Middle College Programs

Middle College Initiative Project Description

The "Middle College" movement allows high schools and postsecondary institutions to collaborate so that students traditionally underrepresented in higher education can accumulate college credit while earning a high school diploma. 

GCC’s Middle College Initiative with New Haven Public Schools has already had many successes. At New Haven's Cooperative High School (Co-Op) in 2008, we began our first cohort, targeting a twenty-five at-risk or moderately at-risk freshmen, who completed the Middle College program in 2012. All participating students improved their academic skills and accumulated up to 30 college credits toward an associate's degree in General Studies. All of the students in cohort transferred to colleges and universities as sophomores.

How is Gateway positioned to carry out this initiative?
 Over the past decade, GCC’s Department of Instructional Design have forged innovative, productive relationships with schools in New Haven and throughout the College's service area. One of the department's goals is ensuring that graduating high-schoolers are ready for the academic challenges of higher education.

GCC is a member of the Middle College National Consortium (MCNC), a national organization that has successfully opened 35 dual-enrollment schools on or near college campuses and which provides colleges and school districts with advisement and advocacy. 

The Middle College initiative is a member of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, which, among other things, certifies qualified secondary school teachers, to teach college courses at their high schools. This relationship enables GCC to award participating Middle College Initiative students college credit, both at the College and the high school.

Why have a Middle College?

Nationally, 9th graders entering high school, especially minority students in urban communities, often are below grade level, and that gap will persist or grow without effective academic intervention. Interventions like the Middle College Initiative can address this the issue of college readiness. This positive national data, and the initial promising early outcomes of the Middle College Initiatives at Co-Op, Hillhouse and New Haven Academy, lead GCC to believe it will experience similar positive results.

Are there other organizations that also carry out a similar project?

GCC is a member of the Middle College National Consortium (MCNC), which provides leadership and support to drive secondary and post-secondary educational reform. MCNC members operate successful middle college programs across the country. Gateway is the only institution of higher education in Southern Connecticut offering a four year Middle College high school program, and the only one to offer this program in New Haven high schools.

Who are our students?

GCC's Middle College Initiative targets students who are at a distinct disadvantage in completing high school and pursuing higher education; those who have inadequate academic and social skills; experience income inequality and challenges with academic persistence; and face an array of socioeconomic and racial disparities and barriers when seeking to complete secondary school, transition to higher education and enter the workforce. These include:
•    Academic deficiencies
•    Lack of sufficient parental support and involvement
•    English language fluency
•    Lack of self-confidence in ability to succeed academically
•    Lack of advocacy services and interventions
•    Financial and social barriers

How does GCCF involve the people it serves in its planning process?

As GCC's fundraising arm, the GCCF and its Board help the College expand services to students; thus enhancing its academic instruction and investment in CT's future. Board members are leaders in a variety of businesses and organizations, including banking, education, health care, finance, commerce and government. 

GCC's Department of Student Services promotes participatory decision-making, self-directed activity, leadership development and the open exchange of ideas. Its Student Government Association promotes student advocacy, citizenship and positive relationships throughout GCC.

In creating the Middle College Initiative, the department director met with NHPS officials to design a program to support their educational objectives (particularly relative to New Haven's School Change Initiative) and helped ensure student success; i.e., persisting in/graduating from high school, entering and completing higher education and finding success in the workforce. As the program continues to grows, she works with the NHPS and leaders at individual schools to understand their individual approach to/evaluation of student success and how best to incorporate Middle College principles into their unique models. That collaboration also supports the goals of the New Haven Promise initiative.


Gateway's Middle College Initiative with area high schools

  • Provides high school students with academic and remedial support to ensure high school completion and successful transition to post-secondary education.
  • Reduces college costs by offering a dual-credit program
  • Provides college access for low-income, first-generation-college students
  • Increases the likelihood for post-secondary completion
  • Engages parents/family as active participants in their students' daily academic activities and challenges
  • Introduces early diagnostics to students, to help freshmen and sophomore teachers to become more cognizant of students’ needs as related to Connecticut Community College readiness.


New Haven Public Schools
James Hillhouse High School
Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School
New Haven Academy

Gateway Community College
Wendy Samberg, Director of Instructional Design & Development
Brandon White, Associate

For more information

Contact Wendy Samberg, Gateway Community College, 203-285-2108, wsamberg@gatewayct.edu

Gateway Summer Bridge Program

Gateway has over a decade of helping high school graduates with college readiness through six week long summer bridge program experiences. Working with New Haven Public School high schools, students spend their days on the college campus taking college level courses taught by college faculty; students are expected to perform at a high level of commitment. The curriculum adheres to the rigors and standards of Gateway Community College. To receive college credit, students are expected to complete courses with a C grade or above. Those who do not master the content needed to pass a college course can receive high school credit for the course, when- appropriate. Meals and enrichment activities are part of the experience. Students visit museums, parks, waterfronts, and many varied activities depending on the courses offered.