A charter school that is set to be authorized by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is planning to operate on the Wisconsin International Academy
campus in Wauwatosa.
Wisconsin Innovation Academy, a new 4K-8 public charter school, has submitted plans to the city to open in fall 2022 at the 11811 W. Blue Mound Road campus.
Under the plans, WIA would continue to operate its boarding program on the campus for students who have come to the U.S. from China and attend area private and parochial high schools. Its Total-Care Boarding Program would continue to use the dormitory space on the west end of the campus and a commons area on the east end. At its peak, the WIA program had 180 students, but is now at around 20 students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures. It’s projected to grow again to 60 to 80 students.
The charter school, which was recommended for authorization by UWM in October, would initially serve 150 elementary grade-level students and grow enrollment to 500 students over a five-year period as grades are phased in, according to the plans. Classrooms would be created out of remodeled motel rooms and completed in phases.
To open in the fall, the school would need to remodel six classrooms. Full enrollment would require 20 remodeled regular classrooms and additional specialty spaces, according to the plans.
The school plans to add offices, stairs and an elevator prior to its second year of operation.
Wisconsin Innovation Academy in its plans describes itself as a “challenging, high-quality learning experience within a diverse and inclusive, global minded community." It is focused on “innovation in design and practice,” with offerings including International Baccalaureate (IB) and STEM programs and a requirement that students take Chinese or Spanish as a second language, according to the plans.
The school and academy will share a campus and some back-office staff, Wisconsin Innovation Academy will operate as a public day school and Wisconsin International Academy will remain a private boarding program, with students attending school elsewhere during the school days. Schools that currently partner with the boarding program include Piux XI Catholic High School, St. Thomas More High School, Catholic Memorial High School, the University Lake School and Dominican High School.
The plan commission is scheduled to review the charter school plans on Dec. 13.