Either it's a little-known benefit of being a Milwaukee Public Schools participant or an urban legend, but I was recently told that students who attended MPS are allowed to take one free zoo camp class each summer. Enacting a quick search of this possibility has yielded no results, which means that if you've heard the same rumor, you are at this site right now instead of filling out a form on either the MPS or Milwaukee County Zoo homepage.
The $50 question (the price of a zoo class) is, “Does the Milwaukee County Zoo and/or Milwaukee Public Schools have a program allowing students to each take one free summer class at the Zoo?” The parent, and the only one who knew anything about it, said it was a science teacher at her kid’s school who suggested it. I got the impression this mom had taken the Zoo/MPS up on the offer, but I wonder about a few details. First, our school does not have a science teacher (interventionist?), and I wonder if maybe the elementary schools with science deficiencies are seen as special cases. Also, the mom did not have a way for all of us to see what she had seen, as in, “Just go to the MPS or Zoo page and navigate to this point.” With these two points in mind (and the fact that no other parent or teacher in attendance knew a thing about it), I am going to assume from the start that this is a special program made only for special cases in the district.
I will start by contacting the zoo, since my recent contacts with MPS have ruffled a few feather, and I’d hate for those contacts to stir too much up and possibly make Central Office more disorganized. I will report back with any response. If I do not report back at all, it means both MCZ and MPS ignored my inquiry, in which case I’d assume the program does not exist. Or that both entities tend to ignore inquiries.
Even if this is not a program available, and I can kind of see why, based on the Fancy Moms I’ve seen doing the zoo camp drop off, I wonder if there’s some merit to it on a limited or enrichment scale, like if you enroll in a science class for the summer, one day is a field trip to a zoo class.
UPDATE: I found in the Zoo online report from 2013-14 that there is a program with MPS for free classes offered to students in schools in "disadvantaged neighborhoods." I will assume this may disqualify MGIS students. I also saw that there is a free zoo class offering for preschool children who attend with their parents. We did this (and paid) back when our kids were that young, but you might want to look into it if you have a preschooler and want to do something free this summer.