At many traditional public high schools, the last bell of the school day signals the imminent transition to extracurricular activities, from musical rehearsals to sports practices.
But at Carmen High School of Science & Technology in Milwaukee, the after-school scene is predominantly focused on academics. Any student at the charter high school making below a C in a core subject is required to stay after school until 5 p.m. to work with teachers.
Mandatory after-school tutoring is a feature Carmen can more easily implement because of its status as a charter school within Milwaukee Public Schools. The district has approved Carmen opening a second high school, making it part of a network of Milwaukee charter schools that are serving more students than ever, according to a new national report that places Milwaukee among the top districts for percentage of students in charter schools.
The growth in market share of students for Milwaukee charter schools underscores important changes in the local landscape for such publicly financed, independently operated schools. MPS, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee are approving more charter schools, and a growing number of those proposals are coming from national operators.