For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact:
Marcia Spector, Executive Director - Seeds of Health, Inc.
Two Great Moves to End the Year at Tenor High School
MILWAUKEE (December 15, 2021) – In a time when most schools are trying to navigate the waters of the first semi-new-normal school year, Seeds of Health’s Tenor High Schools are not only back in-person, but they’re also back in a big way. In addition to getting their students re-acclimated to fully in-person learning, Seeds of Health orchestrated not one, but two school moves over Thanksgiving break. A move like this typically takes place over the summer break, and rarely under conditions as intense as during a pandemic.
But, using the same strategic, organized, student-centric thinking that they always do, Seeds of Health successfully welcomed students from both Tenor High Schools to their new buildings on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Tenor High School students formerly at the Tenor Cathedral Square Campus moved into their new space, “Tenor Journal Square” on Vel R. Phillips Avenue, and students who had been at the Tenor Campus on S. 1st Street moved into the newly remodel “Tenor Cathedral Square” on N. Jackson Street. Both moves were made with expansion in mind and were designed with new COVID considerations and student-friendly design.
The move to Tenor Journal Square. The move to Vel R. Phillips Avenue (the former home of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) was made with expansion and proximity to MATC and the surrounding business community in mind. Seeds of Health Inc. Executive Director Marcia Spector commented, “We purchased the new building on Vel R. Phillips Avenue because we knew the location would be absolutely perfect for our Tenor High School program, where our students graduate from high school in three years and spend their fourth year at MATC, taking college classes for free. We felt the proximity to MATC would not only be convenient, but also inspirational to the students - it allows them to get glimpses of their future every day of high school. In addition, the moves gave us the opportunity to design our spaces with a focus on our students. We wanted students to have spaces where our students could feel inspired and at home, and spaces equipped with everything they needed to best concentrate and learn.”
After spending just a few weeks in their new school, students at Tenor Journal Square are adjusting well. They’re happy to be close to MATC as well as to downtown Milwaukee, the Fiserv Forum, and the Panther Arena. Students appreciate the fact that their school is on the bus line.
Perfect location and a school design with students in mind. The prime location is just one of the benefits students appreciate at the new Tenor Journal Square Campus. Seeds of Health totally remodeled the building and designed it in a truly student-centric manner. This translates to bright, inviting colors throughout the school - colors students would pick if they were asked to pick the palette themselves. In addition, the school features murals and inspirational quotes sprinkling the hallways and classrooms, plus areas throughout the building for students to gather and study together. Each space is designed to motivate students and make them feel at home; the space was made with them in mind.
Student comments about the new space are positive. One 10th grader commented that he especially liked the murals and the views facing the Panther Arena. Other students really liked the fact that each floor has “hang out” areas with comfortable furniture. Finally, the open feel, new furniture, and new technology that makes learning fun seemed to be favorites for many students. Bathrooms on each floor were also a hit with the students.
In addition, care and attention were given to creating learning spaces that would be adaptable for different subjects and lessons, and also different scenarios that come up with learning and extracurricular activities. Classrooms feature more than adequate space so they can be rearranged depending on class size and use.
Staff and administration give the move an “A.” The additional space at Tenor Journal Square was applauded by teachers and administrators alike. Principal Theresa Yurk commented, “The new building allows us to realize our full potential in meeting the needs of students. Students enjoy different seating options in classes and the hallways. They like the size of the room, murals on walls, and the enhanced Smart Boards. In addition, the collaborative stations on each floor allow for students to work in teams using critical thinking skills. The focus is on authentic learning.”
Teachers also appreciate the space that the move has given them. History teacher Nick Olsen reported that his room is twice the size of his last room, making it perfect for group work. Plus, he feels the tech is a major upgrade. Math teachers Zachary Longo and Fernando Muniz noted the extra space is perfect for group work and allows them to easily get to each student and talk to them about their work. Social studies teacher Alex Funk added that the space and layout of the rooms help with classroom management but also provide access to all of the necessary tools. Chemistry teacher Joshua Borts agrees. He feels the building provides a clean, safe, and positive environment for learning. The windows, bigger hallways, and alternative learning areas also impressed students and staff alike.
In addition, care and attention to new health and safety considerations brought on by COVID 19 were put into place to ensure the school is both safe and adaptable to our ever-changing world.
Meanwhile, the halls of Tenor Cathedral Square are bustling with new students. While Tenor Journal Square students are busy getting used to their new school, the building they left behind (Tenor Cathedral Square) is welcoming the Tenor students who had formerly attended the Tenor 1st Street location. The staff and students were happy to move to the downtown location and learn about their new space, complete with a gym, fresh paint, inspiring murals, and redesigned spaces. Students and teachers had positive words about their new home.
Principal Brenda Jeske Schmidt and Dean of Students Danielle Bailey were thrilled about the move. They noted, “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff regarding the new location. Staff members are excited about having their own spaces that are separate from distractions. They also feel students have responded well to the new space, showing more motivation and better classroom behavior. The science department is especially happy about the lab space.”
Additional space brings benefits.
Bailey commented, “The biggest highlight has been the setup and space. Our old building was very small for the number of students we have. The change has allowed students to move better and minimize distractions. The new space is more conducive to individual student and teacher needs. Teachers also have their own access to technology (such as SMART boards) which they previously didn’t have.”
The teachers agree. Science teacher Jennifer Henschel said that students have enjoyed being able to spread out in the new building, and she especially appreciates teaching with doors and walls, in traditional classrooms. English Interventionist Julie Turetsky noted the additional space lends to a professional feeling and great working environment, where students are able to spread out and work in small groups. Hot lunch is great to have in this building. Food Service worker Elizabeth Mendez appreciates her new space, “I have a lot more kitchen space, and I think kids love that they have their own lunchroom.” Administrative assistant Amy Osorio commented that the students have adjusted well to the new location and are able to navigate to different classrooms easily.
Students chime in with praise for their new building. One ninth-grader says he appreciates all the space and loves that there is a gymnasium for basketball. Another says he loves the new location because it’s on a plaza with a small park and near places to eat. Other students commented on the additional space and the fact that there is more privacy for classes, plus the addition of lockers offered students a place to store their things.
One 9th grader said she feels more motivated and happy in her new building. “There’s a lot more space which makes me be able to be more ‘open.’” Another student says he feels the school has improved his academic learning. Fewer distractions, bigger classrooms, and a better learning environment were common praises sung by many students.
Regardless of location, it all comes down to the Tenor Model for Success. While both moves are cause for celebration and excitement, the true magic of Tenor lies in its mission and unique model, where 3 plus 1 equals success. Tenor students at both campuses complete their high school classes in three years and then spend their fourth year at MATC. Here, they can complete a certificate program and go on to work after their fourth year, or take the credits they’ve earned to finish a two-year MATC degree or go on to complete a four-year university program.
With two high schools backed by a model designed for student success, Seeds of Health Tenor Schools have much to offer students who want to go to college, but might be worried about paying for it. This model is also a huge relief for parents, as it offers them a chance to give their children the gift of one free year of college, and a solid start on their futures. By choosing Tenor for their children, parents know that their children are being prepared to succeed in college courses at MATC. This opportunity positions Tenor students on the road to success early on in their high school careers.
Tenor High School is the perfect jump start to success after high school. While much can be said about the merits of a Tenor education, students say it best when they talk about their school and why they’d recommend it to potential students.
“Tenor High School is a safe environment and a very welcoming school. All staff members make me feel safe.”
“The staff and teachers are the best because they help the students be prepared for college.”
“If you’re looking to graduate in three years and get a free year of college your senior year, pick Tenor!”
“If you want to have a good chance in life, come here.”
“Yes, yes, yes, come to Tenor! It’s a true family here at Tenor!”
“It’s a great school; become part of the family!”
It's clear that with Seeds of Health, these students feel right at home, knowing they are in a place where they'll receive the care and guidance they need for future success.
About Seeds of Health, Inc.
Founded in 1983, Seeds of Health, Inc. is the only K4-12 charter school agency in the state of Wisconsin serving approximately 1,300 students in four high schools and a K4-8 elementary program. The five individual and unique education programs serve a broad range of student needs – from at-risk to college-bound. Seeds of Health is Milwaukee’s innovative “homegrown”
answer to imaginative, collaborative, and cutting-edge education options, with the vision to positively impact the growth and development of urban children. For more information, please visit www.seedsofhealth.org.