• Common core state standards are integrated into academic courses. If applicable, common career technical core state standards are integrated into CTE courses.
  • Student learning is accelerated using dual credit, beginning no later than tenth grade. Dual credit courses will be delivered through one or more Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and shall meet these standards:
  • No tuition charged to students,
  • College courses will be taught by instructors who meet HLC definitions for college instructor qualifications, and
  • College courses will align with a pathway as indicated on the Next Step Plan. Courses must align with:
  • established New Mexico higher education general education curriculum, and/ or
  • student’s declared CTE pathway, and/ or
  • student’s declared major or meta-major.
  • Students will be offered one or more pathways culminating in a certificate, credential, or degree. Each pathway shall:
  • Have workforce partners;
  • Lead to workforce-recognized credentials; and
  • Include work-based learning experiences.
  • Focuses on underrepresented youth by giving admissions preference to low-income students.
  • Focused recruiting efforts encourage applicants from underserved backgrounds.
  • The proportion of low-income students in the student body should be at least as high as that of the high school population for the district in which the ECHS is located. Outreach and recruiting processes shall strive for equitable access.
  • If the pool of applicants includes a lower proportion of low-income students than the average high school income distribution within the district, the ECHS shall conduct additional outreach and recruiting efforts the following year to recruit low-income applicants in proportion to the district’s overall proportion of low income high school students.
  • Innovative, interactive, research-based support structures are in place to facilitate student success in an accelerated learning environment.


  • An ECHS shall submit an initial application to PED.
  • The initial application shall include:
  • description of proposed program;
  • memorandum of understanding with at least one HEI;
  • memorandum of understanding with at least one workforce partner;
  • projected number of students to be served.


  • ECHS programs shall be evaluated by the department annually for effectiveness. PED shall prepare a data-based evaluation that compares the ECHS with other high schools in the district and with other ECHS programs in New Mexico.
  • The annual report should include:
  • evidence that the program serves students most in need by reporting the proportion of low income students in the student body compared to that of the district in which the ECHS is located;
  • evidence that students achieve significant college credit attainment, with the following minimum expectations:
  • students completing the eleventh grade have attempted a minimum of 3 credit hours toward a workforce recognized certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree at the partner HEI;
  • students completing the twelfth grade have successfully completed a minimum of 12 credit hours toward a workforce recognized certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree at the partner HEI.
  • Based on program monitoring and review of the annual report, PED will determine compliance.
  • If the department determines that a program is compliant, the ECHS may continue the program as authorized in the approved application.
  • If the department determines that a program is not compliant, the department shall notify the ECHS of such non-compliance.
  • Upon receipt of a notice of non-compliance from the department, the ECHS shall develop a program improvement plan, with technical assistance from the department, to address non-compliance.


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General Requirements
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Designation Request

Information Sheet

Assurances Signature Letter

ECHS Toolkit


Guidance for school districts for the development of Early College High Schools

ECHS Best Practices


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ECHS Collaboration


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