The Payson Center for Success is an alternative high school that implements a hands-on approach to education.
PCS focuses on career training and the acquisition of work skills as a means to a broaden education and opportunities for its students.
The hands-on approach to learning remained in place in 2006 -- students took a trip to Sea World to study the marine ecosystem in place there.
Students also had the chance to fly 737 airplanes using a flight simulator that new pilots are trained on.
Principal Kathe Ketchem said that in addition to hands-on teaching, the faculty at PCS focused on changing instructional strategies to increase student achievement.
The research-based strategies, she said, focused specifically on improving reading, math and writing scores for students.
"These goals included revisions to our course syllabi to increase student retention and learning," Ketchem said. "We are seeing an improvement in student learning resulting in the implementation of these strategies."
Ketchem said that on one occasion last year, she had a student approach her to exclaim with excitement her new understanding of angles and geometry.
"Our staff motto is ‘Whatever it Takes' and we're willing to learn and implement to ensure student success," she said.
Other notable occurrences at PCS last year include:
The retention of staff members -- PCS didn't need to hire any new teachers in 2006.
Sixteen students graduated in 2006.
Ketchem said that 54 students were enrolled at PCS.