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Families Find Magnet Schools Provide A Unified Community Consciousness

Racine Brennan's family, the ability to send their children to the Racine school district magnet school is a big reason, they call Racine home.

Kalabulunnan and her husband, Todd, and their three children in Wisconsin avenue for 1800 blocks south of the life of racine.

Christiane Brennan, 10, is a fourth-grade student at Stephen Bull Fine Arts Elementary School, 815 DeKoven Ave., and is the daughter of Todd and stepdaughter of Kara. Ashton Ryshkus, 8, is a second-grade student at Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, 1722 W. Sixth St., and Anitha Ryshkus, 6, is a

first-grader there.

The Brennan family believes much of the success behind schools such as Fine Arts and Jefferson Lighthouse is owed to parental involvement and purposeful collaboration with


“A true community has been established in those schools,” Kara Brennan said.

Christiane attended John Paul II Academy through the second grade, until she switched to Fine Arts Elementary School to take advantage of the school’s curriculum offerings. She has been there ever since.

Ashton completed first grade at his neighborhood school, West Ridge Elementary School, 1347 S. Emmertsen Road, last year. As a kindergartner, he tested into Jefferson Lighthouse School for first grade but he stayed at West Ridge that year to be in the same school as his sister Anitha.

When Anitha tested into Jefferson Lighthouse as a kindergartner while at West Ridge Elementary School, it opened the door to having Anitha and her brother both move to Jefferson Lighthouse together the following school year: Anitha as a student who tested in, and Ashton under the district’s sibling preference rules.

Growing up in Mukwonago, Kara Brennan had believed a negative stereotype of Racine. Since moving to Racine in 2008, belief in that stereotype has fallen away in favor of a budding interest in being involved as a parent and member of the community.

“As I have gotten to know Racine more, it’s extremely important to get behind what’s going on now,” Kara Brennan said.

Six years later, elementary school creative projects hang on the walls of their home. Musical instruments rest on the floor near the upright piano between lessons. Gardens grow in the back yard and fall coats pile up in the hallway as the sound of feet from their children and their neighborhood friends rumble up the stairs to

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