Washtenaw Technical Middle College prepares high school aged pupils for success as full-time students in the adult learning environment of the community college. WTMC expects high achievement from all students. Graduating from high school through WTMC requires students to complete a certificate or degree program at Washtenaw Community College.
Successful WTMC students must be willing to take responsibility for their own effort, education, and behavior. There are no bells, hall monitors or daily announcements to keep them on track. There are many requirements and deadlines for students to meet, both at WTMC and at WCC. Students must monitor their own progress and advocate for themselves in a complex, independent environment.
Soft skills are the key to success, even more than academic skills. A student who applies himself or herself consistently is more likely to complete a college program than a brilliant student who lacks responsible habits. The educational difference that WTMC offers is in actively teaching time-management, communication, and organizational skills that students need to be successful. These "soft skills" must be demonstrated consistently and must be incorporated into the student's normal behavior to succeed as an independent college student.
Credentialing a student for transition to college courses is determined by WTMC faculty. We discuss each student individually, assessing both academic skills and soft skills.
The transition to college courses is a critical part of our program. A student who does not transition to college courses cannot graduate from WTMC. A student's BASE teacher, academic instructors, counselor, and the dean all work to help students set -- and achieve -- realistic educational goals.
Picking a certificate or degree to complete is an important decision that a student makes after evaluating his or her strengths and interests. WTMC staff helps parents and students to sift through the many options and to make an informed decision. We call this process program pathways.
Educational Development Plans (EDPs) are important tools to map out a realistic course of study and to judge progress through the student's certificate or degree program. Parents and students learn the terminology, process, and concepts that are used to develop a multi-year educational plan.
Parents also learn how to access their student's high school academic and attendance records via the internet. Communication allows both parents and school staff to support the student's transition to the college.
BASE teachers are the educational anchors for students and parents, the first point of contact with the college campus. Each student is assigned a BASE teacher and keeps the same BASE teacher for the length of his or her career at WTMC. Meetings between students, parents, and BASE teachers are critical in planning, documenting, and supporting a student's progress through the program.
Attendance in college courses is reported by the student, not by the teacher, twice each year. Because each WTMC student taking college courses has an individually tailored schedule, each student must request the signature of his or her college instructor to document attendance. This is a serious responsibility for all WTMC students, because this documentation -- called "red cards" -- provides our funding for books, materials, and college tuition.
Curricula are designed to broaden students' understanding of a number of topics and to develop their skills in critical thinking. Students who resist participation in educational activities that they dismiss as irrelevant to them or perceive to be in conflict with their beliefs will gain far less from their educational experience than they could. We help students to realize that a student can understand a position or an argument without subscribing to it.
Topics encountered in course work both at WTMC and WCC are part of curricula that have been developed by educators with specific goals in mind for students. Examples of topics that may be addressed in course work or on examinations in order to pass a class are listed below.
Science: Measurement; genetics; evolution; human reproduction.
Critical Thinking: Practice analytical problem-solving strategies; increase comprehension skills; enhance metacognitive techniques; respond to text with discussion and debate.
English: Expository and analytical writing; reading and discussion of texts drawn from a wide variety of genres, time periods, and world regions.
Mathematics: Processes that may not have immediate application; procedures that must be followed in sequence.
Tolerance: WTMC is a public school. The program values tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness. WTMC challenges students to evaluate ideas and information that is new to them. On a campus as diverse as WCC's, tolerance of people with different appearance, dress, actions and beliefs is critical to the smooth functioning of the campus. Exposure to the diversity of people on campus contributes to the expansion of students' educational experience. Tolerance of others is expected of all students, both in WTMC and in WCC courses.
Intolerant behavior exhibited on campus towards middle college or college students or staff may be grounds for dismissal from the program.
Success at WTMC is limited only by a student's ability to dream, to dare, to accept responsibility, and to become dedicated to a goal.
WTMC is such a unique blending of educational programs and goals that it can truly be different experiences to different people. Our students are empowered to design and seek an individual high school education that meets their needs and provides a means to reach the goals they have set for themselves.
Some students may want to obtain entry-level skills for employment in a technical field so that they can go to work right after graduation. Other students may study in technical fields that are related to what they think will study in college. Other students may develop a skill that they enjoy and that they will practice in employment or leisure throughout their lives.