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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

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1. Life Size Mousetrap coming to town
Life Size Mousetrap, a giant machine based on the classic board game, will make its Wisconsin debut at Maker Faire Milwaukee on Sept. 27-28 at Wisconsin State Fair Park.
2. What do Johnson's Park, Farrell's Ice Cream and Showbiz Pizza have in common?
These now-defunct, kid-friendly restaurants have many things in common, including this ...
3. Social media could help MPS parent coordinators connect
When school opened for the majority of MPS schools this week, most every program had a new 30-hour-a-week parent coordinator paraprofessional on staff to help school staff and families build bridges. At least one school's coordinator has constructed a successful one via social media. It's a model that could be successfully duplicated at other schools.
4. The 127th first day of school
Most of MPS' more than 150 schools all across the city -- including Maryland Avenue Montessori, whose building opened in 1887 -- swung open their doors today, welcoming kids of all colors, classes, religions and needs.
5. 3 end-of-summer kids mini-trips
Back in June, I wrote about the five summer kids trips I couldn't wait to take. Well, summer got busy, and despite my best intentions, I only made it to one of my top five suggestions. But that's not to say I was a deadbeat dad this season. My almost-6-year-old and I had lots of fun this summer, and in fact, we found a few other places to visit as the calendar inched closer to the return of school. All three were just within an hour from home.
6. MPS staggers start of school to help youngest students feel at home
Taking something of a page from the book of the district's successful public Montessori schools, all MPS schools this year will use a staggered start to help introduce primary-aged children to their schools.
7. Mitchell is among area schools getting a primp from GE volunteers today
Today, more than 2,500 current and retired GE employees, plus about 150 other volunteers, are walking into 16 Milwaukee Public Schools and four Waukesha Public Schools (as well as Greenfield High School) to paint, clean, organize and landscape to help the schools plan for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
8. Have standardized school supply lists simplified your shopping?
In my sixth summer of shopping for school supplies, how could I possibly have thought I'd just "run in" to a big box store and grab some supplies?
Tagged with: school supplies MPS
9. Human mom raising baby raccoons
Alissa Gonyea, a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, planned to have a lesiurely summer that included travel and camping adventures with her son and nephew. Instead, she is taking care of four baby raccoons.
10. Louis C.K.'s message to dads
Even though it's a few weeks past Father's Day, I had to share this video from Louis C.K. It's good stuff and no matter how you see fatherhood, your father or the kid(s) in your life you should share this and embrace the message.
11. 5 great photos of fun at Milwaukee playgrounds
We all have fond memories of summer fun on school playgrounds (don't we?). This year, Milwaukee school playgrounds are back open offering a wide range of free fun for city kids.
12. MPS selects 14 schools to be transformed as Commitment Schools
Thursday night, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors selected 14 MPS schools to be transformed through its new Commitment Schools effort.
13. Packers, Edvest team up to keep kids reading
The "Leap into Reading" campaign begins today, and is meant to keep kids into books throughout the summer so they don't fall behind in class when school resumes. To help the initiative, the Green Bay Packers and the Edvest College Savings Plan are teaming up with Wisconsin public libraries to award ticket and saving accounts to kids who participate.
14. Schoolhouse fires seem to flare up in bunches
1918, 1969 and 1978 were especially bad years for fires in schoolhouses in Milwaukee, a city that an insurance adjuster had said possessed an exemplary record of fire safety.
15. My one parenting promise to the world
I have been a parent for almost 12 years, and during that time, I have made a lot of promises to my sons, to myself and to the universe about what I would do or not do as a mother. Over time, I have pretty much narrowed down my mission to one goal.
Tagged with: parenting poem douchebags
16. MPS names Driver acting superintendent
Tonight the Milwaukee Board of School Directors named MPS chief innovation officer Dr. Darienne Driver as acting superintendent, beginning July 1.
17. Teens rally to demand: put the guns down
Last week 10-year-old Sierra Guyton was shot while she played in the schoolyard at Clarke Street School. That, along with many other incidents, has fueled a group of middle school students at MPS' Westside Academy II to organize an event to speak out against violence.
18. The bugs are back: Betty Brinn's "Bugs on the Balcony" exhibit returns
Either to patrons' absolute delight or absolute disgust, Betty Brinn Children's Museum will open its "Bugs on the Balcony" outdoor exhibit starting Friday, May 30, and running through the end of September.
19. Create a Super Reader and prevent your child taking the "summer slide"
It's that time of year again. The time when I'm thrilled that my kids are thrilled to sign up for Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader summer reading program.
20. Time features beautiful baby images from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
In a post today, a New York-based photographer shows 12 images taken at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. The hospital also is featured on the cover of this week's print edition.
21. Schools & Communities United unveils education report and organizing event
In advance of a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that led to the desegregation of America's schools, Milwaukee's School & Communities United - a coalition of community, teacher, student, labor, civic and religious organizations - has issued a report on education in Milwaukee.
22. Nicolet's Miller moves on to life's next act
Since 1982, Kenn Miller has dazzled audiences as head of the Nicolet Theatre Department. He's the king of orchestrating every detail, so when the Nicolet High School Administration and Performing Arts Committee plotted to surprise Miller with a tribute to honor his retirement following the curtain call of his final staging of a "Midsummer Night's Dream" on Saturday, May 10, the challenge was steep.
23. Grateful Hearts Giving Network gives back to local moms
It can be an intense, lonely time for mothers in the NICU, even on Mother's Day. That's a part of the reason why friends Amy Scott and Erin Nevicosi created the Grateful Hearts Giving Network. The fledgling charity organization was founded to give people a chance to give back to those in times of need - in this case, those in the NICU - by donating and assembling useful items into gift bags.
24. New coordinator position ought to bolster schools' parent engagement
If MPS schools have been charged in the past with failing to properly engage parents, families and communities, that ought to change with the hiring at every school of a 30-hour para-professional whose job is to reach out to and collaborate with parents and the community.
25. German teachers association honors local schools and students
This afternoon, the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) released the results of their annual National German Exam. Of that group, 74 placed in the top 10 percent nationwide. Their high-marked performance earned the Gold Certificate on the exam, as well as qualified them for a paid four-week summer study trip to Germany. This year's winner was Hannah Doyle, a junior at Brookfield Academy.