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 P: (414) 988-7960        E: Info@EscuelaVerde.org

Escuela Verde
3628 W Pierce Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Education either functions
as an instrument to...bring about conformity or it
becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate
in the transformation of their world" ~Paulo Freire




2017-2018 Printable Application

2017-2018 Printable Application Spanish

Child Find Notice

Child Find Notice Spanish


Here are some frequently asked questions about our school.

We have gathered our best answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you want more answers, please email us at info@escuelaverde.org.

What is Escuela Verde?

Escuela Verde is a public charter school authorized by the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee, operated by TransCenter for Youth. We ground our learning practices on the EdVisions Project-Based Learning model. Escuela Verde is designed to support students interested in sustainability, student-led learning, and restorative justice. This year, we admitted a total of 100 students entering grades 7- 12.

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What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-Based Learning is the natural way to learn. Students set their own learning goals in order to
meet the graduation requirements of the school. At Escuela Verde, students develop, research, work,
and produce their own projects—they meet learning on their own terms.

In practice, Project-Based Learning means:

•  Students design their own learning projects, with their advisor’s advice and guidance.

•  Primary focus is on a constructivist pedagogy: students self-determine what and how they want to learn.

•  Small advisories that make for plenty of personal attention.

•  Students and educational advisors co-develop a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) that meets the needs of the student.

•  All students graduate prepared for post-secondary education, workplace, and active citizenship.

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What is Sustainability?

We believe that empowering students to create a better world around them will lead to overall improved health and wellness of person, community, and natural environment. Because of that belief, we embrace the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education’s Standards for Sustainability, and we view these standards as complimentary to the Common Core State Standards for academic education. All students will be
asked to incorporate these standards into every project they complete. Standards of Sustainability are:

Cultural Preservation & Transformation

Responsible Local & Global Citizenship

The Dynamics of Systems & Change

Sustainable Economics

Healthy Commons

Natural Laws & Ecological Principles

Inventing & Affecting The Future

Multiple Perspectives

Strong Sense Of Place

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What is ecopedagogy?

According to theorist Levana Saxon, “Ecopedagogy is a discourse, a movement, and an approach to education […] that seeks to re-educate ‘planetary citizens’ to care for, respect and take action for all life” (www.practicingfreedom.org). We believe that ecopedagogy asks our students to view themselves as planetary citizens able to create the world they would like to see, rather than observers who must watch as their communities are exploited and abused. This encourages students to take responsibility for creating the healthy, resilient, and sustainable communities that embrace multiple perspectives and truths.

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What is praxis?

The Freire Institute, an educational organization founded on educational theorist Paolo Freire’s philosophies, defines praxis as “action/reflection. It is not enough for people to come together in dialogue
in order to gain knowledge of their social reality. They must act together upon their environment in order critically to reflect upon their reality and so transform it through further action and critical reflection.”
We practice praxis at Escuela Verde so that we are always critically reflecting on our actions in order
to transform ourselves and our communities.

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What is Restorative Justice?

Wikipedia has a great definition: “Restorative Justice (also sometimes called "reparative justice") is
an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims, offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in
the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've done—by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service". Restorative justice involves both victim and offender and focuses on their personal needs. In addition, it provides help for the offender
in order to avoid future offences. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability."

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What is YPEAR?

YPEAR is an acronym for Youth Participatory Ecojustice Action Research. It is based on the practice
of YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research), which takes young people out into their communities
to identify problems and propose solutions. YPEAR allows young people to specifically focus on environmental justice issues. Escuela Verde students are encouraged to incorporate YPEAR into
their projects, and it is a cornerstone of the Senior Capstone Project required to graduate.

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What is a Presentation Night?

Twice per year, we require our students to present their projects – one showcase and one presentation
in front of the audience. “Showcasing” is similar to a science fair presentation, where presenters stand behind their projects and talk one-on-one with Presentation Night attendees. We host four Presentation Nights per year. They are free, open to the public, and are either at Escuela Verde or at a nearby location.

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What is ‘democratized education’?

Most everyone who has thought about it realizes that the very school systems that teach democracy
are the least democratic institutions in a community. At Escuela Verde, learners and advisors work
together, openly and transparently (while respecting confidentiality and shared needs) to manage
the school. Escuela Verde itself is the project that everyone works on, even when they are busy on
other projects.

Escuela Verde is an advisor-led school. We do not have a principal to rule us or a Central Office to drive
us. We fully support and expect a strong, active, participative student governance group.

In short, ‘democratized education’ means that we model the principles of a democratic society
in our everyday work.

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Will I like this school? Will my child like this school?

We know that nearly every student can thrive at Escuela Verde. Some qualities that we think are most helpful are:

curiosity and an inquisitive mind

an interest in getting out of rows and rules of a traditional high school setting

an ability to trust in her/his own power to learn

and an interest in positively contributing to and participating in her/ his own life and the lives of others.

Of course, students who are interested in food, science, the outdoors, ecosystems, food systems,
careers in science, food, and related businesses, and making a great life for themselves will especially
like Escuela Verde.

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What do you expect from me as a student?

Have fun while working. We expect students to be their naturally curious selves. We also expect them
to share responsibility for their learning, their school, and their lives, and, most importantly, proactive accountability. Students throughout the country say that Project-Based Learning schools are fun places
to work and learn. But note the emphasis on a place to work—for life skills, for personal development,
and for the betterment of your neighborhood and community.

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What do you expect of me as a parent?

Join us and join in. Walk in, look around, ask questions, and connect to Escuela Verde as much as your child does. Help us build this school and restore our neighborhood and community, one student, one parent, and one pepper plant at a time. Your entire family deserves to live in an ever-improving community.

More specifically, we welcome your questions about how your child’s progress is doing. Escuela Verde
is where we share your impulse to prepare your child for a full, long, and successful life. But it isn’t
a place separate from you—it’s your school, too. You pay for it with your taxes, you send some of the
most precious people in your life to it, and it can never reach its highest potential without your active involvement.

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How much does it cost?

It’s free! Escuela Verde is a public school. It is funded by the State of Wisconsin via our tax dollars. 
We also seek donations and funding from the community for our students’ to pursue their passions
that may exceed our own funding capacity to provide and expand.

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What about your advisors?

All of our educational advisors are not only experts in their fields (some hold or are completing Master’s and PhD degrees), they are passionate about urban education & sustainability. All have many years of teaching experience and comply with DPI requirements.

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Who runs this school?

The short answer is that the students and the advisors run Escuela Verde. We run a holistic democratic community.

Students are expected to help craft Escuela Verde. We encourage and support a strong student
governance presence and their informed participation is expected.

We also rely on a Community Advisory Council for advice and counsel. These members are selected
from the community. We would be honored if you will consider being one of those people.

We are very fortunate to be one of the four TransCenter for Youth schools. TCY has been helping
students in Milwaukee learn for nearly 40 years. TCY and our sister schools (Shalom, NOVA,
and El Puente) provide the administrative and educational support that we need.