Middle College Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
What is Middle College?
Middle College is an innovative, contemporary high school on a college campus which provides the opportunity for students to earn a high school diploma, start college early while gaining credits towards a certificate or degree and begin an internship or work study in the community as an integrated part of the educational process.
Why is there a need for Middle College?
Exciting school reform is happening in your community. The traditional high school setting is not an effective model for all students to achieve a high school diploma. Therefore, additional high school options are necessary to further and better educate area youth.
Who should attend Middle College?
Middle College has three primary populations. Our overall purpose is to serve students that are bright with great potential, but they are currently underperforming in the traditional high school setting. Secondly, we seek to support underserved students that have historically limited access to higher education and without additional support may never transition to college. Finally, Middle College is for students that are on track to graduate, but they have a life circumstance that limits their ability to thrive in the traditional high school and an earlier transition to college would be beneficial.
What is the main focus at Middle College?
We concentrate on college and career preparation through technical education.
How is the Middle College different from traditional high school?
Classes are smaller with each student receiving a graduation plan specific to their individual needs coupled with flexible scheduling. The school culture is a hands-on, technical environment in a collegiate atmosphere. Students earn college credits that may be applied towards a certificate or degree. Eligible students participate in internships matched to their individual career pathways to assist in gaining greater understanding of the relevancy between school and work.
What are the major goals of the Middle College?
- To provide students in southwest Missouri a contemporary, unique educational experience
- To serve underperforming, underrepresented students that are at risk of not graduating or attending college
- To provide an innovative educational option for students seeking a high school diploma in a non-traditional setting
- To earn college credit while simultaneously completing high school
- To begin developing skills in a specific career pathway through technical education
- To increase the relevancy of school through students’ participation in experiential learning through paid and/or unpaid internships in a specific career pathway
- To assist students in the transition from high school to college or the workforce
What are the specific benefits to the student?
- Small college-style classes
- Opportunity to earn high school diploma in a contemporary college setting
- Personal teacher/mentors to assist each student
- Individualized graduation plans
- Greater use of computer technology
- Free college tuition
- Free college textbooks and use of career tools/supplies in college laboratory setting
- Smoother transition to college or the workforce
- Non-traditional school schedule hours
- Paid and/or unpaid internships
Where is the Middle College located?
The Middle College is located on the Ozarks Technical Community College campus. Students attend classes throughout campus and leave their traditional high school behind to finish their diploma on OTC’s campus.
How many students can enroll?
Middle College has expanded to include over 130 students per year.
What technical programs may I choose from if selected for Middle College?
- Early Childhood
- Diesel/Automotive Technology
- Medical Services
- Health Professions Academy (requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and up)
- Networking/Information Technology
Who is eligible to attend?
Students attending Springfield Public Schools and other area school districts who are members of the consortium partnership (contact your school counselor to see if your school participates).
What type of student is a good candidate for the Middle College program?
Good candidates may be any of the following:
A student who is bright but underperforming in the traditional high school setting.
A student who has historically been underserved in higher education including minorities, low-socioeconomic, first generation college students and others who may lack access and support to begin college.
A student who may have good grades but due to individual life circumstances could benefit from starting college early.
A mature student who is ready to transition to an adult-oriented college environment.
What type of student does not qualify?
Middle College is not designed for high achieving students interested in honors classes or advanced placement. Traditional high schools have options to serve these students. Middle College is primarily for students who have not experienced success in a traditional high schools and may even be at-risk of not graduating. Many students may have life issues that inhibit their ability to see college in their future; therefore, Middle College helps them make a smooth transition to higher education. Students must have the ability to stay focused, follow directions and demonstrate good attendance. Students with significant discipline issues or substance abuse are not eligible.
What factors have proven to dramatically limit the success a student can have in the program?
- Poor attendance
- Lack of effort
- Lack of studying/completing homework
- Refusal to accept help
- Limited awareness of the problem
- Unwillingness to change
- Immaturity or Poor Behavior
- No transportation
What factors have proven to motivate students' learning in Middle College?
- College environment
- Friendly, caring culture
- Drug-free expectations
- Non-traditional college schedule
- Smaller classes
- Full-time tutoring support
- Interesting technical education classes
- Freedom with accountability
- Student Contract
- Extended Learning
What specific criteria on each student may be collected to determine potential qualification and fit for this program?
Application, attendance, age, transcript credits, discipline records, GPA, assessment scores, administrator or counselor recommendation, student essay, student/parent interviews as well as any significant life circumstance that makes a student a good candidate to transition to the college environment early.
What type of instructional program will be offered? What courses will be offered?
- High school curriculum consistent towards graduation requirements
- Credit recovery courses through computer-assisted learning through PLATO
- Technical Education Pathways, college transition courses and vocational skills
- Social skills and employer expectations are embedded in all courses
- Paid and/or unpaid internship experiences
- Work credit
What are the school hours?
School schedules vary by the days, semester and cohort group.
When does school start and what about a calendar?
We open earlier in August than other area schools in order to get ready for college life. You will follow the Middle College calendar, which closely resembles OTC’s school calendar.
Do I attend my home school as well?
No, once you are selected the Middle College is your new home school located on OTC’s campus.
What happens on snow days, and whose announcement should I follow to know what to do?
Middle College follows college closures and decisions. You should listen on the radio or look at OTC’s website to know what to do. All students are encouraged to sign up for emergency texts from OTC upon enrollment.
What about summer school?
We encourage students to attend summer school through their home school district, if available. Occasionally, Middle College offers intersession courses during the summer or winter holiday.
How do I apply?
Students should see their school counselor for a referral or contact the Middle College office at 417-447-6997 to receive a packet. You may apply now online or feel free to stop by OTC’s Springfield campus and visit our office located in the Industry, Transportation & Technology Center (ITTC), suite 109.
What is the selection process?
1. Students will be referred by high school counselors in participating districts.
2. Interested students will complete an application and submit it to their school counselor or the Middle College office.
3. Applications are accepted year round.
4. Some students may be assessed to determine their academic abilities.
5. Selected students will be invited to interview on campus with a parent.
6. Students admitted will be notified by the Middle College office.
Will students receive a Missouri accredited high school diploma?
Yes, students will receive a diploma from their home school district and may choose to participate in graduation ceremonies at their home high schools. A Middle College graduation ceremony will be held each May.
Will I be able to attend prom or other extra-curricular activities at my home high school?
Yes; however, you must request permission through the home high school’s administration.
Can I leave campus?
Yes, Middle College students are treated like any other college student and are free to come and go. However, they are expected to be in class, on time and make responsible decisions. Students are asked to sign out of the Middle College office if they leave campus early or come in late. Students who abuse the privilege of attending school on a college campus will be dismissed to return to their home high school.
How is discipline administered?
Students fall under the college guidelines, Middle College expectations and rules as well as their home school district handbook. Middle College does not have in school suspensions or out of school suspensions. Students are expected to behave in an appropriate manner for a college environment and demonstrate maturity. Students causing a disruption may be dismissed to go home at any time during the day. A significant violation will result in a dismissal from the program, and the student must return to high school. All students and parents sign a behavior and expectations contract to attend Middle College.
How much does it cost?
If selected to attend, your admission provides a scholarship for tuition and books in the Middle College program. Together, Ozarks Technical Community College and your home school district will provide the financial means for you to be a student at this amazing, contemporary school option. The student will have the opportunity to earn 20+ hours of free college credit over a two year period. Individual technical programs may have minimal fees/clothing requirements the student must pay. Appropriate work clothing for internships will be the responsibility of the student. General graduation costs should be expected. Students and their families are responsible for an annual enrollment fee currently set at $60 (subject to change). Payments are expected prior to first day of classes and can be made securely online by credit card or by cash or check through the cashier’s office located on the Springfield OTC campus.
Will transportation be provided?
No, students must provide their own transportation. However, students may check with their home high school to see if a bus runs to OTC during the day.
Are students tested for drug or alcohol?
Yes, students may be drug or alcohol tested at any time after accepting admission to the Middle College and signing the release form. Most employment internships require a drug screening prior to beginning work. Students that test positive for substance abuse are immediately dismissed from the program and must return to their home high school. If a student is participating in an internship or work experience through Middle College, the employer will be notified and employment terminated.
What about tattoos and piercings?
In our experience, many employers and their clients do not want to see tattoos or multiple piercings in the workplace. Therefore, once accepted into the Middle College program, students are requested to refrain from additional tattoos or piercings to enhance their chances of being hired for an internship or job. In general, on the college campus this is a non-issue. However, in certain lab settings or places of business, you may be requested to cover a tattoo or remove piercings. Students must agree to comply with these conditions.
What happens if I change my mind, and I do not want to continue the Middle College program?
You are obligated through a contract to complete each semester you start. However, if at the semester’s end a student chooses not to return, he/she may return to their home school to complete high school credits without penalty, and a new student will take your place.
Can I still qualify for the A+ incentive offered at my home school?
Yes, please speak with your High School counselor to check if you meet eligibility requirements for the A+ incentive.
Can I attend Middle College if I don't live in Springfield Public Schools' district?
Yes, Middle College was piloted with Springfield Public School students. Now, we are open to students in southwest Missouri whose school district is participating in the consortium partnership. Contact your high school counselor to see if you may apply. Presently, school districts from Republic, Rogersville and Ash Grove have students in in Middle College as well.
Who can I contact if I have additional questions about the Middle College?
Ozarks Technical Community College
Middle College, ITTC 109
1001 East Chestnut Expressway
Springfield, MO 65802