'Katie Calm Time'

The Behavior Intervention Center and Options students had access to these African Drums for less than a week.  We used them to do a surprise “Thank You” for our amazing OT, Katie Diez who comes to work with our students in groups every Tuesday.  The students have affectionately called it “Katie Calm time.”  We started having Katie come to the program as a proposal for our innovation grant.  She has helped the students using a multi-faceted approach to emotional regulation such as:  Mindfulness, Yoga Calm, Brain Gym and other techniques that have involved hands-on projects, Yoga, and other calming strategies.  The students did such a nice job, that we have decided to invest in drums for the program.  The students were able to work on turn taking, impulse control and social skills.  It was so wonderful to see students who normally struggle to get along encouraging one another and listening.  The drum resembles the heart beat and research has shown that it is a calming strategy in itself. Drumming has the potential to be a therapeutic technique that provides both relaxation and energy to the emotionally wounded.

Former students can request records

Former students who were served by the High Desert Education Service District may request their records. Records will remain confidentially filed until the age of 26 for Central Oregon Regional Program and until the age of 22 for Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, at which time they will be destroyed. Contact 541-693-5700 for more information.

In accordance with state and federal law (ORS 326.565, OAR 166-400-0060 & 34 CFR § 300.573), the HDESD is not required to keep records after former students have reached the age of 26.  At that time it is the practice of the HDESD to destroy student records.  Please contact Central Oregon Regional Program at 541.693.5700 to request records.

National Service Opportunity

Better Together is recruiting full-time and summer AmeriCorps VISTAs. The VISTAs will work to build capacity with Better Together and community partner youth serving organizations in Central Oregon. Benefits include relevant work experience, professional development, bi-weekly living allowance, choice of education award or end of service stipend, and being part of a great team.

To apply, please fill out an application on the AmeriCorps Website. Start date: 7/15/2017. Please feel free to contact Better Together with any questions regarding the application process.

Questions: jordan.trivette@hdesd.org

Applications can be found here!

Encouraging CTE Programs from an Early Start

CTE (Career & Technical Education) spent the day at Sky View Middle School in Bend for their first CTE Day! This was in partnership with Mountain View High School. Mt. View CTE teachers along with a few Mt. View high school students highlighted their programs with hands-on activities for the 8th graders preparing to forecast for next year’s classes. This was a great way to encourage CTE programs from an early start. Some of the activities included: soil testing, electric car driving, cooking Chinese fried rice, creating stickers, engineering a structure to support weight made out of paper, edible welding rods, and robotics to name a few. Thank you to the teachers and staff at both schools for putting on such a great event for the students.

Chick Tech... increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers

During the first part of February, approximately 20 high school girls from Crook County, Culver and Madras were invited to participate in ‘Chick Tech’ at the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) campus in Madras. Chick Tech’s mission is dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers.

Students participated in soft circuits or 3D printing workshops, aimed at enhancing their knowledge and collectively taking time to recognize unique skills that women bring to technology fields. A 3D printing company from Gresham as well as professor Yong Bakos (and two students) from the OSU-Cascades computer science department were on hand to lead the workshop.

We are extremely grateful for the support of COCC and the leadership of Chick Tech in helping organize this event and hope for it to be a launching point to get even more young women here in central Oregon interested in pursuing meaningful careers in technology.

From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. – Dr. Seuss

ESD’s Deputy Superintendent Paul Andrews was invited to Ms. Cron’s first grade class at Tom McCall Elementary in Redmond for the annual NEA’s Read Across America. Seuss’ silliness is contagious as you can see by this photo.

Statistics show that children who are motivated about reading and read more do better in school.  Read Across America takes place on the closest school day to Dr. Seuss birthday which is on March 2nd. “Be awesome! Be a book Nut!” -Dr. Seuss

Autism Awareness Month

Our Autism program was established in 1984 with one Autism specialist who provided expertise throughout our service area. Today, we are proud to be home to nine Autism specialists, a number of specialized classrooms and a team of support staff who change the lives of children and families. Over the years, the team has provided direct, consultative and coaching support for children, families as well as special and general education teachers and staff.

In addition to recognizing our team, Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.  Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. Central Oregon will be celebrating the 4th Annual Autism Walk is on Saturday, May 6, at the Highland Baptist Church, 3100 SW Highland Ave, in Redmond. To register for the walk go to, Autism Society Central Oregon 2017 Walk.

Photo L to R: Autism Consultants/Specialists Joe Devine, Jennie Willis, Susan Zenor, Suzy Hayes, Margie Blackmore, Carol Cooley-Reid, Lauri Powers, Wendy Beall, Kitty Peterson and program secretary, Meg Shanahan.


Horses touch the lives of children with special needs

Something extraordinary happens when horses touch the lives of children with special needs. A relationship is formed—a partnership to inspire the discovery of trust, freedom, strength and hope.

The Bridges Program is a partnership between High Desert ESD and the Bend La Pine School District to serve elementary children who are on the far end of the autism spectrum—many are non-verbal, using devices to communicate. All are unable to function in a typical elementary classroom.

In an effort to decrease isolation for our students and their families, positively effect their learning goals and provide a sustainable avenue for being INCLUDED in our larger community we pitched an idea through the High Desert ESD’s innovation process. With an investment from the Innovation [leverage] Fund we kick-started a partnership with the Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, which affords 8 students the opportunity to attend Healing Reins every week.

Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center is the only program east of the Cascades in Oregon that offers professionally accredited adaptive horse centered therapy to children and adults who experience a diverse range of needs and abilities. A devoted team of certified instructors and staff bring horse and people together in an alternative learning environment transforming lives in the process. Specific curriculum and equine-assisted activities are designed to address all aspects of mind, body and soul. With the help of specially trained volunteers and horses carefully selected for the work Healing Reins delivers horse centered programs that develop, nurture, and preserve healthy brain and body function to improve quality of life.

Warm Springs K-8 Academy girls participate in a tower building challenge

The Central Oregon STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Hub and Better Together brought guest speakers, Jamie McMillan and Pat Williams, to 5 area middle schools to share their message about women in STEM, skilled trades, and building careers. Over the course of two days, Jamie and Pat visited Obsidian Middle School, Elton Gregory Middle School, Culver Middle School, Warm Springs K-8 Academy, and High Desert Middle school to speak with approximately 400 7th and 8th graders (mostly girls). Even though most students weren’t familiar with what skilled trades are, when the speakers asked questions like: “do you like to work with your hands?” “Play sports?” “Help out around the house?” most of the girls responded with enthusiastic raised hands. “If you raised your hand for any of those, you could do a skilled trade,” McMillan said to the groups.

Participants were invited to participate in a tower building challenge as part of the presentation. Groups of 8-10 students armed with a newspaper and a baggie filled with straws, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, paper clips and masking tape competed in a race again the clock to build the tallest free-standing tower. Jamie and Pat encouraged groups to think about the strength of their materials and ideas about structural design. Some towers didn’t quite stand as tall or strong as expected, but each of the teams succeeded in working together, problem solving, and thinking critically.

Do you have ideas about how and where the STEM Hub can partner to bring more opportunities for out-of-the-ordinary learning through STEM to our communities? Send your ideas to whitney.swander@hdesd.org

STEM Week is here!

May 1 – 7, 2017 marks STEM Week Oregon. STEM Week Oregon is a statewide movement to raise awareness, celebrate and engage in activities involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Register your class, school, organization or activity on the STEM Week Oregon website to show the statewide impact of STEM Hubs. Activities will be marked on the map and be eligible for PRIZE giveaways!


Photo: Students from Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School in Bend


Over 400 attendees learn about career options in Central Oregon

The Central Oregon Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship was held on Friday November 18th at the Redmond Central Oregon Community Campus. The event brought over 400 high school students, community college students, and young adults from across the Central Oregon region to learn about career options in skilled trades, apprenticeships, and other STEM fields. In addition to classroom sessions and hands-on activities, such as welding, automotive technology, and vet tech, attendees networked with about 40 local employers to learn about exciting careers available in our area.

Friday’s event was made possible through partnership between regional trades and apprenticeship organizations, local industry, and regional education groups including, Better Together, Central Oregon STEM Hub, Regional CTE, and Central Oregon Community College.

Learning about Executive Functions in Students with Acquired Brain Injury

Teachers, specialists, private practitioners, nurses and community agencies came together on November 8th to learn about executive functioning, how it plays out in the lives of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and how to best serve students in our schools and our community.

“This conference was so energizing!  Dr. Turkstra helped clarify my understanding of executive functions and she also reinforced my knowledge of the power of peer mentors.  I’m trying to wrap my head around how all this exciting information ties into collaborative problem solving.   I can’t wait to share all that I’ve learned!” — Wendy Beall, HDESD Autism Consultant

Lyn Turkstra, a researcher in Speech Pathology and TBI was our facilitator and teacher throughout the day.  If you want more information about her presentation, you can find it here:  Executive Functioning


What is the High Desert Education Service District?

HDESD is a publicly-funded agency that partners with local school districts to provide high-quality, cost-effective and locally responsive education services at a regional level. These services range from business, legal, and administrative support to school improvement efforts and special education programs.

What types of services do we provide?

Services for Children with Special Needs

We partner with local school districts to provide services to families and students who are at risk or have special educational needs.

School Improvement Services

We provide consultation, on-site and regional professional development, consortiums, grant projects, and student programs.

Administrative Services

We support business, administrative and operational functions for HDESD and partner school districts. Other services are also available to support home and alternative learning.

Information Services

We offer a wide range of information technology and instructional support services to both HDESD and school district staff.

Students are Oregon’s greatest natural resource, and we must invest in their education. High Desert ESD is keeping the Promise of Oregon. To learn more, visit: promiseoregon.org

The Oregon School Boards Association, a member services organization based in Salem, founded “The Promise of Oregon” campaign in 2014 to focus attention on the accomplishments of Oregon’s kindergarten-14 students and the need to adequately fund public education.

Safe Oregon logo

SafeOregon is a program created for Oregon students, parents, school staff, community members and law enforcement officers to report and respond to student safety threats.

Call or Text: 844-472-3367

Our Vision

Be a state leader in providing quality services to schools, children and families

Our Mission

Improve student outcomes with Excellence, Equity and Efficiency

Our Motto

Together, Engaging Students to Succeed

Latest News

Celebrating America’s Safe School Week

Celebrating America’s Safe School week with our regional partners at the 18th anniversary of the Safe Schools Alliance Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) partners work to provide safe and secure school environments through community and interagency partnerships among students, parents, education, mental health, community justice, fire and law enforcement. The purpose of this effort is to increase the ability of all organizations to work consistently and in collaboration to assure safe and secure schools for the children of the Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson... read more

Handwriting Without Tears

High Desert ESD Special Programs, in collaboration with local districts, brought Handwriting Without Tears to Redmond.  The two-day workshop held October 6 & 7, brought over 80 teachers and specialists from the HDESD, Bend-La Pine Schools, Redmond SD, Sisters SD and Crook, Harney, and Jefferson County. This handwriting program was developed in 1977 when Jan Olsen set out on a mission to help her son. Responding to John’s tears over handwriting in first grade, Jan used her occupational therapy training and background to develop strategies to facilitate his handwriting. Almost 40 years later, HWT® holds more than 600 annual workshops to train educators throughout the world in the HWT teaching methods. This program follows research that demonstrates children learn more effectively by actively working with materials that address all styles of... read more

Our goal is always to equip students with communication and self-advocacy skills

Teachers in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Program focus much of their services on supporting language development in students with hearing loss. Research in the field and direct experience with students indicate that the earlier services begin in a child’s life, the more beneficial for the child.  Frontloading services with greater amounts of intervention in the early years is fundamental to the development of strong language and communication skills. Students are then able to operate more independently in accessing curriculum during their middle and high school years, requiring less support from DHH staff. Our goal is always to equip students with communication and self-advocacy skills which will give them access to an array of choices and opportunities as young adults. Photo: DHH Teacher, Marcene, works on language development with Eduardo and... read more

Our Central Oregon School District Partners

Additional Partners
We also partner with:

  • Jefferson County 509J School District
  • Black Butte School District
  • Culver School District
  • North Central Counties School District
  • Harney Education Service District
  • Jefferson Education Service District
  • Grant Education Service District
  • Lake Education Service District
  • Southern Oregon Education Service District
  • Umatilla/Morrow Education Service District