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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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As of autumn 2016, this will be the new home of Rufus King IB Middle School.
As of autumn 2016, this will be the new home of Rufus King IB Middle School.
When I drove past yesterday, there were signs of activity at the Malcolm X site.
When I drove past yesterday, there were signs of activity at the Malcolm X site.

King IB Middle Years Campus will move into renovated Malcolm X site in 2016

The high performing International Baccalaureate middle school program that MPS board members and administration has been promising for the former Malcolm X Academy, 2760 N. 1st St., is an existing program.

The plan is to move Rufus King International School - Middle Years Campus, currently housed in the former McNair Elementary, at 4950 N. 24th St., in time for the start of the 2016 school year, according to a document that the district has discussed with King parents at two meetings over the past week.

The Malcolm X site, built in 1961, was designed to house Fulton Junior High School and will undergo a renovation that will create what the document promises will be, "state of the art" with a media center/library, full-size gym, large auditorium, modern science labs, outdoor performance and instruction area, and a large cafeteria.

The new space, the document notes, will allow the school to offer expanded music, art and foreign language offerings. It will also allow the school, which enrolled 418 last year, to expand, says Larry Miller, the board director in whose district the former Malcolm X site is located.

The McNair building, erected in 1953, has a capacity of 567 students, which doesn't leave King much room for growth.

"It will allow a larger enrollment, but we don’t know what those numbers are yet," said Miller of the plan, which has apparently been in the works for about a year. "But we couldn’t say anything publicly until we’d discussed it with the King families.

"This is a great opportunity for the district to have what will be a high-performing IB school in a building that will facilitate a middle school. The program right now is in an old elementary school."

A rendering of the facade at the former Malcolm X Academy. (Photo: Milwaukee Public Schools)

On its current Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction school report card, King IB Middle School earned a "needs improvement" rating. The school participates in the Alternative Accountability P…

Company Brewing is coming to this familiar in Riverwest space in February.
Company Brewing is coming to this familiar in Riverwest space in February. (Photo: Company Brewing Facebook)

Bregar, Bell combine forces to bring Company Brewing to Stonefly space

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

Bavette la Boucherie’s Karen Bell has teamed with former Colectivo director of coffee George Bregar to open Company Brewing in the Stonefly space at 735 E. Center St., in Riverwest.

The new brew pub will feature a range of craft ales and lagers and what a press release calls, "an innovative, yet approachable food menu built around nose­-to-tail cooking."

Stonefly is expected to close by the end of the month.

Perhaps among the most notable news in all this is that Bregar is leaving Colectivo after next week. For years, he has been involved in selecting and blending beans as the green coffee buyer and previously he worked as a roaster at Colectivo, where his polished skills will surely be missed.

Bregar was also instrumental in introducing craft beer to Colectivo.

"Our goal is to provide food and beer offerings that will encourage regular visits from our neighbors, while earning a reputation for quality that attracts guests from all over. We look forward to connecting with the community in which we work, providing entertainment and nourishment and fostering good company," Bregar said in a statement today.

Bregar will focus on the beer and Bell will run the restaurant side of Company Brewing.

"Company Brewing pays homage to food that is produced according to old world traditions ­ sourcing only the best and most responsible ingredients, taking our time with them, and using proper techniques. Company Brewing is also a tribute to craftsmanship, and we embrace a culture that celebrates the process of honing one’s craft," said Bell in the release.

"The menu will be creative and playful, while remaining approachable," Bell added. "We feel…

Some schools, like 81st Street School, already offer 3-year-old kindergarten.
Some schools, like 81st Street School, already offer 3-year-old kindergarten. (Photo: Milwaukee Public Schools)

Lessons from NYC and Chicago can help us do universal pre-K right

Driving home from school yesterday, my child pointed out the window at one of the many day cares we pass on our daily routes.

"That’s kind of a depressing looking place," he said, and I asked which place he meant. "That day care. Even the curtains in the windows are tattered."

As any working parent knows, choosing a quality day care is important work. And it can be difficult work finding a place with a staff you can trust with your child’s care. Like a great school, a great day care must have an effective leader and quality teachers.

Sometimes, the condition of the drapes don’t tell the story. A clean, safe day care may not be doing much more than babysitting, herding kids like cats all day, and one with limited resources may let the curtains go while focusing on purchasing important curriculum materials.

As someone who has sat on the board of a day care, I know that even at an in-demand center, the budgets can be challenging. But, I suspect there are more than a few places where tattered window coverings are a perfect indicator of the mood inside.

So, I’ve been watching with interest as New York rolls out its first phase of $340 million statewide universal early childhood education plan this autumn, and as Chicago debates how it will get its version off the ground next year.

As is the case with anything, folks who back early childhood education can find supporting data, and foes can find data of their own. But as a supporter of public Montessori, which works in MPS to such a degree that Milwaukee NAACP has touted it as the best opportunity for children of color to receive a quality education in the district, I see the value of pre-K education at work every day.

The six public Montessoris, plus one MPS charter, are among the few schools -- but not the only ones (and there are Head Start programs and 2- and 3-year-old Early Care at seven schools, too) -- in the city to offer 3-year-old kindergarten and every day I see 3-year-olds excelling. They’re …

Nearly 1,000 urban school superintendents are in Milwaukee this week to share knowledge.
Nearly 1,000 urban school superintendents are in Milwaukee this week to share knowledge.

MPS hosts 58th Council of Great City Schools conference in Milwaukee

This week, the Council of the Great City Schools hosts its 58th annual fall conference in Milwaukee, hosted by MPS, and some big names in the world of education and beyond will be on hand for the event, which runs Oct. 22-26.

The conference -- "Fresh Water, Fresh Thinking in Urban Education" -- takes place at the Wisconsin Center, and will bring about 1,000 school superintendents to Milwaukee.

Among the speakers are College Board President David Coleman, Girl Scouts of America CEO Anna Maria Chavez and astrophysicist/TV science commentator Neil deGrasse Tyson. NPR's Claudio Sanchez will moderate a town hall discussion on Oct. 24.

Those events may be the bread and butter, but the meat of the conference are the roughly 80 discussion sessions that crack open opinion, expertise and knowledge sharing on topics like teacher effectiveness and evaluation, implementation of the Common Core State Standards at the district and school level, deferred maintenance on school buildings and more.

On Thursday, the conference will also name its "Urban Educator of the Year."

I'm hoping to check out the resources displays and sit in on a few discussions. I'll report back afterward.

"This conference is an opportunity for urban school leaders from around the country to see some of our success stories and it's one way for us to see what's working in other communities," MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said in a statement. "Exchanging best practices is a great way to drive innovation in education."

You can find out more about the conference, its agenda and events here.

All public education eyes will be on Milwaukee this week. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #cgcs14.