Daniels Fund & The Bridge of Southern New Mexico Award Early College High School Start-up Grants to Four Communities

LAS CRUCES ­­- The Bridge of Southern New Mexico today awarded grants totaling more than $400,000 to start new early college high schools at Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Gadsden and Hobbs public schools.

The Bridge Board of Directors joined with Daniels Fund leaders and Governor Susana Martinez to present the grant awards to school officials from the four New Mexico communities at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 16, at Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces. The Expanding the Early College High School (ECHS) Model grants were received from the Daniels Fund in partnership with The Bridge to provide more opportunities for New Mexico high school students to earn college credits.  The ECHS program is modeled after the state’s first dual-credit campus, the Arrowhead Park Early College High School.

”We’ve been very impressed with the community-wide approach to improving educational outcomes for the Early College High School students of Dona Ana County,” said Linda Childears, President and CEO of the Daniels Fund. “We’re proud to join with The Bridge of Southern New Mexico to support advanced student achievement in these four New Mexico communities.” Founder Bill Daniels, a pioneer in cable television who was known for his generosity to those in need, established the Daniels Fund to provide grants and scholarships in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

“Partnering with the Daniels Fund to support these four community initiatives perfectly aligns with our mission,” said Stacie Allen, President and CEO of The Bridge of Southern New Mexico. “Each early college high school start-up puts participating students on a trajectory toward graduation, as well as workforce and college readiness. The Bridge is demonstrating that these results are both proven and sustainable,” Allen added.

“Early college high school programs are a critical part of our education reforms to ensure that every New Mexico student is prepared to enter the workforce or college,” said Governor Martinez.“These students will have the opportunity to work on college degrees while they earn their diploma, saving both time and money after graduation. To receive this funding, these districts were required to form partnerships with local business communities, colleges and universities to better ensure that students receive the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school and life.”

To continue this momentum in reforming education, Governor Martinez has also proposed more than $500,000 in funding to further expand opportunities for early college high school programs in New Mexico. The Governor’s budget proposal also includes $15.5 million for the “New Mexico Reads to Lead” program, $1.5 million to expand the use of “parent portals” in New Mexico schools, $2.5 million for STEM-related initiatives to recruit and retain math and science teachers in communities and schools that have the greatest need, nearly $36 million in funding for Pre-K and K-3 Plus education, and increases funding for textbooks and instructional materials from $21 million to $30 million — a 43% increase. Altogether, Governor Martinez’s budget proposal includes $100 million in new funding to support the needs of New Mexico’s classrooms and public school students.

Grant awards for new Early College High Schools were presented to four community partnerships:

Albuquerque Public Schools:  To establish the College and Career High School on the campus of Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), offering an estimated 100 students dual-credit in technical trades, business, hospitality and tourism, and healthcare for industry certification, an associate degree or transfer to a bachelor’s degree. Partners include CNM, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Technology Ventures Corporation, Sallyon Consulting, PepsiCo, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Target Stores, Avila Retail Development and Management, Intel, NM Educator’s Federal Credit Union, TRANE Manufacturing, and Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corp.

Carlsbad Municipal Schools:  To establish the Carlsbad Early College High School on the New Mexico State University-Carlsbad campus to offer dual-credit coursework in science,technology, engineering and math for an initial class of 50-60 students to earn an associate degree or transferrable credits in engineering and allied health. Partners include NMSU-Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Department of Development, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Carlsbad and Mosaic Potash.

Gadsden Independent School District:  To expand the GISD Early College High School Program at Chaparral High School for an estimated 70 students to earn dual-credit in science, technology, engineering and math. Partners include Dona Ana Community College, NMSU SLED Program, The Border Industrial Association, Global Perspectives Integrated, El Paso Zoo, Global Alternative Fuels, LLC, Mallory Metal Products, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank Santa Teresa Office, Sunny Shields State Farm Insurance, J.H. Rose Logistics, AKS Architecture, Boone Transportation, Camino Real Regional Utility Association, and Mesilla Valley Transportation.

Hobbs Municipal Schools:  To pilot the Hobbs Early College High School in fall 2014 on the campus of New Mexico Junior College (NMJC),focusing on dual-credit coursework toward an associate degree or transferrable credit to a bachelor’s program in agriculture, natural resources,manufacturing, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Partners include NMJC, Energy Advisory Board, Eagle Trust Foundation, Hobbs Economic Development Committee, URENCO USA, Waste Control Specialists, LLC, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and Pacific Gas and Electric.

The Bridge connects education, workforce readiness and economic development to increase student graduation rates and prepare students to successfully enter the workforce. The Arrowhead Park ECHS campus opened in 2010 and will graduate the first senior class in May 2014. The school was established as a result of The Bridge partnership with Las Cruces Public Schools, Dona Ana County business leaders, New Mexico State University and Dona Ana County Community College.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the first major grant to The Bridge in 2012. In addition to advancing the ECHS model, the Kellogg funding supported re-engagement of  teachers as student mentors, increased parents ‘ capacity to mentor their children, and established a measurement network to evaluate The Bridge’s impact.