Uploaded by KRWGnews on Nov 9, 2011. 11.10.11 (LAS CRUCES) — The state’s first Early College High School is officially open for business. The new school gives students a chance to attend college.
“It’s a beginning of education that’s right. It’s true reform. It’s what you put on the ground that works,” said Las Cruces Public Schools Superintendent Stan Rounds.
Joel Macias, 15, is one of the 230 students enrolled in Arrowhead Park Early College High School, one of the most technologically advanced facilities in New Mexico.
Joel: “It’s almost like a regular high school except honors and just full of academics, no sports. They expect for you to turn everything in on time, they expect everything to be completed,” said Macias.
Students at Arrowhead Early College High School will not only graduate with a high school degree, but will also earn up to two years of college credit or an associate degree.
“It takes a community. And I am struck by the parents who are here and committed insuring that their students have an opportunity for success,” said Hanna Skandera, New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary.
School leaders say more than 60% of Arrowhead students are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
“I enjoy the school very much,” said tenth grader, Norma Ibarra who is learning how to study and take notes on the college level. “I worker harder because the teachers take time to explain more things to us and they go at our pace, not at everyone else’s pace and everyone is almost at the same pace so it helps us not get bored in class,” she adds.
Arrowhead students are taking courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which will help them transition into a four-year program at the university of their choice.
“We hope to keep everyone of these young men and women who are going to graduate with college degrees here in New Mexico and being successful,” said Dr. Barbara Couture, president of New Mexico State University.
Leaders with Arrowhead Park Early College High School hope enrollment will grow to 500 students by the fall of 2013, opening the door for more students to attend college.
“Making sure you have access to higher education, make sure that you have access to opportunities, make sure that’s it affordable for you to obtain a college degree and can you imagine doing that all while you’re still in high school,” said Dr. Margie Huerta, president of Doña Ana Community College.
Reported by Carlos Correa.