By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 24, 2021 at 8:53 AM

Highland Community School, 1706 W. Highland Blvd., a parent-led Milwaukee Public School Montessori charter school, will break ground on an expansion of its 1967 building on Wednesday.

The school – a pioneer in Montessori education in Milwaukee, founded in 1968, and the city's first charter school in 1996 – will add a three-story $1.8 million expansion with 3,820 square feet, including a pair of new adolescent classrooms, a secure entrance with a relocated main office, a two-story lobby and greeting space, an outdoor teaching garden on the roof, and new prairie and rain garden landscaping around the entrance.

Highland Community SchoolX
Highland Community SchoolX

The addition – which will fill the northwester corner of the cross-shaped building – was designed by Korb & Associates Architects.

Construction is expected to be completed before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.  

Highland moved into and later purchased the former MacDowell Montessori School building when MPS moved that program and expanded it at the former Juneau High School in 2012.

“Highland is growing just like our students. Our Adolescent program is increasing in size to account for all students who would like to stay at Highland through 8th grade,” said Highland’s executive director Tracy Williams.

Highland Community SchoolX
Highland Community SchoolX

“This expansion is not just for our older students. It will affect all of our students, staff, and families. With this addition, we will be able to offer more wraparound programming, especially after school. Students will be cared for by staff who know them as individuals. As a school leader and parent, I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Students, staff and board members will symbolically break ground at 1 p.m. Wednesday to launch the construction.

Information on fundraising efforts can be found at

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.