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Front of Early College High School


Early College High School was founded on the principles of facilitating Rigor, Relevance and Relationships as vital components of the educational experience for our students.

Rigor - Offering students a challenging, yet focused and accessible, curriculum that promotes critical thinking as well as content knowledge.

Relevance - Providing students with interesting learning experiences that are applicable to their personal life, or are connected to real-world contexts.

Relationships - The positive connections between students, their peers, teachers and school staff that create a safe learning environment of trust and support.

Vision Statement

Empowering minds, transforming futures.

Mission Statement

Enhancing college and career readiness through rigorous and relevant learning experiences and meaningful, supportive relationships.

What is ECHS?

Early College High School is a college preparatory educational program strategically designed to fulfill and exceed University of California “a-g” admission requirements.  ECHS is the creation of a strong and influential college bound culture with high expectations for all students.  Average class sizes of 25 or less provides a focus on personalization of instruction.  A climate of high expectations and a strong academic culture prepares our graduates to be competitively eligible for admission to the University of California, California State University, and institutions of higher learning.

How did it start?

The foundation of Newport Mesa Unified School District Early College High School began with the Early College High School Initiative. We opened in 2006, based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. Early College High School blends high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program, compressing the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and 1-2 years of college coursework.

How does it work?

Early College High School continually encourages and empowers students to develop a greater sense of confidence through project based learning and pride in their academic accomplishments.  Project based curriculum includes engaging learning experiences that involve students in complex real world projects through which they develop and apply skills and knowledge.  Project based learning empowers students with the skills for success for today and tomorrow.

In the senior year students prepare a senior project and present their findings to a panel of community members.  They also work with an investment management company to learn from experts through a financial literacy program to prepare for their future.

We teach students problem-solving and critical thinking skills, essential attributes to success in the global marketplace.  We hold students and staff to rigorous academic standards while developing social, emotional, and academic competence.  Our teachers participate in weekly collaborative professional development.  Students receive additional tutoring support to allow them to work to their fullest potential.  Our teachers know their students well, and are committed to a learner-centered approach that supports and challenges each student. 

We believe an appreciation and responsibility for the natural environment enhance education and individual lives.  Students develop an appreciation for the environment through cross curricular projects and guided outdoor experiences in Newport Back Bay. 

What makes ECHS different?

The design principles of Early College High School can be seen across the board with the small size of the school, the emphasis on integrated project-based learning and student exhibitions, an eight period block schedule, and college courses for which they receive college units through concurrent enrollment.  Early College High School engages a wide spectrum of students, offering a curriculum that is aligned to Common Core Standards and supported by technology.  The school’s mission includes the development of strong character, good judgment, and ethical behavior.