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Middle College students at Skyline College

Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Information

The Middle College at Skyline College is committed to providing an environment which promotes learning and provides curricula that allows students to earn a high school diploma plus one or more the following options:

  • Career technical education certificate and/or,
  • Units toward an Associate degree, and/or
  • Units to transfer to a four-year college or university

A postsecondary education is essential for financial and personal freedom in today’s economy. A four-year college graduate earns two -thirds more than a high school graduate does. An associate degree translates into earnings significantly higher than those earned by an individual with a high school diploma alone. National statistics on the progression of students from high school to college illustrate why it is imperative to better connect and integrate secondary and postsecondary schooling. The benefits of the Middle College at Skyline College include:.

  1. Students have the opportunity to earn a career education certificate, and/or an associate degree and/or transferable college units while in high school.
  2. The years to earn a college degree are compressed.
  3. Students are provide academic and social supports that help students succeed in a challenging course of study.
  4. Learning takes place in small learning environments that demand rigorous, high-quality work along with providing extensive learning, social and behavioral support.
  5. The physical transition between high school and college is eliminated—and with it the need to apply for college and for financial aid during the last year of high school.

Middle college is appropriate for high school students from a wide range of backgrounds. They are demonstrating that the academic challenge provided by college-level courses can be motivation, rather than obstacle. The job of Skyline College and its public school partners will be to refine the instructional practices and wraparound student support structures to ensure students’ academic, career and social achievement.

The Middle College serves 100 students in the 11th or 12th grade. The Middle College will maintain a learning environment that allows each student to explore, discover, assimilate and apply knowledge.

The Middle College students will include but are not limited to the following students:

  • Highly motivated achievers
  • Have the academic ability to successfully complete college level work
  • Have the academic ability but are not achieving to their potential in the traditional high school setting
  • At risk of not graduating because they are experiencing other factors which indicate being at risk, i.e., social, familial, economic
  • Gifted in an area such as music, art or computers, but generally is not succeeding in the high school learning environment
  • Deficient in units for graduation or at risk of dropping out of high school

The Middle College is located in Building 2, room 2304 on the Skyline College campus.

The Middle College at Skyline College is sponsored by South San Francisco Unified School District and San Mateo Union High School District, therefore any student who is resident of these two districts can attend Middle College at Skyline College.

The Structure of Middle College

Advanced Placement classes give students a taste of college, yielding multiple benefits, like improved preparation for college and higher retention in high school districts, along with an expanded set of curricular offerings. However, only the Middle College:

  • Fully integrates the students’ academic, career and social high school and college experiences
  • Blends the curriculum as a coherent unit, with high school and college-level work melded into a single academic program that meets the requirements for a high school diploma, and potentially, a career technology certificate, and/or associate degree
  • Enables students to accumulate units toward a degree to transfer to another college

The goal is to get the student beyond the “20 unit threshold.” Research shows this threshold is the key breaking point between students who complete a college degree and those who never finish college. (Source: Clifford Adelman, 2006. The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School Through College. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.)

The Middle College students will earn their high school diploma plus one or more of the following three options: (1) career technical education certificate; and/or (2) units toward an Associate degree; and/or (3) transferable units to a four-year institution of higher education. Allowing students to earn college units in while still in high school makes a college education far more affordable for students and their families---they can save two years’ worth of college tuition.

Middle College at Skyline College students will receive college units for all college coursework completed. College coursework may be applied toward high school graduation requirements. College courses accepted by the high school towards meeting graduation requirements will be approved by the students’ school district.

There are four key features that promote success, including small size, aligned curriculum, location and support.

  • Small size: The Middle College at Skyline College will enroll 50 or fewer students per grade, resulting in very close and intrusive relationships between students, faculty, staff and administrators.
  • Aligned curricula and instruction for high school and college courses to provide a high school diploma: Students will have the options of a pathway of Career Technical Education (CTE) coursework to earn a certificate and/or earning college units toward an associate degree and transferring to a four-year college or university.
  • Power of place: Being located on a college campus will give the student an opportunity to experience to build his or her identity as a successful college student.
  • Support: There is a robust network of wrap-around student programs and services that will be made accessible to Middle College students that address their educational and career goal, along with personal crisis, i.e., hunger, mental health, housing, etc. The student support services includes the following: Disability Resource Center, Learning Center, Career Services, SparkPoint, and Transfer Center.

In addition the Middle College will:

  • Focus on key, research-based goals and an intellectual mission
  • Sustain small, individualized learning environments, with no more than 50 students per grade level
  • Encourage respect and responsibility among students, among faculty, and between students and faculty
  • Support staff collaboration and professional development
  • Foster inclusion of parents and community in an academic enterprise
  • Advance technology as a tool for designing and delivering creative curricula
  • Maintain rigorous academic standards for high school and college level courses

No. Any Middle College student taking 11 units or less will not have to pay any tuition. However, if the student takes 12 units or more they will have to pay full tuition. Some courses require lab and/or materials fees that the student will be responsible for paying.

After high school graduation students can continue to pursue career technology certificate and/or earn college units for an associate degree and/or to transfer to a four-year college or university.

Partner School Districts

The partner districts are San Mateo County Community College District and South San Francisco Unified School District and San Mateo Union High School District.