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Special Education


By Special Education

This Autism Awareness month, the SOESD Autism Department has moved beyond “awareness and acceptance” and toward “affirmation, inclusion, empowerment, and accommodation”. We are actively learning from Autistic individuals and aligning our practices with what they’ve taught us.

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STEPS Celebrates 50 Years

By News, Special Education

SOESD is proud to celebrate 50 years of supporting students in the STEPS Program!

The SOESD STEPS Program began in the 1971-72 school year. With the passage of Public Law 94-142 in November 1975, Congress paved the way for students with disabilities to be afforded the rights and opportunities all students receive in the school setting. The law was reauthorized in 1990 and is now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.

In the late 1970s, SOESD developed the Specialized Training in Educational Program Services program, aka STEPS, with several classrooms housed within local schools. By the late 1990s nearly 250 students across 24 classrooms in Jackson and Klamath Counties offered instruction, nursing support, and a range of therapies specific to each student’s needs. In 2010, the STEPS Plus classroom offered another STEPS classroom with a focus on behavior and sensory supports. In 2012, STEPS classrooms were differentiated to support students whose primary needs were medical or behavioral. Today, for students in grades K – age 21, STEPS CARE provides instruction to students with intellectual and medical needs while STEPS Plus/Transition supports behavior and sensory needs. SOESD is proud to partner with our families and component school districts through the IEP process where the IEP teams request STEPS CARE or STEPS Plus/Transition as their students’ educational placement.

50th Anniversary celebration activities have included field days in our four classrooms in May complete with adaptive bowling, a car wash machine, and more! A staff celebration in August provided the opportunity for current and former staff members to reconnect, share memories, and learn about the STEPS program today.

We are proud to share about STEPS and hope you’ll enjoy this short video.

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.

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