St. Anthony School in Milwaukee:
Using Classroom, Inc. As A Lever
“Mrs. Hart, this is the job. And it’s important. And I can’t miss a day at work!”
That’s the conversation that Milwaukee’s St. Anthony Elementary School Assistant Principal Brandy Hart had with one student at the end of the summer program with Classroom, Inc.
What is usually a fairly typical summer learning experience for students and teachers—reading lessons, math class, a standard recess break—was anything but this year at one of the oldest and largest Catholic schools in the country. Teachers and administrators desired to do something new, especially to encourage higher levels of attendance and better serve their growing diverse student population.
“Classroom, Inc. has been hugely different from what we normally do in summer school. The kids got more of an interactive real-life experience. And teachers haven’t ever really used anything that had such a connection to outside the classroom—the training from Classroom, Inc. was critical.”
Over the years, Milwaukee has become an increasingly diverse city, namely with Hispanic families moving into the area at high rates. For many St. Anthony students, English is their second language and few of their parents have experienced post-secondary education in the United States. Summer school is an opportunity to reach those students who may need extra support and build a yearlong student-centered environment. Mrs. Hart witnessed that it’s a prime time to connect academics to life outside the classroom and future schooling goals—a topic that some families may not discuss at home simply because of a lack of experience in the U.S. school system.
“I’m so nervous, I have to do two interviews today,” exclaimed one student to Mrs. Hart. This launched a conversation between the two about how some colleges have entrance interviews, and practicing now would only make it easier down the road.
These are exactly the connections that have aided in the Classroom, Inc.’s success over the years. Part of our mission is to help teachers use the program to launch transformations in their own practice. Mrs. Hart remarked that as teachers became more comfortable with the program, they were creative in adapting the game-based lessons to cover topics that may otherwise get overlooked during the busy school year.
At St. Anthony School in Milwaukee, Classroom, Inc. programs are used as a lever: a lever for attendance, a lever for teachers to think about their role differently for a unique student body, and ultimately a lever to empower students to drive their academic success.