The largest community college and largest school district in New Mexico are splitting the $35 million cost for a new building on Central New Mexico Community College’s (CNM) Main Campus that will help more high school students from Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) take advantage of a free college education while in high school.
When completed, the 80,000-square-foot, four-story facility will be the new home for the College & Career High School (a district magnet school), the Native American Community Academy (NACA) (a district charter school) and CNM’s teacher education and early childhood multicultural education programs.
“Our strong partnership with APS is helping more high school students participate in higher education at an earlier age,” said CNM President Katharine Winograd.
The College & Career High School (CCHS), which is outgrowing its current location on Main Campus, allows high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to take CNM dual-credit classes that count for both high school and college credit. While working toward their high school diploma, the students also earn college credits toward a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree.
Last year, CCHS posted the fourth best score in the state among all public schools and the highest score among APS in the New Mexico Public Education Department’s annual school grading report. The school was established through a CNM-APS partnership in 2013, and it has earned an “A” grade every year since from the state education department. In 2016, it was the only school in the state to receive “A” grades in all eight categories of the state rankings.
CCHS students typically spend half of their day taking APS classes and the other half taking CNM dual-credit classes. Tuition and textbooks are free for students. The school opened with 45 students in 2013 and has grown to more than 140. The new building will expand capacity for CCHS to between 300 and 400 students.
“Over the years we’ve collaborated on new learning models that have expanded learning choices for students and dramatically changed the course of thousands of futures,” said APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy. “Of course, better educational outcomes like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community and we are very grateful.”
Serving the Native American community
The building will also be the new home for the Native American Community Academy’s high school students. The vision of NACA is to create “a thriving and dynamic community where students, educators, families and Native community leaders come together, creating a place for students to grow, become leaders, and prepare to excel in both college and life in general.”
“We are excited that NACA students will have access to a leading college outside their front door and also that we will be able to share the unique aspects of the NACA mission,” said Kara Bobroff, executive director of NACA, which serves 436 students in K-12. “Indigenous studies, languages, innovations and leadership are all strengths of the NACA community, and similarly CNM’s vision for innovation and its core values of service and community will provide our students and families with unbound opportunities and serve as a national model for collaboration and success.”
Capacity in the new building for NACA will be approximately 300 students.
Preparing future teachers
The building, which will also be home to CNM’s teacher education and early childhood multicultural education programs, will provide a collaborative environment and valuable learning opportunities for CNM students preparing to become teachers, according to the college. CNM students in teacher education will get the opportunity to observe high school teachers in the classroom and the site will allow students to complete teaching requirements.
CNM students will also benefit from learning about cultural practices specific to Native American students, and indigenous teaching and learning methods used at NACA. The facility will provide opportunities for CNM’s teacher education faculty members and the CCHS and NACA teachers to participate in joint professional development activities.
The cost of the $35 million facility is being split evenly between CNM and APS. CNM’s $17.5 million will come from voter-approved bonds. The $17.5 million from APS comes from voter-approved bonds and mil levy.