4 NM school districts get funding for college prep

January 18, 2014 • State News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — [auth] The college-prep programs in four New Mexico school districts got a big financial boost this week.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports ( Gov. Susana Martinez announced Thursday that each district will receive a $100,000 grant to start or expand on programs that prepare high school students for college.

“This is a model to export throughout the entire state for the sake of our kids and the wellbeing of our economy,” Martinez said at Arrowhead Park Early College High School.

The Las Cruces program is credited as being the first such program in the state. Las Cruces Superintendent Stan Rounds said 80 percent of the students will have earned an associate degree or community college certificate by May, when the first class of seniors graduates.

Martinez said she envisions a dozen programs in the state by the end of this year with the grant. Public officials say these types of programs give students maturity and skills needed for a college career. The students can start earning college credits as early as their freshman year.

The funds are from a Denver-based foundation, the Daniels Fund, and are going to districts in Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Gadsden and Hobbs.

Officials in the some school districts say the money will help immensely with purchasing technology and recruiting new students.

In Gadsden, 67 freshmen and sophomores are currently enrolled in the early college program. Gema Salcedo, who supervises the program, said the district wants to obtain laptops for classrooms, a dual touchscreen board and science materials.

“We’re in a very small community, and having that technology will open them up to what’s out there,” Salcedo said.

Albuquerque Public Schools will use the funds to establish the College and Career High School on the Central New Mexico Community College campus.

The Daniels Fund awarded $500,000 to The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, which vetted applications from 14 schools. Officials at The Bridge said the remaining $100,000 will pay for unforeseen expenses.

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