Reflections from Education Innovation Officer, Colt Gill, on His Statewide Engagement

Innovation in Southern Oregon

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Community involvement was the main theme as I heard from over 20 community conversations across Southern Oregon last week. I was able to visit with students, families, educators, and many community partners from the South Coast region, through the Medford-area, and on to Klamath Falls. We heard from citizens of Douglas, Coos, Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, and Lake counties.

The level of community engagement was second-to-none that I have experienced in my statewide tour so far. Community partners included other government agencies, non-profits, philanthropists, involved citizens, and private industry and business leaders. All were focused on improving experiences and outcomes for students and the community as a whole. All these leaders see education as a primary driver for the success of their local community. They focused on the need to invest in quality programs in the schools that not only addressed skill development and relevance to each student’s future…but also developing a school culture that let’s each student know they are appreciated and cared for.

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Two program areas where these distinct Southern Oregon Communities have invested their efforts include:

Trauma-informed practices with restorative practices that help students feel welcome and successful and engaged in school. And,

Strong high school-to-post secondary education. They have developed powerful partnerships with OregonTech, SWOCC, KCC, and RCC that are delivering high quality college credits to high school students in the area. All the K-12 and college partners in this effort want to see further commitment by Oregon’s education leadership to ensure the full transferability of credits earned by students at these institutions.

Many thanks to our Southern Oregon and South Coast education partners. Your dedication to students is clear and the results of your efforts both serve as an example across the state and further the success of your students and communities.

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