/ Modified apr 4, 2024 3:06 p.m.

Cochise Superintendent of Schools gives update on school communication program

The Navigate360 software will allow schools to share information with law enforcement

Jacqui Clay Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jacqui Clay talks with law enforcement about the Navigate360 program. March 28, 2024.
Summer Hom, AZPM News

Officials at the Cochise County Superintendent of Schools gave a presentation last week to law enforcement about the school communication software that will allow Cochise County schools to share information with law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s Office was awarded a $1.5 million grant to establish a school safety program including a school communications system between local schools and law enforcement. Navigate360 is the program that Cochise County is using.

Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jacqui Clay said this is needed because, "Educators are not just planning strategies or education. They have to plan strategies for safety. Things have changed in this world to the point where people are getting killed in schools."

Outreach Coordinator with the Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Office Cynthia Meyers said that with the Navigate360 program, "The school district can give permission to law enforcement whether it’s, you know, the fire chief or sheriff’s deputies to be able to access different information inside the platform. But in general on the school side, if you’re given access, the only thing you can see when you go in are the interactive floorplans, the pictures of the classrooms, and then, you can also access those binders, and it lets you see the virtual binders that are in there for different emergencies. But it will not let you edit anything or mark anything.”

Sierra Vista Police School Resource Officer for Buena High School Frank Valdez said after the presentation, "I’m really excited that this is actually coming into the school ‘cause this will enhance the ALICE System that we incorporated about five-to-six years ago.”

Meyers said the county signed the contract with Navigate360 in February of last year.

"Now, all of the schools actually have the emergency response system in place, remembering that this is a digital platform," said Meyers. "So, we have that inside all of the schools. We have half of them who’ve actually done the actual training piece for their teachers and administrators. And the other half should be done by the end of April. So, that will cover all of our charter and unified school districts in the county."

Meyers said the cost to implement the Navigate360 platform was around $260,000 for the first year of the grant.

"The actual subscription fee that we'll have to pay to continue the platform is about $82,000 a year for all of the unified and charter school districts," Meyers said. "The expense was having the mapping and the floor plans done for every building in every school in the district."

Another feature includes different types of panic buttons.

"There will be different alarms that, again, that the district can choose," Meyers said. "And some of those alarms are, you know, internal to the school. I mean, maybe there's a medical emergency in the gym or in the cafeteria, and it's not necessarily something we're going to do like an all-out 9-1-1 call out and, you know, lock down students in each individual classroom. But a panic button like that would allow the school to notify the teachers in the school about an emergency inside the gym, or inside the cafeteria, and allow the teachers to plan in how to avoid introducing their students to an incident that they may not want to see."

Meyers said another type of panic button can notify dispatch.

"On the interoperability end, if there is an emergency in the school where, you know, there's an active shooter or there is a child that just, you know, you can't deescalate the child and he's becoming violent inside the classroom, they can press that panic button alarm on their phone or on the laptop inside the classroom, and that goes directly to the 9-1-1 dispatch, just like you were to call 9-1-1," said Meyers.

The grant funds came from the School Safety Fund established under A.R.S. 41-1733. The funds were distributed to the county from the Arizona Department of Administration.

Cochise County Board of Supervisors approved the funds last May.

Cochise Superintendent of Schools Dr. Clay and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels are running for re-election this year.

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