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Brown Deer, Wisconsin: Remaking the Local Schools
In 2009, the village of Brown Deer, Wisconsin, formulated a comprehensive plan, the culmination of thousands of hours of work by hundreds of people in the community. Key stakeholders, village staff, and elected officials were identified and interviewed. Community workshops were organized and public comment was collected, before the plan was written and published. The new plan provided a clear distillation of the public’s priorities and vision for the future. Three themes relating directly to the welfare of the village’s children stood out clearly: education, diversity, and environmental sustainability.
In 2011, Brown Deer voters approved $22 million in new bonds to remake the educational system. Through the strategic planning process over 70 school community members explored the development of a cohesive, holistic vision for a shared future. They formulated an academic plan that enabled the district to create a 21st century culture of achievement accelerating the academic success for all of village children.
An Integrated Master Plan
The local board of education approved an integrated master campus plan that not only modernized and reconfigured efficient use of classroom space, connecting students to nature through the exposure to 60-plus acres of habitat, wildlife, plantings, and trees on our campus. Learning happens of classroom walls through the development of outdoor learning classrooms, spaces that encourage discovery and exploration, combination of hard and soft surfaces for walking/running trails and play spaces integrated to meet a variety of needs throughout the campus. The built environment is now seen as a learning tool, with the assumption that learning takes place anywhere and at any time on campus.
The effort to reimagine the schools was collaborative effort of parents, staff, Board of Education, Village Board, community groups, Granville-Brown Deer chamber, Milwaukee North Shore Rotary, business partners, and alumni. The master campus plan is a design that inspires and shapes the aspirations for our educational future. This project has created meaningful opportunities for the community to engage, invest in education, benefit from updated facilities and build lasting coalitions and partnerships for local children.