The Colusa County Office of Education showcased its programs last week at an event designed to inform the public how they serve, inspire, and promote student and school success.

From business services to foster care support, the Colusa County Office of Education operates a variety of programs for children, youth, and families; supports the school districts; and provides educational services for preschool children, those with special needs, and adults, officials said.

Those programs, and the people who run them, were in the spotlight at the first CCOE Showcase, which was held at the Education Village in Williams last Thursday.

“We put the idea together for a showcase to show what the county Office of Education is really all about,” said Superintendent Mike West. “A lot of times, people really don’t know what it is we do. We basically take care of kids from age zero to kindergarten to post high school to adulthood.”

Each department had a booth at the showcase and CCOE staff provided information about things like enrolling your child in Head Start, job opportunities at the Office of Education, how to get a high school diploma at any age, taking adult career technical education classes to become a medical receptionist or bookkeeper, and so much more.

“We do a lot of everything,” West said. “Sometimes it’s visible; sometimes it isn’t. We have a lot of great people who work here. They are all dedicated to providing the best services in education available.”

Alex Evans, technology director, said he was excited to be at the first CCOE showcase to show off the potential new developments that could soon be coming this way for Colusa County students.

Evans said CCOE is working to overcome obstacles for students who have poor, high cost, or no internet access at home, largely because California schools have moved to a digital curriculum, which requires fair access to all students under the Williams Settlement Act.

Student use of internet outside of school has been a challenge in rural areas, he said, where there are still areas without affordable service.

“The project we are currently trying to get into motion is probably the coolest project since I’ve been here, and in the 18 years I have been doing anything with technology,” Evans said. “We are going to possibly have a way to provide students home Wi-Fy for free.”

Evans said CCOE is working with all the school district to provide “hot spots” to students without internet access, so they can take home their Chromebooks and be connected to CCOE’s internet to do any classroom assignment they have to do.

The project calls for the construction of several 25-foot towers on top of district and county-owned assets, so that students will have safe, filtered internet access off site.

“We are trying to provide internet access to all students who have digital curriculum in play,” he said.

Currently, CCOE has an idea of the cost associated with moving forward with the project, and is working with all the school district superintendents and their technology support staff to get it accomplished.

The Colusa County Office of Education Showcase is intended to be an annual event, officials said.

The event was catered by CCOE’s own food service staff, which provides Colusa County’s mostly Head Start students with more than 8,000 meals per year from two kitchens located in Williams and Colusa. ■