In 2006, a small group of educators in northeast Connecticut came together to design a special program — a middle college high school — that would offer students an innovative educational option. Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) emerged from a comprehensive study and analysis of regional demographic and educational needs, as well as effective, research-supported models for non-traditional learners. In 2008, northeastern Connecticut’s QMC proposal gained final approval from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), enabling partners from Killingly, Plainfield, Putnam, Thompson, Windham, Woodstock, Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) and EASTCONN to announce that the middle college’s doors would open at QVCC in August 2008.
Today, QMC welcomes students from across northeastern Connecticut and beyond. QMC students benefit from a high-school/community-college program that provides the level of instruction and support necessary to ensure the success of those who are ready to accept greater responsibility and engage in managing their own learning. Students receive the support and assistance necessary to help them realize the goal of becoming effective, successful learners. The program’s approach fosters the habits of mind and the discipline necessary to succeed in achieving rigorous academic, career, and civic goals.
The overarching theme of QMC is that of the middle college experience. Research indicates that students who are developmentally ready to be more directly involved and responsible for the design, development, and management of their own learning, and who benefit from the integration of rigorous academic and real-world/authentic learning experiences, will thrive in a college environment where they have greater autonomy and access to laboratory, career and vocational resources that are otherwise unavailable to them in the region’s public high schools. Students are better prepared to engage in sustained studies when they work as a member of a small community, supported by adult mentors/advisors who work one-on-one with them, over the course of their high school and college transitional period, and supported by faculty who are experienced in providing interdisciplinary studies within the context of applied-knowledge in real-world settings.
EASTCONN administers the middle college for the partnership. QMC is part of the Connecticut State Department of Education's interdistrict magnet school initiative, which seeks to reduce, eliminate or prevent the racial, ethnic or economic isolation of public school students while offering a high-quality curriculum that supports educational improvement.