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OSU Open Campus brings growth opportunities

Connecting educational dots.
Angel Carpenter

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on November 7, 2017 5:27PM

Didgette McCracken is the Oregon State University Extension Open Campus coordinator for Grant County, working out of the John Day office.

The Eagle/Angel Carpenter

Didgette McCracken is the Oregon State University Extension Open Campus coordinator for Grant County, working out of the John Day office.

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OSU Open Campus Coordinator Didgette McCracken shows the laptops and video conferencing system available in one of the meeting rooms at the Extension office in John Day.

The Eagle/Angel Carpenter

OSU Open Campus Coordinator Didgette McCracken shows the laptops and video conferencing system available in one of the meeting rooms at the Extension office in John Day.

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A group of Grant County 4-H youth decorate cookies during a recent signup night for the program. The room is available for educational and community meetings through the OSU Extension office.

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A group of Grant County 4-H youth decorate cookies during a recent signup night for the program. The room is available for educational and community meetings through the OSU Extension office.


Educational opportunities are returning to Grant County.

Oregon State University Extension Service agent Shanna Northway and OSU Open Campus Coordinator Didgette McCracken recently hammered out details to offer more educational services at their Grant County office in John Day.

Besides helping people with online degrees through the Open Campus, they also help adults earn high school diplomas and assist students with class credit recovery and alternative learning.

No matter a person’s location, those wanting to earn their high school diploma can contact the John Day extension office for assistance.

“Everybody has a different scenario,” Northway said. “Maybe they are 60 years old and want to receive their diploma or a kid that’s 18 who didn’t finish school last year, who realizes it was a mistake.”

With class credit recovery, if a student has a full school schedule but needs to make up a math class in order to advance to the next grade or graduate, McCracken said they can help the student after school, even after regular business hours.

If a high school student is interested in nursing or other specific fields, they can explore adding a college-credit course to their schedule.

McCracken said they can develop multiple options to help students be successful.

Several years ago, some of the rooms of the current extension office, located at 116 NW Bridge Street in John Day, housed an alternative education center.

Northway, at that time, was one of the teachers with 21 students, and 10 more on a waiting list — but it closed down seven years ago.

“When that went away from our community, not only did it leave a gap for the high school students who didn’t fit the system, it also created this gap for people wishing to complete their diploma,” Northway said.

“We want to provide support to existing school programs and, for those who need it, provide an alternative, if desired,” McCracken added. “Together, we can work out some options for the student.”

The new extension office, which opened Oct. 2, has 3,100 square feet of space, including rooms to study, use computers and take tests. Video conferencing equipment is also available in the computer room. One room is big enough to hold a class and includes an attached kitchen.

McCracken said the OSU Open Campus in John Day is one of the few in Eastern Oregon. Crook County and Umatilla County also have an Open Campus.

She said she plans to offer mentoring assistance, job shadowing opportunities and help with resumes.

She said her job is not only about helping students receive a diploma or complete a degree, but how to connect them to the workforce.

Northway said there is a need to “rethink education.”

“I want people to think of us as an education resource — no matter how big or small,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your education need is, check in with us and see how we can help.”

For more information, call McCracken or Northway at 541-575-1911 or visit extension.oregonstate.edu/grant. The office hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.





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