Nestled within the campus of Washtenaw Community College is Washtenaw Technical Middle College, a charter high school that provides unique learning opportunities and allows students to earn both a high school diploma and a college associate’s degree or technical certificate upon graduation.
Recently recognized by Newsweek Magazine as one of the top ten high schools in the country, WTMC’s enrollment has grown nearly forty percent since 2009.
The school was also selected as the best of nine highly effective educational programs by the Governor’s Education Summit in 2013, winning the award for its collaboration and innovation with WCC.
WTMC was founded on the college’s goal of creating a way to meet the needs of the regional business community, which seeks graduates who are proficient in skilled trades and who also have organizational and critical thinking skills. In order to accomplish this, it became clear that students needed to start preparing for careers and college demands during their high school experience.
“Our major goal is to ensure our students are prepared for the rigors of a college education,” said Sam Rosewig, WTMC English instructor and program leader. “We do that by providing a wide array of support and working in partnership with parents, our instructors and WCC faculty.”
When students are ready, they move from WTMC classes to enrolling in WCC classes.
“We approach their education holistically by supporting our students’ academic studies with classes in life skills such as learning how to be organized, the importance of time management, goal setting, taking responsibility for their actions and giving them the freedom to take ownership over their educational pathway,” Rosewig said.
“The progressive, unique relationship WTMC shares with WCC has forged a community of educators that has successfully bridged the gap between high school and college,” said Dr. Karl Covert, WTMC dean and superintendent. “This important dynamic has contributed to WTMC’s success as a nationally recognized model of educational excellence.”
Maura Farrell, a WTMC senior, is pursuing both her high school diploma and an associate’s degree in Occupational Studies with a focus on welding. She made her decision to attend WTMC after spending a day shadowing other WTMC students.
“What I found as a WTMC student is that what I do actually matters,” Maura said. “There are no superfluous classes or any busy work here.” Maura also likes being a part of the WCC community. “I am currently taking a WCC philosophy class and it has actually challenged me to think about how I think,” she said.
There are no academic admissions requirements to attend WTMC and most students maintain a 3.4 grade point average. Its students represent a broad cross section of the surrounding community.