Frequently Asked Questions

Milestone Democratic School is designed by youth for youth. We welcome all, and especially learners who believe in democracy. We create deep learning about this world, and aim to create a better world as we learn.

We are a not-for-profit public school funded by the state, like all other public schools. We have zero corporate funding or backing, and are not affiliated with any for-profit institutions. 

Milestone is a free public school, which commits to a no-cost learning experience for all families. This means we do not charge tuition (that would be illegal for a charter school!) or fees.

Milestone is an independent public charter school. This means that, instead of reporting to a school district, we report directly to the University of Wisconsin system (our “authorizer”) and to DPI. But we have an open dialogue with MMSD and all surrounding districts to ensure we’re sharing student information, professional development opportunities, and best practices. We aim to be a collaborative partner with all schools in our communities!

Milestone is personalized to each student, and learning is based on student interest, passions, and goals for themselves. So Milestone is for everyone! Regardless of whether you see yourself studying in an Ivy League university after Milestone, attending a technical or trade school, or going directly into work and community, Milestone will help you plan and develop to reach your goals.

Milestone serves grades 7-12 (including students ages 20 and 21), and students from all over the state of Wisconsin are able to enroll

No application criteria — all who come are welcome (until we hit our enrollment cap of 66 students).

Students graduate Milestone with a fully accredited high school diploma. Our curriculum is aligned with DPI graduation requirements and approved by the University of Wisconsin, and our Mastery Transcript is designed to make Milestone graduates stand out to college admissions reviewers.

As a part of the Big Picture Learning network of schools, Milestone uses an adapted Advisory curriculum. In this Personalized Learning program, students develop plans alongside their Advisor and their families, determining for themselves how they want to meet each of the required Credits and Competencies for graduation.

Milestone is committed to Transformative and Restorative Justice in all matters of student and community safety and well-being. Our School Plan details the rights and responsibilities afforded to students, staff, families/caregivers, and community stakeholders in our school. There are no police in our school, and all conflict and harm are addressed and resolved through restorative practices, which our full staff trains extensively in.

When many people hear that Milestone was “designed by youth” they assume we mean the layout and arrangement of the furniture, or the colors of paint on the walls… This is barely scratching the surface! In reality, our Design Team spent two years visiting model schools, attending education and social justice conferences, conducting action research with community stakeholders, and digging into their own stories, identities, and beliefs to plan EVERY ASPECT of Milestone. Curriculum, Assessment, Justice Practices, Food, Climate and Culture… everything in the School Plan was conceived and written by consensus of the youth on the Design Team!

Personalized Learning
Each student plans directly for their future career, community life, and further education, starting on their first day at Milestone. An Advisor works closely to support each student and connect with families and caregivers.

Community-Connected
High-quality, interest-driven, student-selected internships for older students. Service-learning projects and field experiences for younger students.

Self-Governed
Learning democracy by doing it! Each Advisory is a democratic learning environment. School Meeting gives each student and staff one vote. Half of the elected Board members are students.

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