Middle College Initiative Project

Why have a Middle College?

Nationally, 9th graders entering high school, especially minority students in urban communities, are often below grade level, a gap that will persist or grow without effective academic intervention. Interventions like the Middle College Initiative can address 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.

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.

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; those who experience income inequality and challenges with academic persistence; and those who 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
    • Lack of English language fluency
    • Lack of self-confidence in ability to succeed academically
    • Lack of advocacy services and interventions
    • Financial and social barriers.

Gateway Summer Bridge Program

Gateway has over a decade of helping high school graduates with college readiness through 6 week-long Summer Bridge program experiences. Working with New Haven Public School (NHPS) 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 participate in many varied activities, depending on the courses offered.

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 4-year Middle College high school program, and the only one to offer this program in New Haven high schools.

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

As GCC's fundraising arm, the GCC Foundation 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 and graduating from high school, entering and completing higher education, and finding success in the workforce. As the program continues to grow, the department director works with NHPS and leaders at individual schools to understand their individual approach to and 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.



New Haven Public Schools

James Hillhouse High School

Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School

New Haven Academy

Gateway Community College

Donnell T. Hilton
Middle College Coordinator
& Dual Enrollment Specialist

For more information

Contact Donnell T. Hilton, Gateway Community College, at (203) 285-2374 or email dhilton@gatewayct.edu.