M-cubed (M3) is a collaboration between Milwaukee’s three urban public education institutions, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). M-cubed seeks to ensure student success within these institutions to meet the workforce needs of business and industry in our region and improve the well-being of Wisconsin citizens, their families and communities. In sum, M-cubed is transforming the future of Milwaukee through education.
We are alarmed by statistics that show high poverty levels as well as high unemployment and incarceration rates in Milwaukee.
M-cubed’s investment in education is well placed. M-cubed’s K-16 approach is especially needed for children living in homes where they will be the first in their family to go to college, or, first to graduate from high school. Head of household data for Milwaukee’s children show that 20% have not attained a high school diploma, 55% have a high school degree or GED, 8% have an associate degree and 17% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
M-cubed is an investment in the education or our city’s students, which is a critical component for our region’s economic success and overall vibrancy. M-cubed will increase collaboration, ensure alignment and leverage internal and external resources to build an education pipeline focused on increasing student and community success.
M3 defines success as an effective K-16 pipeline, providing higher levels of education and workforce readiness for individuals, as well as the talent and skills needed by Milwaukee employers.
1. Raise aspirations, readiness and student success
2. Educate families about the value of post-secondary learning
3. Align curriculum and services from middle school to post-secondary education to create a seamless system
4. Create and cultivate a culture of learning in which there is an expectation to continue education after high school
5. Engage the student voice, provide safe spaces, and commit to equity and inclusion.
MPS Superintendent Keith Posley, MATC President Vicki Martin and UWM Chancellor Mark Mone are the strategic leaders of the initiative. Each institution has identified critical faculty and staff – 100+ people altogether – to co-lead efforts around the five goals as well as provide communication, fund-development, administrative and research support.
M-cubed is a partner with Milwaukee Succeeds. MPS, MATC and UWM faculty and staff share Milwaukee Succeeds’ goal of success for every child and many serve on Milwaukee Succeeds’ leadership and/or network teams. M-cubed is focused on over 140,000 students in the three urban public K-16+ educational institutions in Milwaukee and the linkages between them – curriculum, faculty development, parental involvement, etc. It has equal emphasis on K-12 and higher ed, and addresses all students attending these three institutions. Milwaukee Succeeds is a collaborative community effort to change education in Milwaukee and includes public and private educational institutions.
Evidence of impact will include:
- An increase in MPS high school graduation rates;
- More students entering and completing college credits in the first year of a postsecondary program;
- A boost in citywide FAFSA completion;
- Academic and Career plans will be established for all students, who will draw on these plans in making course selections and applying for internships in the high school and college years;
- Strengthened parent and family engagement to support Milwaukee youth achieving early academic and/or workforce success.
Resources for M-cubed are drawn from multiple sources, including:
- In-kind support: In-kind includes staff time allocated to planning and executing M-cubed initiatives, plus facility use and administrative support. Through 2016, with an M-cubed core leadership team of 100+ individuals, the in-kind support contributed carries an estimate of $250,000. In-kind support will increase in 2017 as additional faculty, teachers and staff from each institution increasingly align their work with M-cubed efforts.
- Reallocation of internal resources: Through 2016, each M-cubed institution identified an additional $30,000 - $75,000 ($90,000 - $225,000 total) of internal funds to support M-cubed efforts.
- External funding: For M-cubed to reach its full potential, the initiative seeks external funds through grants and donations. An early success achieved by M-cubed was an award from Milwaukee Succeeds’ Funders Collaborative ($25,000) for a Summer Math Prep Program focused on reducing the need for math remediation for MPS students entering MATC and UWM in Fall 2016. Additional philanthropic requests are in process.
M-cubed is already in process. Following agreement of the M-cubed concept by the Executive Sponsors (Former MPS Superintendent Dr. Driver; Dr. Martin, MATC; and Dr. Mone, UWM), planning began in summer 2015. In 2016, M-cubed cross-institution teams identified strategies, established metrics and requested funds to support fall 2016 implementation. M-cubed efforts are revised annually and will continue over multiple years.