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Teachers, administrators and parents of students in Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District and Mingus Union High School District can breathe a sigh of relief:The votes of the Nov. 7 election are in, and both districts’ override continuations passed with a clear majority.

3,457 voters in the two precincts comprising COCSD, or 60.86 percent of the vote, cast ballots in favor of the override continuation, while 2,223, or 39.14 percent, cast ballots against.

Following the announcement of a significant increase in enrollment, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education is forging ahead with its new central headquarters. Eight Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Sedona high school students enrolled in VACTE’s inaugural construction program are helping turn a 7,700-square-foot facility at 3405 State Route 89A in Cottonwood, the former site of Flip City Gym, into VACTE’s new headquarters.

At a joint school district governing boards meeting Wednesday, Sept. 13, superintendents and governing board members of the seven Verde Valley school districts round-table interviewed eight candidates for state superintendent of public instruction.

Sedona Red Rock High School hosted the event in its cafeteria, with Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter facilitating.

In the most contested race of the upcoming elections in November 2018, eight candidates are vying to replace Republican Diane Douglas, who has yet to announce whether she will run for reelection, as state superintendent of public instruction.

According to Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas [R], the state loses about
40 percent of new teachers during their first two years of instruction.

As part of her “We Are Listening” town hall tour, Douglas spoke with school administrators, district governing board members and Verde Valley community members at West Sedona School Monday, Sept. 11. She took questions for two hours, addressing concerns about school funding, teacher pay, instruction and legislative activities impacting education.

Douglas tackled the issue of teacher pay numerous times. She said low salaries are impacting the state’s ability to attract and keep talented teachers, ultimately resulting in negative student outcomes on a variety of fronts.

Despite having no intergovernmental agreements with two of its three member school districts, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education has increased its enrollment in satellite and central campus programs over last year.

VACTE superintendent Bob Weir presented data on enrollment during the VACTE Governing Board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5.

More than 100 people gathered Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, at Beaver Creek School in Rimrock to discuss strengthening education in the Verde Valley.

People from all walks of life attended: Current and former educators, as well as business, political and community leaders from throughout the area. The Verde Valley Forum for Public Affairs hosted the event, along with Arizona Town Hall moderating.

Monday, Aug. 21 marked the beginning of the fall semester at the renovated Yavapai College Sedona Center — the first semester to feature Culinary Arts Fundamentals certificate classes in two state-of-the-art teaching kitchens.

The history behind the renovation, which includes the aforementioned kitchens, expanded classrooms designed for flexibility of use, an enclosed atrium and a new orientation for entry, is one of community involvement and advocacy, said Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus executive dean James Perey.

As Beaver Creek School shows, four days of school each week doesn’t have to mean only four days of instruction.

Beaver Creek School District is one of two districts in the Verde Valley to run on a four-day schedule. From Monday through Thursday, K-8 students at Beaver Creek School learn the fundamentals according to district, state and federal guidelines. On Fridays, though, they are allowed to let loose a little.

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