New middle college program gives Philly students a unique chance

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New middle college gives Philly students a boost: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 12:30 p.m. on November 13, 2017. (WPVI)

On Monday morning Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney toured a one-of-a-kind high school in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia.

It's giving students an invaluable educational advantage over their peers.

Parkway Center City Middle College, the first of its kind in the state, is a program that offers first-generation college-bound students the opportunity to earn an associate's degree from the Community College of Philadelphia while also earning their high school diploma.

"It just reinforces my belief that our children can succeed and can compete and can achieve if we give them the resources they need and pay attention to the new trends in education," said Kenney.

Students at the school can end up graduating from high school and go right into their junior year in college if they choose to pursue higher education.

"They don't have to worry about the burden of a two-year degree in terms of finances," said Principal Anh Brown.

The program is in its first year, and currently only 9th graders are enrolled.

With tuition skyrocketing and the competition to get admitted into a four-year school growing fiercer, it's an opportunity these students were eager to take advantage of, even though it often means a heavier workload.

"I like it," said freshman Keshan Allen. "It's challenging but it's also helpful, because knowing the future that we want... knowing that I can get a degree when I graduate high school... is a wonderful experience."

Currently about a quarter of the school is enrolled in the middle college. Principal Brown says that by 2021 the entire school will be functioning as a middle college.
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