On September 4, fifty high school students in the Wyoming Public Schools will begin both high school classes and college courses, as part of the inaugural Wyoming Middle College (WMC) program this fall.
The WMC is a partnership between Grand Rapids Community College and Wyoming Public Schools designed to provide the opportunity for participating students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree in five years. Students participating in the program begin in their sophomore year and complete the program after an extended year of classes beyond the traditional senior year. Under the WMC program students will be “dual-enrolled” in high school and college courses, with tuition for the college courses paid for by Wyoming Public Schools as part of the district’s per pupil state funding. This is the first such program in the region, and the 26th early/middle college statewide.
“We are pleased with the interest and support of the students and parents – the fact that we reached our goal of fifty students our first year speaks to the importance of the program,” said Wyoming Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Reeder. “The support and enthusiasm from GRCC and our own faculty and staff is overwhelming – we’re all looking forward to the beginning of the school year to kick it off.”
According to GRCC officials, the dual-enrolled students are registered in two sections of CLS (College Learning Studies) 100. CLS 100 is a two credit college course designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to be successful in college and in life. This course is known as a "First-Year Experience" (FYE) course, and most colleges and universities have them, so the course credits may transfer to a four-year college. These classes will meet at Wyoming High School during the regular school day.
“What a great opportunity for students to graduate with a high school diploma, while earning their associate degree, without having to worry about paying for tuition – an economic barrier many students and their families face today,” said Dr. Steven C. Ender, GRCC President. “We see this important partnership as an extension of our mission to provide access to post-secondary education to the community, and one that ultimately benefits the West Michigan region.”
Here are some key details of the Wyoming Middle College program:
- Application-based program during freshmen year, with their college courses beginning their sophomore year
- Students will be dual-enrolled
- Students will take fewer high school completion courses and more college degree courses in each subsequent year of high school
- College course tuition paid by Wyoming Public Schools
GRCC is also offering the same course to high school students at Union High School - Academy for Design and Construction, and Holland Public Schools’ New Tech High School this fall.
About Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.
About Wyoming Public Schools
The Wyoming Public School District serves a student population of approximately 4,700 students. WPS staff consists of more than 500 employees, including teachers, administrators, secretaries, para-educators, food service, maintenance and custodial staff, bus drivers, mechanics, and community education personnel.