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The Network hosts tour exploring educational opportunities in Wisconsin

August 09, 2018

The Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network (The Network) hosted the Wisconsin Education Tour, a two-day excursion and exploration of educational opportunities in Wisconsin. 

The Network is housed within the UW-Madison School of Education. 

Starting at the Education Building, 45 international and domestic graduate students and visiting scholars gathered each day and boarded a bus to visit multiple educational sites around south-central and southeastern Wisconsin in early May.

Network Tour
Wisconsin Education Tour participants pose for a photo in
front of the Carmen High School of Science and Technology
in Milwaukee.
The dynamic and informative tour included stops and learning opportunities at four distinct educational institutions, including a rural school district, an urban charter school, an early childhood education center, and a community school. This opportunity was extremely popular and the tour filled up within two weeks of being advertised to the School of Education community.

The tour was initiated and planned by Network staff including Jack Jorgensen, Tony Chambers, Katherine Hayden and Kandyce Anderson, and was supported by faculty and staff from several departments and units in the UW-Madison School of Education, including the Dean’s Office and the Department of Educational Policy Studies.

Many of the tour participants are preparing for careers in education and are interested in broader educational issues across the state. In addition to visiting different educational environments, participants were exposed to a diverse range of educational structures, approaches and innovations within each setting. The tour provided a rare chance to interact with organizations providing education ranging from pre-K and early childhood thru high school.

One City
The group stops to visit the One City Learning
Center in Madison.
In the days leading up to their departure, the group met at the School of Education for an orientation and discussion of shared goals and expectations for the tour. This introductory meeting was enhanced by conversation and expert leadership from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Scott Jones and Pamela Delfosse provided information about the role and responsibilities of the Department of Public Instruction throughout Wisconsin, as well as the role of educational policy decisions.

These group discussions and informative presentations covered the varied and concrete ways that education policy is crafted and enacted in Wisconsin and an overview of the multiple issues impacting the Pre-K through 12th grade education systems in Wisconsin.

Once the tour began, participants were warmly welcomed by the Mendota Community School (a community school) in the Madison Metropolitan School District, Carmen High School of Science and Technology (an urban charter school) in the Milwaukee Public Schools, One City Early Learning Center (an early childhood center) in Madison, and the Dodgeland School District (a rural K-12 school district) in Juneau, Wisconsin.

In addition to gaining direct access to local educators and staff in Wisconsin, tour participants had the opportunity to learn about a variety of education-related topics from UW-Madison scholars and experts. Many of these conversations and talks happened on the bus, in neighborhoods, and during breakfast and lunch periods. Speakers included Beth Graue (professor, Curriculum and Instruction), Erica Turner (assistant professor, Educational Policy Studies), Eleni Schirmer (doctoral student, Educational Policy Studies), Gavin Luter (director, UniverCity Alliance), Jacob Wertz (doctoral student, Educational Policy Studies), Jack Jorgensen (co-director, The Network), Kate McCleary (coordinator, Global Education), and Nancy Kendall (professor, Educational Policy Studies).

Tour participants valued the opportunity to see a wide variety of educational sites in a short period of time. One participant commented, “The Wisconsin Education Tour helped me to uncover the picture of Wisconsin education.” Another noted that the tour “enriched their understanding of the American education system.” 

The enthusiastic participation of the schools, early childhood education center, faculty, speakers, and scholars made this a rewarding experience for tour participants and The Network alike.

"Our goal was to provide a unique opportunity for graduate students to explore and interact with the diverse educational settings operating in Wisconsin," said Chambers, who is associate director of The Network and the director of its Network Fellow Program. "With the support and cooperation of great partners I believe we surpassed this goal and we look forward to more opportunities in the future to expose School of Education graduate students and scholars to the variety of educational settings, issues, and innovations in the state of Wisconsin.”

Work has already begun on plans for another tour in Spring 2019. Check the Network ‚Äčwebsite for updates.

Network Tour 3

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