Two U.P. Districts Ordered to Cease Early/Middle College Offerings

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

January 19, 2018

LANSING – Two districts in the Upper Peninsula will lose their ability to offer the five-year Early/Middle College program, the Michigan Department of Education reported today.

An Early/Middle College is a stand-alone public high school, a school within a school, or a public charter school designed to allow a student to earn a high school diploma and either an associate's degree, technical certification, or up to 60 transferable college credits in a five-year period.

Both the Gladstone and Rapid River districts opened Early/Middle College programs in 2014.  But as of today, the districts will not be able to admit new students to the five-year program due to continuous reporting errors and quality issues.

“The districts were automatically counting every high school student as a five-year Early/Middle College student even though the outcomes revealed, year after year, that only a portion of the students had committed to the program,” said Dr. Beverly Brown, Manager of Early/Middle Colleges at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). 

After multiple attempts to provide training, four verbal warnings, e-mails, and phone calls from the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, Bay de Noc Community College, the Michigan Early Middle College Association, and the Michigan Department of Education, both districts continued the practice. 

Implications for Students

Students in their junior or senior years of high school during the current school year will be allowed to complete the five-year Early/Middle College experience that they entered into with the district prior to the revocation of the program if the students had a valid, signed, and dated Educational Development Plan on file as of the start of the 2017-18 school year that outlined the student’s goals for each of the five years.  

The other condition is that the districts must verify that each current junior and senior has a five-year plan of study that clearly describes the college coursework the student will take to work toward an associate degree at Bay de Noc Community College.

“The Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Early Middle College Association will work with surrounding districts, like Escanaba, to help them get an Early/Middle College program up and running for the fall,” Brown said.

Other Early/Middle College options currently available for students seeking the five-year program include the Delta Schoolcraft ISD Career and Technical Education Early/Middle College (CTE/EMC) and the Bark River Harris Early/Middle College, both approved in 2016 by MDE. 

On March 30, 2016, all eight area districts (including Gladstone and Rapid River) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to offer the CTE Early/Middle College opportunity to students through the intermediate school district.  Participation requires a CTE five-year program of study as well as an Educational Development Plan that includes fifth year Early/Middle College programming.

The Gladstone and Rapid River districts will continue to provide students with traditional dual enrollment options through the standard four-year high school structure.

For more information on Early/Middle Colleges