Middle College Program
Recognizing the importance of getting kids on track to graduate from high school and ready for career or college, Springfield initiated the Middle College program in fall of 2012.
The idea is that through targeted support and commitments made at multiple levels, students will grow and learn what they need to know in the hopes of being able to master college-level work in high school and graduate with one or more year’s of college credits under their belt—both shortening the pathway to an eventual career and also easing the financial burden for families.
Attendance: Given that students can’t learn if they’re not in school, the first step of the Middle College program is to get parents and students to commit to a 95% attendance rate (which means missing no more than eight days of school per year). If attendance falls below that rate, the student will be asked to participate in after-school programming.
Homework: Students are also asked to commit to doing at least one hour of homework each day (or, if there isn’t any homework, to use that time to read or otherwise support their learning) and three hours each weekend. Parents are being asked to sign a “family compact” in which they agree to encourage and support these efforts, including providing a quiet place for students to do their work.
Teachers: For their part, teachers have committed to providing after-school help for students whose grade-point average falls below a B. Teachers are currently building lesson plans for the after-school programs.
Opportunities: In addition to the academic components, students will also have opportunities to explore different careers and the pathways needed to get there. They’ll learn about college entrance requirements, how credits work and what their financial aid options are.
Mentorship is a key aspect of the program. Community volunteers meet with students at least three times each year to make sure they are on track to be successful in school. The mentors will also help the students begin thinking about future plans and reinforce the idea that any student can go to college. Click here to learn more about mentoring.