APS looking at Middle College option

ALPENA – Joyce McCoy, director of secondary instruction and career and technical education, presented an initiative to the curriculum-technology committee about the CTE exploring an opportunity for high school students to participate in a preparatory program for college readiness called Middle College. This additional year of high school would include mostly college credits and one high school credit, and would allow students to take college credited courses similar to dual enrollment.

“This is an initiative the state sponsored to make students more career and college ready,” McCoy said. “It’s one more opportunity to make sure the students have their way paved for college.”

Currently CTE staff are looking at other model programs that offer the 13th year and working together to decide which model would fit best for the students.

Students would elect to participate in the 13th year early on in high school and would follow a plan based on a career path or interest. Students cannot graduate from high school until the 13th year is complete, but may have the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree or certificate.

“This would allow the system to help pay for them through grade 13,” McCoy said. “This program wouldn’t be for the students that plan on leaving after high school or going straight to a university, but the ones who have an eye on (Alpena Community College). We can assist and pay for the 13th year through dual enrollment.”

Currently the CTE is just exploring the options with this program, and has had support and interest from the committee to move forward in looking at different models and selecting the best fit for Alpena.

“There are no programs like this in Northeast Michigan,” McCoy said. “Students might choose to follow a career path like business, health or manufacturing, and this would continue right through high school into college. The degrees and certificates they earn could transfer anywhere for further education. We will continue to learn more as we explore the different program models.”

The high school students would be taking courses offered through ACC similar to dual enrolling in their 13th year. Tuition would be paid similar to dual enrollment, and some models the CTE department is looking at work well with the college and career access available in Alpena.

“We hope to keep learning more and have a better idea of what model to use by next year,” McCoy said. “We would start with a cohort group, make sure the students are successful with both high school and college courses, and work with coordination between college and high school staff. There is a lot of ground work to cover first.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.