Milestone Democratic School is a relatively new school in the Madison area that is designed by youth – the majority of them African American and Latino – for youth. To let people know more about the unique school, Milestone staff will be hosting an Enrollment and Family Fun Event on Saturday, July 31, noon-5 p.m. at school headquarters, 2758 Dairy Drive.
There will be free food, music by DJ ZZisco, games and activities, along with a Town Hall meeting for the purpose of answering questions from the community about Milestone Democratic School.
“We will have some vendors there along with some games and activities,” Art Richardson, one of Milestone’s advisers, tells Madison365. “It’s a family-fun event with free food and a deejay — all set up on the ground right outside the school. Around 3 p.m. we will invite people to come into the auditorium to ask questions about the school. So we’re hoping to have families with youth in between grades 7-12 come and ask questions and learn more about what we do at Milestone.”
Milestone Democratic School is a school in Madison that is designed and created by youth, primarily youth of color. The Design Team of students volunteered their time to build a school that spoke to the needs of the underserved. In Madison and across the country, youth of color, of differing sexual orientations and identities, immigrants, or youth with (dis)abilities, can have the experience that school is not meant for them.
“The concept of Milestone School was created by youth of color and the design team worked two years to come up with the concept of how the school would operate,” Richardson says. “So what’s really powerful about the school is that it really depends on youth engagement and community engagement. We do personal learning plans. Each student, in conjunction with their advisor and their parents, actually decides what their curriculum will be each semester and every week we have a school meeting to discuss various aspects of the school with the whole student body … every Friday.”
What also makes it unique is that Milestone Democratic School does not do grades, either.
“We work off the Mastery Transcript [Consortium], so at the end of each semester, students will do an exhibition to showcase and display that they’ve mastered the various topics that are in their personal learning plan,” Richardson says.
This will be the second school year for Milestone who opened up originally last year during the pandemic.
“The response so far from the students has been amazing. We’ve basically have 99 percent of the students who attended last year returning for this year,” he adds.
Richardson stresses that at Milestone Democratic School, students will be designing their own learning plans with an advisor, developing their own projects, and connecting with their communities through internships. He’s hoping for a big turnout at Saturday’s event.
“This event will be a chance to meet and get to know staff, teachers and other students at Milestone. It’s a chance to have fun and ask some questions,” Richardson says. “Our goal is to enroll 66 kids and I believe we’re about halfway there. We’re trying to raise the profile of the school and let people know what we’re all about. This event on Saturday will be a great chance to get the word out to the community about this opportunity for students with Milestone.
“Milestone is a place where students from all backgrounds can come together. We definitely have a community approach and we can’t turn away any student,” he adds.