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Q: What is a charter school?


A: A charter school is a free, public school open to all students regardless of background and living in a given geographic area.


Q: Who attends Pathways High? Is it an alternative school?


A: No, Pathways High is not an alternative school.  We are a school that serves all demographics and abilities. Alternative schools are often schools of last resort. Prospective Pathways High students have many options and have decided that the opportunities offered at Pathways High are best suited to them.


Q: From what geographic area may Pathways High students attend?


A; Pathways High is a regional charter high school so students may attend from any county in Wisconsin. In practice, Pathways High students live in Milwaukee County or any of the four surrounding counties -- Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, and Racine.

Q: How many students are enrolled at Pathways High and what is the student:staff ratio?


A: There are about 165 students enrolled at Pathways High and we have a 18:1 student:staff ratio.


Q: Does Pathways High provide transportation?


A: No, Pathways High does not provide transportation.  We work closely with our families to help arrange carpools and we work with donors to provide bus tickets as needed.


Q: How do I apply and get accepted into Pathways High?


A: There is no need to open enroll your student(s) with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to attend Pathways High. 


If more students apply by December 15th to attend Pathways High than there are spaces available, a random lottery will be held on December 16th. Space is currently available for 50 new students.


Juniors and seniors must submit their transcript and meet with school administration and will be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What organization(s) provide oversight of Pathways High?

A: As a public school, charter schools are accountable to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and are required to comply with most DPI requirements, including state mandated testing. In addition, charter schools are authorized by organizations, such as city governments, public school districts, and universities which oversee the operations of the charter school. Charter schools enter into a legal contract with the charter school authorizer.

Q: Who is Pathways High’s charter authorizer?

A: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the charter authorizer of Pathways High. Both UW-Milwaukee’s Office of Charter Schools and the UW Board of Regents approved Pathways High’s charter.

Q: Does Pathways High have uniforms?

A: We do not have uniforms. You can find our dress code listed in the student and parent handbook.

Q: Can I get into college if I go to Pathways High?

A: Yes.  Students from Pathways High earn both the academic and future-readiness competencies/standards that higher education institutions are seeking.  Also, while at Pathways High, students have opportunities to take advanced coursework at Milwaukee area colleges and universities through our dual enrollment program.

Q: Is Pathways High a non-profit organization?

A: Yes, Pathways High, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that operates a charter high school, Pathways High. Therefore, all donations to Pathways High are tax deductible.

Q: What are the main differences between Pathways High and conventional high schools.

A: Please see the attached matrix. (Google slide describing differences.)

Q: Does Pathways High provide special education services?

A: Yes, as a public school, Pathways High provides special education services by a certified special education teacher.

Q: What is a Pathways High seminar?

A: Pathways High seminars are courses, typically nine weeks long, that include academic content from multiple disciplines and opportunities to develop EMPOWER (future-readiness) skills.

Q: What are Pathways High EMPOWER skills?

A: Pathways High EMPOWER skills are the future readiness skills necessary for success in college, career, and life. Specifically, these skills include: Empathy, Mindfulness, Problem Solving, Ownership, Working Together, Exploring Perspective, and Refinement.

Q: What are Pathways High IMPACT experiences?

A: Pathways High IMPACT experiences are real-world learning experiences and/or connections within and outside of the school building. Every Pathways High seminar has a minimum of one IMPACT experience.

Q: What is the Pathways High IMPACT Year?


A: The Pathways High IMPACT Year is an optional 5th year of high school that is a supported launch to adulthood. Specifically, it is a combination of dual enrollment college coursework and hands-on work experience (internship/apprenticeship) personalized based on the interests and aspirations of each student. IMPACT Year students are supported by the Pathways High IMPACT Director.


Q: What is a mastery transcript?


A: Similar to a resume, a mastery transcript is a high school transcript that provides a holistic picture of a student’s experiences, academic knowledge, and future readiness skills acquired throughout high school and the IMPACT Year, if the student pursued an IMPACT Year. Students select the evidence that best demonstrates their diverse capabilities. Please click on this link to view a sample mastery transcript.


Q: Do Pathways High students take state tests? ACT? 


A: Pathways High complies with all state mandated testing, including the Forward exam, ACT ASPIRE, and ACT. 


Q: Does Pathways High have sports?


A: No, we do not have sports.  Our sports program expands with our enrollment and based on student interests. We may have some in the future, with enough student interest. 


Q: What extracurriculars or clubs do you have?

 Lifting Club, Writing Club, LGBTQA+ Alliance 

A: Clubs are student-driven and created, only to be assisted by staff at Pathways High. For the 23-24 school year, we currently have Art Club, Weight Lifting Club, LGBTQA+ Alliance Club, Writing Club, ESports Club, Anime Club and potentially more in the making. 

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