Clarkdale-Jerome wins statewide award

Resource officer program recognized for excellence

Clarkdale-Jerome School District's Resource Officer program has been recognized as a "Model Site" in the state. The school's program is one of only four statewide to be recognized.

The school's resource officer, Cottonwood Police Officer Robert Church, and Jeff Scroggins, junior high science teacher, received a plaque for their law-related education program.

The school's resource officer is provided by funds granted through the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education. Each year those organizations grade programs run by the resource officers they help provide to schools.

Clarkdale-Jerome was recognized as a "model" for the school's use of forensic science in conjunction with its science curriculum. The goal of the program is to teach law-related education in the junior high science and technology classes.

"I have to teach law-related education," Church said. "I go into classrooms and find unique ways to teach the law."

Now in its third year, the forensic science class covers both seventh and eighth grades in alternating quarters over a two-year program.

The program was developed by Church and Scroggins based on a similar one in New York. In the beginning, two detectives from New York came to Clarkdale to hold a two-day seminar to teach Church how to set up and operate his own program. He then involved Scroggins in developing the local program.

Included in the program is a mock crime scene in which seventh-grade students must figure out what occurred. "They investigate it as a CSI crime scene," Church said. "That meets the state standards in science." He said the students must make observations and draw a conclusion.

Eighth-graders then process the evidence in a crime laboratory setting, using scientific methods they learn in science class.

Scroggins said the program fits nicely with his science curriculum. "The standards for science call for students doing investigations," he said. "It is a natural progression of a way to get kids interested in science."

The current high level of interest in criminal investigation television shows has help increase student interest in science, according to both Church and Scroggins.

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