A rigorous, standards-based education

The Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) are the expectations of what students need to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. They also stand as the values and content organizers of what Colorado sees as the future skills and essential knowledge for our next generation to be more successful. State standards are the basis of the annual state assessment.
— from the Colorado Department of Education Standards

ECA scholars kick off their academic journey with a variety of engaging classes from Ancient History to Science to English. In Grade Six, wonder is the driving value. Students travel back in time to ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and Egypt and explore basic geography and economics in Ancient History. Literature finds them reading everything from recently published award-winning fiction and non-fiction to ancient Greek myths. In Math, games, projects, and hands-on learning help all students grow to be strong thinkers. And in Science, they explore the world around them from the Earth’s crust to photosynthesis. In addition to these core classes, students take a mix of enrichment classes from music to art. Along with the wonder of the academic journey comes the practice and mastery of “School Life Skills.” In Advising, students learn and practice the habits of strong climbers: organization, using a planner, taking good notes, test-taking, and determination.


In Grade Seven, wonder grows as students climb higher using the solid foundations of Grade Six. Across all content areas, students deepen their reading, writing, researching, and analytical skills. With “School Life Skills” in their toolkit, students spark to life new understandings of the natural world, the past, themes in literature, and even begin Pre-Algebra. With Grade Eight approaching, students climb with newer confidence knowing that at each step they never climb alone.


Grade Eight students summit middle school and gear up for the ECA high school and college experience ahead. With an emphasis on knowing why and how things happen, students link understandings across disciplines. Analyzing connections between our nation’s formation and government while exploring themes like censorship and identity in English, students make dynamic connections between past and present. Science and math also emphasize making connections between topics and units such as the interplay of ecosystems and Newton’s laws. Empowered by the wonder of three years of study, eighth graders at ECA are prepared for the climb of high school and college ahead.


Every journey begins with a first step. Freshmen at The Early College of Arvada embark on their epic quest here, but they will not walk alone. Transitioning from middle school, freshmen study a core curriculum of Algebra I, English, World History, and Biology with rigorous and compassionate teachers. A year-long immersion in our CLIMB Freshman Seminar provides students with necessary skills and cultural knowledge for success at ECA. Campus visits to Regis, Colorado State University, School of Mines, and CU-Boulder initialize students into the world of college campuses. Together, we point the way ahead–where others have walked before–making sure new freshmen have the tools they need.


Picking up the pace, ECA sophomores put into practice the skills forged in grade nine. The steps quicken, and the habits of hard-work, engaged curiosity, and classroom citizenship provide ECA sophomores opportunities to reach higher. While most high schools prepare sophomore for College courses, ECA places sophomores into college courses through our partnership with UC-Denver’s CU Succeed Program. These foundational year-long courses in College Composition I, College Spanish I, and College Chemistry Foundations provide the bedrock experience for collegiate success.


With the summit in sight, students in grade eleven progress through college courses while rapidly gearing up their college application process. In grade eleven, juniors take College Readiness, a year-long course which provides extensive, individualized preparation for the SAT and ACT, college application process, and identifying potential scholarships. Visits to CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, and Regis University allow juniors to visit specific departments and begin to solidify their academic major interests. Grade eleven is marked and measured not only by its increased academic rigor, but by the development of the virtues of both self-reliance and collaboration. Students also have the ability to work with ECA’s service partners Project Worthmore, Goodwill Summer Bridge, and The Arvada Food Kitchen.

Grade eleven is marked and measured by increased academic rigor, development of self-reliance, and service with ECA’s partners Project WorthmoreGoodwill Summer Bridge, and The Arvada Food Kitchen.


The view from Grade Twelve reveals horizons previously unseen. Empowered, seniors select from a menu of college courses across the disciplines. Our Student Success Team and counseling staff advise students as they hone their college choices and then assist them and their families to secure financial aid to allow them to realize their plans. More leadership opportunities await as seniors collaborate in their classrooms and lead community service programs such as CLIMB and ECA Ambassadors. Engaged, curious, and civically-minded young adults leave our doors prepared to become the leaders of Colorado and the world.