Howe Elementary School Featured on Wisconsin Public Television for closing the achievement gap

A new television documentary profiles the practices of two Wisconsin schools which are successfully closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their peers. Bridging the Gap features Howe Elementary School, Green Bay, and Bruce Guadalupe Community School, Milwaukee.

“I just couldn’t believe all the positive things that were happening” to “ensure that kids across the state of Wisconsin get a wonderful education,” says producer Eileen Littig.

The half-hour program reveals some commonalities between the schools, such as:

  • Both are affiliated with organizations working to serve each student’s entire family and community.
  • Both have embraced summer and after-school programs. (Bruce Guadalupe even requires students to attend them.)
  • Both emphasize family and community involvement. As a charter school, Bruce Guadalupe is able to require parents to volunteer. Howe works with 75 volunteers and holds family nights where parents receive food, resources, and information to help them support their children’s education. 
  • Both strive for cultural responsiveness. A Latino strings program at Bruce Guadalupe appears to raise student achievement, and Howe has worked with consultant Gwendolyn Webb-Hasan, who is interviewed in the video along with other national experts.
  • Both schools fill an unmet need for dental care. Howe administrators discovered students’ self-esteem and readiness to learn rose after the school provided toothbrushes, toothpaste, and time to brush in class. Bruce Guadalupe also offers teeth-cleaning services to students, complete with a dentist’s chair.

Bridging the Gap will air on Wisconsin Public Television at 10 p.m., Tuesday, September 20.

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