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Nominations Open for Oregon’s Teacher of the Year

By News, School Improvement Services, School-Wide Improvement

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is pleased to announce that the Oregon Teacher of the Year program is again honoring exemplary educators in every region of the state!

  • Nominations are open statewide through January 31, 2020.
  • Teachers will submit their applications by March 27, 2020.
  • Oregon Education Service Districts will select a winner from their region.
  • Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored across the state in May 2020!
  • One of the Regional Teachers of the Year will be named the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year in September 2020!

Regional Teachers of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500 and will be celebrated across the state.  The 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school!) and serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers.

Anyone can nominate a teacher! Please nominate your favorite teacher today at This teacher just may be selected as the Regional Teacher of the Year and be in the running for the honor of 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year!

Feature-length documentary film viewing: No Small Matter

By News, Uncategorized

Community members and partners are invited to attend feature-length documentary film viewing,  No Small Matter on October 30th, 2019.

No Small Matter is a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that brings public attention to this vital question by sharing powerful stories and stunning truths about the human capacity for early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future. This multifaceted project reveals how our country is raising its youngest citizens, why making the most of this time in their lives is so crucial, and most importantly, what we can do to change the perception of when learning begins.  The first major theatrical documentary to tackle this topic, No Small Matter is designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education. The ultimate goal: to produce an entertaining, accessible, and inspiring film that redefines the audience’s understanding of the issue and helps drive it to the top of the political agenda. Or, as one advocate put it, “not just to make a documentary about early childhood education, but to make the documentary about early childhood education.

Seating is limited.

RSVP to Attend

September 2019: Update regarding Jackson County PDHH Resource Classrooms

By Deaf and Hard of Hearing, News, Special Education

In May, 2019 Medford School District announced plans to have their students currently attending the SOESD PDHH classrooms hosted in Central Point School District (CPSD) instead be served by the SOESD PDHH program in resource classrooms located in Medford schools during the 2020-21 school year.

Medford School District (MSD) has now informed SOESD that MSD no longer intends to move forward with these plans, but has determined that students should remain in the SOESD PDHH program located in CPSD.

This means that the current  SOESD PDHH classrooms hosted by CPSD will continue to serve MSD students  as well as other  students in the Rogue Valley whose IEP teams determine this model of service best meets the students’ needs.

MSD parents have received a letter directly from MSD Special Education Director Tania Tong on this matter, indicating the decision was based on several factors, with the most important one being that MSD wants students to remain  with a community in which they are experiencing success and belonging.

SOESD Special Education Director Susan Peck has followed up with a letter to all parents/guardians of students in SOESD’s PDHH classrooms located in CPSD to provide an update on MSD’s decision.

SOESD looks forward to continuing to serve students who are deaf or hard of hearing in our PDHH resource classrooms.


Summer Institute – Teacher Trainings

By News, Special Education

Join us for summer special education trainings!

SOESD is proud to announce its 4th annual Summer Institute for Special Educators during the weeks of August 12th and 19th.  Our seminars will prepare participants for a  successful, positive start to the ’19-’20 school year by teaching essential skills about setting up the right physical structure, visual strategies and functional communication systems in learning environments.  ASHA and BACB credits are available for select classes.  Parents, Speech and Language Pathologists, Specialists, Mental Health and Social Service providers are welcome to join and learn from our internationally recognized PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and TCCS (Teaching Critical Communication Skills) guest presenter, Anne Overcash, from North Carolina.

View Schedule

Southern Oregon Equity Summit 2019

By News, School Improvement Services

Kick off the 2019-20 school year by joining us for the Southern Oregon Equity Summit 2019. The event includes high-profile speakers and breakout sessions that provide strategies for understanding equity through a trauma-informed practices approach.


Monday August 19th & Tuesday August 20th, 8:30 am – 03:30 pm


Inn at the Commons
200 N Riverside Ave,
Medford, OR 97501
(866) 779-5811

Register Here


For SOESD component districts. For attendees outside the SOESD, price is $129 for one day and $199 for both.

Contact Information

Nancy Hayes at 541-776-8564




Carmen X Urbina is a proven leader who brings the diverse, lived-experience and unique skills we need in Oregon today. She has developed her exceptional talents serving in early learning settings, K-12 school districts and ESDs, higher education, and leading culturally specific and highly respected community-based organizations in Oregon. Carmen’s efforts are always grounded in equity, focused on the needs of all our students and families, and designed to bring community and education organizations together in both safe and effective ways.

Dr. Donna Beegle: Born into a migrant labor family and married at 15, earned her GED at age 26, within 10 years she then received her doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is an authentic voice from poverty that speaks, writes and trains across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty for others through Communication Across Barriers (CAB). For more than 25 years, she has traveled throughout hundreds of cities in 47 states and four countries to assist professionals with proven strategies for breaking poverty barriers. State agencies, politicians and other organizations have partnered with her to implement community-wide approaches to improving outcomes for citizens in poverty.

Ricky Robertson

Ricky Robertson has had the privilege to work with students from pre-K to 12th grade who have persevered in the face of adversity and trauma.  Ricky is the co-author of the book, “Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole-Staff Approach.”  As a consultant and coach, Ricky assists schools in developing trauma-informed systems of support and Restorative Practices that foster resilience and success for staff and students.


Eric Butler is a Restorative Justice Educator and Activist. A Hurricane Katrina survivor, he relocated to Oakland, California where he rebuilt a new life, successfully facilitating Grief Circles in response to homicide and extreme violence in area schools as part of Catholic Charities’ crisis response program. He also worked as a lead mediator with Youth Uprising, where he mediated conflicts on the ground in Oakland neighborhoods and schools.

While in Oakland, Eric gained prominence for his impactful Restorative Justice work with youth in West Oakland as the School Coordinator at Bunche High School with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). Today, Eric travels from New Orleans to Texas, to New York, to California and all around the country with a personal mission to spread Restorative Justice around the globe.


Leah Hinkle has been an education consultant to ten school districts with the Teaching and Learning Department at Clackamas Education Service District for the last four years. Her specialty is English learner instruction and services funded through Title III. She formerly worked in the Greater Albany School District for ten years, first as a bilingual educational assistant, then an ELD teacher at the middle and high school levels, and lastly as the district’s Teacher on Special Assignment to English Learner Programs.

Raphaelle (Raphi) Miller, Director of Education & School Services joined the staff of Resolve in 2013, having previously served as a volunteer and intern since 2011. In her work as a restorative justice practitioner, trainer, coach and consultant, Raphi supports schools in system-wide implementation of restorative justice practices. Raphi works collaboratively to advance restorative justice in education through participation in regional collective impact initiatives and as a planning committee member for the Northwest Justice Forum. Raphi is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She graduated magna cum laude from Southern Oregon University with her B.A. in Human Communication, certificates in Conflict Resolution and the Management of Human Resources, and a minor in Business Administration.

Cara Walsh, As the Director of Restorative Justice, Cara has been working to support the development, implementation, and delivery of restorative justice services since 2010. In addition to providing training, consultation, and coaching on a local level, Cara works for the advancement of restorative justice throughout the region via her leadership with the Restorative Justice Coalition of Oregon, the Northwest Justice Forum and the Transforming Justice Advisory Committee. Her professional and educational experience is grounded in her passion for creating and facilitating integrative opportunities and experiences for community engagement, empowerment and transformation. Cara earned her M.A. from Prescott College.

Dr. Julie McCann has been an educator for 40 years currently working as a professor in the Concordia College Doctoral Program and as a Senior Associate for the Oregon Center for Educational Equity (OCEE). She was the 2000 Oregon Principal of the Year and as a leader focused on underserved children and families and systemic reform. She has consulted throughout the state on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and school change.  She has presented at both state and national conferences around her dissertation topic: White Leaders Examine Power and Privilege: The Challenges of Leading for Equity.

has been an educator for 20 years.  He is currently a middle school social studies teacher in Eugene, Oregon, focusing on teaching history through a non-dominant lens.  He guides his students to critically examine, discuss and explore, through historical analysis and current events, an array of social justice issues and actions.  Jesse embraces opportunities to engage in challenging conversations around equity, diversity and inclusion with his colleagues, his students, and his own multi-racial children. He also provides professional development as a Facilitator for the Oregon Center for Educational Equity (OCEE).

K’Ehleyr is a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation whose traditional homelands are located in the now Greater Monterey Bay Area of California. She is the Youth Development Specialist for the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, primarily supporting families with youth ages 0-15. Her work includes providing resources to families with early learners, IEP and 504 support for students and families, tutoring at the Expanding Horizons Youth Center, Tribal education benefit program management and, of course, duties as assigned.

K’Ehleyr grew up in a small town in rural Northern Arizona and is working to reconnect with her Tribal heritage, traditional knowledge, and language. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Paleobiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she became an active member of the campus American Indian Student Association. Finding a family with these Native peers cemented her desire to pursue working in Indian Country, where she hopes to stay for the duration of her career.

Renae Guenther is a member of the Cow Creek South Umpqua Tribe of Indians and has been on the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP) since its beginning in 2016. TAPP is a collaborative project of all nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon with the Oregon Department of Education to address chronic absenteeism of American Indian/Alaska Native students in selected schools. Now three years into the project, TAPP is showing gains in AI/AN attendance rates.

Being a Tribally enrolled student herself, Renae battled with chronic absenteeism and a lack of positive and accurate representations of the Native American culture and peoples. Through making connections with her peers and her tribe, Renae is now a graduate student attending Southern Oregon University. Renae focuses her efforts on encouraging the youth of American Indian/Alaska Native descent to finish primary school and progress to higher education for the success of themselves and their tribal communities.

Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Member Rhonda Richardson has worked for the Tribe for 28 years. She has been dedicated in her previous position as the Human Services Director and is now continuing on her path as the Cultural Development Coordinator. It has been a long time passion for Rhonda to continue her career in the Cultural field. She is working alongside the Natural Resources Team. Rhonda has been involved in various committees and projects throughout the years that has touched the life situations from ages 0-99, from birth to death and helped people navigate through life. The revitalization of the Takelma Language has become the main focus of developing the culture for our Tribal community.

Lynda Coates is a Gold Star Speaker with Communication Across Barriers (CAB), a national consulting firm that provides training and keynotes that empower professionals who assist people with moving out of poverty. Lynda has a Master’s Degree in Com­munication from Portland State University and has been speaking and training for over a decade across the country. She is an authentic voice, born into generational poverty, who grew up homeless with her parents and five siblings.

May 2019: Update and FAQs regarding Jackson County PDHH Resource Classrooms

By Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Homepage, News

SOESD provides services for students through the Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (PDHH) using both an itinerant model where teachers travel to students’ schools and a resource classroom model with three classrooms currently located in elementary, middle, and high schools at Central Point School District (CPSD). This update provides information about the resource classroom model in Jackson County.

Families who live in Medford School District (MSD) received a letter dated February 25, 2019 from MSD Special Education Director Tania Tong, indicating MSD was planning for MSD students to be served next year by the SOESD PDHH program in resource classrooms located in MSD instead of in Central Point School District (CPSD). We understand that MSD has now determined it will not open classrooms in MSD for students to receive PDHH services during the 2019-20 school year. This means that students would continue to attend SOESD PDHH resource classrooms located within CPSD next school year.

At this time, MSD has indicated their intention is to extend their timeline for students to begin being served by SOESD’s PDHH resource program in MSD starting with the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, we understand that MSD has updated their guidance so that MSD students currently being served in CPSD may remain in CPSD through high school graduation, regardless of students’ current grade level and whether students are transitioning between elementary, middle, or high school.

SOESD values input and feedback regarding proposed changes. We recognize that districts we serve may choose to host resource classrooms where SOESD would serve PDHH students, and understand that changes to locations of PDHH resource classrooms impact students and families.

Please know that SOESD will serve students that are eligible for SOESD’s PDHH services regardless of where students live or attend school.

FAQs re: SOESD’s Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (PDHH}

Why was a change being planned for PDHH classroom locations?
Approximately half of the PDHH students in the three classrooms hosted by Central Point School District (CPSD) where SOESD serves Jackson County students are Medford School District (MSD) residents. MSD would like to serve their resident students in MSD schools.

Where will students attend PDHH resource classroom during the 2019-20 school year?

In 2019-20, PDHH resource classrooms will be located in CPSD. MSD has indicated their timeline is for students to begin being served by SOESD’s PDHH resource program in MSD classrooms starting with the 2020-21 school year.

Where will students attend PDHH resource classrooms during the 2020-21 school year?
In 2020-21, it has not yet been determined if PDHH resource classrooms will operate in CPSD, MSD, or both districts. We understand that MSD has updated their placement guidance so that MSD students currently being served in CPSD may remain in CPSD through high school graduation, regardless of students’ current grade level and whether students are transitioning between elementary, middle, or high school.

Where would MSD classrooms be located in the 2020-21 school year?
We understand that MSD’s current plan is to host classrooms at Howard Elementary, Mcloughlin Middle, and South Medford High schools.

Who will be the SOESD staff assigned to MSD classrooms in the 2020-21 school year?
Staff assignments would be determined once student placements are determined.

How would SOESD serve my child as a result of any changes in classroom locations?
SOESD will serve students that are eligible for SOESD’s PDHH services regardless of where students live or attend school.

How do school districts and SOESD partner to fund services for PDHH students?

SOESD’s PDDH teachers are funded through the ODE Regional Programs contract facilitated by SOESD. SOESD interpreters are funded by the school districts where students live. The district hosting PDHH classrooms receives funds from districts that have students attending their classrooms in order to support those students’ general education.

Who can I contact if I have questions about SOESD’s DHH Program?

Please direct all questions about SOESD’s DHH program to SOESD Special Education Director Susan Peck at 541-776-8555.

Who can I contact regarding Medford’s plans to open classrooms in 2020-21?

Please contact Medford School District Special Education Director Tania Tong at 541-842-3628.

Who can I contact regarding the location of my student’s PDHH resource classroom?
Please contact the special education director in the district where you live.

What are the next steps?
SOESD will continue to partner with school districts to create continuity of services for PDHH students.


By Homepage, News

On behalf of the Oregon Department of Education, Southern Oregon Education Service District (SOESD) is proud to announce the selection of Ms. Tia McLean, kindergarten teacher at Helman Elementary School in the Ashland School District, as a 2019 Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year.  Ms. McLean will be honored at a Helman School assembly on March 21, 2019 at 9:30 AM, where she will be awarded a check for $500.00.

SOESD convened a Blue Ribbon Panel made up of diverse and unbiased panel members who equitably represented the geographic region of Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties. The panel, who reviewed six applications from a larger set of nominations, looked for a teacher who exemplified the following attributes:

  • Is an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher in any state-approved or accredited school, pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, who is planning to continue in an active teaching status
  • Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence
  • Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success
  • Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large
  • Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning
  • Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way

The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program started in 1955, and is managed by the Oregon Department of Education.  Anyone can nominate a candidate for the recognition, but teachers may not nominate themselves. Once selected, the Oregon Teacher of the Year is also a candidate to apply for the National Teacher of the Year recognition.  The selected teacher serves as the face and voice of exemplary educators across the state of Oregon, and engages and inspires other teachers and community leaders as a representative of the profession.

The Oregon Department of Education chose in 2017-18 to expand the selection process for the  nominees. The goal of the expansion is to honor teachers in every region of the state. Education Service Districts across Oregon reviewed applications submitted from their geographic region and facilitated a Blue Ribbon Panel using a review process to identify winners in their regions.  Thirteen winners will go on to be considered for Oregon Teacher of the Year, which will be decided in September.

SOESD is proud of the amazing teachers in our three county region, exemplified by Ms. McLean, who are focused on quality teaching, learning, and student achievement.

SOESD Migrant Program Participant Mrs. Raquel Garay Receives National Migrant Parent of the Year Award!

By Homepage, Migrant Ed/ELL/Indian Ed, News

Raquel Garay has been named the 2019 National Migrant Parent of the year after being named the Oregon Migrant Parent of the year in 2018. Raquel will be receiving recognition for the national award at the National Migrant Education Conference. The Oregon and national awards recognize Raquel for her excellent leadership skills and passion to help better her community.

Raquel has been part of the Southern Oregon Education Service District (SOESD) Migrant Education Program for over a decade. She currently holds the position of Vice President of the Migrant Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) at Eagle Point School District where her child attends, and is the regional representative for Southern Oregon on the Migrant State Parent Advisory Committee (SPAC), where she also serves as Vice -President. Raquel has also been a member of the Eagle Point School District’s Budget Committee, Bond Committee, and Soccer Club, as well as the Southern Oregon University Latino Programs Planning Committee.

Additionally over the last three years, through the Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF) Healthy Beginnings + Healthy Communities grant written and facilitated by the SOESD Migrant Education program, migrant parents have been able to attend various leadership development conferences, as well as the NWHF Gatherings hosted by different communities. Raquel has attended every one of these meetings for three years and clearly represented the voice of migrant parents.

The Rogue Valley is home to many amazing individuals who change and make our community a better place to be. We are lucky to have people like Raquel Garay advocating for the future of her own children and the children in our community that are part of the SOESD Migrant Education Program. Raquel is no stranger to positively using her voice to improve outcomes for students and families through helping others better understand community needs.

Press Contact: Charlie Bauer, Migrant Education Coordinator Southern Oregon Education Service District (541) 776-8590 |

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