Home > Education, Family > University School of Milwaukee

University School of Milwaukee

I get a lot of grief about sending the kids to the University School of Milwaukee (USM). It’s an excellent school but it’s saddled with the reputation of being both elite AND elitist. Borne of the institution’s history, it’s now an unfair depiction of the current school environment.

USM

USM

They focus on academic excellence, a compassionate and caring environment, strong emphasis on the arts, as well as educating a diverse population. My children (3 & 6) have been introduced to both Spanish and French, as well as reading and writing skills, all before first grade. They have a state-of-the-art science lab, a hockey rink on grounds, and a brand new lower-school addition. They offer Latin and Chinese in addition to French and Spanish, have an orchestra (at a time when most public schools are cutting their music programs) and an art program as well. In athletics, they have a no-cut athletics policy which gives older students the chance to be part of a team and thus benefit from that type of experience.

I want to encourage all Milwaukee parents to at least consider the school. Its high standards position your children for success later in life. they demand the best from the child, not necessarily only the best from the community. Besides, how elitist can they be if they let ME and my kids into the program??

Here are some more facts:

USM at a Glance
About Our School

Founded in 1851


Grades:

Prekindergarten (age 3) – grade 12

2009-10 Enrollment:

1,064 total students
398 Lower School (PK-4)
310 Middle School (5-8)
356 Upper School (9-12)

Our Students:

541 boys (51%)     523 girls (49%)
20% students of color
124 children of alumni (12%)
Where they live:
Ozaukee County  47%
Milwaukee County  47%
Waukesha County  2%
Washington County  2%
Sheboygan County  0.7%

Our Campus:

Our 120-acre campus includes a newly renovated indoor ice arena, seven playing fields, eight tennis courts, and a five-acre outdoor classroom.  Recent additions include a 35,000 square-foot Science Center and a Fitness Center.

Family-Style Dining:

Family-style dining is part of the USM experience.  Our lunch program offers nutritious choices and provides an opportunity for students to make new friends and socialize with teachers.

Transportation:

USM offers round-trip service and one-way school bus service to and from Milwaukee and nearby suburbs.  Nicolet and Mequon/Thiensville School Districts provide busing free of charge to USM students residing in those districts.

Before and After-School Care:

Before and after-school care runs from 7:30-8:00 a.m. and 3:15-6:00 p.m.  Before-school care is available for all students in Lower School.  After-school care is available for Lower and Middle School students, including full-day PK and JK students.
In the Classroom
Average Class Size:
15 students

Faculty/Student Ratio:

1:9

The USM faculty consists of 103 full-time teachers, plus administrative staff, part-time teachers, and a full-time nurse.

USM Class of 2009
Mean ACT Score:
29

Mean SAT Scores:

National College Bound- Critical Reading 501, Math 515, Writing 493
USM Class of 2009- Critical Reading 650, Math 663, Writing 650

National Merit Scholars:

13 Semi-Finalists and 13 Finalists

Advanced Placement Program:

94% of students scored 3 or higher on their exams.
In 2009, 154 students wrote 354 Advanced Placement exams in 21 subjects.

Cum Laude Society:

20 seniors were inducted into the Cum Laude Society.
Division Highlights
Preprimary Program:

  • We introduce students to a wide variety of experiences at an early age.
  • Our learning environment encourages collaboration, exploration, play, and discovery.
  • Exposure to world languages: Spanish in PK and JK, and French in SK.
  • Specialists instruct the children for music, library, art, dance (offered in full-day JK and SK), and physical education.

Lower School:

  • Lower School students enjoy studies of earth, life, and physical science both outside the classroom, in the LS Science Lab, and through visits to Discovery World.
  • Each year, fourth graders participate in the Docent Program at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
  • Lower School students engage in the fine arts through art, music, and dance classes.
  • Technology is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum.  In 2009, students followed an astronaut on Twitter and asked questions in Spanish via a video they created and uploaded to YouTube.

Middle School:

  • In 2009, three MS students qualified for the National History Day finals.
  • Eighth graders culminate their study of American history with a trip to Washington, D.C.
  • Seventh graders participate in the Wisconsin Stock Market Simulation.
  • Programs advance students’ understanding of global issues, as well as their use of technology, connecting them with the world around them.  Examples include:  Skype conferences with authors, a digital citizenship project, and an art and drama digital storytelling inter-curricular project.
  • In 2009, the first group of students were inducted into the national Junior Thespian Society.

Upper School:

  • Over the past five years, more than 90% of our students have been accepted at their first or second choice college or university.  Click here to view our matriculation list.
  • The Global Studies Program is offered to juniors and seniors.
  • Four students advanced to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2009.
  • In 2009, the Spanish Honors Society was named Wisconsin Chapter of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • In 2009, one US student placed first in the National History Day finals.
Athletics and Physical Education
Preprimary Program and Lower School:
Physical education is offered in prekindergarten through grade 4.  Ice skating is included.

Middle School:

Girls sports:  8
Boys sports:  7
Participation rate:  80%

Upper School:

Girls JV and Varsity sports:  10
Boys JV and Varsity sports:  12
Participation rate:  83%
Tri-sport athletes:  16%

State Champions:

Girls Tennis:  2004-2007
Boys Tennis:  2004, 2006-2009
Girls Field Hockey:  2000-2003, 2005
Boys Ice Hockey:  2006
Girls Soccer:  2008
Clubs and Extracurricular Activities
  • The Preprimary Program and Lower School offers Chess Club beginning in SK (available through grade 12). Orchestra begins in first grade, including harp.
  • Middle School offers 16 student organizations in addition to Eighth Grade Leadership Council.  Band begins in fifth grade.
  • Upper School offers a wide variety of student clubs in addition to Student Council, Trident (USM yearbook), and Charter (US newspaper).
  • 2008-2009 theatre productions included Brigadoon and Fools in the Upper School, and Music Man and Get Smart in Middle School.
Community Service
Students at all grade levels participate in community service:

  • In the PP Program and LS, projects include recycling cans, Milwaukee County Zoo Adopt an Animal, and annual food drives for local food pantries.
  • In the MS, students volunteer for a variety of community organizations, many of which focus on children.
  • US students are required to complete 40 hours of service work before graduation.  Past projects include annual food drives for the Council for the Spanish Speaking Inc., Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, Gilda’s Club, and tutoring at Westside Academy.
Affording a USM Education
Tuition Aid:
Available in JK through grade 12.
28% of students receive some degree of tuition aid.
19% receive need-based aid ($1.8 million).
6% receive tuition remission for faculty children.
3% are recipients of Uihlein Alumni Scholarships.
Over $2.2 million in aid has been awarded for the 2009-2010 school year.
Categories: Education, Family
  1. rmurphy2011@hotmail.com
    June 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I went there for five years. It is a great school with great teachers. I now attend my first choice college (University of Chicago) and feel prepared for the academic rigor of higher education. It is really an experience for a lifetime, but only if you choose to make it so.

    • Ody
      June 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      We love it there. Glad to hear you’re doing well. We hope our kids will be lifers as they both started there in PK.

  2. KristenS
    January 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I’m sold – but can I afford it?

    • Ody
      January 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      I can’t answer that; however, they do have a financial aid package so you should talk to Kathy Housieaux there. She’s the admissions lead. Good luck!

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