Have you heard of Middle College? It’s an awesome alternative educational opportunity for high school students offered across the country, and we are fortunate to have two right here in the Triangle, at Durham Technical Community College and Wake Tech Community College. In addition, Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College is available in nearby Graham, NC.
The Middle College Program concept was first established in New York in 1974. The original design for the school evolved from the work of Dr. Janet Lieberman, Professor of Psychology at LaGuardia in New York, who believed that a collaborative high school/college program could nurture the academic and psycho-social needs of at-risk urban youth with college potential. The Middle College Program is a collaboration between a high school district and a community college for high school students who are interested in a more independent learning environment, or at-risk students who can be surrounded by positive role models and reach their goals. This environment helps them acclimate to higher standards, become engaged in school, and be motivated to attend regularly.
Middle College Programs cover the cost of tuition, books, and fees, thus removing one of the most significant barriers to entry into higher education: price. The programs also help students to navigate the sometimes-intimidating college admissions and enrollment processes, with help applying to college; college fairs; college financial aid; PSAT, SAT, and ACT testing; college course opportunities, and scholarship opportunities. Students must apply to the programs, and must meet certain criteria to gain acceptance.
Durham Technical Community College’s Middle College Program
The Middle College High School (MCHS) program offered at Durham Technical Community College is a magnet school for juniors and seniors. Students take a combination of core high school courses and college courses to acquire credit toward an associate degree, four-year college, or an industry certification credential. The core classes are provided by teachers employed by the high school districts, while all the college courses are taken with college students at the community college. MCHS offers several unique advantages to students, including free college credit (students can graduate with a year–or more–of transferable college credit), small enrollment (maximum 200 students), a collegiate environment, and access to all Durham Tech facilities and services, such as libraries, labs, clubs, and dining services. Students also enjoy free tutoring resources offered by the college.
Durham Tech is located in East Durham off the Durham Freeway, at 1637 East Lawson Street. The main campus map is shown below.
Wake Tech Community College’s Early College Program
Wake Tech Community College offers Wake Early College of Health and Sciences (WECHS) for students interested in pursuing a degree or career in the health science field. This program was launched in 2004 in partnership with the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina, and the NC Department of Public Instruction as an opportunity to serve first-generation college students, those at-risk of dropping out, or other historically underserved populations, at no cost to their families.
WECHS is a rigorous five-year public high school program that allows students to earn their high school diploma and an Associate degree, college transfer credit, certificate, or prerequisite courses for a health sciences degree. For the first two years of the program, students take honors classes at the the Perry Health Sciences Campus at Wake Tech. For the next three years, students take both high school and college classes on the Northern Campus of Wake Tech.
Key advantages of WECHS include small classes (the school has a max of 400 students at all times), advice about their course of study from Wake Tech and WECHS academic advisors, job shadowing and internships at WakeMed (with potential for employment with the hospital system), and mentoring opportunities by WakeMed Health and Hospitals professionals. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card. WECHS follows a traditional calendar and is located at 2901 Holston Lane in Raleigh.
Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College Program
The Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College (ABEMC) is a program located on the campus of Alamance Community College serving rising ninth graders through 12th grade, with the majority of high school courses taken during the first two years (Early College), and the final two years focused on college level classes (Middle College). As with all Middle College programs, the goal is to produce high school graduates with academic or career post-secondary plans firmly in place.
ABEMC is a small program (just 75 students are enrolled) where teaching is enriched by the use of technology in the classroom and project-based learning. Each student receives a computer and a MyMuvi PaceCamHD. Faculty all have Smartboards, laptop computers, and document cameras. The school, located at 1247 Jimmie Kerr Road in Graham, NC, follows a traditional calendar. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card.