Through the Wyoming Middle College Program, 50 high school sophomores are simultaneously earning their high school diplomas and Associate’s Degrees of Arts at Grand Rapids Community College.
Fall semester 2012 is the kick off for this program; WMC is now among 25 middle college programs in the state of Michigan and hundreds throughout the nation. This is not dual enrollment, but actually college taught at a younger level.
This is a five year commitment that starts during the students’ sophomore years in high school. At the beginning of each new school year, another group of 50 WHS sophomores will apply and start at entry level. Students enrolled in WMC are taking their GRCC classes taught by GRCC faculty at Wyoming High School. It is anticipated that classes will continue to be held in Wyoming, but that could change depending on what courses students choose in the future.
Students enrolled in this program must meet requirements to be eligible, including a GPA of 2.5 or greater and regular class attendance.
These students are taking Introduction to College: New Student Experience, CLS 100, taught by Professor Steven Beauclair, as their first college course.
“I believe the first semester is going very well,” said Dan Clark, Dean of GRCC Lakeshore Campus and Academic Outreach. “Professor Steven Beauclair is engaging the students in the learning process, and the students are eager to learn and to do their best.”
The students’ responses have been positive.
“Being handed this opportunity, I feel absolutely honored and proud of myself to have achieved academic recognition,” said Renee Paniccia, 14, a WMC student from Wyoming. “My classmates and I are all hard workers that are willing to step up to the plate and prove that we have what it takes to graduate.”
During the first semester in this program, administrators are finding what the program does well and what needs to be improved.
“I believe the strengths of any program remain in the students, faculty and curriculum outcomes,” Clark said. “We will look to get responses from students, faculty and administration for improvements so we see all of the students persist with great success.”
After the controversy of the purpose of WMC earlier this year of WMC only being a program to get a piece of paper over an education and it makes students have to mature beyond their years, there are already positive outcomes only half way through the first semester.
Clark hopes that the students will learn so they can successfully move forward to pursue other academic pursuits. His desire is to see students have a great high school experience and be able to earn an associate’s degree at the same time.