Our Mission

Milestones cultivates the potential of every student and young adult by recognizing their strengths, unique needs, and learning differences. Our goal is to ensure that each individual reaches their highest level of success by connecting them to new learning opportunities that help achieve greater independence, foster self-confidence, and create meaningful relationships at school and beyond.

The Milestones

Our Organization’s Core Values:

  • Potential: Each student has undeniable potential. We are fierce advocates for highlighting students’ strengths and capabilities while celebrating milestones of progress and achievement.
  • Perseverance: Our students, their families and our staff adapt to challenges they may face each day. We embrace their courage, tenacity, humor and optimism.
  • Positivity: A caring, nurturing and optimistic environment is the foundation of Milestones. Our highly qualified, passionate staff promote a culture of respect and positivity. We emphasize our students’ strengths, abilities and gifts through educational and therapeutic programming and interactions with parents and other community members.
  • Partnerships: Students thrive when they are supported by a strong, collaborative partnership between parents, teachers, school districts, the therapeutic professionals, and outside community partners. We work to build connections that provide resources necessary for our students to overcome obstacles and feel supported.
  • Best Practices: 21st century classroom technology and research based educational approaches are proven tools that promote enhanced learning and positive outcomes. Our students benefit from innovative methods, including creative and flexible programming and new and emerging technologies.
A teacher showing a student how to cook in a kitchen

Our Story

How Milestones Started
Written by our founder, Alex Smith-Michaels

I’m a dreamer as well as an entrepreneur.  I saw a problem and created a solution.  I’m also a person with a disability that changed the way students with disabilities are educated today.

Growing up I experienced the worst of the educational and psychiatric systems.  Therefore, when I was 24 years old in 1994, I created an agency dedicated to helping people with disabilities and vowed to change the way they are viewed.  Instead of exclusively looking at a student’s challenges I saw what was positive and engaging about these students.  I saw potential. 

Milestones, Inc. started in the kitchen in my cramped apartment in Cambridge, MA in 1994.  After earning my degree, I consulted to various towns’ special education programs to meet their students’ needs within their district.  This involved designing programs from the ground up starting with planning a budget, finding funding sources, designing the physical classroom space, designing curriculum, hiring and training staff, writing and monitoring Individual Education Plans, and most of all providing program oversight.  All students were treated with respect and dignity. 

After a short while of consulting to school districts my phone was ringing off the hook.  I couldn’t keep up with the requests for consultation, so with the support of my family, I decided to hire staff.  Eventually my apartment became too small and unrealistic to run a company from, so I rented approximately 2500 square feet of space to continue and expand the consultations. Consulting alone was still not enough to really help all the students I encountered. I knew the only way to really make a difference was to establish a special needs school. In 2005, I opened a school of my own where an intense pragmatic curriculum melded with robust academic programming, and Milestones Day School was born! I rented additional space and employed ideal interventions.  The school filled up rather quickly.  We started with 1 student and now serve approximately 90 students.

a teacher helping a student in the classroom