The Northwest Ohio Computer Association, better known by its initials – NWOCA – was formed in 1979 as a subsidiary of the Northern Buckeye Education Council, a non-profit council of governments.
In 1979, NWOCA was primarily intended to provide computer and technology support services for school districts in northwest Ohio.
Generally, that meant all types of accounting, enrollment data and fiscal services as well as the reports that the state required.
In time, more services were added such as payroll, student data and state testing results. The council’s goal was to hire competent computer and technology staff who would work with school treasurers and other administrators so each district wouldn’t need to hire their own technology staff.
Originally, NWOCA was based at Four County Career Center. But computers and technology started to be used for more than school administrative functions.
Use expanded into curriculum, library services and student learning, and NWOCA outgrew its space at the vocational school.
Now located on Nolan Parkway on the south side of Archbold, NWOCA has 41-member school districts in Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Williams, Lucas, and Wood counties.
However, it serves more than 170 schools and governmental entities throughout Ohio. The non-member entities contract for specific technology-related services that NWOCA’s staff either can provide or is already providing for its member schools.
According to Dr. Hug, most of the non-member clients are school districts; however, many are divisions of city or county government.
As a non-profit organization, he said NWOCA usually can provide the service at less cost than a for-profit consultant would charge.
Student learning and various types of staff training are an important component of the NWOCA package. NWOCA staff can provide teacher training on ways to enhance classroom learning through technology.
NWOCA even has an on-line school called the Northwest Ohio Virtual Academy that works in close cooperation with the student’s home district.
As a result, students can complete on-line classes, participate in athletics, band, choir, and other extra-curricular activities at their local public school, and finally graduate from their local school.
To achieve all of this, NWOCA has continually upgraded its fiber optic system. This past summer, it upgraded from 10 GB to 100 GB.
“In today’s world, schools need broadband Internet to operate,” Dr. Hug explained. “If the power is off, the schools are closed.
“We are selling services, not staff to schools and our other clients,” he explained. “We continually look for ways that we can better serve students in the most cost effective way.”
Source: The Village Reporter