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2013-2020 Strategic Plan

University School of Milwaukee’s previous Strategic Plan, which spanned five years from 2006 through 2010 and was directed by former Head of School Ward Ghory, made significant enhancements to USM in the areas of faculty, curriculum and programs, facilities, value propositions, and financial planning. With that Plan having been completed in impressive fashion, it became my task to lead the School on a new strategic planning process.

This new Strategic Plan addresses the importance of continuing to provide the excellent academic experience that USM is known for, while embedding a culture of leadership for our faculty and students and maintaining a financially sustainable structure that provides us with the ability to “think big.” Our primary goal remains ensuring that our students receive the best possible education, in every sense of the word–not only in the state of Wisconsin, but also nationally.

This Strategic Plan more formally introduces the concepts of global education and engagement, professional leadership, and innovation, and focuses on the importance of providing our students with an experiential learning component that ensures the vital hands-on experiences necessary for a true and demonstrated understanding of concepts, skills, and ideas.

It is truly an exciting time to be a part of USM, and we look forward to implementing and continuing to refine and enhance this Plan in the years to come.

Laura J. Fuller
Head of School

University School of Milwaukee Strategic Plan 2013-2020

Year One Update

Year Two Update

Year Two Monthly Updates

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • October 2016 Updates

    • Lower, Middle, and Upper School students took part in Outdoor Classroom Day on Thursday, October 5 (experiential learning).
    • Sam Mihara, a survivor of the Japanese American internment camps, came to speak to Middle and Upper School students (global education and engagement).
    • Upper School students took part in retreats and service days in the Milwaukee Community (experiential education).
    • CAT Academy classes designed for experiential and high interest learning for Middle School students debuted as a anew program in September (experiential education).
    • 2016 "Think Big" grant recipients presented their amazing experiences at an all-School faculty meeting. Summaries of the trips are published on the professional development section of myUSM (educational leadership and professional development).
  • March 2016 Updates

    • Global Enrichment Fest was celebrated throughout USM in late February and early March. You can read a recap of the week’s integrated cultural activities on the USM website News section.
    • USM recently held its fifth leadership forum of the year. The topic for the forum was “Planting the Seed: Celebrating Initiative at USM.” The concept of initiative is directly related to our School’s definition of leadership: "Having the courage and integrity to take a stand, the vision and influence to inspire others, and the perseverance to create positive change.” The panel included representation from student leaders in Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School. Panelists shared their perspectives about taking initiative to create positive change at USM, which was then followed by a discussion with those in attendance.
    • The capstone projects in grades 4, 8, and 12 are almost ready for exhibition! The Upper School capstones will be presented on Monday, April 18, Lower School on Tuesday, April 26, and Middle School on Tuesday, May 3. Watch for more information next week. Eighth-grade Tower Hour students will also be holding a midterm EdCafe on Thursday, April 21 from 11:05 a.m.-12:15 p.m. in the Middle School Library and Nerdvana (the Middle School maker space). All are welcome to attend! The 8th-grade Tower Hour innovators and entrepreneurs look forward to sharing their work with you and welcome your input and feedback. You can view a link to their work.  
  • February 2016 Updates

    • Students in 3rd and 5th grades, along with their teachers, Lower School Technology Coordinator JoAnne Williamson, and Middle School Social Studies Teacher Will Piper, presented two workshops at the Concordia University Wisconsin Technology Showcase on February 27. The 3rd-grade students’ topic was using coding in mathematics and the 5th-grade students’ topic was using technology to accelerate student creativity.
    • Global Enrichment Fest was celebrated throughout USM during the week of February 29. This event featured parent presentations about cultural heritage at each Lower School and Middle School grade level, a special international menu for lunch all week, and assemblies with authors Hena Khan (author of “Night of the Moon”) and Loung Ung, author of “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers,” who also held an evening parent presentation.
    • Carrie Goldman spoke on February 26 to students in grades 7-12, USM parents, and guests from REDgen Milwaukee on the topic of “Social Media and Social Conflict: How to Have Healthy Relationships in the Digital Age.”
    • Head of Middle School Pamela Nosbusch and Middle School Social Studies Teacher Will Piper presented a Strategic Plan update to the Board of Trustees at their February Board meeting. Information presented included metrics, timeline details, and examples in each division of how the Strategic Plan goals are becoming a part of the overall fabric of our students’ experience
  • December 2015/January 2016 Updates

    • Registration for Summer Spark 2016, the second year of USM’s annual innovation symposium for educators to be held June 13 and 14, recently opened. This year’s keynote and featured speakers have already been lined up, and there are already more than 40 new and returning attendees registered during the first week, including teachers from Venezuela and Argentina.
    • Lower School students engaged in Global Student Play Day on Wednesday, February 3, engaging in no-tech experiential learning.
    • Middle School leadership students and advisors attended a youth leadership conference at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School which focused on ways to integrate leadership strategies into daily life in Middle School.
    • Upper School students completed their second Crisis Simulation activity focusing on the refugee crisis in January. Students at St. Marcus School joined the Global Scholars and Dr. Henry Wend for this activity.
    • USM Curriculum Team members met with faculty at Carmen High School of Science and Technology to discuss curriculum alignment strategies.
  • November 2015 Updates

    • The Strategic Plan Committees held working meetings on the October 12 inservice day.
    • Four spin-off committees have begun their work this year: the Compensation Committee, the Freshwater Committee (in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), the Summer Spark Committee, and the Outdoor Education Committee.
    • Student work on projects in all three divisions’ new capstone programs is progressing. Students in the year-long 4th-grade capstone program, semester-long 8th-grade Tower Hour capstone program, and year-long 12th-grade Tower Project capstone program are currently involved in research on their various projects and working with mentors to get guidance and feedback. Project deliverables will include “Tower Talk” presentations by students about their projects’ processes and results, and their takeaways. More information will be shared as the capstones progress throughout the year.
    • A new community group has been added to myUSM for faculty and staff to share and keep track of “Think Big” and other grant-funded professional development opportunities, as well as other relevant development that occurs throughout the year. This was the charge of one of the committees in the Center for Innovative Teaching and Professional Leadership, in order to compile and share both newly approved and completed development opportunities more effectively.
    • On October 30, four Upper School English teachers and one Middle School English teacher attended a workshop on Shared Inquiry at Carmen High School of Science and Technology. Carmen is one of our Schools That Can Milwaukee partner schools with whom we share faculty professional development opportunities.
    • A second-year update on the progress of our implementation of the Strategic Plan will be included as an insert in the next issue of USM Today, which will be mailed to parents later this month. In addition to sharing examples from both the classroom and beyond, the document will include a look ahead at what we hope to accomplish by the end of this third year. Every issue of USM Today also includes several stories that are directly related to Strategic Plan implementation, so parents are encouraged to read those.
  • October 2015 Updates

    • Capstone projects are underway in all three divisions. All 4th-graders are engaged in capstone research, and there are elective classes in both the 8th and 12th grades that have been rolled out for this school year. There are many interesting topics being researched, with student presentations slated at different times throughout the year. 
    • More than 200 educators, representing more than 60 different schools in eight states and four foreign countries, attended USM’s inaugural Summer Spark innovation symposium in June at our School. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Plans are already underway for Summer Spark 2016. The dates are June 13 and 14, 2016.
    • Faculty and staff were very busy over the summer pursuing professional growth opportunities to help enhance their professional development as well as our students’ learning. On September 21, faculty, staff, and administrators heard from a number of their colleagues who were awarded Think Big/professional growth grants for summer work; this presentation was followed by small group discussions to “think big” about grant opportunities for this coming year.


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