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Official eagle logo for 2023 National Blue Ribbon School program


Early College High School logo

Early College High School (ECHS) was recently named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School. Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the designation to high-performing schools throughout the nation. ECHS was also honored as an Exemplary High Performing School.

National Blue Ribbon Schools are considered models of effective and innovative school practices for other educational institutions. The distinctive Blue Ribbon logo has become a coveted symbol of educational excellence. Only six schools in Orange County were recognized this year. ECHS is the ninth Newport-Mesa unified School District school to be named a Blue Ribbon School.

The additional designation as an Exemplary High Performing School honors ECHS being among California’s top 15 percent of schools in English and mathematics achievement, as measured by state assessments.

Earlier this year, ECHS was also named a 2023 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.

Three ECHS graduates pose in regalia with flowers

Since opening in 2006, ECHS has offered students the opportunity to take high school-level college-preparatory classes as well as community college courses, thanks to a partnership with Coastline College. Students have consistently demonstrated their ability to achieve academic excellence, with a majority of students earning one or more associate degrees along with their high school diploma by the time of graduation. 

“As an academic community, we support each other and always give our best; in turn, this encourages our students to do the same,” said Principal Dr. Dave Martinez.

Martinez praised his staff for their commitment to being continual learners, sharpening their calling as educators by providing engaging lessons and promoting higher-order thinking to enable students to gain the skills necessary to be successful in their classes. In addition to academic data, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program looks at schools’ relationships with families and the community in providing students with the essential tools they need to thrive, including mental health support and volunteer opportunities.

The National Blue Ribbon Award was awarded to 353 elementary, middle and high schools this year. ECHS will be formally recognized at a national awards presentation in Washington, D.C., in November.