Medford School District outlines plans for Measure 98 funding

Medford, Ore. — The Medford School District is receiving $3.5-million dollars over the next 2 school years thanks to Measure 98. The voter-approved measure earmarks funding for Career and Technical Education, College and Career Readiness, and Dropout Prevention. On Monday, the district detailed to NBC5 News where those dollars will go, and what it will mean for students.

“To really expand our pathways, so that we literally have something for every kid,” MSD Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate says.

Medford School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate says Measure 98 funding will accelerate those efforts, by providing funding to update current career and technical education programs, and add new ones. It’s a need North Medford High School Principal, Dan Smith hears about often.

“Industry has been asking for a long time ‘please prepare these kids so they can come work ready, cause we have really good jobs waiting for them,'” Smith says.

The school’s automotive and metals program are among the current programs that will benefit. They’ll be getting new teachers, new technology, and new equipment.

“They’ll start their diagnostics with an ohmmeter and a scanner,” Smith explains, “not a wrench.”

In addition to program enhancements, the district plans to launch programs in: electrical, heating ventilation and air (HVAC), plumbing, and computer science. But that’s only the beginning, starting next year, the district is also going online.

“A kid can be in a normal high school setting for a half a day, they can go to college half a day,” Dr. Shumate explains, “a kid can go to high school half a day, and do online courses the rest of the day and do those at school or at home. So we want to create online options really all the way down to the kindergarten level.”

Shumate says the traditional school model is not, and has not been, one size fits all. By making changes like these, school officials say more students will not only graduate, but be successful in life after high school.

“The traditional high school model hasn’t changed in over 100 years,” Dr. Shumate says, “and we gotta think differently if we’re really going to address the needs of kids in the future.”

“That helps every student find that sweet spot,” NMHS Principal Dan Smith says, “that perfect place for them to really get what they want out of their education to go on into their careers.”

Other plans for funding include additional support for mental health, and the district’s homeless population. The district will also be giving bus passes to every junior and senior, so they can take advantage of college courses with no transportation barriers.

The investments in these areas will be made over the next two school years. The district is set to receive $1.7-million dollars for the current 2017-2018 school year, and $1.8 -million dollars for the year after.

Here is the plan in its entirety:

In the area of Career and Technical Education, The Medford School District plans to add:

  • An Electrical program
  • A Heating Ventilation and Air (HVAC) program
  • A Plumbing program
  • A Computer Science program
  • Upgrades to our Automotive program
  • New equipment and technology
  • New staff to support CTE programs

The Medford School District is planning to make substantial investments in College and Career Readiness. It plans to:

  • Set aside funds to pay tuition for students who want to take classes at SOU or RCC while still in high school.
  • Revamp our guidance counseling services.
  • Pay for student assessments like the ACT, SAT, and PSAT.
  • Hire four Education Navigators to serve the secondary schools.
  • Redesign our College and Career Seminar courses.

And the Medford School District is planning to make substantial investments in the area of Dropout Prevention. In this area, the district will:

  • Create an Online School to open in the fall of 2018 that will give students the opportunity to take a variety of classes remotely or within the traditional school environment. This school will ultimately allow students to create personalized pathways, utilizing a variety of credit acquisition modalities and creative uses of time.
  • Bolster mental health support, including a staff member fully dedicated to providing suicide prevention techniques for staff and students.
  • Increase supports for students and staff in dealing with adverse childhood experiences.
  • Increase supports for families in need.
  • Increase supports for our homeless population.
  • Collaborate with the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) to purchase bus passes for all high school students at a discounted rate.

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