Dr. Erin Craig, founding principal of NOVA-Academy in Santa Ana, California has announced the approval of a charter for Unity Middle College High School. After a long struggle to raise the necessary supports and resources we are happy to celebrate her victory; which is, in fact a victory for the community at large.
The school, located in Orange County and partnered with Santiago Canyon College, is focused on preparing at-risk students for college. Unity Middle College High School aims to open by summer 2016 and will follow the Middle College National Consortium model, which partners with local colleges to provide courses to high school students.In addition to providing high school-level and community college courses, Unity will allow each student to choose a career pathway, such as business, arts or science, technology, engineering and math.
“It’s optimal for Middle College high schools to have a strong relationship with college partners,” Craig said. “Unity Middle College High School is thrilled with the willingness from Santiago Canyon College to work with us and support our students because our students are their students as well.”
Though the Middle College model has a proven success record obstacles surfaced in the approval process. Orange board members who supported the school said the Middle College model is effective, while those who opposed said they worried about issues in the charter such as budget and governance. The county approval also came with conditions that changes be made to the charter, including the description of the educational program, school governance and budget. After the changes are made, there will need to be a memorandum of understanding, but the county board will not need to take a second vote.
As a charter school, Unity will receive public funding. The school has budgeted for $1 million in revenue for its first year, Craig said, with that increasing to $3 million by the third year. Unity plans to fundraise for its start-up costs, estimated to be at least $320,000.
Enrollment will start with 100 ninth-grade students, with a grade being added each year for a total of 400 students. The school, which has not bought a property yet, plans to open its doors in June for a summer transitional program for its incoming students. To find out more about Unity and it’s progress go to their website: http://www.unitymchs.org/
Dr. Mattie Adams Robertson has moved on from a celebrated career as founding principal of Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy at LA Harbor Community College to open a new Early College in Compton. Compton Early College HS opened it’s doors this September and this tireless educational leader is already accumulating accolades. Superintendent Micah Ali, stated in a recent article about the turnaround in the Compton school system,“We started an Early College program that allows student starting in the 9th grade this fall to earn community college credit. Imagine being able to graduate from high school and have a two year college degree as well. That’s now possible right here in Compton. “
In celebration of its recent opening, Compton Early College High School welcomed the community inside its classrooms on Saturday, October 24, to learn first-hand how its students are being prepared for success in college. Parents met with instructors and experienced the academic rigor their children are exposed to as they work their way towards AA degrees and college credits before graduating high school. One parent, visiting his son’s analytic writing class, remarked,
“We moved out here in the summer and we looked for schools in the area and heard about the early college. My son had excelled in his academics in Orange County but Compton Early College maximizes his potential,” he said. “My son just received his report card. He’s still excelling but it has been challenging for him. I really appreciate this program.”
We know this is just the beginning of a model program that this energetic, committed principal will initiate and innovate as she continues to be a leader in the Middle College National Consortium, the California Consortium of Early Colleges and Compton Unified School District: Making history every day.