ESCANABA - Bay Middle College, in its second school year located on the Bay College campus, has added some new components and additional opportunities for its students through a newly-approved certificate program and workplace skill development program, according to it's principal.
Bay Middle College, located in Bay's Heirman Center, offers high school-aged students an education in an alternative environment, with course work consistent with the Michigan Merit Curriculum, including core content classes and a variety of college readiness skill developments.
"Over the course of the year, Bay Middle College was approved to honor the Michigan Early/Middle College Association - or MEMCA - Technical Certificate," said Bay Middle College Principal Dan Seder.
Bay Middle College teacher Dan Martinson, front right, presents a lesson to his social studies class recently. Bay Middle College offers a college preparatory curriculum in an alternative environment for high school students. The school has added two components for its students through a newly-approved certificate program and workplace skill development program. (Daily Press photo by Jason Raiche)
He said the certificate is basically an expanded diploma for eligible middle college students meeting four criteria. The certificate may be awarded to any middle college students who complete: the state of Michigan High School Merit Curriculum; a minimum of 15 college credit hours at the 100-level or higher combined with technical training, at a cumulative 2.0 grade point average or higher; and college readiness curriculum requirements in place at the middle college. Students also have to fulfill one of two other requirements: completing 100 hours of community service or a minimum of 40 hours of career exploration, internships, job shadowing, or clinical experience.
To receive this additional certificate, students must complete the requirements in five years, said Seder, who added the middle college had to get its curriculum approved before the certificate could be awarded. To do so, Seder and one of the middle college's teachers went to Flint last fall to present their curriculum to a review board, which approved honoring the certificate.
"What we had to show to the review board was content preparation in the core areas ... but then also the college readiness soft skill development, and how we engage those two items," said Seder. Basically, they needed to show they are educating students for proficiency in the content areas, and also teaching them how to successfully navigate through college.
Additionally, Bay Middle College has implemented a new program into its curriculum to benefit qualifying students. The program is made possible through a partnership with Michigan Works! and is called Jobs for America's Graduates. The middle college just added a new teaching position for JAG this school year.
"It's a Michigan Works! program that's focused on workplace skill development," explained Seder. "(It includes) everything from resume writing, interview skills, right through career exploration. So there's opportunities for students to job shadow and do some site visits."
Through JAG, students have been able to travel to Marquette for a tour of Northern Michigan University, and some students have job shadowed locally at such places as veterinary offices or the Delta Animal Shelter.
The program is new to the U.P. and Bay Middle College is just one of three schools that has implemented the program, said Seder. The other two are Escanaba High School and Marquette's Polaris North Star Academy.
Seder said approximately 60 students are enrolled at Bay Middle College this year. Approximately 12 students are enrolled in an entry-level college course required for them to pursue college credit; students have the opportunity to enroll in college courses while at Bay Middle College at no cost to them.
Bay Middle College student Alexa Rasmussen, of Escanaba, said this is her second year at the middle college and said she has benefitted from the school's program.
"I wouldn't even be in school if it wasn't for this program, because I used to hate school a lot, and now I just love it because I came here and this is like my family," she said.
Rasmussen said her favorite thing about Bay Middle College is the extra help available if needed.
Austin St. Vincent, also of Escanaba, has been at the middle college since it transitioned from its location at the former Wells School. He is one of the students taking college courses next year, and said everyone there is like family to him.
"They give you a lot of opportunities here," he said. "They basically tell you that you can do anything that you want and they show you and give you examples of how you can achieve that."
Bay Middle College is a program of the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District. Students must be approved to attend Bay Middle College by their home schools.
For more information, visit www.baycollege.edu/baymiddlecollege or call their office at 789-5599.