Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College
Lots of individual attention for kids who don't fit the mold.
The relaxed atmosphere isn't for everyone.
Middle College High School offers an independent but supportive learning environment that allows students who might have struggled in a traditional high school to flourish. At Middle College, all students take college courses for free at LaGuardia Community College, and some graduate with as many as two years worth of college credit or an Associates Degree.
Located in Long Island City, directly across the street from the LaGuardia Community College campus, Middle College enables its students to take college classes, use the colleges facilities, and blend in with college students. The newly renovated building is bright and clean with student work on display; and although the atmosphere is relaxed, expectations are high. Students may wear hats in class and call their teachers by their first names. Classes are small with students sitting around tables rather than in rows, and many last for 70 minutes, rather than the typical 42, to allow students to more thoroughly digest the material. There is no bell system to signal period changes, and during transitions students seemed happy to take a minute to chat with their teachers and friends. While the relaxed atmosphere contributes to the school's collegial tone, the independence granted to students may prove challenging for some students accustomed to a stricter environment.
Principal Linda Siegmund, who was an assistant principal at the school until 2007, describes the schools culture as warm, caring, and committed to helping its students succeed. Its an environment where students can develop trusting relationships with their teachers and with authority figures, she said. A high level of respect between students and teachers is reflected in the Learning Environment Survey, and most students report feeling inspired to learn. Kids here bond with their teachers, said Siegmund.
Classes often include group projects and discussions. Some classes use the Socratic seminar model for class discussions to prepare students for the college seminar environment. In an English class, students discussed The Catcher in the Rye. In a science class, students worked in small groups to learn about forensics by collecting fingerprints. Classes in the 9thand 10thgrades focus on developing students skills in preparation for when they begin taking more college classes in the 11thand 12thgrades. Students taking college classes receive ample support from Middle College, including a mandatory seminar where they can discuss their college experiences.
Unlike most high schools, which require their students to take five Regents exams to graduate, Middle College requires its students to take only the English and Math Regents. In addition to taking the two Regents exams, students present a comprehensive portfolio of work to demonstrate their understanding of their coursework.
Extracurricular activities include yearbook, theater, peer counseling, and conflict resolution. Middle College shares a gym and cafeteria with the International High School at LaGuardia Community College. The two schools alsoparticipate in shared sports teams along with Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School. Students interested in getting hands-on work experience may participate in an internship program.
Special education: Middle College also has a program for hearing-impaired students, which offers classes taught in American Sign Language, a well-staffed resource room, and other enrichment services. Sign language interpreters are present in many classrooms, and ASL is the only foreign language offered at Middle College. The school also has integrative co-teaching (ICT) classes, where two teachers work with a group of special and general education students.
College admissions: All students at Middle College take free college courses at LaGuardia Community College, and some graduate with as many as two years worth of college credit. Many students also stay on at Middle College for a fifth year to take more college classes and to earn their Associates Degree. The majority of graduates continue on to two or four year colleges. Most students in the program for the hearing impaired attend Rochester Institutes National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Admissions: Priority is given first to students from Districts 24 and 30 and then to students from other districts in Queens. Admissions are screened, and the administration generally looks for students with low standardized test scores and low GPAs. (Pauline Zaldonis, January 2013)
About the students
About the school
Is this school safe?
About the leadership
About the teachers
How many graduate?
Are students prepared for college?
How does this school serve students with disabilities?
Programs and Admissions
Portfolio-based assessment, five year early college program and out-of-school internships.
American Sign Language, French, Italian, Spanish
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Long Island City NY 11101