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                                           A School With Lots of Character

Capitol West Academy (CWA), a 4K-8 neighborhood school at 88th and Capitol Drive recently was named a State School of Character by the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership.  Although this is the first time CWA received this particular honor, the school previously has been recognized four times at the state level and twice at the national level for having promising practices in character education.

Building character is what CWA does, every day.  Each morning all the students begin their day by pledging "I am proud to be a CWA student.  Today is a new day to take charge of my education.  At CWA I will value everyone's opportunity to learn by living the following:  respect, responsibility, honesty, achievement."

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The school's mascot is the wildcat, and all students are involved in "prides."  Kids of different ages get together monthly in their pride to complete projects that stress cooperation, character building and concern for others.  Often their projects are brought to a nearby nursing home where students interact with the residents, many of whom are elderly and frail.
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Peer Mediation group CWA-3  The school has a Peer Mediation group, and the middle school students in it recently won a $1,000 grant from the Department of Public Instruction to fund multiple efforts to help students resolve conflict and prevent bullying.  CWA recently had "No Name-Calling Week," with daily activities that were fun and drove home an important message.


This year, CWA's theme is "the extra degree," bulletin boards and staff shirts bear messages reading "212 degrees."  The idea is that, at 211 degrees, water is hot; at 212, it boils and creates steam which can power a train.  The question for students is:  Where will you put in the extra degree, that extra effort to experience positive results?  Recently, the kids filled out and posted 212 degree cards on a big bulletin board indicating efforts from teachers or fellow students that illustrated going the extra degree.  Responses ran from, "She helped me with my homework" to "He picked me up when I fell down in the snow."
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CWA stresses academic rigor and recently was ranked 7th out of 72 that University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools' K-8 schools on the 2012-13 Department of Public Instruction's School Report Card. One of the ways CWA achieves academic success is through its daily "passport" communication system.  Understanding that parental involvement is a critical element to academic success, CWA sends students home with their passports every night .  The passports must be signed and returned to ensure that parents always know what and how their children are doing in school.

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CWA has great overall success with parental involvement, boasting 100% attendance at parent-teacher conferences.  Parents are active and involved with the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) that offers guidance on school matters and plans fun activities such as Bagels for Beauties and Donuts for Dad.

Parents consistently give CWA high marks in satisfaction surveys the school conducts twice a year.  A typical comment is: "The teachers go over and above just normal everyday learning and that helps me because it gives me different ways to help my child at home."  What more could a school want?

For more information on Capitol West Academy, please visit their website at http://www.cwacademy.org/.