The mission of Shalom High School is to allow at-risk students an opportunity to earn high school diplomas and to prepare students to be productive, successful adults, good citizens, and to become responsible mature members of their communities. Shalom;'s competency-based credit earning model and its senior portfolio assessment require students to critically examine their own knowledge and take responsibility for their own learning.

Our vision is that ultimately all students who leave Shalom High School will possess the necessary skills to make positive post-high school career, educational and/or employment choices.


Shalom High School was founded in 1973 with the specific purpose of educating young people returning from correctional institutions. Over the years, the school's mission evolved to educated any student who found academic achievement difficult in traditional high schools. Today, these students are called "at-risk".

Shalom operates as subsidiary of Transcenter for Youth, Inc., a private non-profit, non-sectarian organization. It satisfies all of the State's requirements for private schools. Therefore, Shalom High School has private school status in Wisconsin.

During the 1981-82 school year, Shalom began contracting with the Milwaukee Public Schools and became one of Milwaukee's first partnership schools. During the 2011-2012 academic year the total enrollment capacity was 105 students.


Shalom offers a full-day academic program leading to a high school diploma for students who meet the criteria of the state's children at-risk statute and are not achieving academic success in traditional schools. The school's competency based, accelerated learning model, encourages success through challenging curriculum. Students earn credits through the traditional model and through 300 competencies or skills, developed with input from:

Jon Erickson, Ph.D., Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Walden High School, Racine Wisconsin

The Coalition of Essential Schools, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Waukesha County Technical Institute External Diploma Program

Employment Competencies, published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison, Wisconsin

Our students must also prepare and present a portfolio or D.O.G. (Defense of Graduation), evaluated by a graduation committee. Students are generally between 15-19 years old in grades 9-12. For admission, students and parents must participate in an enrollment interview with Shalom staff and they must qualify as at-risk students.

Overview of Shalom High School:

Founded: 1973

Grades: 9–12

Enrollment: 110 students

Program: At-Risk Students

Type: MPS Partnership

Hours: 8:00 AM–4:00 PM

Focus: Intensive Remediation, Employability Training, Anger Management and Conflict Resolution, Honors Reading Program, AODA Services, Teen Sexuality and Prevention

Success: High Graduation Rates, ACT Participation & Performance

Co-Directors: Denis Pitchford, Joseph O’Shea


As a Partnership school, Shalom High School supports and is committed to implementing the MPS K-12 curriculum and the Common Core State Standards in all academic areas.

Through an extensive, on-going school effectiveness process, Shalom's staff, after considering the relevant research and consulting with experts in the field, developed a unique model to meet the educational needs of at-risk students. There are two parallel ways students can earn the twenty-two (22) credits required for graduation at Shalom. Classes are offered in the traditional high school subject areas of English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Science/Health, Math and Life Skills/Humanities.

Students can also earn credit by demonstrating mastery each trimester of the three hundred (300) skills or competencies which must be mastered in order to graduate. These skills or competencies are taught across the curriculum and are grouped in the following six categories: communication, social interaction, critical thinking and analysis, problem solving and decision-making, environmental responsibility and valuing. In addition to mastering standardized competency tests (all students are given a pre and post test using the McGraw Hill CTBS 4th Edition Comprehensive Test of Basic Skill), as well the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment.

All seniors must develop a portfolio of their work and "defend" their readiness to graduate before a panel of staff and Shalom Advisory Committee members and community partners.


Denise Pitchford, Co-Director

Joseph O’Shea, Co-Director

Yolanda Osley, Administrative Assistant

Alexander Meylink, English

Andrew Ajer, English

Maureen Zebian, Life Skills/Humanities

Claudia Hardie, Mathematics

Ryan Weber, Mathematics

Anthony Bradford, Science

Nhan Le, Science

Joseph O'Shea, Social Studies

Lawrence Buszka, Social Studies