Early College Academy/Career Enrichment Center

in partnership with

Central New Mexico Community College and the University of New Mexico

The Early College Academy (ECA) is a college-prep magnet high school that focuses on college preparation. With an enrollment of 200 students, ECA’s small-school environment offers students an intimate and personalized college-readiness learning experience.  ECA classes are scheduled in the morning so that students may take CEC, UNM, or CNM classes in the afternoon. UNM and CNM classes may apply toward an associate or university degree.

Under the leadership of Principal Patrick Arguelles, ECA was designated a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2019. Additionally, ECA has been selected by the New Mexico Public Education Department as one of NM’s BEST High Schools for incorporating best practice in maximizing instructional time,  effectively integrating the Response to Intervention (RtI) framework , and successfully using differentiation to support all learners.

Sharing the same campus,  Early College Academy is the sister school to the Career Enrichment Center (CEC) detailed in the next section.

Every student, every day, career ready, college bound.

Listen as Shanel Fretwell, Academic Dean of Students, shares an overview of the ECA and CEC program.

Career Enrichment Center (CEC)

The Career Enrichment Center (CEC) is an APS magnet school serving approximately 1600 students from all Albuquerque high school. CEC provides students with many opportunities, from beginning to advanced-level work, for in-depth career focused learning. 

Students can choose unique courses from a wide-range of career areas, many of which include hands-on experiences working in one of CEC’s specialized laboratories.  Students may select courses in business, health sciences, computer science, engineering, digital media, advanced science and math courses. 

CEC offers CTE coursework in automotive technology and cosmotology and is the only high school in the Albuquerque Public School system that offers five world and two Native American languages: Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Navajo and Zuni. 

Additionally, CEC offers many CNM and UNM dual-credit courses, some of which are integrated into CEC course offerings.  For additional details on course offerings, view the Course Catalog below.


Learn more about pathways offered at ECA/CEC by listening to the audio clip below.


Listen to the audio clip below as Shanel Fretwell, Academic Dean, talks about supporting enrolled students.

Additional Informative Resources

Content for this spotlight page was provided by ECA/CEC administrators and the school’s website.