Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School (Bradley Tech) is unique in the Milwaukee Public Schools in a number of ways. Its programs empower students to meet state and national standards in trade, technical, academic, and employability skills. It is strategically located one mile south of downtown Milwaukee and currently enrolls 1,300 students. In 2005-06, Bradley Tech began a partnership with the Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE) to implement the First Things First Framework within the comprehensive high school. This reform has given Bradley Tech an opportunity to embrace Small Learning Communities, Instructional Improvement, and a Family Advocacy System. The goal of this new initiative is to raise the academic performance of all students at Bradley Tech and Trade to levels required for post-secondary education and high-quality employment without remediation.
To nurture student learning and support student development in a more personal environment, Bradley Tech is divided into four Small Learning Communities (SLCs): Pieper Power Academy of Construction, Rockwell Automation Academy of Advanced Engineering and Technology, AT&T Academy of Communication, and Harley-Davidson Academy of Design. Program content in each SLC includes academic curriculum required by the State of Wisconsin, technology curriculum developed from national standards, employability skills adapted from the U.S. Secretary of Labor's commission report identifying the skills young people need to succeed in the world of work, and electives for advancement or enrichment.
In each SLC, freshmen explore planning and design, materials and processes, energy and power, and information technology related to their SLC focus. In sophomore, junior, and senior years, students study technology through investigation, problem solving, and application. Lessons are presented in a thematic project-based approach that integrates content and comprehensive literacy.
With the Copernican 4 by 4 schedule, students can earn 8 units each year with a possible total of 32 units over 4 years. Students take four classes each quarter and can earn 1/2 a unit in each class. Each academic year consists of four quarters (terms).