Michael Derrick, Dean of Students, St. Rafael the Archangel School
This spring, the eighth grade class at St. Rafael the Archangel School joined with Marquette University undergrads to study the history of Latinos in Milwaukee. All together, 80 middle school and university students worked in teams of four to research topics and create websites that highlight the rich contributions of Latinos in our city. Our students studied topics such as the Catholic Sanctuary Movement, Rafael Baez, Jesus Salas and the Chicano movement, Los Primeros, and Latino student activism. Over the course of the semester, St. Rafael students visited Marquette University’s Raynor Memorial Library five times to work with their college partners.
Catholic university-school partnerships help to increase the academic self-efficacy of our students and advance students on the pathway towards college.
Through this collaborative project, St. Rafael students practiced college-level research strategies and communicated what they learned by building high quality websites. This project is also an example of our commitment to culturally relevant teaching—enabling our students to relate course content and academic skills to their cultural background. It is a crucial part our mission at St. Rafael to celebrate the culture and heritage of all of our students and families.
We are grateful for our Marquette University partners for exposing our students to new academic rigors and providing access to university library resources. Students presented their websites to the Marquette community on April 26 and will showcase their work to our school community at our family and community dinner on June 1.