The Payson and Globe Education Centers were started three years ago by Linda O’Dell, the Gila County school superintendent, in response to the excessive high school drop out rate in Gila County. The centers are in the Gila County Regional School District, an accommodation school entity, which is funded by state-aid from the Arizona Department of Education and federal and state grants.
They are alternative education schools designed for kids who do not adapt to the general student population and drop out from school. The schools represent a last resort to get a high school diploma or (GED) for students who leave school on their own accord, or are expelled from the local high school, such as PUSD.
Some are on probation from local police authorities. To be successful, they require small classroom size, personal attention and special education teaching techniques and curriculum that are generally not available elsewhere.
With more than 100 students enrolled in Globe and Payson, these schools have been successful with over 50 students receiving their high school diplomas or GEDs, who would not have otherwise, during the past three years under Linda O’Dell’s guidance. The self assurance and accomplishment achieved by these students could not have been obtained in a regular high school setting.
Kudos to Linda O’Dell, and be sure to vote for her in the election on Nov. 4.