Local & Regional
12:44 pm
Mon September 28, 2009

8th Graders to College

Tulsa, OK – Thirty-four eighth grade students from Tulsa Public Schools are now taking classes at Tulsa Community College's Northeast Campus thanks to a new alternative learning program called Middle College High School. TCC and TPS announce the launch of Middle College High School, the first program of its kind in northeastern Oklahoma, at a news conference Monday.

The collaboration is designed to increase the education opportunities, graduation rates and college enrollments for Tulsa students. More than 90 students applied for the opportunity over the summer. After interviews with the students and their parents or guardians, TPS officials chose 34 students to begin Middle College this fall. Students began classes Sept. 18.

"Middle College High School uses a Big Picture philosophy of learning which focuses on small class size, curriculum relevant to real world topics and student interests, and uses mentors and parents as an integral part of teaching," explains Kenny Rodrequez, lead principal of School Innovations for Middle College High school. "In just over one week, we've already seen positive feedback from students and their parents who truly understand what a unique opportunity this program is and how much it will benefit them."

Each year, two more classes of eighth graders will be selected from TPS. The first two groups move on to ninth grade curriculum and continue to be housed at TCC's Northeast Campus. The program has the potential to house 8-12 grade students from TPS.

Students participating in the program will continue their studies in Middle College through their senior years and will have the opportunity to take classes in a college environment at TCC's Northeast Campus with the potential to graduate with a high school diploma as well as an associate degree or credit toward a bachelor's degree.

"We look forward to seeing these students in our Tulsa Community College classrooms," said Dr. Sandra Massey, provost of TCC's Northeast Campus. "Middle College is an exciting step forward for education in Tulsa."
Middle College High School is one of several programs TPS alternative education task force recently approved. Of the $2.13 million TPS approved for the alternative programs, Middle College will cost the district about $160,000.