Bay View Lions Suspend 2018 South Shore Frolics Festival

October 24, 2017


Bay View Lions Cancel 2018 South Shore Frolics Festival

After 68 years, the South Shore Frolics, a Bay View, South Shore area, and city of Milwaukee tradition, is suspended for 2018 by the Bay View Lions Club, the organizer of the event.

The event, which began in 1948 as the South Shore Water Frolic in Bay View’s South Shore Park by the Inter-Organizational Council of Bay View, has happened every year since then, except 1993. Since 1995, the Bay View Lions Club has hosted the three-day free event featuring music, an art show, a classic car show, food, many family activities, a parade (until 2014), and their famous Frolics “atomic” fireworks to close each evening. The Frolics annually attracted 50,000-60,000 people, although it regularly attracted over 200,000 during its early decades.

Held the second full weekend of July, the one-year suspension, and possibly longer, leaves a summer entertainment void for thousands of attendees, including generations of families, who have witnessed it and grown-up with it.

“A number of our fixed costs continue to increase leaving us with no options except to suspend the Frolics for 2018,” said Bay View Lions Club president, Lyn Graziano. “Our basic costs from the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and Milwaukee County Parks, as well as outside vendors, have risen to the point where it is extremely difficult to produce a profit — any profit.

“The Frolics, the Bay View Lions Club’s largest annual fundraiser, has for three out of the last four years failed to be profitable. The lack of profitability from the Frolics has meant that the Bay View Lions Club doesn’t have the revenue it needs for its community support efforts and community projects. Further, the losses have hurt the Bay View Lions Club ability to sponsor disabled children to attend the Lions Camp, to support the Lions Leader Dog Program for the blind, as well as contribute to the Lions Disaster Relief programs. The Bay View Lions Club’s motto is “We Serve” and our mission is to help those in need locally in our community and also contribute to important causes throughout our state and nation.

“Further, the [public’s] uncertainty regarding the grand finale and its signature ‘blow-up-the-beach fireworks’ in the last two years has also adversely impacted the Frolics attendance and consequently its revenue. At times, it has been very difficult and frustrating to deal with the fireworks mandates initiated by the Milwaukee County Parks director,” noted Graziano.

“Despite having a current group of loyal and generous sponsors, the need for more permanent sponsorship remains a challenge to counterbalance rising costs. The South Shore Frolics has had an incredible 68-year run and put smiles on the faces of so many through the years. While we won’t close the door entirely for 2019 and beyond, we would need the public, local government officials, and business leaders to work together with us to help bring the event back. Questions that should be asked and answered: Does the Frolics, a free summer event in a Milwaukee County park, make Bay View, the south shore area, and city of Milwaukee a better place in the summer? Are the tens of thousands of people that attend this event every year from this area and city, as part of their summer, better off with the Frolics than without it?” asks Graziano.

“Only the public, local government representatives, county parks leaders, and business leaders will answer those questions through their support and actions, or lack of thereof. The Frolics are suspended for 2018. Unless they all answer in the affirmative and work with us, the Frolics will join the West Allis Western Days, the Circus Parade, RiverFest and other community festivals as former free summer events that are gone forever, and our community will be worse off for it,” concluded Graziano.


Flu Shots Offered at St. Ann Centers

October 1, 2017

St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is offering flu shots to the public in the center’s two medical clinics beginning on Oct. 2.

Flu vaccines will be available at the Stein Campus, 2801 E. Morgan Ave., Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from 9am-1pm.

They will be available at the Bucyrus
Campus, 2450 W. North Ave., Monday -Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm.

Medicare, Medicaid, or Humana insurance will cover the cost. For those without insurance, the flu shot cost is $25.

To make an appointment for a vaccination or for more information, contact Kathy Schumacher at the Stein Campus, 414-977-5022. At the Bucyrus Campus, contact Stephanie Ghojallu, 414-210-2430.

Serving the entire community, St. Ann Center’s community medical clinics treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries and offer preventative health exams. More info about the clinic:

Reward Offered for Return of Stolen Firefighter Sculpture

October 1, 2017

Allan Zehm served as a Milwaukee firefighter from 1967 to 1996, and in 2009, his daughter gave her dad a treasured Father’s Day gift to commemorate his long career. He was delighted to receive the sculpture that depicted a vintage firefighter.

Zehm placed the sculpture in his backyard where it resided until it was stolen in September.

The figure is about three feet tall and weighs 100 or more pounds. The firefighter
is sporting a large black mustache, and wearing a bright blue, knee-length coat with eight brass buttons and a gold belt. He is also wearing black boots and a red firefighter hat. His left arm is folded behind his back and the right arm holds a large brass fire hose nozzle.

Zehm is offering an award for information about its whereabouts or its return. If you have information about the sculpture, call the Milwaukee Police Department, 414-933-4444.

Bay View Art in the Park Completes Final Year

October 1, 2017

Bay View Art in the Park founder and organizer Brian Breider announced that he does not intend to continue presenting his annual Art in the Park art and craft show.

Founded in 2014, the event showcased the work of local painters, photographers, ceramic artists, jewelry-makers, and others. The show was held in Zillman Park in 2014 and 2015 and in Humboldt Park 2016 and 2017.

“This endeavor has always been a way for me support local artists and give to the community, however, I believe for it to flourish and evolve it needs more resources than I can provide. I have truly enjoyed meeting the many talented people throughout the years,” Breider said in his announcement about his decision to discontinue the event.

Earl Gutbrod Memorial and Life Celebration Oct. 22 

October 1, 2017

Earl Gutbrod, a long time resident of Bay View, died September 4, 2017.

Earl was born October 4, 1946. With endless curiosity and enthusiasm, Earl explored the world through a camera’s lens. An avid reader and collector, he had a focused eye for beauty and light, but it was his light-hearted sense of humor that often revealed itself in his best photos.

In 1966, Earl enlisted in the army and opted to join the Special Forces. He served as 1st Lieutenant in the Green Berets Airborne Division. During his tour in Vietnam, Earl led the indigenous Montagnard on offensives in the Central Highlands. He distinguished himself through his heroism and was awarded two Bronze Stars by both the United States and the Republic of South Vietnam. He returned home in 1969.

Earl was a big brother, uncle, and a special friend. As one great-nephew put it, “He was cool!”  Everyone’s favorite — Uncle Earl! He will be missed.

He retired from the United States Postal Service May 31, 2017.

Please join his longtime companion Joanne Charlton and the Gutbrod family in honoring and celebrating Earl’s life Sunday, Oct. 22, from 1-4pm at the South Shore Park Pavilion. His artistry and photography will be on display and we will all raise a glass to a generous and honorable man.

Everyone is welcome.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Bay View Historical Society in Earl’s name or for a memorial bench to be installed along the lakeshore.

—Carrie Gutbrod Herrera

Stop Sign for Burrell and Deer Intersection

October 1, 2017

Two stop signs will replace existing east/west yield signs at the intersection of East Deer Place at South Burrell Street near the Hide House in Bay View.

In response to residents’ pleas for better traffic control at the intersection, traffic engineers at the Milwaukee Department of Public Works determined that there were sufficient accidents to warrant a pair of stop signs. They reported that accidents at the intersection include one in 2013 and three so far in 2017.

The accidents included two bicyclists going west on Deer Place who disregarded the yield sign, a motorcyclist who was struck while driving drunk, and a crash involving a hit-and-run (likely stolen) automobile.

On September 26, the Common Council approved the measure to install the signs. Hours later, a DPW employee removed the yield signs and replaced them with stop signs.

Bay View Trick or Treat

October 1, 2017

The Bay View Halloween Trick or Treat event will take place from 5-8pm, Saturday, Oct. 28.

Come one, come all, you goblins, wizards, princesses, butterflies, bumblebees, superheroes, mummies, and zombies!

BVNA Pumpkin Pavilion Oct. 18 and 19

October 1, 2017

The Bay View Neighborhood Association’s 2017 Pumpkin Pavilion event will be held from 6-10pm at the Humboldt Park Pavilion, Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21.

The pumpkin carving will be held from 5-9pm Wednesday, Oct. 18 and Thursday, Oct. 19, also at the pavilion. Pumpkins will be provided by BVNA.

Everyone is encouraged to help carve the pumpkins Wednesday and Thursday!

The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. More info:

PAREN(T)HESIS — Access to Books

October 1, 2017

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

I think the Bay View neighborhood must have one of the highest densities of those small book giveaway spots called Little Free Libraries. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, think of a glorified birdhouse mounted on a post near a sidewalk, but filled with books. Once you know to look for them, you’ll spot them all around our neighborhood, including the fire station on Kinnickinnic Avenue. The “take a book, leave a book” concept fits the mindset here of neighborliness and the belief in thoughtfulness and literacy.

Little Free Libraries are open around the world and I was delighted to learn that the idea started in Wisconsin. Todd Bol of Hudson built a structure to trade books as a memorial tribute to his mother. He eventually teamed with Rick Brooks of Madison and Little Free Libraries began to spring up. The ones dotting Bay View are fascinating because the style and shape of them are unique — some even tricked out with interior lighting. Many include children’s books, and at least one has a dedicated children’s section. The Little Free Library site has a map with registered libraries, but it isn’t a true guide to those in Bay View. You’ll find many unregistered ones if you explore our streets.

Another popular way to get free books in our area is, of course, to use one of our traditional libraries. Bay View and Tippecanoe are within reach for most of us, and St. Francis and Cudahy are close. And Tippecanoe is now open on Saturdays! One of my favorite “mom tricks,” when our daughter was younger, was to visit the library website and use my card to request books be held at Central Drive-Up. This technique avoided getting a little one out of the car and then carrying her through a parking lot into a building, especially in winter. Children can also use their school library.

Next Door, a Milwaukee nonprofit that supports Milwaukee’s central city, reports that the number of books available to a child may surpass all other variables in predicting their long-term success in school. They operate a long-running Books for Kids program.

Given the abundance of books in Bay View and the importance of reading for scholastic success, it’s heartbreaking to know that the situation is very different in other neighborhoods. The creator or “steward” of a Little Free Library on North 45th Street mentions that she is in a desert of Little Free Libraries and that the public library is over a mile away and getting there requires crossing busy streets. The situation makes me want to send her a check or help in some way, even though I know it’s not a long-term solution.

Here is a list of a few of the area’s Little Free Libraries with ample
children’s books or with a children’s section.

  • Humboldt Park Elementary School, 3230 S. Adams Ave.
  • Milwaukee Fire Department, 2526 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • Private Home, 2785 S. Wentworth Ave.
  • South Shore Park (near playground), 2900 S. Shore Dr.

The author is a freelance writer and mother of one. Reach her with comments or suggestions at

HALL MONITOR — Don’t Make Milwaukee Lake Woebegon

October 1, 2017

By Jay Bullock

When Garrison Keillor retired from A Prairie Home Companion last year, his News from Lake Woebegon segment retired with him.

In that fictional Minnesota town, “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

It always drove me crazy when I heard that slogan. You simply can’t call everyone above average. Half of any group will always be below average. Average also has a specific meaning when describing academic

Last month I wrote about the mandates handed down to teachers from the Milwaukee Public Schools administration. One is to publicly post student scores from the STAR “universal screener” test, such as the percentile rank for every student.

Percentile rank shows, after Johnny takes the STAR, that Johnny reads or does math better than some percent of all students who take the test. If Johnny’s at the 80th percentile, he’s smarter than 80 percent of students his age. If Johnny’s at the 50th percentile he’s, well, average.

MPS uses percentile ranks to create “target” scores. Students can be above, at, or below the target based on their percentile rank.

You have perhaps guessed the punch line: To be “on target,” students must be well above average, at least in the 60th percentile for reading and at least in the 75th percentile in math. In fact, students can no longer be “above target” in math at all. A student scoring at the 100th percentile, better than pretty much any other child taking the STAR nationwide, is merely “on target.”

MPS told teachers these unrealistic targets will “better predict proficiency” on the state achievement tests — Wisconsin Forward Exam and ACT Aspire.
I hate to say it, but this almost makes sense, given the state’s massive recent shift of proficiency goalposts.

States started moving proficiency goalposts in the late 2000s as they realized that the 100 percent proficiency demanded by 2002’s “No Child Left Behind Act” was impossible.

Because states feared punitive measures for missing universal proficiency, they applied for waivers from the U.S. Department of Education. That process demanded states adopt stricter proficiency standards. In 2012, Wisconsin opted, like many other states, to use standards defined by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), or “the nation’s report card”.

This was a mistake.

We can debate whether Wisconsin’s previous proficiency standards were too high or too low, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) we were, again, average.

Since the switch, however, barely half of Wisconsin’s students score proficient or higher on annual state tests. Regardless of your opinion of MPS or public education in general, it is simply ridiculous to think half of Wisconsin kids can’t read or do math at grade level, especially when we continue to score well versus other states on measures like the ACT.

At the time of the shift, both NAEP and individual states used the word “proficient.” But they did not mean the same thing. States typically defined proficient as at grade level, a bit above average but not in the top tier. In other words, grades of A and B. Maybe a C+.

But NAEP called that same level of achievement “basic.” “Proficient was akin to a solid A,” according to Diane Ravitch, former NAEP board member and current education-reform skeptic.

NCES data show that before states started moving goalposts, not a single state’s definition of “proficient” met the NAEP standard of “proficient” in math. In reading, just a handful did.

When it began in the 1970s, NAEP didn’t label student achievement at all and only began to do so under pressure in the 1990s. The process of defining levels like basic or proficient was plagued by scandal. Repeated reviews, including one by the non-partisan General Accounting Office in 1993, declared NAEP measures of proficiency should not be used as a model
or reference point by anyone else.

But here we are, describing virtually every MPS student as “below target” because of those NAEP definitions.

Oh, come on, Jay, you say. Doesn’t the below target label light a fire under these kids?


In fact, recent research indicates that the more we tell underprivileged students they are failures, and that this failure is because of their own action (or inaction) rather than larger systemic issues, the more likely they are to see a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behavior.

We tell successful students, you know, the children in Lake Woebegon, or, in Milwaukee’s wealthier suburbs, that success comes from hard work and “grit.” Those students see no problem with that. They and their families are generally successful. The meritocracy is working as intended!

But a study published this summer in the journal Child Development reports that when told the same thing, struggling students attribute failure to their own flaws: I didn’t work hard enough, maybe, or I guess I don’t have grit. This leaves them less likely to bother trying because they internalize these messages and think they’ll just fail anyway.

In June the study’s lead author told The Atlantic “there’s this element of people think of me this way anyway, so this must be who I am.”

Yes, student effort does affect student achievement. But decades of research shows the best predictor of achievement is not “grit” but the zipcode children are born in. Centuries of American segregation and economic inequality weigh more heavily than grit on MPS students’ achievement.

Neither my students nor I can fix segregation and economic inequality. Why, then, force my students to feel that much more marginalized? I am not asking we lie; students below grade level should be identified and helped to improve.

But we should also be able to tell our grade-level students that they’re successful, rather than telling them they are “below target.” Don’t try to make Milwaukee Lake Woebegon.

Jay Bullock teaches English at Bay View High School. Email him at

Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part 1

October 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. South Kinnickinnic Avenue, Bay View’s Main Street, is a focal point.

A three-part report that takes a look at property ownership and value on Bay View’s Main Street

There is a building boom in Bay View. The flurry of development is concentrated on Kinnickinnic Avenue, with two exceptions. Those are the Hide House Lofts, 2615 S. Greeley, and the massive Stitchweld apartment complex just west of Kinnickinnic.

The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. (The complex was later renamed Urban View.) There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units.


The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units. PHOTO Katherine Keller

In 2010, the Hide House Lofts were completed. Composed of 60 affordable-housing units, the north portion of an old industrial building was demolished to make way for the development.

The construction of the Dwell retail/apartments development on Kinnickinnic and Conway Street was completed in 2012. Seventy apartments perch above the street-level retail space. A small commercial building (Lone Feather), an apartment building that resembled row houses, and several homes were razed.

Scott Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic, last year, adding 14 apartments above the first story retail space.

This cottage is the oldest structure along the 2000-2400 stretch of South Kinnickinnic. City records indicate it was built in 1840. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The massive Stitchweld development occupies a triangular parcel bound by Ward Street, Robinson Avenue, and railroad tracks. While parts of the project are still under construction, the first of the 288 apartments are now occupied. A segment of the parcel was the site of the original Harnischfeger company, whose owners manufactured mining equipment and invented the electric crane. That building was razed, as well as several others, including two adjoined buildings that housed Sweet Water Organics aquaponics briefly, before it went out of business.

There are a number of dilapidated structures, such as these two buildings north of Café Lulu that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The Vue is currently under construction at the southeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Ward Street on the site of the former Faust Music buildings. Prior to Faust, the buildings were the home of the Stollenwerk hardware store and warehouse. Vue will offer street-level retail and four stories above it that will house 69 apartments.

Another mixed-use development will be constructed on the former Hamburger Mary’s site on the southeast corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. The development will include first-story retail space and 144 apartments in the five stories above. The existing one-story building, once the site of a gas station that was succeeded by a series of hamburger restaurants, will be razed, as well as two duplexes and a cottage on Archer Avenue.

Including Vue, 666 new units have been added to Bay View’s housing stock since 2005.

What’s next?

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. Where?

The land and building that host the diminutive Tradewinds art supply store was assessed at $500 about 15-20 years ago, said owner Edward Herbert, Jr. It was assessed at $87,000 in 2017. PHOTO Katherine Keller

A site with good potential to be the next development is directly north of Hamburger Mary’s on the corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic. Currently, Oasis Coffee and Tradewinds are located there.

Catherine Rohde owns three parcels that border the east side of Kinnickinnic that are bounded by Stewart and Bay streets. She has placed her parcels on the market and said there’s interest in the property but there’s a hitch.

She doesn’t own the notch of land on the corner of Stewart and Kinnickinnic, where the Tradewinds art supply building resides. Edward Herbert, Jr. owns that parcel.

Rohde and Herbert are both willing to sell but to date haven’t received compelling offers. Selling both parcels is complicated because a buyer must negotiate with both Rohde and Herbert.

Rohde said she’s received offers that were enticing but Herbert’s minimum price quelled potential buyers’ enthusiasm.

Herbert agreed. He said there is active interest in his property and he’s willing to sell, but he hasn’t received “a decent offer.” Referencing the spike in property value on Kinnickinnic, he said, “Fifteen or 20 years ago my property was assessed at $500. Now it’s $90,000.”

Kinnickinnic Avenue possesses is an eclectic array of buildings — commercial and residential. There are 15 private homes in the 2000 – 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Amazon, he said, is killing his retail art supply business so he’s prepared to sell. Herbert will not reestablish his business after he finds a buyer for his property.

The empty lots, 2557-2563 S. Kinnickinnic, adjacent to Alchemist Theatre, could be the site of another apartment development. The Journal Sentinel reported that Scott Genke of SK Property Development, LLC, purchased the empty lots in 2016 for $500,000. At that time each was assessed at $16,900. Last year Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., adding 14 apartments (King Lofts) above the street-level retail space.

What other properties might attract development?

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

Russell Chicks owns a swath of residential properties, 2131-2151 S. Kinnickinnic. They’re just south of the American Estates (antiques) building that was sold to KK 2133, LLC. Shirley Konopsky is the registered agent. She told the Compass that she is Tim Olson’s aunt. Olson owns numerous properties in Milwaukee.

The (former) Shogun Tattoo building, 2208-2210 is for sale. It abuts the Vue development.

There are two properties adjacent to Razor barbershop. One is vacant and there is a single, one-story building on the other that resembles an old machine shop or garage. City records indicate Leto owns his barbershop building and the empty lot. He is listed as the registered agent for the one-story building.

There are also a number of dilapidated structures such as the two buildings north of Café Lulu, the tiny little one-story building on the southwest corner of KK and Smith St. that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK.

This chart lists the ownership and assessed value of the properties located on the 2000 to 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and a small section of South Howell Avenue. Addresses, built-dates, ownership, and assessment values were found in the City of Milwaukee Assessor’s records. Read Part 2 of this report.


Bay View Schools Cultivate Agriculture and Nutrition Know-how

October 1, 2017

By Sheila Julson

The aquaponics and greenhouse lab at Fernwood Montessori produce 10 to 15 pounds of fresh produce a week. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Over the last decade, elementary and high schools throughout Milwaukee and the nation have begun installing gardens and greenhouses that are employed as a multifaceted teaching tool. In addition to getting fresh air and gaining access to nutritious food, students gain fundamental garden skills and learn about sustainable food systems, nutrition, botany, and life skills.

A number of Bay View schools have agricultural programs in their curriculum and raised bed gardens on their grounds. Two have aquaponics labs. The Compass contacted the neighborhood’s schools and here is what we learned from those who responded to our request for information about the neighborhood schools’ ag and nutrition programs.

Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts
2969 S. Howell Ave.
Erin Dentice, agricultural program coordinator

Through Dentice’s efforts, Parkside has formed a partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin to study how nutrition education has a positive effect on students — specifically on behavioral referrals, self-
efficacy, confidence, and body mass index.

Erin Dentice is leading the ag and nutrition pilot program at Parkside School for the Arts. PHOTO JENNIFER KRESSE

Members of the partnership have initiated a pilot this fall that involves two classrooms that Dentice visits as a mentor, for 45 minutes each week. She teaches the students about nutrition and enhances her lessons with hands-on activities. Additionally, Parkside parents will be offered culinary arts classes.

The parents of the children receiving Dentice’s nutrition education will be invited
to the school to learn about nutrition and to cook with local chefs using fresh and nutrient-dense ingredients.

Dentice was given access to two hoop houses (formerly used by Growing Power) on the grounds of the public gardens near Sixth and Norwich streets and is working with local community members to renovate them.

The hoop houses will be incorporated into the Parkside program in January. Staff and students who are growing fresh food year-round in the raised beds and in the recently finished aquaponics lab, will also grow in the hoop houses.

Dentice is applying for grants to fund the work in both the 2017-2018 fall and spring semesters.

How did the gardens get started, and by whom?

Dentice: I started the gardens in 2013 when the schools merged, as a thank you to the teachers for their amazing work, and as a way to welcome the community, as our neighbors were not aware that we had moved into the Fritsche building. Tippecanoe and Dover merged that year, moving from their former buildings into the
Gustav A. Fritsche Middle School building, after that program moved to and merged with Bay View High School.

I continue to coordinate classroom projects. Teachers come to me with ideas about what they’d like to plant. I manage the gardens with the Parkside Garden Club, a group of parent and community volunteers, who help to ensure the gardens are tended to.

Who maintains the garden during summer when school’s not in session? 

The garden club.

Strawberries are grown by Parkside School’s K5 students. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

How do you decide what to plant?

Every year the teachers sign up for the gardens and either continue with an ongoing theme or start a new project. We have a Hunger
Task Force garden, a K5 strawberry patch (for friendship salad), and a second-grade beet garden, which is part of a special partnership with Urban Beets Café & Juicery. We also have an aquaponics lab at the school.

We have planted a bumper crop and will utilize it along with food grown in the aquaponics lab. As we learned through our community forums, it is key that what is learned in the classroom is carried into the home as well. Parent buy-in sets the program up for success.

We share our harvest with Bay View High School. The chefs that work in their culinary arts program use our harvest for hands-on cooking with the students there. And to foster and support recruitment within the community, our students are visiting BVHS’s innovation lab for a sampling of these classes, as well. We have partnerships with local cafés and we donate to soup kitchens.

How much do the kids participate? 

The children do everything from brainstorming and sketching their own gardens to suggesting what to grow, starting seedlings in the aquaponics lab, turning over the soil outside, adding manure prior to planting, planting, and watering the seedlings.

Howard Avenue Montessori
357 E. Howard Ave.
Jen Kubacki, parent coordinator

Who started the garden? When and why? 

Kubacki: The perennial garden was created
during the 2013-14 school year by a group of dedicated parents. The purpose of the garden is to support the Montessori botany curriculum. We added a compost container two years ago. Children collect vegetable and fruit waste as part of their daily jobs.

The raised garden beds were put in late 2015 as a dedicated space for vegetable growing.

The perennial garden at Howard Avenue Montessori is part of the school’s botany curriculum. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

What kinds of flowers are grown in the garden? Was it designed for rainwater retention?

It was designed to enhance the Montessori botany curriculum and beautify our property. Because it was a volunteer effort and donation driven, we planted what we received. We have coreopsis from a neighbor, daylilies from Wild Peach restaurant, a butterfly bush from a parent, purple cornflower, hostas, and more. We look for a variety of plants with different leaf shapes to help the students identify and classify flowers into the different species and plant families.

Why do you grow primarily garlic, and will you gradually grow more produce in the gardens?

Last year, Dave Kozlowski from Pinehold Gardens taught a lesson about garlic to our students. Garlic is such a great plant to learn about. The kids took the bulbs apart and planted the individual cloves. Dave showed the children how to use his special hand spade to plant the garlic at the proper depth. In addition, the kids measured how far apart to plant each clove. In late spring, we watched the green shoots, waiting for the garlic to scape. We learned that you must cut off the scape for the plant to send energy to the bulb. My favorite day was when we cut off the scapes during recess and the kids tasted them. Some thought it was too strong, but some loved it!

We will gradually grow more produce in the garden.

How much do the kids participate? 

As much as the teachers have time to dedicate to botany lessons.

What do you do with the harvest?

We have only had the beds for a full school year. We haven’t had a harvest yet, but our goal is for the students to grow and use the produce for snack time.

Next year, Howard will expand to the Dover School building. We are in the process of applying for a green infrastructure grant. It is our hope to make our Dover campus a model for green infrastructure and gardening.

Who maintains the garden during summer?

Howard has a summer camp. The camp incorporates maintaining the beds into its curriculum with the students.

Bay View High School
2751 S. Lenox St.
Roxanne Ciatti, special education teacher

Ciatti teaches special education students and her program focuses on functional
applications for all academic subjects.  “While my students follow an alternate curriculum, they are challenged to apply their skills to real world activities. The students are responsible for maintaining the school compost bins. When the teacher who maintained the gardens left, they were unused for a few years. The students, Mrs. Kazik (a member of the classroom staff), and I started talking about planting a garden to supplement our meal preparation activities,” she said.

In addition to the garden, several students helped to create painted wood garden
row markers with materials donated by Mrs. Katrina Kazik and her husband, Charlie, a Milwaukee firefighter.

Bay View High School students grew zucchini, yellow squash, turnips, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, peas, green beans, kohlrabi and lettuce in their raised bed garden plots. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Who started the garden? 

Roxanne Ciatti: The students in my classes started the garden. The raised beds were built several years ago with volunteers from Sweetwater Organics and a former biology teacher.
The reason that my students and I decided to plant the beds is because they had been dormant and were becoming weed beds.

We did not plant until late in May due to the rain and cool weather earlier in spring.

How do you decide what to plant?  

Dawn Riegel from the Garden District Neighborhood Association donated packages of several types of seeds for the
students. The students then researched which seeds could be planted together and plotted out the five raised beds that have three rows, with different seeds in each row.

What did you grow this season?

We planted zucchini, yellow squash, turnips, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, peas, green beans, kohlrabi, and lettuce — all of which grew well. We also planted parsnips, peppers, and pumpkin. Unfortunately, none of those grew.

How much do the kids participate?

The students cleaned out the gardens, plotted and dug the rows, planted the seeds, and used ground cover to decrease weeds. They weeded and watered until school was out for summer break. Since they returned this fall, the students have been weeding, harvesting, and cleaning out the garden.

Who maintains the garden during summer?

Katrina Kazik and I maintained the garden over the summer. We tried to use water from the rain barrels as much as possible, although Mr. Kevin Brown, school engineer, did provide us access to the hose, if needed.

What do you do with the harvest?

We distributed some of the vegetables to school staff members who were working over the summer. Katrina and I froze many of the vegetables we harvested to use during the school year. When the students returned, they also processed and froze vegetables they picked. Our plan is to use the vegetables in our cooking activities during the school year. The students will learn from a real world experience how food goes from the garden to the table.

Downtown Montessori Academy
2507 S. Graham St.
Sara Vondrachek, lower elementary teacher

Who started the garden? Why and when?

Sara Vondrachek: Downtown Montessori is a recognized Green and Healthy School by the state of Wisconsin. The gardens were started as an initiative of our school’s green team. This team consists of parents and a teacher representative.

Who is in charge?

The green team is in charge of the gardens.

How do you decide what to plant?

We try to plant a variety of things — perennials, annuals, and vegetables that can be harvested in early spring, throughout the summer, and a few things that can be harvested in the fall.

Downtown Montessori is a recognized Green and Healthy School by the state of Wisconsin. Its student gardens were started as an initiative of the school’s green team. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

What did you grow this season? 

We grew carrots, potatoes, corn, beans,
onions, tomatoes, bok choy, and a variety of herbs.

How much do the kids participate?

The kids helped plant everything. They weed the gardens and harvest the food.

Who maintains the garden during summer?

Our school runs a summer camp and the students that attend summer camp maintain the gardens, along with the summer camp staff.

What do you do with the harvest?

Some examples of what they used the veggies for this past year include green salads, potato salad, and fried green tomatoes. The kids also love to nibble on chives and other things during recess. The gardens are also used for studies in botany.

Fernwood Montessori School
3239 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Matt Ray, adolescents teacher (Grades 7 and 8)

This school year, Matt Ray and 120 Fernwood Montessori students maintained
an aquaponics lab located on the school grounds. Ray has held an interest in aquaponics since he was first introduced to the indoor food growing system in 1996. Realizing that aquaponics can be a quintessential learning tool, he applied for grants to install a four-season greenhouse and aquaponics system at Fernwood. The system was constructed in 2007.

Fernwood also maintains an extensive outdoor container garden and a rain garden.

The greenhouse and aquaponics system at Fernwood Montessori provides 260 square feet of growing space for plants and 2,600 gallons of water where perch are grown. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Tell us about Fernwood’s greenhouse and aquaponics system.

Matt Ray: The greenhouse itself and all of its products are produced by the aquaponics system. It provides 260 square feet of growing space and 2,600 gallons of water. It’s the largest system that students operate in the city, or even in Wisconsin, for that matter. It’s also the most productive, and it is the result of the most up-to-date information, in terms of aquaponics farming. I’ve focused my extracurricular activity as well as my professional activity on this greenhouse project.

It produces 10 to 15 pounds of fresh produce a week. We service several restaurants in the Bay View area on a weekly delivery basis. Aside from life sciences, stewardship, and water studies, we also operate it as a micro economy. The students really get involved, each to their individual level of interest. Some students want to harvest, some want to do just bookkeeping. Others are interested in marketing — coming up with a brand or logo, and some just run tours.

What are some of the other benefits for students?

It ties in with Montessori education, which consists of very real life, hands-on exploratory principles that work into the Montessori system. Aquaponics is perfect for the older child, age 12 or 13, who is ready to move outside the classroom and start applying all the work they’ve done, so this is a natural extension of that. It’s perfect for the students because they’ve been primed. They have studied life sciences since K3, so they’re the ideal population to get involved with food systems.

Aquaponics is the quintessential teaching tool all rolled into one — food systems, cultural studies, botany, biology, business and finance, and health and nutrition.

What does the aquaponics system produce?

Through research and development, we’ve selected certain seeds that do best in aquaponics systems. We collected types of plants that grow best in water. From there, we went with what’s most nutritious, so we grow pretty much just the super foods (Toscano kale, Swiss chard, green- and red-veined sorrel). We have about 300 perch, and we have a research relationship with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, which is where we get our perch.

Who maintains this extensive system, especially when school is not in session?

It runs 365 days a year and has not shut down since April 2007. It has to be checked three times daily. The students became involved recently and stepped up more during this past summer to maintain it. I care for it, whether it’s on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day.

Cherry tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, pumpkins, red cabbage, raspberries, sweet peppers, and potatoes were grown in Fernwood’s raised beds this summer. A rain garden was created
to absorb organic discharge from its aquaponics system. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

What do you do with the outdoor garden?

It’s for seasonal growing, and it also acts as part of a waste management system. If you’re going to operate aquaponics, you’re going to have residuals, but we release zero discharge into the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewage District (MMSD). We run water
waste into outdoor containers, next to the greenhouse. We have a 1,000-square-foot rain garden.

During the summer months, Fernwood runs a summer camp and all of these children at summer camp get involved with the garden. They water it and all of the food grown outside in these containers goes home with children for free. That’s where we’re promoting the healthy food choice; you get in, get your hands dirty, and take this food home for free. Last year the harvest was substantial, over 600 pounds of produce that went home to Fernwood camp families. Now we’re starting the harvest and it all goes to the kids. With the greenhouse products, 100 percent is marketed.