MPS opens 2nd TEAM UP College Access Center

September 20, 2012

South side location opens; all seniors served at existing north site accepted to college

MPS College Access Coordinator Sharnissa Dunlap Parker (left), Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation Chief Educational Opportunities Officer Amy Kerwin (center) and MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton (right) cut the ribbon on MPS’ new College Access Center – South.

MPS College Access Coordinator Sharnissa Dunlap Parker (left), Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation Chief Educational Opportunities Officer Amy Kerwin (center) and MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton (right) cut the ribbon on MPS’ new College Access Center – South.

On the heels of the success of its first TEAM UP College Access Center on the city’s north side, Milwaukee Public Schools celebrated on Thursday, September 12, 2012 the opening of its second College Access Center, this one along highly-visible South 27th Street.

The centers, which are open on evenings and weekends, help demystify the process of learning about and applying to college thanks to the highly-qualified counselors, teachers and advisers on staff. MPS’ TEAM UP College Access Centers are open to all Milwaukee students, regardless of which school or school system they attend. The counselors, teachers and advisers offer small-group and individual workshops that help students understand the coursework they’ll need for college, prepare to take the ACT, select/apply for colleges and understand/ apply for critical financial aid resources and other supports.

Every single senior who has been served at the existing north side center was accepted into at least one college.

Both centers are funded by a grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. The new MPS TEAM UP College Access Center – South is located at 3333 S. 27th Street, Suite 300, Milwaukee 53215 (in the Southgate Marketplace, behind Starbucks in the same building as Planet Fitness).

Between the time the existing north-side center opened in October 2011 and July 2012, 545 students were served, including 180 seniors. Every one of the 180 seniors completed at least one college application and began the process of applying for financial aid. And every one of the 180 seniors was accepted into at least one college. Nearly half – 44 percent – of the seniors used the center to assist in scholarship applications. The center delivered more than 1,300 hours of one-on-one college advisement through roughly 1,100 visits.

The south side opening comes at a time when Milwaukee Public Schools continues to implement a college- and career-ready curriculum, based upon the Comprehensive Literacy Plan and Comprehensive Mathematics/ Science Plan, to close the gaps students face upon graduation. And this effort comes as MPS has seen its legacy graduation rate rise from 52 percent for the class of 2000 to 69 percent for the class of 2011, the most recent year available.

But just a handful of students who live on the south side have utilized the north side center, making the new south-side center critical in the effort to increase access to college across the city.

“With the addition of a second site in a highly visible area on Milwaukee’s south side, I am confident the families and students will engage in the post-secondary planning process and participate in programming at the MPS TEAM UP College Access Centers,” said Sharnissa Dunlap Parker, MPS College Access Coordinator.

During the school year, both centers are open Monday- Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The centers close on major holidays. During the summer, winter and spring breaks, they are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on weekends. The College Access Center – North is located at 2730 W. Fond du Lac Avenue, Milwaukee 53210.