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February 2007

Milwaukee Public Schools



The month of February brought very special guests to CHS, Valentine’s day and Black History Month.

to get it F Want crackin’ in the E lunchroom? so fast. A Not Read about T CHS’s lunch policy and the stuU dents’ thoughts on the newly R implemented E lunch deten-



P This month E features new students at O CHS, future Hua P graduates, Cha and Josh L Cunningham. E

The Bloc Community High School

Local leaders visit CHS classroom


On Thursday, Feb. 15, District Attorney John Chisholm and AM1290 radio talk show host Eric Von spoke with Community High School’s debate class about social issues in Milwaukee. The debate: Is Milwaukee in the throes of a societal crisis? Back in September of 2006, Police Chief Nannette Hegerty raised eyebrows when she stated, ”I think we have a societal crisis in Milwaukee.” She was referring to the crime surge in certain neighborhoods affected by unstable families, unemployment, drug use and teen pregnancy. The next day, Mayor Tom Barrett said that the city is not in crisis but faces “huge challenges” - those challenges being


District Attorney John Chisholm and talk show host Eric Von find an argument in a CHS classroom.

how to prepare people for jobs, to keep kids to stay in school, and for citizens to stop resorting to violence. O’Brien’s debate class, called “Looking for an Argument?,” along with CHS English teacher

Shahanna McKinneyBaldon’s speech class, continued the city-wide debate. and Von Chisholm discussed the possible causes of a social crisis and if Milwaukee fits the qualifications.

According to 11th grader, Lasheka Townes, the District Attorney was professional in the way he answered questions and had evidence to back up his point of view. The students asked both con’t on p. 3

Valentine’s Day at CHS

Community High School boys would spend some- CHS proved this survey showed that seven out of where between $20 and to be true. Thursday, Feb. 14, Comten girls would spend up $100. “Girl, my boyfriend munity High School stuto $90.00 on Valentine’s The conversations that bought me the new dents exchanged intigifts, and eight out of ten took place in the halls of con’t on p. 3 mate gifts for Valentine’s Day. As you entered Community High School, a few people were spotted drenched in red. An anonymous student at Community High School said, “I got here just to find out that it was a regular day, but it didn’t turn out that way when school was over.” A majority of students said that they were not going to do anything in school but they would “be doing they thang” away from school. A Valentine’s survey o ten girls and ten boys at Maria Rogers and Marisol Villarreal celebrate the Valentine’s spirit with a balloon and a hug. BY: CYERA WILLIAMS

E The BLOC editors Byron D Johnson and Delk I Maurice write about T violence in the of MilwauO city kee and MPS R reactions to Milwaukee’s I African AmeriA can youth L

1017 N. 12th St.


February 2007


Community High School


Is Milwaukee becoming too violent? M

ilwaukee is not becoming too violent at all. Of course, every city is going to have its share of crime, that is for certain. But a lot of the crime in Milwaukee is not as bad as the media wants us to think. Without drama and chaos, the media has nothing exciting to report. As a result, they will try to sensationalize events to make them more disturbing. Among the issues that challenge Milwaukee are crime and public schools. People

love to blame a lot of the problems of the city on teenagers. For example, the community placed most of the blame of the Bradely Tech fight on teenagers. Yet, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stated that several adults were also charged in the incident. That sure doesn’t sound like just teenagers. Plus, how can anyone stop violence among youth if the adults themselves are violent? MPS is also improving with its new small

school initiative happening all over the city. As a result of this change, MPS has reported that school crime has dropped by 17 percent. Mayor Milwaukee Tom Barrett stated in the Journal Sentinel that crime was down by 14 percent in Milwaukee. That statement indicates that Milwaukee is only going to make more and more progress as it grows. Compared to other similar sized cities, such as New Orleans and Atlanta,

Milwaukee is actually a safer haven. Also pay attention to the success this city has made in its development. Milwaukee has a successful and thriving downtown district. The historic Third Ward is also becoming a huge attraction in the city. Our economy is actually doing outstandingly well when you really pay attention. Milwaukee is not as challenged by crime as it is perceived to be. The city has a very strong economy; and

it’s on the rise. The violence will become less abundant as more methods are used and time moves on. Milwaukee is a good city to live in compared to places where there truly is a problem. Thank god it is not like Iraq where hundreds of people die everyday. Let’s enjoy the success the city is having. Maurice Delk is a senior at CHS. He has written for the Shepherd Express during his CHS internship with the newspaper.

The black students of Milwaukee:


ithin the past decade, statistics have shown that in MPS, a disproportionate number of black students have been on the receiving end of suspensions (see chart). The school system’s reaction to this reality is faulty. Due to this statistical fact, many people have considered and labeled the black students as the targeted minority with the worst behavior problems. Our black children have been stereotyped as being the only reason for the cause of these numbers. But this sterotype may not be true for some sudents. It is important to keep in mind that many of the young people have personal problems, or problems at home, that affect them deeply; they carry this issue wherev-

56% of African-Americans graduated from MPS 63% of African-Americans graduate in WI


MPS issued 15,000+(ave.) suspensions to African-American students MPS issued 4,000 suspensions (ave.) to Asian, White, Hispanics combined 25% of African-Americans were suspended 15% of Hispanics were suspended 10% of Whites were suspended MPS 2004-2005 District Report Card

er they go. These problems could be child neglect, single parent homes, drug and alcohol abuse, or a lack of resources for emotional support (counseling, psychological service). Our youth may not be motivated - which may lead to their failure in school. And over time, the negative affect of these problems will build up in the child; they will not know how to express themselves in a healthy way and they end up acting unruly and disruptive. This chain of events is what MPS does not tolerate. Instead of

recognizing the dysfunctional behavior as a product of a dysfunctional environment, MPS perceives the issue as obnoxious behavior. As a result, the children’s problems are not dealt with. Instead, because no one pays attention to the problems, the children are victimized when they act out of order. In school, children are

to leave their problems behind, come in, and focus on their work. But how can they get their minds off of the unpreventable problems that they have to go through everyday, either at home or wherever? The argument? In order to achieve a false sense of perfection, are the discipline policies of MPS fostering success or are they enabling failure by forcing troubled students out of school? The second part of Byron Johnson’s editorial will be in next month’s issue. Byron is a junior at CHS and intendes to be a Minister after high school.


February 2007

Community High School

Con’t from p. 1

Chisholm and Von how they defined social crisis and what they personally thought about the subject. Chisholm answered, “Yes, no question. But some parts aren’t.” Von agreed and stated that the crisis in Milwaukee didn’t only affect Milwaukee itself, but also the cities within a 10-mile radius. Chisholm talked about the fact that there were Con’t from p. 1

Valentine’s Day dukies,” was heard coming from Sharelle Easley. Not everyone got what he or she expected. “My boyfriend got me nothing with his broke, black behind, and I had the nerve to go out and buy him a gift,” was the response to the other student. purchase Women eighty-five percent of all valentines, and according to a survey that was on the Internet; over a bil-

“Yes, no question. There is a crisis.” -DA John Chisholm.

103 murders in Milwau- areas of Milwaukee. kee last year, 80 of which Before the discussion were handgun-related began, both Chisholm iand concentrated in two and Von took time to ex-

“A crisis affects all in the Milwaukee area.” - radio host Eric Von.

plain their jobs. Chisholm talk show discussed. explained how the judiAfterwards, they posed cial system worked and for pictures with the Von explained what his classes.

lion Valentines are sent to the U.S each year. If eighty percent of women purchase Valentines, then who purchases the other fifteen percent? Ten percent of Valentines men purchase and the other five percent is not purchased. The percents change every year, but theses are the percentages of 2007. Some people just choose not to celebrate Valentines Day while others Xavier Fields in class with two contraband items: one welcome, the other unwelcome. do.

Community High School’s first annual black history month assembly

Why is MPS kicking out more black students? 2002-03




Bloc Staff

Editor-in-chief Byron Johnson

Design Editor Trinisa Johnson

ContentEditor Maurice Delk

Staff Writers

Desrea johnson cassandra knight jessica howard john bates lance cain de’valla burgos cyera williams justin christopher ali govani tiffany le alectris dukes Rosie Pitts

Community High School hosted a large arrangement of guest speakers in the auditorium on Feb. 22, 2007 at the black history month program. The program included Sarah Scott Middle School teacher, Ms. Coleman, who sang the National Anthem, the Sarah Scott Steppers, the Bradley Tech Steppers, Negro League baseball player Dennis “Bose” Biddle, and nationally renown musician Don Lewis. The program started off with the singing of the Black National Anthem.

Second, the Ambassador’s for Peace, a group of CHS students who work with community leader Wendell Harris, read important quotes and explained their significance to each of them. The Sarah Scott Middle School Steppers did their performance to “Walk It Out” by DJ Unk. Dennis “Bose” Biddle, the youngest player from the Negro Baseball League, talked about how men dedicated their lives to their sport and how it was stripped away from them. He also talked about how the Negro

Adivser: J. O’Brien

Editorial Policy: The purpose of The Bloc is to be a useful, thought-provoking and factual source of information for the students, staff, and community. It is also to be an open forum for students, teachers, and the community alike. It is to be entertaining yet enlightening for its readers. The Bloc upholds a high code of ethics in journalism, relying on responsible and respectful judgement of controversial topics.The Bloc is a monthly paper. To contact The Bloc: Call Jason at Community High School at (414) 934-4057, or email us at Negro League player “Bose” Biddle passes out photos to students.

League paved the way for African-Americans and baseball. Bradley Tech later gave us a taste of what it’s like to have a step team. The big finale was from the well-known trumpet player Don Lewis; he gave a closing with the sounds of Myles Davis. This was not the first program put together for Community High School students, but the first black history month celebration CHS has ever had. CHS’s Brenda Windom, the Community Service Coordinator, was the person behind the scenes, Lance Cain emcees the black history presentation for CHS. arranging and organizing the program. She worked overtime to arrange this Community High School event for Community Now Enrolling High School students. “Brenda worked really UWM ALBA Grades 10-12 hard to put this togethACLU House of Peace Community High School is a small, innovative er,” stated Jason O’Brien, MPS charter school that works together with Lee Elementary Marquette a mulitude of community partners to offer a teacher at CHS. program that is diverse, rigorous and individuCarson Academy The Ambassador’s for Golda Meir alized. Students who attend CHS work together Shepherd Express Peace also put forth their Bucketworks Journalism Law best efforts to make it a Grey’s Childcare MSOE Radio Station Debate Theater success. Milwaukee Acheivers Social Justice Live Animal Lab Mt. Sinai Hospital Spanish / Hebrew Psychology “As a whole, they were Boys and Girls Club Science Economics Community Care for the Elderly very good,” said 11th Visual / Construction Art Literature Video / Film Production Math grader John Bates. Health Care



February 2007


Community High School



February 2007

Community High School

Order in the Lunchroom

At the end of January, teachers enforced a new lunch policy for CHS students due to behavioral issues. An upstairs lunchroom period was created for students who teachers consider disruptive in the lunchroom. “Teachers are starting to deal with students during their lunchtime. They’re not paid for it,” explained Marqurite McCurdy, Guidance Counselor at CHS. Teachers on average get paid $50,000 a year, which is only about half as much as doctors’ or lawyers’ salaries, according to the Career Journal.

McCurdy and teacher Jason O’Brien hold lunchroom detentions for unruly students in room 209C during lunch. The lunch policy includes: no throwing food, no headphones or cell phones, appropriate volume, and no table-hopping. O’Brien described table-hopping as the “honey bee effect,” or going from table to table. Though teachers agree with the lunchroom detention hour, some students disagree with it, describing it as “stupid” and “crazy.” “You can’t punish me for eating. All I wanted to do was go get a snack,” said Andrew Gordon, CHS student. Another student, Maria Rogers, agreed by saying,


“I dislike it because people can’t go to the bathroom when they want to.” O’Brien thinks differently. “Compared to other schools, our lunch policy is very ‘lax.’” For example, at Boxborough High in Philadelphia the lunch policy consists of: leaving the

tables clean; respecting yourself and others; no throwing objects; and restriction of leaving the lunchroom without permission. McCurdy said that the goal of the policy is to remove immature students from the lunchroom and that students don’t un-

derstand the work teachers put in. “Students forget that teachers are people also.” Samantha Brier, junior at CHS, supported the idea. “I love the policy. It’s wonderful. It keeps people in line.”

I don’t go to It sucks. It’s I hate it beYou can’t the lunchthe place cause people punish me room, so I where you defcan’t go to for eating. All don’t care.” initely don’t the bathroom I wanted to do Sabrina Thomas want to go. when they was go get a You have to do want to.” snack.” Maria Rogers Andrew Gordon a lot of work.” LaVelle Collins

I love the policy. It’s wonderful. It keeps people in line.” Samantha Brier

Policy m o o R Lunch

Lavelle Collins chows down on some work in lunch detention.


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an by staff h c n lu d to escorte e r a y e til th e up un well. n li ld u 3 Stair ents sho All stud , using the Exit . h. up d quietly ore lunc f as a gro n e a b ly s k ir uic nsta e halls q so dow h t o d h g ld u u ro sho ers. Move th stroom e r e CD play h t o e n s . Remain – u ly r e o e t t k ia c g d lo in me ur ts need ain in yo a seat im m e k e Studen r a t , ld g u atin sho re not e oom. aterials a m u d o y n f a I cks lunchr ehavior in line. b e h ly e t t t Backpa c ia d e r n ir p arou ppro get d y, and a ndering hroom: a a c d n w l lu e o b o e th sch uld While in students sho rt of the a p is o h N AVE Lunc seated. NOT LE le level. O b D a . r n o o o s ed rea e – at a ted. up by th s you. n e fi n is li g d c n pa cort Talkin expe e trays u aff member es uage is k g a n T . f la the rest f a e d t t s s s u an y a o b t il y unt sed ing ts need o class. Take an il dismis ve lunchroom n t e n d u u d t e S t en t lea wn. seat ame do r locker and th Remain TABLES. Do no c u o y ll u N airwe to yo TRAYS O same st ly and quietly e h t g ct these in k e s ic p u u s s q e ir r e a is t v od ack ups airs. Mo ents wh spension. d u t Move b uld do so upst e afternoon. S . ly o th smooth ions, and/or su n u r room sh may need for ld hou tent ou , lunch s nt contacts, de s e r books y u d e proc pare s these to lunch duty, w o ll o f ect one If every s may be subj e r procedu


February 2007


Community High School



What do they plan to do after graduation? BY: ALI GOVANI & JUSTIN CHRISTOPHER

On June 6th, thirteen seniors will be graduating from Community High School at the War Memorial Center at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Even though Community High School isn’t “crackin,” it has prepared all its students for col-

lege. This year, there are more seniors graduating than any other year since Community High School was first opened two years ago. Some of the seniors in CHS are ready to tackle college head on. “I know I can... I know I can... if I put my mind to it, I can be all I can be like

the army reserves,” said Martinas Tate, a senior at Community High School. This past year, CHS has not only had seniors who graduated, but also succeeded in encouraging the graduates of 07’ to stay in school and follow in their footsteps. One of the 12th graders, Sharletta Thurman, said, “Watching them gradu-

ate encouraged me to stay in school and graduate also.” One of the biggest concerns that teachers have on their minds is that some of the seniors will not be graduating. McCurdy, Marqurite senior advisor and guidance counselor, simply responded, “Out of 27 seniors, only an estimated

13 will be graduating.” Just like the graduates of last year, these seniors have an idea of what they’re going to college for. Sharletta Thurman will be going to college to become a nurse and Martinas Tate is trying to become a Mechanical Engineer.

New students help CHS grow and ending at 1 60. All of the students who arrived in 2007 have various reasons for attending CHS. “I came here to make a change. This school keeps me out of trouble,” said Davonta Byrd, a tenth grader who arrived at the end of the first semester. Previous to CHS, Byrd attended Riverside High School. The teachers Left to right: Lasheka Townes, Fileyshia Bowen, Dersea Johnson “don’t care,” he said, reand Isaria Gatson. All - minus Fileyshia - are new students. ferring to his old school. BY: CASSANDRA KNIGHT & 2004, has incrementally A lot of the new stuALECTRIS DUKE added students to the dents adapted quickly to Community High school, 80 students the CHS. School, which opened in first year, 120 the second, Phillip Austin, another

student at CHS, agreed with Byrd. “My grades have improved,” Austin stated. “The students and staff at CHS make me feel at home. They never did anything to me, so I’m cool.” “Mrs. Wall is my favorite teacher,” said Leonard a freshman at CHS. Mrs. Wall, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) teacher, said her students are a pleasure to have in class. “The students here come to do work and leave. There isn’t any harm in that,” said Mrs. Wall.

Some students think otherwise Other students struggle socially. Shamiqua Harvey, a freshman at the high school, said “I wouldn’t recommend this school to anyone. This school is full of haters and I don’t have the time for it.” In the classroom, however, they achieve the most. “I like this school because of the school work they provide. They have a good way of teaching students,” said Harvey.

A community service success story BY: TIFFANY LE

Every Wednesday Community High School students get an opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering. Students volunteer from 11:30 to 2:45 PM at a position of their choice or a position that Brenda Windom, the community service coordinator, chose for them based on their personal interest. “It’s good for students to get a chance to do community service and it’s easy to place students, but not so easy to get the freshman and new students to go to their assigned community service,” Windom said. On occasions, students get a job or an internship at the place that they volunteer. A perfect example is Joshua Cunningham, a junior at Community High

School, who is currently volunteerung at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It all started when Windom noticed Cunningham’s interest in the arts and assigned him to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Cunningham worked every Wednesday for 6 months and even came in on Saturdays to help out because he knew that they were very busy. After seeing what a great job Cunningham had been doing, his instructor, Chad Polakie, informed him that there was a job opening that he should apply for. Cunningham went to an open interview and 2 weeks later got the call that he was now the Art Pact Attendant / Visitors Operation Representative. The job consists of assisting and informing

people about the museum and answering any of the questions they may have. Upon the news that he got the job, he was elated. “I was so excited, I ran up and down the hallways,” exclaimed Cunningham. He also described himself as the “happiest guy in the world” when he got his first paycheck of $1 80. Now he currently works on the weekends and makes $260 every two weeks. “I mean, how many guys get an opportunity like I did? Truly it was a gift from God.” There are currently 15 students with jobs and 30 students who have internships where they used to volunteer. Because the art museum staff liked Josh Cunningham as a volunteer in the CHS community service program, they hired him.


Can you imagine working and getting interrupted about twenty times per hour? That’s what Carmen Figueroa’s job consists of. But it wasn’t always like that. Before Figueroa arrived at Community High School, she worked at Andrew Douglas Middle School for four years. Because of the large population at the school, her job only consisted of attendance records. The middle school closed down and Figueroa was in search of a new job. Figueroa, being a single mother, needed a job desperately to support her three kids. So, she decided to transfer to CHS. “I love my job because there is more work to do

February 2007

Community High School

A day with Carmen

Carmen Figueroa, head secretary at CHS, takes a brief pause from her day for a picture.

here at Community and, I love the small school environment,” said Figueroa. The work Figueroa does here is everything from attendance records, payroll, bill payments, data entry, referrals and conference calls.

“My work here is pretty easy except when students have a behavior problem. My favorite part of my job is all my ‘duties,’” said Figueroa. “I wouldn’t want Figueroa’s job because there’s too much work and too many crazy chil-

dren,” said Roxane Mayeur, Lead Teacher. Mayeur adds that Figueroa’s job is always demanding and she never has a chance to “breathe” because there is always more work. “I’m so happy to have her here. The teach-

ers think she is the best thing that happened to this school,” she said. De’Ondrea Sharp, a senior at CHS, helps Figueroa as often as she can with some of her work. works with Sharp Figueroa three to four times in a day. Sharp is able to help out because she has all her credits and only has two classes to finish high school completely. Some work Sharp does is putting artwork up on the windows for whatever holiday it is, collecting attendance records from teachers and getting the mail for CHS from the mailbox. “I love helping Carmen because I don’t have much to do and it’s fun,” said Sharp.

An interview with Hua Cha Hua Cha, who is of Hmong descent, lived most of her life in Germany. She speaks three languages - Hmong, German and English. Hua sat down with Jessica Howard for an exclusive interview.

ica and Americans before you moved here? HUA: I thought life was really fun and it was like the 50-cent videos. I thought that Americans had parties all the time.

THE BLOC: When you THE BLOC: How long told your friends about have you been in the you moving to the U.S. U.S? what did they think? HUA: Eight months.

HUA: They did not want THE BLOC: How long did me to move here. They it take you to come to could not believe that I was leaving. They want the United States? me to come back. HUA: Ten years. THE BLOC: How did you THE BLOC: When and learn English and was it how did you decide to hard? come to the U.S? HUA: I learned it in eight HUA: 2006 months in one-hour sessions. It’s not hard. I had THE BLOC: Why? learned some before. HUA: Because there are THE BLOC: How did your relatives that live here. life in Germany compare THE BLOC: How did you to your life here? feel about moving here HUA: It’s not the same. to the U.S? It’s worse [here]. I feel HUA: I didn’t want to like an outsider. Somemove. It was difficult for times I feel alone. me and I had no choice. I had to come with my THE BLOC: How areschool and kids in Gerparents. many different from kids THE BLOC: What were in school here? your thoughts on AmerHua: In Germany, we

Hua Cha doing research in the library. Before moving to Milwaukee, she lived in Germany.

have more freedom. We can do more. It’s shorter classes and you have more time to spend with your friends. We can smoke and we have smoking breaks at school.

THE BLOC: Do you feel welcome as an immigrant to the U.S? HUA: Yes

THE BLOC: What types of racism have you experience in Milwaukee? HUA: People laugh about

my accent and language. THE BLOC: Which do They think I’m from Ja- you call home, Germany or the U.S? pan or something.

THE BLOC: Describe HUA: I call Germany what you had to go home because my famthrough to come here? ily and friends live there, and I love and the food. HUA: My aunt filled out papers for us. We then THE BLOC: What are the took the papers to some pro and cons of you movAmerican house and ing here? turned the papers in. We HUA: I get to get a highhad to pay over a thouer education and get to sand dollars, then sign go to college. There are the papers and go to the more jobs here. The cons doctor to check our blood are higher crime here. and other things.


February 2007


Community High School


Mr. Bond’s and Karen’s advisory

Dream’s advisory

Roxane’s advisory

Marqurite’s advisory

Jason’s advisory

This month’s HotSpot features the bulletin board design competition among Community High School’s advisories. The theme: Celebrating Black History.

Joel and Shahanna’s advisory

The Bloc  

Third Issue