Parkway Center City High School will soon take on a new name – Parkway Center City Middle College High School. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, the special admission school will offer incoming ninth-graders the opportunity to graduate with high school diplomas, associate’s degrees, and up to two professional certifications each.
Middle colleges are still fairly new, with about 50 operating throughout the country. Parkway Center City will be the first middle college to open in Philadelphia.
Over four years of high school, students will be able to earn up to 61 college credits, which is the equivalent of two years of college. Each graduate will be awarded an associate’s degree in liberal arts. Students interested in attending four-year universities will be able to apply these credits toward bachelor’s degrees.
Parkway Center City Middle College will provide certification programs in Entrepreneurship as well as Computer Programming and Software Development. These designations are industry-recognized. An Arts Futures program and inquiry-based science and social studies learning projects will also be offered.
“Parkway Center City Middle College represents a monumental development in our School District. We are focused on making sure all students across Philadelphia have various options to ensure they excel in their educational experience,” said Superintendent William Hite.
The middle college will continue operating as a special admission high school. The application process is open to everyone who meets the current admission requirements. But incoming 9th-grade students for 2017-18 year will also be required to first attend a six-week Summer Bridge Program, through which they will earn their first college credit.
Applicants from first-generation-to-college backgrounds can expect special consideration because the admission process will focus on diversity, including family educational background.
“Middle college advances the goal of college readiness and college completion for our scholars,” said Karren Dunkley, Parkway Center City principal.
“Middle college provides a unique opportunity for our school to deliver on the promise of public education for our scholars and their families.”