Zavier Alers, standing near center in a blue T-shirt, leads an icebreaker exercise for students of Alaska Middle College School on Aug. 21, 2017. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News)
Monday marked the first day of school for tens of thousands of Anchorage students and the first day of the school district’s latest program: the Alaska Middle College School, where students can earn an associate’s degree and high school diploma at the same time, at no cost to them.
About 140 Anchorage high school juniors and seniors have enrolled in the middle college and on Monday morning, they split into five classrooms at the University of Alaska Anchorage Chugiak-Eagle River Campus to meet one another and attend lessons on how college works.
“There’s a lot more independence in your future,” Teacher David Maker told one group of teenagers. “You’re not going to have the amount of babysitting you’ve had the past two years.”
For the remainder of the week, the high school students will attend “boot camp” classes before they’re thrust into UAA lectures with university students.
“They’re university students, they have a university ID badge,” said Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop. “We’re not turning the university into high school, high school is stepping up the game.”
While the middle college students will attend regular university-level classes, they will also have access to two high school teachers who will hold “support seminars” in the building to review material, said Kathy Moffitt, ASD’s administrative projects director.
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