QMC recognizes in its learning community the unique personalities and individual strengths of its members, including each student’s assets, gifts, talents and interests. QMC assists these students as they discover personal aspirations that will strengthen their resolve to learn. Immersing them in an experiential learning environment like QMC provides a wealth of support from peers and caring adults. It offers students the opportunity to verify evidence, to think and to work toward finding solutions to complex problems, while simultaneously learning how to express and demonstrate their new-found skills.
As members of a larger college community, students learn how to embrace and communicate sophisticated ideas. They are expected to demonstrate collegiality as they learn to move easily within a caring community. This middle college experience strengthens students’ resolve to learn, while encouraging their personal growth.
In surveys we conduct at the end of each school year, many students report that they were most surprised by their own success and by their increased commitment to their learning. They attribute those changes to the caring work of their teachers and the culture of motivation they experience at QMC.
During their time at QMC, most students show:
- increased achievement in QMC courses
- high enrollment and success in Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) classes
- high graduation rates of students who remain at QMC and successful post-secondary endeavors
QMC students are enrolling in more college courses each year, and they are also outperforming their college-age peers in those courses. QMC students who decide to take QVCC courses are enrolled in QMC College Study, a guided study hall designed to support them in successful achievement in their college courses.
We believe strongly that learning matters more than “seat time;” therefore, we accommodate the needs of students whose acquisition of important skills and knowledge takes longer than the traditional time allotted in semesters and school years, and occasionally this may delay their year of graduation. Those who ultimately do not achieve our graduation requirements make arrangements with us to complete that which is still required for graduation through our summer school, credit recovery, or other options for extra assistance. On rare occasions they complete their high school requirements through EASTCONN’s Adult Education program. The majority of our students pursue some kind of post-secondary education, including 4-year, 2-year, and professional training education. Many of our graduates begin their post-secondary college careers at QVCC, and stay connected with QMC as a result. A graduate of the class of 2013 is helping us to establishing a QMC Alumni Association, through which alumni may stay connected with each other to continue the positive support they had received from their colleagues.
The experiences of our students are often best expressed in their personal stories and testimonials, which we have collected during the four years since QMC’s establishment. Their stories are profound and offer compelling evidence of the effect of a QMC education, including:
- personal achievement beyond what they or anyone else had expected
- being the first in a family to graduate high school or go to college
- finally connecting to adults and fellow students in school
- creating a new program for QMC designed to help current and future students to be successful
- overcoming great obstacles (including pregnancy, traumatic experiences, etc.) and reaching their personal goals
- breaking new ground in their own learning, and demonstrating their achievement that sets new standards for QMC students