Santa Fe Public Schools has launched a new tradition this year — fall open enrollment. Previously offered in the winter, students and families this year have been invited to select their school of choice by Jan. 31. It’s an exciting time for those looking for something new, particularly those entering middle and high school.

Students and parents are looking for options heading into high school. On top of the list are career pathways.

Capital High School offers four career pathways, including business and management, medical sciences, production arts and computer technology. The medical sciences pathway includes an elective biomedical curriculum so students get a head start on a medical career. This pathway starts early at Ortiz Middle School, with a focus on nursing.

Santa Fe High School’s students can explore engineering and design, the culinary arts and computer science. The school’s computer science pathway teaches more than five different programming languages and links to Milagro Middle School’s computer science initiative, which seeks to increase student access to and engagement in computer science, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and research.

Early College Opportunities, often known as ECO, provides students with an academically rigorous educational experience that offers dual credit with Santa Fe Community College, the Institute of American Indian Arts and San Juan College to allow high school students to earn college credits. ECO’s pathways include art, design and architecture, computer science, greenhouse, construction, welding, auto and motorcycle tech and auto collision.

In SFPS, there’s something for everyone.

Take Mandela International Magnet School, which is the only equal-access public International Baccalaureate school in Santa Fe. The school develops inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

If it’s an online option you’re seeking, we’ve got that, too, at Desert Sage Academy, which offers students multiple learning pathways providing flexible, rigorous and relevant educational opportunities in a safe and supportive small-school environment.

We’re committed to erasing the lines between high school, college and career by ensuring college, career and technical education, or CCTE, opportunities for all students. The district’s current CCTE offerings prepare students for more than 52 separate industry-recognized certifications. More than 1,500 SFPS students are currently enrolled in CCTE courses. We are working to increase their reach so that every student can benefit.

The pandemic changed a lot but not the rich academic offerings provided by Santa Fe’s free public education system. These run the gamut, from pre-AP and AP courses that help students to achieve content mastery; to bilingual, multicultural, Native American and special education programming and support; to an exciting array of sports, clubs and opportunities that develop global citizens; and to parent and community engagement and support.

These are what make Santa Fe Public Schools unique.

Voters in November, who passed the general obligation bond and mill levy, recognize the important role we play in students’ lives and their vision for tomorrow. We’re excited that rather than students battling to get into Mandela and ECO, the bond will expand their buildings and allow more students to benefit from what they offer.

For the first time, Mandela is part of the district’s overall lottery, and ECO has moved to the lottery from its previous first-come, first-served system, which will ensure equity in enrollment.

Fall open enrollment opens a wonderful window of opportunity for students to select the school of their dreams. Give us a call. We’re ready to welcome you to Santa Fe Public Schools.

Michael Hagele is the former principal at Early College Opportunities and is the assistant superintendent for secondary school support at Santa Fe Public Schools.

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