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Belief in student ability key to success at Milwaukee charter school

Pascual Rodriguez said he won’t hire teachers who feel sorry for the low-income, often Hispanic students his school serves.

“Don’t come in with a passive attitude, ‘I feel sorry because you’re Latino and you’re impoverished,’” he said. “I want teachers not because they feel sorry and want to give back to the community, but because they know our kids can learn just like any other demographic in the state.”

Bruce Guadalupe Community School, an independent charter school in Milwaukee, serves students from age 3 to eighth grade. The school is 97 percent Latino and 80 percent of the students’ families meet low-income requirements for free and reduced-price lunch. Though the school is not bilingual, many of the students enter speaking little or no English.

Yet the students’ test scores are competitive with wealthier schools that don’t need to teach their students English, Rodriguez said.

“Black, white, green, yellow — I’m going to treat you like you’re the smartest individual and you can learn, and I’m going to set those expectations high,” he said.

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