Early college opportunities are giving students a reason to remain in school.

Soft SkillsClose to Santa Fe High School, in an area known as the high school’s south campus, wood saws are humming in new portable classrooms. The buildings are part of Early College Opportunities, or ECO, the newest magnet school in Santa Fe.

ECO is a combined high school and college program.  It is  derived from traditional vocational education, and combines high school and college.

School has  been  a challenge for 17 year old student Malik Fielder, who started out at Santa Fe High and said it didn’t feel right.  “So I walked across the street and signed up.” Fielder was attracted to ECO’s friendly atmosphere and solar-powered music studio. “This gives me a reason to stay in school,” he said.

The hope is that the school will draw students who are disengaged at traditional high schools, and offer them a different kind of learning, with rewards that lead to employment in the community.

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