Education Service District focuses on student success

Anita Savio
IVN contributing writer

Last week we reported on two of the Southern Oregon Education Service District’s programs. This week we report on two others: Career Technical Education and Southern Oregon Success.
Career Technical Education operates under the umbrella of Career Connected Learning, and offers programs in three areas of study at the high school level: agricultural sciences & technology, architecture & construction technology (pre-apprenticeships) and automotive service technology.
According to Director of School Improvement Services Mark Angle-Hobson, students can choose an area of study that helps them move from courses in high school directly to a job or that feed into a certificate program or community college degree program. He noted that of the 304 students attending Illinois Valley High School, in the 22-23 school year, 229 of them participated in CTE. He further notes that 100% of IVHS students that completed two or more CTE credits (4 courses in one of the CTE areas of study) graduated on-time.
“Angle-Hobson said, “There may be a generation of people who think CTE is a less-desirable high school experience. But, CTE is for everyone! Whether a student’s goal is military, immediate entry into the workforce, community college, or university, we have seen that students who participate in CTE courses have better attendance and higher graduation rates. Students gain valuable experiences not only with content, but also with employability skills that will serve them well no matter their post-secondary path.”
Southern Oregon Success is a collaborative partnership among all levels of education, health care, human services, public safety and workforce development. It came together about 10 years ago with the goal of helping kids and families succeed. A core service of SORS is an ACES training curriculum offered to educators, families and community members. ACES stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and the training focuses on understanding childhood trauma and how to mitigate the negative results through increased resilience.
According to SORS Program Manager Peter Buckley, “ACES training is how we create a common vocabulary among our partnering entities.” In the Illinois Valle,y SORS works with Allcare Health, the Siskiyou Community Health Center, Head Start, the Early Learning Hub, Childcare Resource Network and other service providers.
Jessica Durrant, a Three Rivers School District employee, volunteers as an ACES trainer in the area served by Three Rivers School District.
“We train groups of people – sometimes teachers, sometimes families; sometimes it’s open to the community. I am passionate about helping all students at Three Rivers School District and supporting their families,” said Durrant.

Since 2016 the Southern Oregon ACEs team has presented over 600 training sessions with over 19,000 participants in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Another part of SORS is to help children be ready for kindergarten. If children are healthy and ready for kindergarten, they have a higher rate of success through the later grades, including right through high school. In 2020 SORS set a goal of prioritizing efforts to help every child be able to enter kindergarten ready to thrive. SORS surveys kindergarten teachers each year to find out how many of the children in their classroom they believe are socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. Here are the numbers for Josephine County: in 2021-22: 43%; in 2022-23: 51%; and in 2023-24: 64%.
Most challenging in the Illinois Valley is the need for additional resources. Durrant explained it’s important that families have resources in their community. But that’s not possible in the Illinois Valley. Some resources are in Grants Pass. And transportation is a barrier for some families. Sometimes SORS provides transportation, and sometimes they are able to bring services to the Illinois Valley. A lack of childcare and preschool resources is another problem. Unfortunately, the Illinois Valley has very few, if any, childcare opportunities. SORS is working hard with its partners to bring those services to the Illinois Valley.
“We find that families want the best for their children and our job is to connect them with those resources they need.”