Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School is a coed, tuition-free charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded in 2007 CCPS serves nearly 800 students chosen through a random admission lottery in grades 6-12. Students come from across Albuquerque and its surrounding communities. The Albuquerque metropolitan area has a population of nearly 920,000 across four counties. Today, Albuquerque remains a cultural crossroads with a unique multicultural history and heritage. Native American, Spanish and Mexican traditions are a part of everyday life making it the epicenter of Southwestern art and culture.
The class of 2022 has 71 students. We have returned to in-person classes and will maintain on a block schedule for the academic year. Students may elect to remain remote for the 2021-22 school year. Following the Paideia principles and pedagogy, Cottonwood offers the pre-university International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program to juniors and seniors. Our guiding principle is for students to become life-long learners who actively engage in the curriculum through project-based learning and Socratic seminars. The Cottonwood experience is infused with critical thinking, thoughtful discourse, and collaboration.
The student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1 in grades 11 & 12, and 22:1 in grades 6-10. Class size is mandated by the school’s charter to remain below the state average. Cottonwood received an A from the New Mexico Public Education Department this year, and we are currently rated as the #1 Best Charter High School in New Mexico by niche.com and the #1 Albuquerque Public High School according to U.S. News and World Report.
Cottonwood Classical is accredited and in good standing with Cognia, formerly AdvancEd, and the New Mexico Public Eduction Department. We are an authorized International Baccalaureate World School.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
We require all juniors and seniors to complete the full IB Diploma Program, including the IB Core consisting of the Extended Essay, CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), and TOK (Theory of Knowledge). All students are expected to test a minimum of one completed course. Of the 72 students in the class of 2021 44 completed 3 or more IB exams. 38 received a passing mark of 4 or above. Twenty-seven students aimed to achieve the full diploma and 25 succeeded. The pass rate for the class of 2021 is 92.6%. The world pass rate is 88.96%. Several seniors in the class of 2022 took IB exams last year. Students have the option to test in up to two courses as juniors. 5 took the Math AA SL exam and all 5 scored 4 or above. 11 took the History SL exam and all 11 scored 4 or above. 31 took the Environmental Systems & Societies SL exam and 18 scored 4 or above.
Our IB Curriculum consists of these courses: (24 total including Core)
Group 1: English A1- English Literature HL
Group 2: Languages B- Spanish SL/HL; French ab initio SL
Group 3: Individuals & Societies- Environmental Systems and Societies SL; Psychology SL/HL; World History SL; History of the Americas HL; Philosophy SL/HL
Group 4: Experimental Sciences- Environmental Systems and Societies SL; Physics SL/HL; Biology SL/HL; Chemistry SL
Group 5: Mathematics- AA SL/HL; AI SL
Group 6: The Arts & Electives- Visual Arts SL/HL; Theater SL/HL
IB Core: Theory of Knowledge; Creativity, Activity, Service; Extended Essay
*SL= Standard Level (up to 150 teaching hours) HL=Higher Level (240 teaching hours)
27 credits are required for graduation, including four in English , four in Mathematics, four in Natural Sciences, three and one-half in Social Sciences (New Mexico, US, and World History, Government & Economics), four in Modern or Classical Languages, one in Physical Education, one-half in Health, four in Electives, and two in the IB Core (Theory of Knowledge/Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)/Extended Essay).
Cottonwood uses a semester schedule. Fall term grades are available mid-January; Spring term grades are available in late June. Grades are A-C, F (no D’s) with a minimum passing grade of 70. Standard courses are weighted on a 4.0 scale. IB standard level classes are weighted an additional .11 and higher level coursed are an additional .22 weight. The maximum grade point average for CCPS is 4.33. The highest GPA at the end of junior year was 4.2; the lowest was 2.04. The average GPA is 3.46.
It is rare for our students to test before March of junior year— only one senior has taken the ACT. Due to the pandemic 15 of 73 graduates took the ACT for the class of 2021. Our average composite ACT score was 29 and the composite middle 50% was 27-32. The class of 2022 is the inaugural class to take the SAT on a school day. 71 of the current seniors took the SAT in April 2021.
SAT Middle 50%
National Honor Society (NHS)
Cottonwood Classical students are nominated for NHS after the first semester of tenth grade; they are selected in accordance with NHS bylaws and corresponding grades, citizenship, and character. Students selected as members of the NHS must maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete at least one monthly service project in order to remain in NHS. 24 seniors are in good standing for NHS.
Cottonwood offers 7 NMAA sanctioned sports- track & field, cross-country, volleyball, basketball, golf, water polo, swimming and e-sports; as well as recreational/charter league soccer. Some students may compete in varsity athletics at their home high school. Popular student activities include Science Olympiad, Choir, Yearbook, Gender & Sexuality Alliance, Student Government, We The People, Model UN, Mock Trial, Speech & Debate, and Social Action Club.
Suspensions and minor disciplinary matters are not listed on the transcript. Cottonwood Classical does report any change in enrollment status.
CCPS is a member of the College Board and the Rocky Mountain and National Associations for College Admission Counseling. CCPS subscribes to the N.A.C.A.C. Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.