Nearly two decades after the dual-enrollment school opened its doors, Middle College High School was recognized earlier this week by the California Department of Education as a 2019 Distinguished School.

Jeff Palmquist, assistant superintendent of secondary education for Lodi Unified School District, praised the school’s “rigorous coursework” and “outstanding education” in a Tuesday press release.

“Staff prepares students for their futures so they can continue to pursue postsecondary education and career pathways in high-paying job sectors,” Palmquist said in the press release. “This honor speaks to the efforts and achievements of both MCHS staff and students.”

A partnership between LUSD and San Joaquin Delta College, Middle College students enroll in both high school and college courses, according to the press release.

Students graduate with as many as 60 transferable college credits, and 100 percent of MCHS students have attained at least 30 credits.

This is not Middle College’s first award, however.

According to the press release, MCHS received the California Distinguished School Award in 2008 and 2011, and in 2019 was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Middle College first opened in 2000 with 120 students and currently has 254 students, Principal Jim Davis said in a Wednesday email, and graduates have been accepted into every University of California and California State University.

“Last year, nine students were accepted to UC Berkeley and another four to UC Davis,” Davis said in the email. “We also had three students accepted to UCLA.”

Seven Middle College students last year declared they would attend University of the Pacific, Davis said, and Middle College students have also attended Ivy League schools and the Air Force Academy.

In addition to maintaining a 100-percent graduation rate over the last three years, 67 percent of MCHS students graduate with at least one associate’s degree from Delta College, according to the press release.

MCHS students collectively took 504 college courses in the Fall 2018 semester, with 88 percent of the courses resulting in a grade of “A” or “B” and 70 percent resulting in an “A.”

At Middle College, the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, Davis said, provides organizational and study skills, note-taking techniques and other support for both their MCHS and Delta College courses.

Davis believes the school-wide AVID program — along with the Middle College’s teachers and staff — contributed to the students’ continued success that earned the school its “distinguished” designation.

“The staff of MCHS is second to none,” Davis said in the press release. “They continue to make strong connections with students and provide the direction for students to pursue their dreams and future careers.”

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