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Early College High School

Early College High School 2024-05-11T18:44:35-06:00

Students thow graduation caps in air at graduation ceremony. Early College High Schools (ECHS) use a transformative intervention model of bringing college into high school by simultaneously offering first generation students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and a college-level credential and/or degree. Programming includes meaningful work-based learning experiences that align with dynamic sectors of New Mexico’s economy, and a structured Career and Technical Education (CTE) sequence that leads to credentials recognized by business and industry.

These high schools are tuition free, and expose all ECHS students to rigorous academics and CTE coursework with the use of Career Clusters, related pathways and recommended programs of study. They focus on low-income youth, first-generation college-goers, English Language Learners, ethnically diverse students, and other young people underrepresented in higher education. They also establish formalized partnerships with colleges and community partners that foster shared responsibility for student success.

Characteristics of ECHS

Some defining characteristics of early college high schools:

  • Small size – typically 100 students per grade level
  • Responsible growth – typically opens with ninth grade and takes 4 years to reach full capacity
  • Close proximity to the partner postsecondary – often on their campus
  • Block scheduling – allows for acceleration of the graduation requirements so upperclassman can take college courses
  • Limited high school electives – most elective credits are earned through dual credit coursework
  • Application process for ECHS designation with NMPED

Administrative Rule

6.30.13 NMAC, Early College High Schools

Recently Adopted Rule

Local Success Schools and Postsecondary Partners

Various districts and schools throughout New Mexico have engaged in the early college high school model. The following schools have been awarded Early College High School Designation Status from NMPED. Our goal is to see the number designations increase every year. Please visit the ECHS Resource Center website for a full list of schools currently working towards designation status.

NMPED Designated Early College High Schools

Alamogordo Public Schools
Early College Health & Academic Academy

Albuquerque Public Schools
College and Career High School (Central New Mexico Community College)
Early College Academy (Career Enrichment Center, University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College)

Albuquerque State Charters
Amy Biehl Early College Academy (Amy Biehl High School)

Carlsbad Municipal Schools
Carlsbad Early College High School (New Mexico State University – Carlsbad)

Central Consolidated Schools
Career Prep Alternative (Navajo Technical University)
Central High School (Navajo Technical University)
Shiprock High School (Navajo Technical University)
Newcomb High School (Navajo Technical University)

Clovis Municipal Schools
Early College High School (Clovis Community College)

Deming Public Schools
Early College High School (Western New Mexico University)

Farmington Municipal Schools
San Juan College High School (San Juan Community College)

Gadsden Independent Schools
Alta Vista Early College High School (Dona Ana Community College)

Gallup School District
Middle College High School Charter (University of New Mexico – Gallup)

Grants-Cibola County Schools
GCCS Early College High School (New Mexico State University – Grants)

Las Cruces Public Schools
Arrowhead Park Medical Academy (New Mexico State University)
Early College High School (New Mexico State University)

Los Alamos Public Schools
Los Alamos High School (University of New Mexico – Los Alamos)

Los Lunas State Charters
School of Dreams Academy (University of New Mexico – Valencia)

Penasco Independent Schools
Penasco High School (Santa Fe Community College)

Rio Rancho State Charters
The ASK Academy Early College High School

Roswell Independent Schools
Early College High School (Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell)

Ruidoso Municipal Schools
Ruidoso High School (Eastern New Mexico University)

Santa Fe Public Schools
Early College Opportunities (Santa Fe Community College)

Santa Fe State Charters
The Masters Program (Santa Fe Community College)

Socorro Consolidated Schools School District
Socorro Early College High School (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology)

Taos Academy
Taos Academy (University of New Mexico – Taos)

View a full list of programs of study and degrees/certificates for each ECHS

ECHS Resource Center

The Early College High School Resource Center was designed to assist schools and administrations in the process of becoming an early college high school. The website offers valuable resources such as webinars and podcasts, with information geared toward educators, families and students. It also highlights valuable research findings and reports on how and why these types of schools work. We encourage you to utilize this supportive tool during your process of becoming an early college high school. If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to our ECHS Coordinator. Their information can be found on the CCRB Staff page.

Application For Early College High School Designation

To become a designated Early College High School, schools must submit an online application.

To aid in your application, here is a PDF quick start guide; Applying for Early College High School Designation to use with your online application.

Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the agency. Applicants may be asked to submit revisions to their proposals for the purpose of ensuring alignment with designation requirements and NM-approved design principles. The committee shall review initial applications for approval and confirm application acceptance or rejection no later than four weeks after the date of submission. At the discretion of the agency, schools not receiving initial approval may revise and resubmit application to address any department concerns. Once approved for designation, the school will be notified and awarded a certificate of designation by the Public Education Department. You are encouraged to use the designation resources and information located here.

Among the resources available:

  • A link to the online application
  • A link to a .docx version of the application for review and working through prior to submitting your online application.
  • Additional resources including templates, links to helpful website, and support session recordings and materials.

Research Brief – Program Evaluation Unit Legislative Finance Committee – July 12, 2019

American Institutes for Research (AIR) The Costs and Benefits of Early College High Schools

NM Early College High School Consolidated Report (2017)

Page last updated May 11, 2024