Milwaukee Public Schools
Press Release

Governor, state supt. nominate MPS’ Rufus King for national ACT award

MPS' Rufus King International School, state's high school nominee, to be recognized Monday

By - May 5th, 2013 04:00 pm

MILWAUKEE (May 5, 2013) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers have nominated Milwaukee Public SchoolsRufus King International School for ACT’s national College and Career Transition Award.

The state selected Rufus King, ranked among the best high schools in Wisconsin in 2013 by both U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post, as its high school nominee for the award.

The honor will be celebrated on the morning of Monday, May 6 in Madison as part of the kickoff for Wisconsin’s partnership with the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign.

Schools are nominated by states to recognize “exemplary college and career readiness efforts” as they work to ensure students possess the knowledge and skills to enroll and succeed in college-level coursework at colleges and universities.

The six states involved in the first year of the new ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign — including Wisconsin – were invited to nominate schools based upon: demonstrated student growth; aggregate ACT scores; the percentage of students meeting college readiness benchmarks; demonstrated success in serving students of underrepresented racial/ethnic/socioeconomic backgrounds; dedication of administrators and teachers to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills needed for success; and the school’s commitment to providing leadership opportunities for students outside the classroom.

ACT is expected to announce the national award winner, judged on those same criteria, May 21.

“We are pleased that ACT and DPI have recognized Rufus King International School for the continuing work our educators, students and families are undertaking to ensure students succeed after they graduate,” said Rufus King Principal Peter Samaranayake. He specifically singled out the efforts of the school’s counselors.

MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said the district is “grateful to be acknowledged for our work as we continue our deep commitment to college and career readiness for all students.” MPS’ college and career readiness efforts and results include:

–       Comprehensive literacy and math/science plans aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards to put students on a track to college and career success

–       Growing the graduation rate by approximately 14 percentage points between the class of 2000 and the class of 2012

–       Nearly doubling ACT participation from 43% in 2007-08 to more than 80% in 2011-12

–       Opening two College Access Centers with late and weekend hours to help demystify the application process

–       Growing the percentage of students taking AP courses by roughly four percentage points over the past four years

–       Growing the percentage of students enrolling in postsecondary education within a year and half of high school graduation roughly eight percentage points over five years to above 50%

ACT Vice President Scott Montgomery said the new College and Career Readiness Campaign “will showcase the exemplary work that is happening across states to advance the goal of college and career readiness for all. It will also provide our stakeholders with a preview of ACT’s vision for the future and the innovative technologies we have in development.”

This news is available online at

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving more than 78,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. MPS is home to the Milwaukee region’s two best high schools according to the Washington Post and three of state’s 25 best high schools according to U.S. News and World Report. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 14 points higher than the rate for 2000. More MPS news is available at

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