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Jacqui Clay is changing the game on education

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    Education may not be perceived as a business, but with statewide funding an issue, Cochise County Schools Superintendent Jacqui Clay is attacking academics with a new approach toward pushing southeast schools into the 21st century. How is she doing that? By approaching education in economical terms, boosting the local gross domestic product. Clay is visiting schools, businesses and people in the community in order to share her vision of what Cochise County could be:  a system that is economically independent for all students and that instills economic success for the county. “I am going on listening tours and I sit and listen to find out what I can do for you,” Clay said. “I am really here to get on the floor with the kids, to find out how you’re feeling, to talk to the principal, what’s going on, what...

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Two Douglas district school teachers win at teacher of the year awards

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It isn’t often that a career change destines you for greatness, but such was the case for Gemma German as she redirected life from nursing to Cochise County teacher of the year during a ceremony held at Thunder Mountain Activity Center on Fort Huachuca Army Base. The ceremony recognized teachers from all over Cochise County. The three categories recognized were elementary, middle school and high school, with an overall winner selected from the three category winners. German was the second winner from the Douglas Unified School District on the evening. After changing her career path from the medical profession, German has found a home.  She spent the last five years at Paul Huber Middle School in the same classroom, relating to the students and feels that is one of the only way to be effective when teaching. “I feel...

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Career and technical schools thrive despite cutbacks

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The stigma that comes with schools formerly known as vocational and that they are known for being a last resort for kids couldn’t be further from the truth because of schools like Andrada Polytechnic High School in Vail, Arizona, and teachers like Lisa Blanchard. Andrada Polytechnic High School isn’t a standard public high school. The school is a career and technical educational high school, the first step in shedding the vocational moniker. It is an institution that focuses on preparing kids for the future in a concentrated environment. It is a place for any kid that knows what professional area they’d like to focus on after high school. Over 98,000 kids were enrolled in CTE schools last year in Arizona in programs that offer nursing, law and public safety, mental and social health, network technology and pharmacy support services. Some 2600 of those reside within Cochise...

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Lack of pay for Arizona teachers problematic

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  A decrease in teachers and shortage of money will have an impact in Cochise County as retention rates continue to plummet in Arizona. The state hosts a myriad of poor working conditions for teachers, ranking in the bottom five in the following categories nationwide, according to a statistical analysis by Wallethub: Lowest annual salary, fewest teachers per student and lowest public school spending — all with an overall ranking of 48th, ahead of only West Virginia and Hawai’i. About a half-million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year — attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually — according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. The high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure all students have access to skilled teaching, the Alliance report says. The cost to...

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