Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Milwaukee’s Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School was the only school in Wisconsin to make the list of visits for Assistant Secretary of Education Frank Brogan this week. On a mission to find out what’s working in U.S. schools, the Department of Education staff has fanned out across the country to hear student and educator voices, including a visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Brogan described efforts among his colleagues to meet with education professionals who are challenging the status quo and taking innovative approaches to student learning. Under the department’s Rethinking Education initiative, a list was devised of schools with a reputation for innovation and for rethinking outmoded practices. At Reagan, Brogan was especially interested in anti-bullying efforts.
During a large roundtable discussion, students described efforts to build a positive culture that begin before new freshmen even set foot in the building on the first day of class. Freshman orientation and mentorships, encouragement of self-expression, consistent coaching throughout the school day, and engagement activities such as dances and inclusion programs all build school connectedness and a positive culture. Brogan was impressed by efforts to build self-esteem and how high expectations contribute to student success and leadership. In other parts of the country, he observed how anti-bullying efforts are sometimes punitive or exclusionary.
“You’re doing some impressive things here,” Brogan observed. “When everyone feels good, there’s no need to bully.” He noted how student support of other students has built a culture in which negativity is not tolerated and success is multiplied.
This week, Brogan and other leaders from the U.S. Department of Education will travel to more than 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to highlight key federal education initiatives and to study efforts that can help improve education across the country.
Congratulations to Reagan High School for its hard work that has earned the national spotlight!