COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A pilot program aimed at improving educational opportunities at the juvenile detention center and in rural school districts has won the support of Cochise County's Board of Supervisors.
At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the board approved an agreement between the Cochise County School Superintendent's office and Odysseyware, which will provide an online learning program for students impacted by staffing shortages and budget constraints.
"There is a great need for a flexible learning solution in our county juvenile detention facility and our small school districts," explained Rose Martinez, Chief Deputy School Superintendent. "As budgets become leaner, thinking beyond the means of traditional classroom instruction is necessary to continue to move our students forward."
Odysseyware, which is based in Chandler, will issue 50 software licenses as part of a one-year pilot agreement costing $1,617.
The web-based instructional tools can be customized to individual students by incorporating a mix of grade-appropriate text, direct-instruction videos, and dynamic learning activities. The program can also translate up to 22 languages, allowing students who do not speak fluent English to continue the learning process.
"Without this program our students will not have the ability to continue coursework because they are in the detention facility," added Martinez. "And our students in the smaller school districts will not have the opportunity to take the courses Odysseyware offers to increase their academic load or enrich their current schedule.
"As a result of this agreement, we will receive 50 licenses to split up between our juvenile detention facility in Sierra Vista, our home school students, and our small schools who will use the suite for a year."
The School Superintendent's department will now host program training for teachers, administrators, school board members, and other interested parties. The training, expected to begin within a month for 20 people, will include how to navigate the system, set up students and coursework, and how to customize the coursework to individual students.
"Throughout the year we will be continually assessing the program to see what elements have worked best for us," explained Martinez. "We'll also be looking at the budget to determine how we can continue with the program in the most cost-effective way, if the pilot proves to be successful."