Representatives from Foothill’s Middle College program will be in the College and Career Center at Palo Alto High School tomorrow during lunch.
Middle College is an alternative program for high school upperclassmen, where students have the opportunity to take college-level courses at Foothill Community College. According to the Foothill Middle College Program website, “the coordinators of the Middle College Program understand that not all students fit the mold of the ‘traditional high school student.’ … It is the goal of the Middle College to rekindle the desire to learn by offering an alternative academic program that better meets the needs of these students.”
Students of Middle College take History and English classes, as well as several college course electives to earn college-style credits. The program is open to students from the Palo Alto Unified School District, as well as students in the Mountain View-Los Altos district.
Senior Shira Pederson was among several Paly students that opted to partake in this alternate learning environment in the past several years.
“It [the decision to participate in Middle College] started with getting too overwhelmed by all the classes I had to take at one time, and consequentially, my grades would start dropping by the end of the first month,” Pederson said.
Pederson noted that differences between Middle College and the traditional high school experience include the school climate, homework policy and classroom experience.
“It [Middle College] values honesty and risk taking,” Pederson said. “[Classroom life is] mostly projects [with] lots of teamwork involved [and] lots of little interesting day-to-day things that happen involving Foothill. Middle College tries to make it a fun place to be, so they have open mics, pizza and nice field trips.”
Pederson recommends that Paly students struggling with social or academic issues attend the meeting to learn more about the program.
“If you don’t like where you are currently – emotionally, mentally, physically – you should at least go to the meeting to get a better idea of what the faculty has to say,” Pederson said.
Overall, Middle College offers an alternative high school experience that encourages independence and responsibility.
“It gives you the freedom to control your life almost as much as a normal college student,” Pederson said. “It’s a lot of responsibility, and you have to really know yourself and be kind of careful and controlled to make it through.”