Category Archives: Uncategorized

MPS hosts German band, invites area schools

Students from 15 area schools visited Milwaukee School of Languages on November 9 to experience a concert by the German band Einshoch6. The band, based in Munich, Germany, is touring the Midwest and Eastern U.S. for a total of 18 concerts, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Milwaukee concert provided a unique opportunity for students enrolled in German language courses to hear German music performed by native speakers.  For the full article click here.

Congratulations to MSL’s 8th grade German students!

German Exam Award Winners

8th Grade Students Level 3 AATG National German Exam Award Winners

Congratulations to MSL’s 8th grade German students! They took the Level 3 AATG National German Exam and many of our students ranked well in Wisconsin.
Congratulations to MSL’s highest Gold Award and ranked students: Anja Arnhold, Merce Fernandez, Grayham Grimes, Dylan Lascelle, Boyd Obermeier and Sven Mattheis!

Out of 280 students that took the exam in Wisconsin, Anja Arnhold took 1st place!!

Congratulations to Silver Award winners: Marcus Bernard, Ian Bjork, Paighten Smith, Lauren Meyer, Alex Robinson, Angie Thomas, and Jayden Smith.

Congratulations to Bronze Award winners:  Jasmine Graf and Cyncere Culbreath

We are so proud of you!

Milwaukee School of Languages, named among the 10 best high schools in Wisconsin

Milwaukee School of Languages, named among the 10 best high schools in Wisconsin in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report, offers language immersion programs in German, French, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. MPS elementary language immersion graduates enter our full immersion program in Grade 6. Students (Grade 6) from other schools may apply to our partial Spanish immersion programs. Students continue their second language studies until graduation. This unique program produces advanced levels of foreign language proficiency, translating into advanced standing in college. Art, music and physical education classes are offered at all grade levels as well as other elective classes. Advanced Placement courses are offered in 11 subjects.

CBS 58 News Video

Milwaukee School of Languages was one of Wisconsin’s top spots on this year’s Washington Post list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” – those that are best in the nation at challenging their students to achieve through college-level exams.

Milwaukee School of Languages

2 MPS schools among state’s first to earn new AP diploma program

2 MPS schools among state’s first to earn new AP diploma program

As more MPS students are taking AP and IB courses, ‘AP Capstone’ college prep program coming to Golda Meir, Milw. School of Languages

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Schools’ Golda Meir School and Milwaukee School of Languages are among the first schools in Wisconsin to earn the right to participate in a new Advanced Placement diploma program.

The AP Capstone program includes two new AP courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – that allow students to explore topics they are interested in while developing college-level analytic, research, problem-solving and communications skills.

Students who earn a score of “3” or higher on those two AP exams — as well as four other AP exams — earn the AP Capstone Diploma™.

“Our students want and deserve access to college-level courses and the new AP Capstone program is one way for us to deliver that as we expand the number of students participating in AP and International Baccalaureate classes throughout MPS,” Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said.

MPS has grown the number of students taking AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme classes to more than 4,000 for the current school year, up from about 3,200 just two years ago. Expanding access to these rigorous courses is part of MPS’ “Rethinking High Schools” strategic objective.

MPS is home to 20 high schools with Advanced Placement courses, nine schools with middle and high school grades offering pre-Advanced Placement “SpringBoard” coursework and seven schools with International Baccalaureate programs, ranging from elementary school through high school.

The AP Capstone program will debut at Golda Meir School and Milwaukee School of Languages for the 2016-17 school year.

To learn more about these or any other MPS schools, visit

Photos: MPS’ Golda Meir School

Top German consular official visiting MPS’ Milwaukee School of Languages

Top German consular official visiting MPS’ Milwaukee School of Languages

Herbert Quelle will visit the grade 6-12 language immersion school to honor students, share info about language diploma program; MSL is Wisconsin’s only school to offer it

MILWAUKEE – Germany’s top consular official in the Midwest will visit Milwaukee Public Schools’ Milwaukee School of Languages on March 15 to tout the accomplishments of the school’s students on a German-language diploma program and share more information with families about it.

Milwaukee School of Languages, MPS’ language immersion school for students in grades 6-12, is the only school in Wisconsin to offer the diploma program. Students who pass both levels of the diploma program show they have the language skills to study at a German university.

Chicago-based German Consul General Herbert Quelle will honor 12 students who have already passed the first level of the diploma program and another 11 who participated from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in the library at MSL, 8400 W. Burleigh Street, Milwaukee 53222. Media are invited and welcome to attend.

“We are honored to host Consul General Quelle as we recognize our students and invite families to take part in this unique program,” MSL Principal Yvette Martel said. “We are proud to offer a strong, rigorous pathway for students from MPS’ language immersion elementary schools as well as the opportunity for other students to join us for partial immersion programs.”

Milwaukee School of Languages ranked 20th in Wisconsin on the Washington Post’s 2015 list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” and was ranked the 12th best high school in the state in 2014 by U.S. News and World Report.

For more information about MSL or any other MPS school, visit

Photo: Students at Milwaukee School of Languages

Siggi Piwek, MGIS Teacher awarded the 2016 Wisconsin Foreign Language Teacher of the Year.

2016 Piwek SiggiSiggi Piwek
Milwaukee German Immersion School

My personal statement on the value of learning language and culture

My daily interaction with students is shaped by my general beliefs about teaching and learning, and my philosophy of teaching a World language is a refinement of these general beliefs. Among my most valued general beliefs are:

  • Even though students learn concepts and skills in a variety of academic areas in my classroom, I am first and foremost a teacher of children, and not of subjects.
  • Every student can learn although they have different talents, and progress at their own pace. It is my responsibility as their teacher to make knowledge useful to my learners by helping them make connections between what they already know, new concepts and skills, and the world around them.
  • While a scope and sequence is important for me to keep in mind, so that I teach what I am supposed to and pace instruction accordingly, I have to also make the curriculum for my students’ needs and interests.
  • I will only be successful as a teacher, if my students are successful as learners. Thus, I am responsible to create learning experiences at which they can be successful.
  • My students will only put forth their best efforts, if they know the purpose of learning something, how it helps them make sense of the world, and if they know that I am invested in their learning and success.

Among the specific beliefs about World language teaching that I hold dear are:

  • Learning at least one foreign language is no longer a nice add-on for affluent school districts and their students, but a necessity for all students, since they are increasingly competing for the jobs of the future with highly qualified and well-rounded peers from around the world.
  • Developing language proficiency and cultural competence need to go hand in hand. Thus, whenever feasible, I incorporate topics and methods in my instructions that go beyond learning about language concepts and the target culture’s products, such as foods, but instead try to create learning experiences that help my students understand the reasons for certain cultural practices, and the perspectives underlying these practices.
  • Learning a foreign language at any age is possible and beneficial. However, students have the greatest chance to develop native-like communication skills in another language, if they begin their foreign language studies in early childhood and continue them through high school and beyond. I have been raising awareness of our quality foreign language programs through presentations to the business community. I also encourage students to continue their German studies beyond minimum foreign language requirements. For this purpose, I have created and organizing exhibits related to Women’s soccer, and German history for middle and high school students to interact with, so that students experience their language and cultural education as both useful and relevant.
  • As the concept of national identity has become less meaningful due to people from many different language and cultural backgrounds living and working together in many European countries, I have found more and more opportunities to relate the target culture and that “human experience” to my own students’ diverse backgrounds. Based on my classroom experience, even students at a young age have the capacity to understand the challenges of belonging to a minority culture. Topics like this address their interests, and provide a rich and authentic context for learning a World language.
  • Finally, learning a foreign language is a worthwhile pursuit for the joy of being able to relate to people from different cultures. However, students are often motivated to learn it for pragmatic reasons, such as furthering one’s career prospects. Thus, I have been very interested in integrating the so-called STE(A)M subjects in my German language instruction, and have even co-authored a AATG publication on integrating German and the environmental sciences for middle/high school teachers.

In my opinion, learning any foreign language is critical to any young individual, since the problem-solving and other skills developed in learning it, make it easier to learn additional ones, and the skills acquired also transfer to other academic disciplines. Apart from the benefits accruing to individual students, there is also an often forgotten benefit to our society and the larger world. When thinking about that, a quote from Nelson Mandela comes to my mind: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Learning a foreign language is a great opportunity that should be available to all to engage in a heart-to-heart talk to create a more peaceful world.

MSL Students Score Big on 2015 AATG National German Exam

Milwaukee School of Languages- Test Level 3 and 4 AATG National German Exam Results

Congratulations to MSL’s German students! Students in grade 8 took the level 3 AATG National German Exam, while students in grades 9 – 12 took the level 4 exam. Many of our students ranked extremely well. Among the 239 students in Wisconsin who took the exams, MSL had 57 award winners, 8 of whom ranked in the top 10 scores. Much of this is thanks to our excellent German Program teachers: Frau Fetting, Frau Lohmann, Frau Morgan, and Frau Nill.

Congratulations to our award-winning students! You make us proud!

To see a list of award winners, please click here: 2015 AATG National German Exam Results

Maciver Institute Report

Maciver Logo

New Report Cards Show Most Milwaukee Schools Still Struggling

by Christian D’Andrea
MacIver Institute Education Policy Analyst

The 2013-14 Wisconsin School Report Cards have been released, and only one district in the state earned a “Fails to Meet Expectations” grade. That was Milwaukee, where 47 schools fell below the 53-point cutoff for a passing grade in the third year of the state’s measurements. More than one in three MPS schools failed to meet Wisconsin standards during the prior school year…

This was the third year that data was reported for the state’s School Report Cards. These grades are based on student performance in grades 3-10 in four different categories. Those are: student achievement, student growth, closing gaps, and postsecondary readiness. Schools are also subject to deductions from their overall score if they fail to meet state benchmarks for attendance, test participation, and dropout rates…

The only school in the city that was given the equivalent of an “A” grade – a score of 83 or higher – came from Milwaukee’s independent 2R charters. The Downtown Montessori Academy earned a score of 84.7 for 2013-14. That number was 3.7 points higher than the next closest school, the Milwaukee German Immersion School [emphasis added].

Report Cards

While the German Immersion School’s 2014 score was a bright spot for traditional MPS schools [emphasis added], the school’s performance was far from a common occurrence in the district. Only 4.5 percent of the district’s schools earned “A” or “B” grades…

Full Article here.

International Expert Workshop: STEM Subjects

STEM-Subjects-WorkshopInternational Expert Workshop for German as a Foreign Language for the STEM Subjects

Herr Piwek, an MGIS teacher, was invited to participate in an international expert workshop at the Universität Leipzig in Germany this summer. He was one of 43 teachers from the U.S. , Germany, and Switzerland who discussed how to connect the teaching of the German language with the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the so-called STEM subjects.
It is estimated that there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in the United States in STEM-related occupations by 2015, but that there will be too few qualified college graduates to fill these careers. By encouraging our students to develop interests in these subjects together with their German language skills, we not only help the United States to remain globally competitive, but also provide them with the foundations for a fulfilling and rewarding career.
This symposium was a first step to learn about cross-curricular approaches, the foundations of teaching and learning, materials, and assessments of STEM subjects in a German language program. Herr Piwek facilitated a section on learning materials at this workshop, and he is grateful for the support the German Immersion Foundation provided to partially pay for his participation in this professional learning opportunity.

Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik Teacher Training Seminar

I attended the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik Teacher Training Seminar in Portland, OR from July 23-31, 2014 with help from the German Immersion Foundation. The theme of the seminar was “Teaching and learning German through Play”, and through this professional development opportunity, I was able to learn many new games and teaching strategies to bring back to Milwaukee German Immersion with me.  The seminar allowed me to network with German language instructors from other parts of the country. I was also able to speak highly of Milwaukee German Immersion and Milwaukee School of Languages by explaining how the students learn German through the immersion process.

DSaP teacher group

The entire seminar was conducted immersion style, and we spoke only German the entire time we were on campus. Over the week I was there, I learned different role playing games, cooperative learning games, and ways to incorporate these games and activities into my everyday instruction.  All of us in the seminar learned new games from each other, as well as our instructor, and we now have many new resources for our MGIS classrooms.

Thanks to the German Immersion Foundation for providing me with the means to take advantage of this wonderful professional development opportunity!