What We Do

  • Expand, Develop, & Recruit

    Schools That Can Milwaukee works to foster more great schools in Milwaukee through three Pathways to Transformation.

  • 1. Expand High-Quality Schools

    Schools That Can Milwaukee works with school and community leaders to establish a shoot-for-the-stars vision and an action plan for growth. We then serve as advocate, connector, and cheerleader to raise community awareness of successful schools, connect schools with the resources necessary for expansion, and knock down barriers.

    Learn More About High Quality Schools
    2. Develop High-Potential Schools into High-Quality Schools

    Schools That Can Milwaukee serves as an indispensable resource to school leadership teams, providing continuous, customized, and intensive onsite coaching to Principals, Instructional Leaders, and Deans. In addition, our organization leads peer-to-peer visits to high-quality schools, monthly professional development sessions, and cross-sector communication about curriculum, assessment, building school culture, and personal leadership.

    The Coaching Process

    Each month, our team of school leadership coaches spends more than 300 hours in the field, supporting leaders as they work on building school culture, using classroom observations to support teachers, developing curricula, analyzing data, and planning and executing professional development.

    Because seeing is believing, the coaching process begins with a visit to a high-quality school. During these visits, leaders get a chance to see what a high-quality school looks like in action and spark a belief in what’s possible for their schools.

    Next, coaches and leaders work together to evaluate their school using a diagnostic tool called the Vital Behaviors Assessment. This rubric is based on the best practices used by high-quality urban schools across the country. Equipped with the results, Schools That Can Milwaukee will create customized goals and action plans to drive school-wide growth.

    Progress toward these goals is supported on a constant, ongoing basis through intensive on-the-job school leadership coaching.


    Each month, Schools That Can Milwaukee holds a set of professional development sessions, called Collaboratives, which bring together Deans of Students and Instructional Leaders from around Milwaukee. The workshops, built on research-based best practices, have been designed to provide leaders with tools and resources to bring back to their schools.

    The real power of Collaboratives rests within the relationships that are established. Leaders from every type of school in Milwaukee come together to discuss common goals, struggles, and solutions while swapping ideas to improve their day-to-day practice. They do so in a room filled with people who share their beliefs about student ability and their desire to be part of something bigger in our city.

    The mixture of Collaborative attendees from traditional district, charter, and Choice schools makes for a cross-pollination of education ideas that isn’t happening anywhere else in Milwaukee or nationwide.

    3. Recruit & Grow School Leadership Talent

    Schools That Can Milwaukee identifies and develops Milwaukee’s home-grown school leadership talent while recruiting high-quality leaders to our city from across the country. We then work directly with the schools we support to match high-quality prospective leaders to best-fit roles in areas of need.

    Recruitment, Retention, and Development

    Schools That Can Milwaukee supports leaders at all stages of development – from emerging teacher leaders to established school network executives. We begin by identifying leaders in Milwaukee and across the country. Then, we work closely with Partner Schools to match newly recruited leaders with schools that have leadership needs. Once placed, leaders receive ongoing training and development to ensure their success.

    Emerging Leaders

    Schools That Can Milwaukee operates an Emerging Leaders Program to begin developing individuals with an interest in school leadership. Click for more information and to register today.

    Burke Fellowship

    In partnership with Alverno College, the Burke Foundation, and the Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust, Schools That Can Milwaukee operates a rigorous principal licensure and master’s degree program that equips leaders for success in the urban context. Click to for more information and to apply.

    What Are Leaders Saying?

    • Schools That Can Milwaukee has provided significant assistance in our work to recruit and develop leaders that will take on new roles as we grow our network.

      Dr. Patricia Hoben
      Founder and Head of Schools
      Carmen Schools of Science & Technology
    • This was the first year that I felt as if I had a focus for my vision. Schools That Can Milwaukee equipped me with knowledge and strategic tools to make a dent in the transition from being a manager to an authentic instructional leader.

      Jennie Doucette
      MPS James Fenimore Cooper School
    • By connecting with other school leaders through Schools That Can Milwaukee, I can honestly say I feel as though I am part of a broader vision for our city. Those connections have led to ideas, support, and an overall sense of solidarity for the students in our city.

      Kyra Vandebunte
      High School Principal
      Carmen Schools of Science & Technology, Northwest Campus
    • Schools That Can Milwaukee helped to connect me with other great leaders in Milwaukee schools across all sectors. I’ve been able to develop genuine relationships to receive guidance from — and concurrently help to serve as a resource to — others.

      Tianna McCullough
      Assistant Principal
      MPS Dr. George Washington Carver Academy
    • As a new school leader, I relied on the support and guidance of my Schools That Can Milwaukee coach to keep my work focused on student learning when the list of things to do can be overwhelming.

      John Meuler
      Director of Middle School
      Nativity Jesuit Academy

    Learn how we build community.