Milwaukee Public Schools use video conferencing to expand access to AP classes

April 20, 2017

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Post

By Brittany Carloni

April 9, 2017 (click here for link)


It’s 9:30 a.m. at Milwaukee's Vincent High School as nine students file into their Advanced Placement statistics class. They grab computers, sit at wooden tables and wait for instructions.

But their teacher, Nick Dlapa, isn’t in the room.

Dlapa is at Riverside University High School with Riverside students who are in the same AP statistics class as the students at Vincent. Through video conferencing technology called Telepresence, Dlapa can teach the AP course to students at both schools.

Milwaukee Public Schools began using the technology last year to expand AP course offerings. Two AP statistics classes were the first offered through it: one from Washington High School to Bay View High School, and one from Riverside to Milwaukee School of Languages.

This year, the district is also using Telepresence for AP classes in Spanish language, calculus, world history, macroeconomics, microeconomics and government. It added courses in health and linguistics this spring.

"We had some schools that had several AP courses, but you had schools that either didn’t have offerings or had one or two offerings," said Tonya Adair, MPS chief innovation officer. "If students are exposed to more rigorous courses, then they will go on to complete college successfully."


Telepresence courses are offered at Vincent, Riverside, Bay View, Washington, Audubon, Golda Meir, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and Milwaukee School of Languages. MPS will add courses at Marshall, Hamilton and Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education in the fall.

Each Telepresence classroom has a large screen, like a TV, with a video camera attached. During class the cameras in each room broadcast the action to the screen at the opposite school. So when first-time Telepresence instructor and Vincent AP government teacher Joseph Shokatz gives instructions to his AP government students at Vincent, the camera also shows him on the screen at Riverside.

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