Youth Initiative High School
The Youth Initiative High School (www.yihs.net) is a unique independent high school with about 45 students located in the heart of the Driftless Area of rural southwestern Wisconsin. YIHS was founded in 1996 out of the collaborative initiative of a pioneering group of students, parents, and teachers. Today, YIHS continues to emphasize the development of student responsibility, initiative, and citizenship in all aspects of school life. Students are full voting members of the school community, serving alongside parents and faculty on the Board of Trustees and on many other committees. YIHS students also take responsibility for raising a significant part of the school’s annual budget through a variety of independently organized fundraising activities.
Pedagogically, YIHS uses the Waldorf curriculum, which is based on the ideas of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) and the school is a developing member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Youth Initiative High School strives to integrate head, heart, and hands into the fabric of school life. On the basis of this philosophy, YIHS pursues a balance of academic rigor in the sciences, humanities, and foreign languages, compassion and cooperation in social life, and creativity and excellence in the practical and fine arts. As a result of its location in the Driftless Area, one of the nation’s centers of organic and sustainable agriculture, YIHS has developed a unique foods, nutrition, and agriculture curriculum, published as The Whole Plate Curriculum (http:www.thewholeplate.yihs.net), as well as a variety of other hands-on and outdoor classes and programs.
YIHS is a private high school and does not receive substantial funds from federal, state, or local government. YIHS has a strong commitment to making holistic education accessible to all who seek it. Thus, tuition at YIHS is arranged on a flexible basis in order to enable students from families of all income levels to participate in the school, with several students each year working to pay their own tuition. In recent years, YIHS has also developed a home-stay based boarding program that hosts a number of boarding students each year from around the US and the world.