UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Middle College at UNCG is finalist for award

The Middle College at UNCG has captured the attention of a national organization that rates the country’s best urban schools.

With an enrollment of 204 students in ninth through 12th grades, the middle college has demonstrated high achievement in science, technology, the arts, engineering, mathematics and/or social studies. All but three classes offered at the school are Honors, Advanced Placement or college level.

The program is one of 18 in the country – and the only finalist in North Carolina – considered for the 2018 America’s Best Urban Schools Award. Among the thousands of urban schools throughout the nation, the middle college is one of few that was able to meet the rigorous award criteria.

The award is designated by The National Center for Urban School Transformation, which is housed at San Diego State University. The center’s mission is to help urban school districts and their partners transform urban schools into places where all students achieve academic proficiency, develop a love for learning and graduate prepared to succeed in post-secondary education, the workplace and their communities.

Last year, 86 percent of Middle College at UNCG students who took the ACT were proficient by state standards. The percentage of African-American students considered to be proficient (with a score of 17 or higher) on the ACT increased from 64 percent in 2016 to 76 percent last year. Hispanic student ACT scores increased from 80 percent to nearly 95 percent.

The school has consistently met or exceeded expected growth in standardized testing, and the state report card rated it an “A” last year.

Many of the school’s students are first-generation college-bound students, 74 percent are students of color and about 40 percent of students meet low-income criteria. Principal Angela Polk-Jones says her school’s diversity is an asset.

“Everybody brings something to the table. It just goes to show you that everybody is unique and special in their own way and contributes to the success that we experience as a school,” Polk-Jones says. “It truly is an honor to be the inaugural principal of such an outstanding program that my staff, our district, our university partner, parents and I have created.”

After an extensive review of student data, followed by comprehensive on-site visits, The National Center for Urban School Transformation identifies typical urban public and public charter schools that achieve impressive results for every demographic group of students. The center’s staff also recognizes and shares best practices found in the nation’s best urban schools.

A team from the center will visit Middle College at UNCG later this month. The site visits allow the team to increase their knowledge of best teaching and learning practices. Winners will be announced at the center’s annual symposium in October.

Copy provided by Guilford County Schools