I have recently heard, and read in the local papers, comments about the county’s accommodation school, the Payson Education Center, which greatly concern me.
First, let me say that it’s great that Payson High School is doing such a fine job of educating the majority of students from the Payson area. Plus, the Payson Center for Success, which is a charter school operated by the Payson Unified School District, also does a good job of providing an alternative educational format for some students.
However, as the cliché says, one size does not fit all. In spite of the two programs offered by the local school district, a significant number of students choose not to attend either one, for a variety of reasons.
Linda O’Dell, in recognizing that yet another educational model is needed to meet the needs of some of the youth of the community, exercised the option given by the Arizona legislature to all county school superintendents; that is, to establish an educational program to meet students’ needs that are not being met by the public schools in the county.
The Payson Education Center has attracted students who have dropped out of both Payson High School and the Center for Success. It has enabled these at-risk students to complete their high school education while helping them to gain confidence in their ability to do so.
It seems to me that Payson Unified Schools should be receptive to the county superintendent’s efforts to provide an educational opportunity for these challenging youth who have not been successful in the public school programs. Perhaps those who are critical of the county accommodation school do not fully understand the need that is being met by this program.