4th Annual Central Oregon Skilled Trades Fair

Over 700 students from around the region packed  Deschutes County Fairgrounds to attend the 4th Annual Central Oregon Skilled Trades Fair. With 75 organizations present, hands-on activities were offered such as virtual welding, construction, coding, and fire science to name a few. Several academic programs were on site as well.

The Trades Fair is a regional partnership led by Central Oregon STEM Hub, High Desert CTE, East Cascades Works, and Central Oregon Community College.

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Early Childhood Summer Institute! It’ll be held on the campus at Central Oregon Community College on June 15-18, 2020.

How a Unique Role is Helping Students with Disabilities

Working in schools, specialists like physical therapists, occupational therapists, autism specialists and more see ways in which assistive technology could really help young people in need.

Assistive technology includes a wide range of devices and tools that can support people with disabilities. While tablets or smartphones may come to mind when we hear the word technology, in the case of assistive technology, items can range from an adaptation of a wheelchair to a therapeutic swing.

In many schools, specialists are left to figure out how to adapt equipment or surroundings for their students. But in Central Oregon, Bryan Malone, an adaptive equipment specialist with High Desert Education Service District, serves a unique and vital role, handcrafting assistive technology for students in need.

While Malone is a licensed physical therapist, the title doesn’t nearly define all he does in a day’s work. Jill Barrett, another physical therapist with HDESD who works with Malone every week, summed it up better. To continue reading…

Juntos Aprendemos opens third location

Juntos Aprendemos is in its second year and has added a third location, Bear Creek Elementary in Bend. The program helps parents and preschool-age children of Spanish-speaking families in Bend and Redmond prepare for Kindergarten by learning literacy and social skills. Juntos Aprendemos – Spanish for “we learn together” — teach children in Spanish only, partly because it’s the language these children are most familiar with. Some spots are still available. To find out more, contact Gabriela Peden at gabriela.peden@hdesd.org

Hands-on Computational Thinking Learning Workshop

Elementary school teachers and instructional coaches from Redmond, Culver and Sisters school districts gathered at Central Oregon Community College in Redmond for hands-on computational thinking learning. SAM Labs instructors were on site to lead K-8 teachers through a new integrated science curriculum linked to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This workshop is a collaboration between SAM Labs, COCC Redmond Campus, Redmond School District and, the Central Oregon STEM Hub.


Building a Culture of Caring for Students with Trauma

High Desert Education Service District recently hired staff for three new positions that will forward the idea of a “Culture of Care” across Central Oregon.

The Culture of Care is an initiative of Better Together that aims to equip adults in schools with information about how trauma shows up in schools and how to keep students engaged when symptoms of trauma show up in the classroom. Better Together is a regional cross-sector partnership working collectively to improve education outcomes for children and youth from cradle to career. As one of Better Together’s core partners, High Desert ESD will house three staff positions to directly support the Culture of Care initiative.

The new positions at HDESD are the Culture of Care coaches, who will focus on policies, training and ongoing professional learning for educators in trauma-informed practices. The idea is that every adult a student encounters in school, including teachers, lunch staff, custodial staff and bus drivers, will have the understanding and tools needed to support students who bring symptoms of trauma to school, Katie Condit, Better Together’s executive director, said.

You can read the complete article here!

Photo: Left to right: Erin Taylor, Amber McGill and Amy Yillik


Every Day Matters

Shout out to Sage Elementary School, from Redmond School District, for kicking off the year with the message that “Every Day Matters!” As students arrived for the first day of school, staff, including librarian Suzanne Yeakey pictured here, wore EDM t-shirts and greeted families in the hallways with smiles and words of encouragement. Carter Bower, a fourth grader attending SES, came home from his first day asking for one of those shirts because, as he said, “Every day of school really does matter when you’re in school!”

Welcoming the new school year

We gathered at COCC Wille Hall for our 2019 HDESD In-Service. Superintendent Andrews welcomed us with a reminder about our whys and the importance of the work we do each day. Carmen Xiomara Urbina delivered a powerful call-to-action in her keynote. We made our way to breakout sessions in a short burst of rain. We learned about ThinkUp, a crowd-sourcing innovation opportunity coming in October. It was a great day!

Summer learning at the AP Institute of the Cascades

Summer learning is in full swing at the 2019 AP Institute of the Cascades. With over 125 participants from 21 states, these teachers will spend four days learning Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The AP Institute offers a unique summer learning experience that includes more than 30 hours of subject-specific professional development for teachers looking to expand into AP courses. 


Summer Learning around the World

The Migrant Education Program celebrated another year of summer learning by four weeks of traveling around the world.

The program has served 29 preschool, 108 elementary and 65 middle school students. During the summer learning program, students learned about different countries including; Italy, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and Tanzania. In addition, students were able to experience folkloric dances, art, music, PE, and STEM as part of their elective classes.

On the last day of the summer learning program, parents, community partners, and staff celebrated alongside the students during the National Summer Learning Day. During this day, students performed authentic dances and sang songs for parents to show what they had been working on during the last four weeks. Parents had an opportunity to travel around the world with their children and visit the countries each classroom has been working on.

How One Girl with Albinism Has Excelled

With the wide range of kids High Desert Education Service District serves through local schools, there’s one idea educators have in common: A person’s challenges or limitations don’t define them.

Sierra Abbott, who recently graduated Bend High School with honors, is a perfect example of that. Sierra excelled in her classes, took International Baccalaureate courses, and ran and skied on the school’s cross country sports teams. This fall, she’s headed to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she wants to study to become a history teacher. Sierra also has albinism and is legally blind.

Albinism is a genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin, or pigment, including in the skin, hair and eyes, according to the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. People with albinism are extra sensitive to the sun’s effects and have vision impairment.

To read complete story, click here

Vision Adventure Day Camp

The HDESD Vision Team was excited to host its second annual Vision Adventure Day Camp on June 18-20, 2019. They partnered with Oregon Adaptive Sports and had a warm, fun-filled day at Prineville Reservoir. The students tried kayaking, paddle boarding and straddle boarding. The students planned a lunch for the following day and went grocery shopping. In addition, they made slime and stepping stones during their adventure camp. The last day they partnered with Northwest Association of Blind Athletes and enjoyed a day at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond playing beep soccer, beep baseball and kickball. The day ended with a barbeque dinner with students and their families.

Photo: Student reading a Braille sign at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond

Central Oregon educators gather for a School Retool activity put on by HDESD

Revamping a school starts at the top. But it also begins with small change.  For teachers, educational assistants, counselors and students to feel like they can make a difference with their ideas, they need a leader who will support them.

High Desert Education Service District offers a fellowship through the d.school at Stanford University that encourages leaders to do just that. School Retool, a professional development fellowship created by the d.school, IDEO and the Hewlett Foundation, gives educators the chance to reinvent their school culture using a change process inspired by design thinking.

For the second year in a row, HDESD gathered about 15 educators nominated by their school districts to take part in the School Retool fellowship in Central Oregon, which lasts from January to April.

To read the full article, check it out here

Advocating for Students

Together, the High Desert Education Association and the leadership of the High Desert Education Service District stand in solidarity for the need for stable funding and stronger investment in K-12 education. We also stand for this being the time to speak up. At the same time, we recognize that we serve the most vulnerable students in the region which is why we will be holding a “walk-in” together at the beginning of the day on May 8th. We believe that a “walk-in” will allow us to advocate for our students with a unified voice for bringing more public attention to the need for increased investments to early learning, k-12 education, and our community colleges, while also ensuring our students do not miss valuable instructional time.


Learning to make stick figures dance by using code

Central Oregon STEM Hub invited Crook County Middle School Computer Science (CS) students to experience the coding of music and lights. Each student was given a doll part to code and then come together to make the dolls appear to be dancing to the music. This innovative way to teach code is through a partnership with Western Oregon University who is combining theater and CS as a way to showcase CS in a different way!

2019 Bend Chamber Community Hero -- Anna Higgins

Congratulations to Anna Higgins on receiving the Bend Chamber Community Hero award. This award acknowledges women who are making outstanding contributions to their community. Community Heroes demonstrate how people with passion and determination can use their lives to make a difference in the community.  Anna is HDESDs Director of Innovation. This photo is fitting of Anna’s passion…working and pitching ideas on improving education.

Photo: Anna, center, is photographed with district leaders

For more information on this award and others, visit www.bendchamber.org

Smiles and Snow

On Wednesday February 13th, the HDESD Vision Team partnered with Oregon Adaptive Sports for an exciting snow filled skiing/snowboarding day for our students. We all got to experience more than our typical vision loss due to the white out conditions! We had some thrilling firsts – first time snowboarding, and first time up a lift! Another student really enjoyed a full day of sit skiing. Students were asking what our next vision adventure will be and hoping it was soon!

Making Math more Meaningful

During one of their monthly Math in Real Life (MIRL) meetings, local math, science and career and technical education (CTE) teachers became students for the day and were taught how to read blueprints and construct a model shed out of balsa wood. This day also provided teachers with an opportunity to think about how they can use new technology ideas, such as SAM labs, in their classrooms to increase student interest and make math more meaningful. SAM lab kits are wireless electronic blocks that have lights, motors and, buzzers. With an app, students can code the behaviors of the blocks.



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, consortia, 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.

The Promise of Oregon banner with student photos

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

Recent Posts

2019 We Read: So You Want To Talk About Race

High Desert ESD is proud to continue our annual, organization-wide book club and continue to align our content with our organization’s commitment to equity. For this 2019 We Read, we have chosen Ijeoma Oluo's New York Times Bestseller, So You Want to Talk About Race....

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Our Central Oregon School District Partners

Bend-La Pine Schools logo
Crook County Schools logo
Redmond Schools logo
Sisters Schools logo
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