Alternative schools and programs continue to grow nationwide. Educators need updated tools to succeed in this changing environment, and this certification will equip you with those tools and strategies.

Historically, we’ve labeled youth who are not thriving in school as “at risk,” and as a result, our educational strategies, curricula and support structures were geared toward these students’ failures and vulnerabilities.

However, the scholarship on “at risk” students has evolved, and we’ve learned new, more effective ways of engaging with students who are not thriving in school. Through this Alternative Education Certification, we analyze the dated notions of “at risk” status in order to promote contemporary understandings of how students are placed at risk.

In this program, you’ll learn how to create school communities, instructional experiences and student support structures that emphasize students’ capital, resiliency, promises and possibilities. We believe it’s possible to educate every child to reach his or her potential as long as educators are willing to implement diverse processes to realize this aim.

This certification is designed to reach a broad audience within Wisconsin, allowing you to network and exchange winning strategies with peers from across the state. The program’s two flexible and online courses also make it easy to fit it into your busy schedule, no matter where you live.

Why Choose Our Program?

  • If you’re already a certified teacher, completing this two-course program results in a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction-granted 952 add-on certification.
  • Both courses are offered fully online and are taught by faculty with experience in alternative schools and programs.
  • You’ll interact with educators from around the state to assess and create intervention and prevention models.
  • You can take both courses concurrently and finish in as little as one semester.
  • You’ll exchange practical experiences and timely strategies with peers in alternative schools.

Who Should Enroll in the Certificate Program?

  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction licensed educators working in an alternative setting where a 952 add-on license is required
  • Any educator looking to gain an understanding of students in alternative education settings
  • Anyone who would like to learn more about alternative education


In order to receive Wisconsin’s 952 license certification for Alternative Education you must:

  • Have a State of Wisconsin Teaching Certificate
  • Complete a mini-portfolio, which is addressed through work completed in the required courses. The portfolio will be assessed by the instructors.

Once you have completed ED POL 534 and 535 and your grades have been posted, you must:

If you’ve taken the required courses and are ready to apply for the 952 add-on license, please check out the following resource for additional information:

Guide to Licensure Checklist for Post-Bacc, Graduate & Non Degree Graduate Level Candidates

If you have any further questions about getting your add-on license, please contact our Certification Officer, Kathy Berry, at (414) 229-4721 or

If you have general questions about the Alternative Education program, please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Raquel Farmer-Hinton, at (414) 229-3320 or

Frequently Asked Questions

Download Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Download Application Options (PDF)

Download Instructions for Applying to the University as a Post-Baccalaureate Certification Student (PDF)


Dr. Raquel Farmer-Hinton

Contact Us

For more information or questions about the program

(414) 229- 4721

Mailing Address

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Department of Educational Policy & Community Studies
School of Education
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201