MADISON – Programs that are making significant contributions toward improving student learning and teacher performance have been honored by the Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council.

The council presented the Programs of Distinction Award to three outstanding PK-16 initiatives. The council also recognized the achievements of six additional programs by creating the Promising Practices Award.

The Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council is comprised of leaders from the state’s four educational sectors: K-12 schools, the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and the state’s private colleges and universities.

This voluntary council works with leaders in business, industry and government to enhance learning and learning opportunities throughout the state, preparing all students to live in and contribute to a vibrant 21st century society.

“In a sense, we are an education highway,” UW System President Katharine C. Lyall said of the state’s PK-16 education system. “You need all pieces of that highway to get where you’re going, and these Programs of Distinction mark important stops along the way.”

The PK-16 Council is co-chaired by Lyall and Elizabeth Burmaster, state superintendent of public instruction and member of the UW System Board of Regents. Richard Carpenter, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, and Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, are participating sponsors.

The Programs of Distinction and Promising Practices awards honor educational endeavors that offer quality programming, support existing partnerships and encourage collaborative efforts, Burmaster said. In addition, the recipients of the Programs of Distinction Award were able to provide clear documentation that they had met their desired program outcomes.

“In addition to recognizing quality practices, this initiative has helped us gain a deeper understanding of today’s most important educational issues,” Burmaster said.

The 2003 Programs of Distinction award honors the following initiatives:

  • Balanced Literacy Initiative, Milwaukee Partnership Academy. This urban literacy program engages students in reading, writing, listening and speaking, all toward achieving the academy’s larger goal: to ensure every Milwaukee Public Schools student performs at or above grade level in reading, writing and mathematics. The Milwaukee Partnership Academy includes representatives from UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, Milwaukee Board of School Directors, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and the Private Industry Council. The program is led by co-executive directors Christine Anderson and Dan Donders.
  • National Board Certification Support Program, Milwaukee Public Schools and Alverno College. This project led to the state’s first formal program to support and assist teachers preparing for certification. The program is led by Mary Diez, graduate dean at Alverno College. Collaborative partners include eight Milwaukee-area National Board Certified Teachers and the Helen Bader Foundation.
  • Graphic Communication Technologies Program, Northcentral Technical College. This program’s innovative approach helps students transition from school to work and directly trains students for careers in graphics communication technologies—emphasizing the role of education as a stimulus for economic growth in Wisconsin. The program is led by Northcentral Graphic Communication Technologies Instructors Beth Ryan, Bud Young and Dan Seanor. Collaborative partners include UW-Stout, six area high schools, and several industry professionals.

Recipients of the Programs of Distinction award received $1,000 from the council.

The 2003 Promising Practices honors were awarded to the following programs:

  • Beloit College: Thursdays at Merrill: Real Science, Real Students, Real Teaching and Real Learning.
  • UW-Stout: Electronic Portfolios for Art Teachers.
  • UW-Barron County: Math and Science Pre-college Program.
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College: Rural Northeast Wisconsin House Project.
  • Milwaukee Teacher Education Center: MTEC Alternative Teacher Certification Program.
  • Ripon College: Project Madog: Investigating Science, Mathematics and Technology in Wisconsin and Beyond.

The awards were presented at the PK-16 Leadership Council’s June meeting.

Visit the PK-16 Partnerships and Initiatives website for more information.

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Francine Tompkins (608) 262-5464