Middle College High permits students to earn college credits while finishing h.s.

Issac Jeitler

Issac Jeitler
Issac Jeitler

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Have you ever passed by the tennis court and wondered what younger students populating the far end of Grossmont’s campus are doing?

Simply put, these students are completing their high school diplomas while at the same time acquiring college credit to fulfill their degree requirements towards a 4-year institution.

The program had its genesis at LaGuardia Community College in New York during the mid 70s.

Impressed, Bob Stein, district assistant superintendent; Steve Cooper, director of curriculum; and Lois Knowlton, dean of business and professional studies, utilized a Carl Perkins Tech Prep Grant to enable Cathy Zemlick to be released from her teaching role at Valhalla High School in order to research and design the school.

Grossmont Middle College High School (GMCHS) sprouted on campus in 2001 and opened its doors for San Diego County students entering 11th and 12th grade. The Middle College program is a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited school which has offered high school diplomas since 2003. GMCHS is also considered and recognized as part of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD).

Students attending GMCHS are subjected to four mandatory core classes including, English, Social Science, Critical Thinking for College Readiness and an Internship program. Another requirement for students is to enroll in at least six units of either math, science, language, physical education or performing arts at Grossmont College. Zemlick stated that, “Historically an average of one year of college credits are accumulated by the time students leave our program.”

Zemlick leads the teaching department while Vincent Legg instructs social science and Sharon Neumann is the school’s counselor.

Successes for the Middle College include 100% integration into a higher educational institution. Over recent years, 35% of students enrolled at Grossmont College after achieving their High School Diplomas. These students acquired credits for one to two years before moving onto a 4-year institution. Sixty five percent of the students graduating from the program went straight to a four-year college. When asked why students tended to stay at Grossmont afterwards, Sharon Neumann mentioned, “Variables. There are lots of reasons as to why students may not go straight to a four-year institute in today’s economy.”

Spring semester at the Middle College will serve 80 students, the present cap. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for fall of 2012. Information is available via the Middle College website::http://middlecollege.guhsd.net or by calling (619) 644-7524. One hour information sessions will be held in the new Griffin Gate on: Tuesday, Feb. 21st / Wed., Feb. 29th / Saturday, March 3rd / Thursday, March 8th.

Applications for fall semester 2012 are due Friday, March 30th.

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Jeitler is features editor of the GC Summit. He may be contacted at [email protected]