LCSN: Early College High School to give students a head start

February 9, 2010. Retrieved online: February 9, 2010 from Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – For Julissa Bustamante, dropping out of high school is not an option.

The 14-year-old has seen first-hand how important an education is. Her mom and older brother didn’t finish high school, and her sister started her family early.

“My brother, now he doesn’t really do anything,” Bustamante said. “He has a part-time job, but nothing really going on.”

Julissa, an eighth-grader at Zia Middle School, has big plans. She wants to be an orthopedic surgeon, and she knows that’s going to require a lot of college time, so she’s looking for a way to get a head start.

That’s what brought Julissa and her mom, Margaret Bustamante, to an informational meeting last week about the school district’s new Early College High School, set to take on its first class of 125 freshmen in July.

The school will be an extension of the district’s existing dual-credit program, in which juniors and seniors can attend classes at Doña Ana Community College and earn credit toward both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, said recently appointed ECHS Principal Jennifer Amis….

Plans for a building for the school are still being developed. It will be located on the New Mexico State University campus, south of Aggie Memorial Stadium in the Arrowhead Research Park.

For at least its first year, the school will make use of classrooms at DACC. The freshman curriculum, which is prescribed specifically by the state Public Education Department, will be taught by high school teachers, but using the community college curriculum and exams.

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