Success at Seeds of Health Schools is a Given… Not a Question
Seeds of Health, Inc. (SOH) Schools have been unique stars in Milwaukee’s education scene since 1987 when they opened their first school - Grandview High School. Today, SOH is the only K4-12 charter school district in the State of Wisconsin. SOH serves approximately 1300 students in its five schools - Grandview High School, two Tenor High School campuses, Veritas High School, and Seeds of Health Elementary (SOHE). SOH schools are known for providing Milwaukee’s urban youth with challenging academics and preparing them to be successful, productive members of society. The bottom line, SOH students are taught to believe that they can and will be successful in later life. And students do succeed, as demonstrated by the numerous SOH student scholarships offered each year. In 2022 Veritas had $8.9 million in scholarships and Tenor $1.4 million.
Success Starts with a Solid Mission Statement
A solid mission serves as the guiding force for all SOH schools. According to Executive Director Marcia Spector, “The mission of our schools is to meet the unique needs of urban children through small schools in a caring, personal environment. We offer students the opportunity to succeed - academically and socially - through rigorous programs catered to meet individual student needs. We serve a range of students, from at risk to academically advanced and we prepare them to take advantage of meaningful career choices or higher education opportunities.”
Each of the five SOH schools is guided by a strong, unique mission specific to its students. The programs cater to a broad range of student needs - from the at risk to the college-bound. For the youngest students, Seeds of Health Elementary (SOHE) K4 - 8th grade works in partnership with families and the community to prepare students with foundational knowledge, skills, and character that will support success in secondary and post-secondary education and adult life. For many students, SOHE is only the start of their SOH educational journey. In 2022, of the 46 SOHE 8th graders, 34 plan to transition to a SOH high school next year.
At Tenor High School, the mission is “to provide students with an opportunity to complete four years of high school in three years. Successful students then receive one free year of college education at Milwaukee Area Technical College during their senior year.” Students can participate in traditional high school clubs and sports and are mentored every step of the way during their first three years at Tenor so that they’re ready for MATC classes in their fourth year. At MATC, students still receive guidance and mentorship as they adjust to the MATC curriculum and prepare for post-secondary education or careers. At the end of their four years, Tenor students can graduate with a high school diploma, certificate, or technical diploma from MATC leading to post-graduate employment, or a full year’s worth of college credits giving them a head start for further post-secondary studies. Regardless of the path taken, Tenor students are a step ahead and ready for their next stage.
Class of 2022 Tenor High School Scholarship Winners
The Dennis and Deborah Conta Scholarship is one example of the many scholarships available to Tenor High School students. The fund, established in 2020 by Tenor High School co-founder Dennis Conta, provides financial support for students continuing their education at MATC in pursuit of an associate degree. Students receiving these funds are selected based on financial need and academic merit. Funds may be used for any educational expenses. This year, Tenor High School Class of 2022 students Natalie Canola, Diego Garcia Gonzalez, Evelyn Martinez, and Nancy Sanchez received the award.
Natalie Canola is the second oldest of nine siblings and credits her drive to succeed to her family - her parents have placed a strong emphasis on working hard to go to college and work towards a career. Natalie has taken courses in the Healthcare Pathway at MATC and will finish with a certificate in Healthcare Customer Service. She’s also been working toward her certification in phlebotomy and this fall will return to MATC and begin working on an associate degree in anesthesia technology.
Diego Garcia Gonzalez is the oldest of three siblings and the first in his family to attend college. Diego has distinguished himself by virtue of excellent grades, determination to succeed, and outstanding character. He also serves his community by volunteering at his former middle school and his church. Diego spent his senior year hard at work with a class load of college-level classes at MATC. He plans to pursue an MATC associate degree in banking and financial services and eventually transfer to a 4-year college to complete a business degree.
Evelyn Martinez credits her successes to lessons taught by her parents and their focus on academics and effective time use. Evelyn applied those lessons to her high school and MATC classes. She’s been admitted to several 4-year colleges but plans to return to MATC next year to pursue an associate of science degree at MATC and then transfer to a 4-year college.
Nancy Sanchez is the Tenor High School Class of 2022 Valedictorian. Her outstanding work ethic built the foundation for her transition to the challenging MATC courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, English 1 & 2, Lifespan Psychology, and Introduction to Sociology. Nancy plans to return to MATC next year for an Associate of Arts Teacher Education Pre-major and can later choose from nine Wisconsin collaborating colleges and finish her bachelor’s degree in education.
Class of 2022 Veritas High School Scholarship Winners
Students at Veritas High School “are prepared for post-secondary education and career success through an academically challenging curriculum that builds essential competencies for productive participation in the 21st-century global community.” Veritas students can choose from an impressive list of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, clubs, and sports - giving them a well-rounded education that prepares them well for post-secondary experiences.
Featured Veritas Scholarship winners include the school’s three valedictorians Alexiz Gonzalez, Vanessa Sanchez Mora, and Ximena Sanchez.
Alexiz Gonzalez embodies the essence of a Veritas student-focused, respectful, and full of joy. He gives back to his peers with homework support and participation in the “Young Men’s Empowerment” Club. He will attend MSOE in the fall where he earned their highest merit scholarships for his academic achievements.
Vanessa Sanchez Mora has shown tremendous determination throughout her high school years in her academics and personal life. Vanessa balances clubs (GSA, student council, photography), demanding course work, and a part-time job at Walmart. She also helps with her family business, and shadows clinicians at Marquette University to feed her passion for physical therapy. Vanessa has committed to UWM next year and has secured funding through multiple academic scholarships.
Ximena Sanchez has committed to UW-Madison for next year and through academic scholarships and additional aid will be attending for free! Ximena also represents Veritas students through participating in the student council. She balances clubs (GSA, student council, photography), demanding course work, and a part-time job at Wal-Mart. Ximena loves spending time with her family when she is working hard on maintaining her 4.0 GPA.
And finally, Grandview High School, “helps young adults become academically, emotionally, and socially prepared for productive participation in the 21st century.” Grandview is perfect for students who have difficulty in a traditional high school setting or are at risk of not completing high school. Grandview students benefit from tutoring, career classes, assistance to teen parents, and credit recovery. Students gain confidence and faith in their abilities and are motivated to succeed by caring teachers and staff.
The Secret of Success at Seeds of Health Schools
It’s clear that each unique SOH school is living out its mission to help its students become the best they can be. Three SOH school programs, Seeds of Health Elementary, Tenor High School, and Veritas High School, have met the criteria for high-performing schools, and each year, thousands of scholarship dollars are given to SOH graduates. Students at all three high schools boast success stories in post-secondary education and careers. Grandview students are participating in innovative programs like Independence First, where students can work as health aides after completing a 12-week program. SOHE continues to send large numbers of students to SOH high schools. The bottom line, students and families love SOH schools… and as a result, they work hard to live up to the high expectations.
High expectations and a family atmosphere. Simply stated, SOH students are successful because they feel a sense of belonging to the SOH Family. Each school works hard to create a caring, personal environment with an atmosphere of trust between staff, students, and families. Students are given a rigorous curriculum but feel comfortable with the challenges because their environment feels safe and engaging. Students receive individualized attention in small classes from dedicated teachers. Throughout their entire educational experience, students know they are cared for by the teachers and that the teachers want them to succeed. In fact, teachers don’t just want students to succeed, they expect they will. Success is non-negotiable, and students know it.
The drive and passion of SOH staff members motivate students even more because students know their teachers are passionate about what they’re teaching. With this positive environment everyone wins and best of all, students not only feel like they can lead successful adult lives… they go on to do just that, and then repeat the cycle by enrolling their own children at SOHE to start the amazing process all over again. That’s the sign of a great school.
Seeds of Health, Inc. is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 school year. Please refer to the Seeds of Health website for more information.
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. In addition, Seeds of Health, Inc. has the WIC - Women, Infants, and Children 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.