Pima County Community College
The Pascua Yaqui Connection
The Pascua Yaqui Community Resource Laboratory is a high-speed access, 20 work station, computer facility. It was established through a $500,000 Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grant to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. The Pascua Yaqui Connection Project is a joint effort between the Tribe, Pima Community College, and the University of Arizona. The facility was designed to be connected to the community college and the university via a T-1 line and to provide distance education and online science courses to the reservation. The laboratory is located on the reservation and housed in a portable building adjacent to the charter high school and the preschool program.
The project evaluation was conducted by Dr. J. David Betts, an independent evaluator. The methodology employed for the evaluation of the Pascua Yaqui Connection consists of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Likert-scaled questionnaires were administered during registration, one month, and six months later respectively. During the last year of the project videotaped observations were conducted of visits to the laboratories and meetings with stakeholders. Surveys were administered to a sample of users. A 30-item User Registration Survey was administered to capture demographic and attitudinal data. During the last year of the project, a streamlined 18-item posttest was administered.
The evaluation report contains an overview of the program, a description of the community resource laboratory that was funded, a description of the evaluation methodology, and findings. The data collection instruments and data analyses are presented in appendices. The report "...is based on the activities related to the lab, the context that was created and the lab's role in the community." The evaluation that was conducted deviates from the one proposed because it proved to be impossible to measure cognitive changes in laboratory users as proposed. For instance, it was impossible to measure educational performance. High-school grades and retention cannot be tracked because such data cannot be shared between the tribe and the local school district.
According to the report, many of the project goals and desired outcomes were realized. The school age children reported that the laboratory was very useful. Most of them do not have computers at home. In fact, it is reported that a laboratory supervisor said that when she started, "They didn't have phones, so I had to go home to check on the kidsľa T-1 line, but no phone."
Teachers reported that the laboratory is a valuable resource helping them keep students focused on school. About one quarter of the residents of New Pascua Pueblo registered and used the laboratory. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed opted for the facility being open all the timeľ24/7.
The report states that the laboratory became integrated into the community in several ways:
- It is used for learning experiences, personal growth activities, and professional development for the Pascua Yaqui Education Department;
- Tribal police and the casino operation use the facility for staff training;
- It is used to hold computer and Internet classes for special needs learners; and
- preschoolers come in groups of ten to explore the computers.
Most important, the tribe has shown that it is willing to take over the operation of the Pascua Yaqui Community Resource Laboratory and continue to integrate it into its many education programs. The report provides a picture of the future for the project and some plans for sustainability. According to the report,
"The lab seems to be poised to carry forward the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona Education Department's stated objective of integrating technology into the life-long learning experiences of tribal members. In June 2002, it was announced that the tribe would be moving the lab into new, larger quarters and that the connectivity would be maintained on the Tribal telecommunications backbone."
Disclaimer: The views, findings, opinions, and recommendations expressed in this report are solely those of the project evaluator(s), and do not represent the official views, opinions, or policies of the U. S. Department of Commerce or any of its individual agency components.