Alternative Education Certification (952)

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has authorized the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies (EPCS) to offer an add-on certification in alternative education.

What is the Alternative Education Certificate Program?

Across all communities in Wisconsin, the number of alternative schools and programs are increasing, meaning that educators need to have updated tools to change with the times. This certification provides educators with those tools and strategies.

Historically, we have used "at risk" to refer to youth who are not thriving in school. We have traditionally conceptualized "at risk" students in terms of their failures and vulnerabilities. Therefore, our educational strategies, curricula, and support structures were geared toward students' failures and vulnerabilities.

However, the scholarship on "at risk" students has evolved and we have learned new 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.

Through this Alternative Education Certification, educators learn how to create school communities, instructional experiences, and student support structures where educators interact with their students in terms of their students' capital, resiliency, promises, and possibilities. The underlying theme of our certification is that it is possible to educate every child to realize his or her potential as long as educators are willing to implement diverse processes to realize this aim.

Most importantly, this certification is designed in order to reach a broad audience within the State of Wisconsin, allowing course participants to network and exchange strategies. In addition to courses filled with peers from across the state, our certification program is geared to fit into educators' busy schedules through two flexible and online courses.

What are the Distinctive Features of the Certificate Program?

• Completion, for already certified teachers, results in a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) granted 952 add-on certification.

• All two courses offered fully online and taught by faculty with experience in Alternative Schools and Programs.

• Online course participants interact with educators from around the state to assess the efficacy of or create intervention and prevention models.

• Courses can be taken concurrently and finished in as little as one semester.

• Practical experiences and timely strategies in Alternative Schools are exchanged.

Who Should Enroll in the Certificate Program?

• Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) licensed educators working in an alternative setting where a 952 add-on license is required.

• Any educator looking to gain an understanding of at-risk students and alternative education settings.

• Any person who would like to learn more about alternative education.

What are the Certificate Requirements?

In order to receive a State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) 952 license certification for Alternative Education you must:

Have a State of Wisconsin Teaching Certificate.

Complete ED POL 534: The Student At-Risk (Causes) (534 Sample Syllabus (PDF)) and ED POL 535: Educating At-Risk Students (535 Sample Syllabus (PDF)) with a B- or better.

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 you must:

Fill out the State of Wisconsin DPI license application form found online, or by visiting the Office of Academic Services (Enderis 209) or the Certification Office (Enderis 210).

Once the form is completed, you must take it to be notarized. This can be done at your financial institution or at the Certification Office (Enderis 210).

Forward your notarized license application and $100 payment to:

UWM School of Education
Certification Office, Enderis 210
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

*****************************PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING***************************** Effective November 30, 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will no longer accept paper applications for licensure in preparation to transition to an electronic online licensing system. To comply with this deadline and ensure that applications are endorsed by the UWM Certification Officer and postmarked to DPI by 11/30/13, candidates must have their applications in to UWM's Teacher Certification and Licensing Office, Enderis 210, no later than 12:00 noon, Wednesday, November 27th.

The Educator Licensing Online (ELO) license application system, through DPI, will go live on January 15, 2014. You will then be able to apply online directly to DPI for their license. For those completing the Alternative Education program in January 2014, the UWM Teacher Certification & Licensing Office will host open labs (dates and times to be announced) to assist you. For others, please check the DPI website,, by January 15th, for directions to apply online. If additional support is needed, UWM's Teacher Certification and Licensing Office (Enderis 210) will be on site after January 15, 2014 to assist in using the new ELO.

If you've taken the required courses and are ready to apply for the 952 add-on license in Alternative Education, please look at the documents below that might be of assistance such as:

Printable Alternative Education Certification Checklist (PDF)

Guide to Licensure (Word)

DPI Application Sample (PDF)

If you have any questions about how to acquire the Alternative Education Certification 952 license, please contact Linda Randolph at 414-229-4153.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Download How To Apply (PDF)

Download Instruction Sheet for Applying as a University Special Student for Undergraduate Credit (PDF)

Contact the Alternative Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Raquel Farmer-Hinton

Contact the Department

Enderis Hall Room 557
2400 E. Hartford Ave.
Milwaukee WI 53211

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

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 8:00 A.M.- 4:30 P.M.
Office Telephone Number: (414) 229-4323
Fax Number: (414) 229-3700

    Interested? Please contact:
    Dr. Raquel Farmer-Hinton