OHS (Opportunity High School) principal Jason Ping and Dean Spurgeon, Cliff principal, are doing some problem solving, they say. Both want to give the kids more for their studies. The students are working hard to become trained and employable, but budget, distance and other conditions have limited achievement to in-school opportunities for so many. Especially those at Cliff.
With more experience, more community input and time to communicate with those who might hold key bits of information, the two principals think they can do a better job for students in their programs, now. In past years, Cliff kids could take welding, electronics, and other work in the classroom with book support, but getting to pricey machines, to WNMU for the dual credits, or even to OHS to be part of the vocational program there just did not happen often.
An important step forward was to write a grant application to Freeport McMoRan, a major employer of the county’s mine workers near Bayard. Freeport responded with a Community Investment grant, which gives OHS another year’s financing, and Ping has shared with Cliff, said Spurgeon. That would pay for five good welding machines to be installed on site at Cliff, and some for materials and the lab fees required by WNMU in the dual-credit program.
Talks with WNMU are creating that opportunity. It is restructuring the needed class time for Cliff students to come on Fridays (they have a four-day week with Fridays free for other needed activities then) or evening times at the college. Seven students at Cliff want and need that boost to get their dual credits and do more—much more.