Governor Jennifer M. Granholm helped students cut the ribbon to officially open the Genesee Early College on Tuesday, September 4. The unique, new high school alternative run by the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) opened in the William S. White Building on the campus of the University of Michigan-Flint. It is the state's first early college high school that will prepare students for health careers on the campus of a major [tier 1] university.
Late last year, Governor Granholm and the Michigan Department of Education announced grants to create six new "Middle College" high schools in Michigan that will help students accelerate the attainment of college credit and prepare them for expanding employment opportunities in the health care field.
Granholm told the crowd, "We want to create a student for the 21st century. Education is the way to transform our state's economy. We must be the education state."
The first class in the Genesee Early College will be made up of more than 45 students. Besides receiving their high school diploma, student can earn up to 60 college credits at the same time.
"We are proud to partner in hosting this unique and valuable program that advances the close ties of the University of Michigan-Flint to the community," said Interim Chancellor Jack Kay. "This experience will give high school students wonderful exposure to college life and allow them to benefit fromthe long list of opportunities offered by a major university."
Genesys Regional Medical Center and the Greater Flint Health Coalition will partner with the GISD and UM-Flint to open the doors of the Genesee Early College. While most of the classes will be held at the university, students will also have class at Genesys.
"We are pleased to be a catalyst for our community's economic development by helping to create, attract and retain new talent," said GISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Svitkovich. "We believe this partnership is an example of our educational institutions taking a leadership role to contribute to the revitalization of our region."
Sandra Morgan-Jones was recently named principal of the new school. Morgan-Jones has a background as a high school principal, assistant principal, and counselor. Most recently, as school principal, she guided Whittier Classical Academy in implementing an exceptional academic program.
"We are providing Genesee county students with an opportunity to gain up to half of their college credits at a top notch university while becoming prepared to take their place in the 21st century economy," said Principal Sandra Morgan-Jones. "Genesee Early College students will be the first of many to fill the growing gaps in healthcare occupations both locally and across the country."
While the program addresses the Governor's interest in high school reform, it is also in response to the Cherry Commission recommendations regarding dual enrollment and early/middle college expansion in the state of Michigan.