take responsibility for their learning. Project-based learning can be more effective in engaging students because it injects relevance into the academic environment. Students are able to feel that their project, and their learning, has an impact on them, their peers and their community.
SUPAR has been created through the talents and efforts of many people. Among our key planning team members and advisors are the following individuals:
Kirk Harris: UWM Urban Planning Adjunct Professor
Nancy Frank: UWM Urban Planning Professor
Bill Huxhold: UWM, Urban Planning Professor
Cris Parr: SUPAR Advisor/teacher
Zach Deinberg: SUPAR Advisor/teacher
Christine Krzyzewski: SUPAR Advisor/teacher
Joe Stagg: UWM, Architecture Professor
Carmen Valentine: SUPAR 2009 graduate
Levar Garry: MPS 2007 grad, UWM Architecture student
Mike Hacker: UWM, Architecture Student
Patricia Torres: Parent and UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research
Rene Antrop-Gonzalez: UWM, Education Professor
Taryn Roch: Urban Strategies, Project Coordinator
Welford Sanders: Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation
Ken Tatum: Milwaukee Area Technical College Teacher
George Garland: Milwaukee Area Tech. College Teacher
Meg Fisher: MPS Teacher
Beth Leonard: City of Delafield Alderperson
Mark Keane: parent and UWM, Architecture Professor
Tammy Taylor, UWM, Undergraduate Advisor
Eric Fowler: Patrick Engineering, GIS Manager
John Parr: Education Evolving, Director
Chantel Harpole: UWM, Architecture Student
Linda Keane: parent and School of Architecture, Chicago, Professor
Shirley Robinson: Families and Schools Together
Mario Hall: YMCA Coordinator
Tom Moes: Planner, Land Use Division: SEWRPC
Delia Campbell: Secretary