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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.

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