Kenosha News: When Alvin Owens talks about the Spring Break College Tour, which takes mostly African-American Kenosha students on a whirlwind tour of colleges in the South and East Coast, he also isn’t afraid to talk about the elephant in the room: the achievement gap.
It refers to the academic gap that exists in the Kenosha Unified School District between black students and their white counterparts. It is considerable — Owens calls it the biggest in the country — and it bothers him.
“Our academic achievement gap is getting bigger. That is something we cannot accept or tolerate,” he said. “It’s up to us to close the gap.”
When he says “us,” he’s referring to parents and the larger community.
At a recent meeting with parents about the upcoming tour, he and Gary Vargas, student liaison at Bradford High School and an adviser to the African American Male Initiative, goaded parents to stay on top of their children’s academics, telling them they need to be checking school websites, perusing online grades and meeting with guidance counselors and teachers to learn of opportunities for their children.
Read more about the Kenosha Unified School District’s college tour.
Kenosha News: In addition to offering internships, Aurora has formed a partnership with the Kenosha Unified School District as well as Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to introduce students to the health care field.
Another large employer, UnitedHealthcare, has taken it a step further. The UnitedHealthcare Foundation has created a $2.3 million matching grant program with Milwaukee Area Technical College to double the size of its registered nursing program over the next three years.
School officials expect to double enrollment by this fall, hire 16 new nursing program instructors, support the recruitment of low-income students and assist with placement services once students graduate.
Some colleges have also expanded their curricula to accommodate more students looking to health-care professions.
Carthage College recently established a four-year nursing program, a first for the school. Frank Hicks, director of the nursing department, said the curriculum would fill a critical need for more nurses.
Gateway has expanded its nursing program to include simulation laboratories and classroom space.
“We’re doing what we can to prepare people for the workforce,” said Gateway’s Anne Wilkinson, interim dean of nursing. “We have a very robust student support system.”
Kenosha News: A manufacturing and marketing company made up of 19 middle school students will bring its product to Harbor Market the next two Saturdays. They hope to show off their business acumen — and make a return for their investors.
The summer program is a cooperative effort of Junior Achievement, Leeward Business Advisors and the Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum, or KTEC. Like businesses in the real world, the students had to conceive of a product they could create themselves, raise capital, manufacture it and, come this weekend, bring it to market. Literally.
“The goal is to get youths of Kenosha exposed to what entrepreneurial spirit looks like,” said Michael Polzin, chief executive of Leeward Business Advisors. “And, to generate some understanding on what operating a business looks like. We want them to have that front of mind as they progress through their careers, so they know that they have that ability.”
“This is something that our teachers wouldn’t necessarily have the time or the expertise to teach,” said Kristen Krief, who works in media and community relations for Kenosha Unified School District. “Having Junior Achievement finance it, in partnership with companies like Leeward, gives a real world experience to the kids. And, it’s something we wouldn’t be able to provide on our own.”
CBS58.com: Lincoln Middle School of Kenosha has been named a national finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, earning the school $40,000 in technology from Samsung.
The Lincoln Middle School Project ICE team is one of 15 national finalists competing for one of five top spots and an addition $120,000 in technology for their school. The team and their teachers will present their video and concept to a panel of judges, who will evaluate the student’s project on video content, student engagement, the ability to answer questions about the project, and the impact the project has on the community.