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Early College High Schools Designation

Designation for New Mexico Schools Partnering with
IHEs to Offer College Credit to High School Students

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) - College and Career Readiness Bureau

Deadline Date:

07/01/18 5:00 PM MST Receipt


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A special designation to New Mexico high schools that offers students the ability to earn credits towards a college level certificate or degree. Schools will partner with an institution of higher education to offer tuition-free programs. Early college programs must benefit low-income youth, English Learners, first-generation college-goers, ethnically diverse students, and other underrepresented groups.

The purpose of this application is for applicants to be recognized and designated as an Early College High School (ECHS). ECHS is an educational design that links students with workforce and higher education stakeholders in New Mexico. This application to the New Mexico Public Education Department is in acknowledgement and compliance with 6.30.13 New Mexico Administrative Code rule for designated ECHSs. To be designated, an ECHS shall serve all students equitably and shall meet the qualifications listed in NMAC.


ECHSs allow students to simultaneously complete requirements toward earning a regular high school diploma and to earn significant credits toward a workforce recognized credential in a college-level certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree at the partner institution of higher education. ECHSs are tuition free and serve low-income youth, first-generation college-goers, English Learners, ethnically diverse students, and other young people underrepresented in higher education. Students in an ECHS undertake rigorous academics and career technical education coursework in order to work in growing career fields with high growth, demand, skills and wages.

ECHSs provide access to dual credit courses to help high school students make a seamless transition into college success. ECHS structures are innovative, interactive, research-based, and support positive outcomes for high school aged students. Integrated academic and Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities support academic growth in meeting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The ECHS model builds on a sequence of courses within a master schedule which meets local and state graduation requirements while providing a structured CTE sequence of sufficient size, scope, and quality to fully address the Common Career Technical Core Standards for its career cluster focus.

ECHS programming and curriculum should lead to related work readiness credentials recognized by business and industry. ECHS partnerships include community members, representatives from local business and industry, and accredited, credit-granting postsecondary institutions. ECHS programs include meaningful work-based learning experiences that align to the most dynamic sectors of New Mexico’s economy. ECHS students should choose electives within the school’s CTE program to meet the career goals and objectives specified in their Next Step Plan.

Public Education Department Vision:

Bold, visionary reform that puts students first in every decision will increase student achievement and prepare our kids for success in college and career. We call on every educator, student, parent, community member, and public servant to share in the responsibility for the success of our students and, ultimately, the future of the great state of New Mexico. When we put our kids first, New Mexico wins. Student engagement is an important component of keeping students from dropping out of high school, and the ECHS model promotes student engagement in an authentic and meaningful way.

The College and Career Readiness Bureau ECHS website offers a toolbox of resources, webinars, podcasts, data research, and specialized support for the local school and the State of New Mexico.

Summary of the Application for ECHS Designation:

1. Overview of ECHS Design – Include a description of the design structure of the ECHS. Designate if the school is a freestanding model, where all students at the school are enrolled in an ECHS pathway(s), or an academy model, where only a subset of the students at a comprehensive high school are early high school students. Describe location in proximity to the postsecondary partner. Include hours of operation, and other relevant program details. Indicate the scheduling structure, including wrap-around services to meet the required seat time per Section 22-2-8-1 NMSA 1978. Describe the staffing for the ECHS, including teacher licensure and professional qualifications for staff to teach dual credit as adjunct faculty for the postsecondary partner.

2. Proposed Pathway Description – Provide a description of the proposed pathway(s). Describe the proposed pathway(s) and how the pathway(s) support the regional workforce need for training in high wage, high demand careers. Include STARS course names and numbers for CTE courses and program names for postsecondary partner, dual credit courses. Provide a Next Step Plan designed for each pathway offered for ECHS students.

3. Workforce Recognized Credentials - Describe the proposed workforce recognized credential for each pathway. Provide a plan of how the school will track and report student attainment of workforce recognized credentials.

4. Students Served - Indicate the projected number of students served. Describe the demographics of students enrolled and student participation in each pathway.

5. Outreach and Recruitment Process - Description of outreach and recruiting processes that incorporate efforts to reach underrepresented populations. The ECHS’s goal is for the proportion of low-income students in the student body to be at least as high as that of the high school low-income population in the district. Outreach and recruitment efforts should include plans to increase the proportion of low-income students served. Describe how the school will analyze student demographic data to ensure equitable access to the ECHS and that all students are being served by the ECHS model.

6. Written Agreement with Postsecondary – A Memorandum of Understanding is required with at least one postsecondary partner that includes evidence of dual credit course offerings and support structures. Provide a current copy of the Memorandum of Understanding that shows evidence of dual credit course offerings for the pathway(s) offered. Indicate wrap-around service supports efforts for successful student outcomes. Provide a plan of how the school will track the number of college credit earned by ECHS students.

7. Written Agreement with Workforce Partner - A written agreement is required with at least one workforce partner, best practice is for each industry pathway. Provide a current copy of the written agreement with workforce partner(s) for the pathway(s) offered. Describe available work-based learning experiences and how student participation in work- based learning experiences will be tracked.

8. Sustainability Plan – Describe the school and district/charter plans to ensure sustainability of the ECHS school model. Describes a plan for sustainability though articulation and documentation of partnerships with the community and local business and industry sectors to prepare students for entry into careers in which state or regional need has been confirmed by New Mexico labor data.

9. Tribal Consultation Requirement - Describe the school and district/charter plan to consult with tribal leaders annually. This is to satisfy the goals of Indian Education Act (IEA) 22-23A NMSA 1978 Article 23A which includes documentation of tribal consultation to be submitted annually to the department.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183588

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be designated, an ECHS shall serve all students equitably and shall meet the qualifications listed in NMAC.

Pre-Application Information:

Schools seeking initial designation as a department-approved ECHS shall submit an application to the department by July 1 of the year in which they seek to begin operating as an ECHS.

All applications must be received no later than 5:00 PM Mountain Standard Time on July 1.

-Issue of Application: May 1, 2018
-Submission of Application (Due): July 1, 2018
-Proposal Evaluation: July 5-16, 2018
-Negotiate to Finalize Application: July 16-27, 2018
-Issuance of Designation Letter: August 1, 2018

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Louise Williams

New Mexico Public Education Department
College and Career Readiness Bureau
300 Don Gaspar Ave, Room 131
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New Mexico