By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 01, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Milwaukee Public Schools, in collaboration with the City of Milwaukee, in conjunction with the Milwaukee Promise Zones, UW-Milwaukee School of Education, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, announced a new early childhood education initiative Thursday morning at Gwen T. Jackson School, 2121 W. Hadley St.

The focus of the initiative includes:

  • Ensuring every Milwaukee family has access to high-quality childcare
  • Improving MPS early literacy scores
  • Increasing state reimbursement rates for day care centers
  • Leveraging resources to ensure a high-quality learning experience from day care to school

"As a community, we must answer the question of how we are positively influencing each of those first five years in every child in the city," said MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley, referencing research that suggests that 95 percent of brain development occurs in the first five years of life.

"A child does not create the conditions and opportunities that he or she is born into – as a community, we do and we can change those conditions. Building a strong foundation sets the stage for ambitious instruction."

A statement issued by the district notes that MPS and city government "are joining together to build on past momentum and push forward. The City of Milwaukee has hired a qualified individual (Dea Wright) to help spearhead early childhood literacy work. MPS is working with child care partners to see how Milwaukee can create consistency of high-quality learning experiences from birth-to-5 that improves literacy but also supports social (and) emotional development."

The Common Council established the Office of Early Childhood Initiatives in 2017 and its director reports to City Librarian Paula Kiely.

Posley was joined by State Sen. LaTonya Johnson, Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Ald. Cavalier Johnson at the press conference.

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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.