Wisconsin Principal creates thriving and stable educational environment for Milwaukee students
By Justin Moralez
Garden Homes Lutheran School has been a fixture in Milwaukee’s central city since 1954. The school has been able to give even more back to the community after joining the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 2001, which makes it a easier for students from low-income families to access quality educational options, like Garden Homes.
Led by Principal David Dodge, Garden Homes positively impacts the lives of hundreds of students every year. Principal Dodge, who has taught at the school since 2008 and took over as principal in 2014, believes that the best way to achieve student success is not only through a rigorous academic program, but also through reinforcing strong communication and ties with parents at home.
Principal Dodge’s methodology has led to a great deal of success, despite the challenges that come with a predominantly low income student body. One instance is the school’s universally embraced accelerated math program. The majority of students in the program are learning at least one grade level above their counterparts. The demand for a stable education environment like the one at Garden Homes has allowed it to reach full enrollment capacity each year with no more than word of mouth promotion. Additionally, student retention rates remain exceptionally high at the school, as more than 90% of students staying at the school from year to year.
Principal Dodge credits much of the success to a dedicated and stable faculty. A majority of the teachers have been teaching at Garden Homes for four years or more, several for as many as twelve years.
Through Principal Dodge’s leadership, Garden Homes has instilled a culture of caring about people and your community, and actively demonstrating those values. These fundamental relationship building initiatives have helped to create a learning atmosphere that has made Garden Homes Lutheran School a great choice school.
October is National Principal’s Month and throughout the month, AFC will share stories from principals of choice schools across the country to celebrate their accomplishments and the accomplishments of principals nationwide.