Middle College.
January 2020 Newsletter

Let's recap what just happened...
Shadow Week 2020: Come Explore Middle College!
Middle College is a place where students come for a change of pace or a feeling of control over their life. Having the ability to choose class times and create a schedule that works best for you, is one of the main reasons people choose to come here. Being on a college campus also means that you’ll have access to a variety of classes and resources that wouldn’t be available at a traditional high school. Courses like Business Management, Political Science, and Kinesiology are just some examples of the multitude of classes CSM offers. Tutoring centers and study rooms are available for anyone who needs them. The centers have other students and adults willing to spend time to help you understand the material.

Shadow Week is great way to check out Middle College and see if it’s the place for you. Middle College Shadow Days are running now, from Monday, Feb 3rd through Friday, Feb. 7th. If you have already signed up , please report to the Middle College Office, bldg. 12, rm 206 at 8:00 am on the morning of your assigned Shadow Day. Expect to be done around 12:30. You will spend the day with a real Middle College student going to their real classes and hear from a panel of students about their experience at MC!

Interested, but haven't signed up yet? Although there are no more spaces available for Shadow Week 2020, those interested can arrange to shadow on an upcoming Friday by calling the Middle College office at (650) 574-6536.
Don't forget to mark your calendars!
January 27 - February 17
MC Effect Feminine Products Drive

February 3 - 7
Shadow Week

February 14 and 17
No School

March 5
Community Day

March 26
Great Gatsby Dance

March 27- April 3
Spring Break!
Check out our student poll to see what we think about the economy, Cats , and duck-sized horses!
Getting back together with the community after the break was awesome! Everyone got involved in a huge lip sync battle (except the teachers, they got stage fright, we’ll get them next year). After that excitement, we got down to business learning about the new opportunities awaiting us this semester at Middle College!
On the second day of orientation, we split up - the juniors to get serious, and the seniors to get mini golf championship titles. The juniors started off their day with a tour of Saint Mary’s College, learning about the exciting opportunities and free pens they have to offer. Next, they took a trip to San Francisco to visit the De Young Art Museum, where they saw an exhibit about civil rights. While the juniors developed their cultural knowledge, the seniors were learning something of their own: how to beat Mr. Lance at laser tag. The seniors went to Scandia Family Fun Center, where they shot lasers at each other, got very invested in mini-golf, and set all kinds of records on the arcade games. Clearly, the field trips were transformative and community-building for all of us.
Chess Club
“Would you say your name and how good you are at chess?”

These are the questions asked to all new-comers to CSM Middle College’s Chess Club. This may sound like a lot of pressure, but don’t worry! All skill and experience levels are welcome. One of the chess club founders and leaders, Jared Lipka, gives lessons every week on good and bad moves, control, and strategy. Have no interest in being good or knowing how to play? That’s fine, too! You can just come to have fun playing low-stress games or even just watching other players.

Club founders Jared Lipka and Caden Thun wanted to spread their passion for chess and the benefits they feel it brings to their lives. Jared informed me that chess improves critical thinking skills, focus, and strategy. Caden feels as though chess can be a good break, “kind of like reading,” he says. 

Anybody can learn to play chess, and you might even make some unlikely friends. They both agree that chess is a unifying force and can bring all different kinds of people together. So come on down! Come play chess with us and make some friends every Thursday at 11 a.m. advisory.

You can win real money at the Chess Club Tournament during the week of February 17! Sign up below.
Want to Join a Club? Here's When They Meet!
Environmental Club: Tuesdays at 11:00 in 12-220
Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA): Wednesdays at 2:00 advisory in 12-220
Chess Club: Thursdays at 11:00 advisory in 12-220
Middle College Effect: Fridays at 11:00 advisory in 19-105
Newsletter: Fridays at 11:00 advisory in 12-220
Sunshine Club: Fridays at 11:00 in 12-201.1
Mr. Letke
This year, we welcomed multiple new teachers to the Middle College community. Here is an interview, conducted by Rachel Frankl, with one of our new teachers!

What made you first want to be a teacher?

I was a journalism major in college, but I didn’t feel like I would have a job after college. I liked my history classes and I saw the major social sciences for teachers and I liked that. As a kid, I always imagined what it would be like to teach and it was also a bit of a reality check. I wanted a job. I also like the tangible effect I had on kids. Especially juniors and seniors. Impact. Change lives.  

What did you do before Middle College?

I taught at Cap and East Palo Alto. I ran the AVID program at Cap. For the past three or four years, I was splitting time between coaching other teachers and teaching. 

What drew you to Middle College ?

I needed a new start after 15 years in the same place so I came to the interview here. I fell in love with the place. I already knew Ms. Redgate. I liked the fact that we could treat students like adults. The campus had a great vibe too. The whole place just felt special. 

One specific moment?

Just seeing the genuine thinking and collaboration that happens here. There is so much genuine thinking going on. It’s because people are here for a reason and they want to be mature learners. 

How are Middle College students different?

I think the fact that you’re already in college adds that level of academic maturity. You don’t need to find that special way to motivate a kid- everyone is motivated here. It’s easier here, but that’s because you’re college students. 

At MC there’s much more one-on-one time with students, how is that beneficial?

You’re in a stage where you’re making decisions that will shape the next few years of your life. All of a sudden you might not be on the same page as your parents. Sometimes you need a thought partner or someone to vent to. It’s good for me to able to understand where students are coming from. We’re able to give them one on one time with someone who’s gone through life and who can help. 

What’s something your students at MC have taught you?

Well honestly, the way my history class is set up there is a lot of in-depth research into things I haven’t researched. They go so much more in-depth on a student topic. There’s Mayor Pete for one (he’s referencing a research project I did last semester). I’ve been reminded that everyone has their own life story- a reason they make the decisions. Whether it’s a good decision or not. Since it’s a small learning environment, it’s easier to get to know students. It’s not the same in a larger school, it’s easier to forget that these are people with lives. 

What students would you encourage to come to MC?

My daughter. But, there’s no set template. Students who are bored with high school and want a challenge. Students who are ready and excited to have open conversations. Students who want to explore a major and see if it’s right for them. Mostly, students who want the support of being in a small learning community where there are adults who want you to succeed. There are so many different reasons to come here. 

What has been your favorite thing about the CSM campus?

The Starbucks on campus. But also, it’s beautiful, it’s hard not to appreciate it. There are students working with professors in the learning center. It’s a more mature environment. 

Any words of advice for someone applying?

Do shadow days. Come visit the campus. Come see the classes. Come with an open mind. Be willing to take a risk. It doesn’t take long for MC students to meet other kids here who they get along with. Even if you’re shy or introverted, you’re able to find each other. Everyone seems to have found someone--that’s what college is all about meeting new people.

I love it here, that’s all.
Questions, comments, or concerns? Contact us at smuhsd.mc.newsletter@gmail.com