Madison College’s Portage campus to add gateway program
PORTAGE, Wis. — There are 43 colleges in 23 states offering the gateway to college program. The program originated in Portland, Oregon in 2000.
Madison College’s Portage campus is set to become the first campus in the region to offer the gateway to college program. It’s a national program that gives students who are credit deficient in high school a chance to go to college and finish high school simultaneously.
Madison College’s Truax campus has offered the program for the past five years. Due to the benefits of the program, they’re expanding it to their location in Portage.
Taylor Smith is a gateway student and just completed her first semester in the program.
“Not to sound cliche, but it’s life changing,” Smith said.
She expressed how she felt lost and directionless, with a lack of confidence through her high school experience.
“Middleton is a predominantly white school and so being the only non-white person in the class is kind of like hard to focus on,” Smith said. “Especially if you’re in a history class and they’re talking about slavery and everyone looks at you.”
Smith said feeling uncomfortable was only amplified by her mental health struggles.
“Dealing with depression and anxiety is kind of hard for other people to understand if they’ve never dealt with that themselves or dealt with someone who has that and be able to to guide them in a different way,” she said.
She joined the Gateway program in hopes of turning her life around.
She appreciates “being able to go to class feeling like I’m prepared for it. Also, Gateway is super diverse. There’s kids from all different types of backgrounds, all different races and ethnicities,” she added.
Like Taylor, many other students turn to the Gateway program to do the same, but the greater issue is still at hand.
“It’s good for Taylor and sad for our students who feel that way still. I would say, publicly, our biggest challenge is that we are a really great school district for many kids but we are a poor district for some kids. When I say some kids, it’s our most vulnerable populations,” said Laura Love, director of secondary education for the Middleton district.
Love added the notion that there’s a lot to work on in terms of bettering the country’s education system. The gateway program is just one step in the direction of making it more accommodating for everyone.
Smith is just one example of a new beginning.
“I plan on coming here to MATC and doing a one year transfer because I already have one year done because of Gateway. I’ll do a one year transfer to the UW of Madison.”
She added that she wants to become a social after graduating.
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