Washtenaw Technical Middle College provides educational opportunities far beyond the traditional high school. Students in the program experience full-time college coursework on the campus of its chartering agency, Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All WTMC graduates complete either an associate degree or a technical certificate in a career area.
Since 1997, WTMC has served students from across southeastern Michigan. The middle college approach to education emphasizes skill development, rather than credit completion. We teach both the hard (academic) and soft (life management) skills that all students need in college. Operating independently on a college campus requires WTMC students to be adaptable, self-directed, and responsible.
As a Public School Academy (PSA) WTMC welcomes any applicant who has successfully completed one to two years of high school course work. WTMC's percentage of minority students mirrors the county average, with slightly more than 25 percent of the students identifying themselves as members of a minority group.
The current WTMC population is made up of students representing over 30 different school districts spread over six different counties.
WTMC requires each graduate to: (1) transition from high school level course work to full time college level course work, (2) complete a set of core 100-level academic courses with a grade of C or better and (3) complete either a technical certificate or associate degree at the college.
How is it done? At WTMC students embrace the true 3 R's for the 21st century: Rigor, Relevance and Relationships.
Rigor, Relevance and Relationships
Rigor: WTMC's program is based on skills, not credit. Students remain in the WTMC academic transition classes until they meet specific academic and soft skill requirements, regardless of their age or how long they've been attending school. At WTMC it isn't the number of credits the student has earned previously that matters, but rather what the student can develop and demonstrate consistently once he or she is here.
Relevance: Students may select from over 40 different programs at WCC, including graphic design, computer forensics, welding, accounting, culinary arts, and many others. Students choose the skills that they want to learn. Each student, at the minimum, has mastered an entry-level skill by graduation.
More importantly, WTMC students learn how to navigate the process of post-secondary education. They learn how to manage their time effectively, to organize their lives in and out of school, to negotiate their way through problems, and most of all, to reach meaningful goals that they set for themeslves. This creates graduates who are prepared for work or the continuation of their studies at a four year university.
Relationships: WTMC's BASE (Better Accounting of Student Efforts) program offers students personalized advising and guidance.
Each student is assigned a BASE advisor. The advising relationship remains the same during the student's educational career at WTMC, providing one significant adult in the student's educational life who supports and assists him or her throughout the program.
The WTMC transition curriculum is aligned with the college's expectations for the entry level core academic skills of first year college students in English, mathematics, critical thinking, and science. As a skill-based program, WTMC is able to individualize the educational program for each student, filling in the skill gaps for students who have them and accelerating the program for those students who do not. This approach has resulted in excellent scores on achievement measures and high levels of student satisfaction.
WTMC has also demonstrated steady and solid improvement on the ACT exam. WTMC's composite scores are above the state and national ACT core composite averages. WTMC has increased its average over the last five years -- while the national average has trended downward, and the state average remained the same.