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Posted October 18, 2017

Patrick Arguelles Named 2017 Secondary Principal of the Year

The CEC/ECA principal was recognized by the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals.

Albuquerque Public Schools’ Early College Academy and Career Enrichment Center have been recognized as top-tier NM high schools designed to inspire, motivate and empower students in learning and in life by providing a non-traditional high school environment, rigorous and relevant instruction, effective pedagogical practices, and innovative strategies effectively preparing students to be successful in an ever-evolving global community.

The New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals is proud to add another recognition by announcing that ECA and CEC Principal Patrick Arguelles has been named as the 2017 Principal of the Year for Secondary Schools in New Mexico.

Although excited by the announcement, Arguelles is quick to note that ECA and CEC’s success is predicated on an administrative team of trusted and knowledgeable experts that meets weekly to support student achievement by setting high expectations for teaching, learning, and leading and fostering an environment where staff is free to take risks.

The leadership team works collaboratively with staff, students and parents to encourage an environment that celebrates school successes and learns from failures; ECA/CEC grows and develops partnerships that extend student learning beyond the classroom and allow for practical, real-world applications of learned skills. Students leave programs with the skills, attitudes, and characteristics necessary to succeed in their post-secondary education and be a viable contributor in an ever-evolving global community through practical, real-world applications of learned skills.

Arguelles is proud that teachers and students assume leadership roles outside of the classroom, actively participate in the school improvement process, and take ownership of resulting setbacks and successes. “In essence, we have shifted accountability from the individual teacher to the teaching community; we are willing to take on tough issues and acknowledge when school goals have not been met or initiatives have failed. We provide a safe and systematic environment for all stakeholders and make sure rules and procedures are clear, specific and followed.”

Principal Arguelles opens his school doors to district leadership departments, community members and partners, as well as guests, including foreign dignitaries from as far away as China and the Middle East. CEC partners with the University New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts to provide dual enrollment opportunities for the students in APS. In doing so, Principal Arguelles maintains an instructional focus that encourages partnership and camaraderie as the school builds experiences and opportunities for students in an evolving economy.

ECA and CEC have focused on setting a very high achievement bar. ECA has a 4-year average graduation rate of 90.6 percent, highest in the district. One hundred percent of graduating ECA students over the past four years have gone on to a 2 or 4-year college or enrolled in a career preparation/certification program.

ECA works with their struggling students to identify skills and strategies that will ensure success in preparing for college/career while still nurturing and developing all students with strong communication skills and the emotional intelligence to think independently, engage in the process and be willing to take risks and be engaged, no matter how challenging the task at hand.

Mr. Arguelles received a check for $500 and a trip to Washington, D.C., where he had the opportunity to collaborate and learn from the other honored principals from across the country and compete for National Principal of the Year.

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