Advanced learning

MPS will offer advanced learning programs at the college and elementary level

Midland Public Schools will soon offer two new programs for younger and older students to meet their educational needs.

Plans are currently underway to offer an advanced learning program at the college and elementary level at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. These programs will help MPS create equitable learning opportunities to meet the needs of all students, Associate Superintendent Penny Miller-Nelson said.

first college

The Early Middle College program will be a three-year program that will allow current 10th grade MPS students to earn an associate’s degree or 60 credit hours toward a four-year bachelor’s degree. This would be done by taking classes with Delta College or the University of Davenport starting in a student’s freshman year.

However, this means that students in this program would have to be in MPS for an additional fifth year, although they would be taking full-time courses at either college, said Steve Poole, curriculum specialist for auxiliary education. These students will still be able to participate in the commencement ceremony with their classmates at the end of their fourth year as usual, but will receive their high school diploma after their fifth year.

Students will take classes on college campuses during the school day or take them virtually. The courses students will take will be mostly core courses, but they can still take electives, Poole said.

This program would be free for students and parents, since MPS will cover the cost of the lessons, Poole said. However, very expensive textbooks may have to be covered by students/guardians, he said.

Miller-Nelson said applications are not yet ready for this program. MPS has applied to the Michigan Department of Education to be part of this program and will not receive a response until March. However, she is confident that MPS will get that approval and students can start applying by March.

The program will begin in the fall of 2022 for current 10th graders. Poole said to apply, students must have a 3.0 GPA, get two teacher recommendations, answer short-answer questions and have good school attendance.

Advanced learning

For elementary school students, the Advanced Student Learning Program (ALPS) is designed for students who could benefit from deeper and faster learning.

Jen Servoss, Elementary Curriculum Specialist, said this program will use the overall framework of the International Baccalaureate and Primary Curriculum, an inquiry-based learning framework. The program will encourage critical thinking and offer project-based learning.

The program will apply to students in grades 1 through 5 and will be housed at Central Park Elementary School, with one class per year. The program is for eligible students from all MPS elementary schools. Teachers will receive professional training to meet the needs of these advanced learners, Miller-Nelson said.

The program will begin next school year, but it’s not a program parents can apply for, Miller-Nelson noted. MPS will identify these students with established criteria and district-level assessments. The district will also use equivalent IQ tests and teacher input to determine if a student is a good candidate, she said.

According to Monday’s weekly MPS statement, for students identified for ALPS based on the first phase of the process, parents will be contacted by email in mid-February with information on next steps.