Middle College at College of San Mateo - Letter to Parents
Veterans Day - No Classes
Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020
Last day to withdraw with a "W" grade
Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020
Thanksgiving Holiday
No classes Nov 26-29, 2020
Sexual Misconduct & Title IX
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Middle College
Letter to Parents

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We hope you are finding ways to enjoy time to reflect and recharge with your family. We recognize that, amidst a painful reckoning over racial injustice, along with ongoing fear over personal and public health, it may be harder to relax this summer. But we understand the value of being able  to find the space and time to take care of your family, and we are looking forward to reconnecting with our Middle College community in the Fall.

As has been true from the beginning with COVID-19, the public health landscape is changing daily. It appears San Mateo is heading closer to the state's watch list.  Ultimately we cannot predict where the state and county will be on the day Middle College has planned to begin its fall orientation. So that we can best anticipate student needs, we ask that you complete the SMUHSD District Questionnaire about scheduling options and technology. Please be sure to check your email for this questionnaire and let us know if you haven’t received it. Additionally, we are planning to hold a Welcome Back information night via Zoom on August 4th at 6 p.m. An invitation with the link will be sent out in late July. In the meantime, we hope this letter will help clarify (as best we can) and prepare the Middle College community for the upcoming 20-21 school year.

Communication

This is the first of many communications prior to our fall orientation. The email address at which you received this letter is the address you should continue to check for our communication; please let Angela Zapeda (azepeda@smuhsd.org) know if there is another address that you prefer we use. Our Middle College students should receive all communication at their @stu.smuhsd.org account. If, for any reason, there is a change in the district's approved school-opening phases, we will communicate that with you as soon as possible. Middle College’s planned stages were approved by the SMUHSD board at the July 14th meeting:

Middle College Stages

Middle College Expectations

Although the new school year is approaching and many decisions are still pending, our Middle College program expectations remain constant! A two-year program, Middle College fuses high school and college courses within the context of a community that we create together and use to support each other.  Students chose Middle College for a variety of reasons, one of which should be the desire to be part of and contribute to the Middle College community.

In order to maintain the program’s integrity, and to ensure your child's success in their MC and CSM classes, we want to re-emphasize the Middle College program’s expectations: 

  1. Every Middle College student will check their SMUHSD and SMCCD emails on a daily basis to ensure that they maintain their connection to the community, receive important information and submit necessary forms by their deadlines.

  2. Every Middle College student will adhere to the parameters of the Middle College program  when creating your CSM and Middle College classes. While the program and staff recognizes the importance of students having choices; however,by choosing to enroll in the Middle College program, students agree to adhere to all program guidelines regarding classes, events, and community expectations. This means meeting the program’s requirement by  attending your Middle College high school classes (Social Science, English, and Advisory) while balancing your collegiate coursework (7-11.5 unit requirement).

Additionally, we have added the following guideline/ expectations to your success during this period of remote learning:

  1. Every Middle College student will attend their online high school and college classes at the scheduled times and with their video camera “on” so the teacher can see and interact with them.. It is extremely difficult to build community relationships within the program and academic classes without seeing each other. While we understand there may be technical glitches once in a while, we take an active interest in your wellbeing, which is impossible if we cannot see you! 

  2. Every Middle College student, parent/guardian, and staff member will adhere to the health and safety guidelines provided by the SMUHSD district, county and state. Before the school year begins, we will send you a letter outlining these rules and asking you to sign a form acknowledging that you understand and agree to follow these rules while you are at home or at school; we need you to partner with us in ensuring the safety of our community members according to these guidelines.

Orientation & Fall Semester Schedules

At this point, we are still planning on a hybrid of in-person and distance learning for our two-week orientation with an option of attending completely online as well. While the planning of how the students will attend remains fluid, the dates  of orientation are set for August 10th-18th.On August 19th, both CSM and MC classes will begin. We will send this information to you about orientation and the start of school in early August via email. 

Presently, we are planning for the following student experience in our fall orientation: 

  • 2 hours of in-person community building with your advisor, conducted in small groups of five students in an outdoor location
  • 5 hours of online modules to be completed at home
  • 1 hour of online Zoom meeting to meet and get to know your advisor and those in your advisory class.

Later this week, your student will receive an email from us with their fall schedule. Please make sure your child is enrolled in all three Middle College classes (English, Social Science, and Advisory) and a minimum of seven college units. If your child needs to make changes or add/drop classes to ensure they are  enrolled in Middle College classes, please contact Mr. Morales via Once Hub after Aug. 1st: https://go.oncehub.com/mcacademic 

Community Building

While the Middle College culture and community is anchored in the Middle College classes, we also encourage students to pursue their passions through a variety of clubs offered within the program. Club meetings might look different this semester, but the laughter, connection, and creativity will still remain! Our Middle College club offerings include: 

Student Support

In order to support our Middle College students, we have built office hours into our schedule. Teachers use this time to meet one-on-one with each of their students. Each student will be assigned an advisor who will coordinate these meetings and run the advisory class with their group of advisees. The advisory allows us to meet with and get to know  a small group of students more intimately and consistently each week. Additionally, we will be coordinating study groups and tutoring partnerships to help all our students succeed in their academic classes. Finally, CSM will continue to offer tutoring services through the CSM Learning Center. 

Location/Health & Safety Measures

In the spring, the San Mateo Community Colleges announced they would be 100% online for the fall. Although CSM is allowing some students on campus for specific courses that require in-person labs, the campus is closed for the general CSM community for the fall semester. Middle College has secured classrooms at the SMUHSD district office which is where students will meet for all Middle College classes and additional support for the fall semester (when we move into stage 2-5).  This choice is intentional.  Housed in a brand new building, the district office meets the most up-to-date building and health codes of the county with the newest ventilation system. This space provides Middle College with the flexibility of suitable outdoor and indoor meeting areas. We have secured space within the building that meets all protocols for social-distancing, and we are currently establishing designated outdoor space should we move into Stage 2 or need to convene students for in-person support. This arrangement will allow us to be flexible between our planned stages, adapting as we need to as new information becomes available.  

Trust and Flexibility

The staff at Middle College has always been grateful for the support, trust, and flexibility of the parents and guardians of our Middle College students. As a member of this small learning community, your student is at the center of every decision we make; your trust in our decisions (and the guidance that follows) is foundational to our ability to serve your student’s academic and socio-emotional needs. We want to express our gratitude for the ways in which you have demonstrated a respect for our professionalism and our ability to build a thriving and intentional program.

Warmly,
The Middle College Staff