Network Study Shared with Better Together Partners

On May 23rd, Better Together hosted its first Network Data Event at the High Desert Education Service District Building. Last spring, Central Oregon received the opportunity to participate in a large scale network study on the “connectedness” of Better Together partners. A survey was distributed to all partners, across sectors with over 50 partners in total participating. It asked questions about how, when, and why our schools, businesses, organizations, and community members are connected across the region. After 8 months of compiling the data, Dr. Krissi Hewitt and Dr. Cheng-Fei Lai from the Oregon Chief Education Office, and Dr. Alan J. Daly, from the Department of Education Studies at UC San Diego, came to share the findings and engage individuals in a rich conversation around the network landscape in our region. We are immensely grateful to everyone who attended and shared their perspective!

Records Request Notification

Hello!  If you are a former student who was served by the High Desert ESD, you may request your 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.

Communication App Helps with Shared Reading

Mandy Wallace, Augmentative Communication Specialist, is using a communication app on an iPad called Proloquo 2 Go with a student during Shared Reading.  Shared Reading is a strategy teachers, support staff, and families can use to help children with communication difficulties become engaged, active participants during a reading interaction.  Over the past school year, the Assistive Technology team has provided numerous trainings to Bend La Pine Schools and other districts to help staff feel competent in using this strategy to facilitate communication with students.

Meet Porter - Therapy Dog at the Alyce Hatch Center

Meet Porter, the newest Therapist to the Alyce Hatch Center.  Porter is an 11 year old Goldendoodle (part golden retriever and part poodle). He is a registered therapy dog with Pet Partners Therapy Animal program. He lives and works with Lorna Hickerson, one of the Early Childhood teachers. Porter and Lorna have gone through extensive training and evaluation as a team. They both have many years of experience working with very young children with special needs.
Therapy dogs, like Porter, help children develop communication, social and emotional skills. Porter is particularly good at motivating young children to talk and to help relax them when they become stressed. He is used to being pulled, poked and laid on by little kids. His tail is popular because it is fluffy and fun.

Great Opportunities for Individuals to Gain Experience in the Non-Profit and Education Sector

Better Together is hiring 24 AmeriCorps VISTA’s, 18 to serve over the summer and 6 to begin a year of service in July for one year. VISTA’s (Volunteers in Service to America) are federally funded positions that work to ultimately alleviate poverty in America. Often times VISTA is described as the “peace corps for America.” These are great opportunities for individuals to gain experience in the non-profit and education sector while earning a stipend and scholarship money. For more information and to apply, please visit   Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

Warming the hearts of children in need

‘Heartwarmers’ was initiated in February 2013 and during its first year three groups of volunteers were established in Bend, Sisters and Redmond, Oregon.  Presently over 115 volunteers meet twice monthly to make blankets that are donated to local non-profits working with children. A very special addition to the Heartwarmers’ efforts are the teddy bears. The teddy bears are knitted on a round loom and stuffed by retired postal worker John Nelson of Redmond and assembled by his mother, Joyce Miles, who sews them together and adds a fleece heart and a bow to each bear. They have contributed 784 bears, each one requiring five hours from start to finish. Those bears get bundled with the blankets that go to children at places like Sparrow Clubs of Central Oregon, Treehouse Therapies, and Family Action Network. “It gives me a good feeling to know that the bears are going to children in need,” Nelson said. For more information:

Bridges-Applied Behavior Analysis Classroom-Provides Intensive Instruction

High Desert Education Service District, in partnership with Bend-La Pine Schools, offers this specialized classroom as a part of the Bend-La Pine Schools continuum of services for students on the autism spectrum. Bridges provides intensive instruction to students in grades K-3 who benefit from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) teaching strategies and evidence-based practices.  Bridges is part of the statewide Oregon Program Autism Training Sites and Support (OrPATS) system of teaching classrooms.  We invite staff from neighboring school districts to come observe, practice and learn research-based teaching strategies at our site. The Bridges Classroom is staffed with our teacher Teresa Copeland, 9 amazing assistants (teachers in their own right) and specialists including Autism, Occupational Therapist, Augmentative Communication and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) specialists.  We could not do what we do without all of the staff working together to create this unique learning environment. We are located at Lava Ridge Elementary School, Please give a call and come visit! Bridges Staff: Teacher: Teresa Copeland, ABA Supported Educational Assistants:  Ann Champness, Salli Hagen, Stacie Heisinger, Diane Meyers, Marsha Orton, Kim Sanchez, Jacquelyn Strayer, Katie Stoller,  and Cindy Toepfer. Central Oregon Regional Program specialists: Kitty Peterson, Katy Hietala, and Wendy Burkhardt. Bend-La Pine Schools SLP: Mary Schlaefer Support liaison: Meg Shanahan Program Supervisor: Katherine Procter

Kick-start Investment a Success!

With the help of Anna Higgins and the i4 program at the ESD, our team received a kick-starter investment to support a project involving expert occupational therapist, Katie Diez and her wealth of knowledge ranging from Yoga Calm, Brain Gym, S’cool Moves, Mindfulness, sensory integration and many other skills to share with students and staff on a weekly basis.  Katie facilitates four groups each Wednesday with the elementary and middle school students at Edwin Brown Education Center in the Options Redmond School District Behavior Program and the Behavior Intervention Center Program. Photo: Katie facilitates a Yoga class for elementary students at Brown Education Center

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.

HDESD does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran or military status, or the use of a service animal by a person with a disability, and provides equal access to all designated youth groups. For questions or complaints, please contact the Human Resource Director, the district’s Title IX Coordinator at 541.693.5600, or ODE’s Equity and Civil Rights Office. Discrimination Complaint/Grievance Procedure

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.

Latest News

Only a few days left to sign up for summer work!

Looking for summer work? Make an impact serving the community with a youth serving organization in central Oregon. 10 weeks of service. Pay is a stipend of $425, bi-weekly $1,222 scholarship at end of service Must be 18 by start date (June 16) –  Apply by May 18th Go to: or call... read more

Join us for Art Hop…this Friday, May 6th

Join us this Friday honoring Autism Awareness by checking out the amazing art work of local students with Autism. First Friday Art Hop is scheduled for May 6 from 5- 7 pm, downtown Bend.  The location for our student art work is 824 NW Wall Street in the hallway next door to, ‘What Lola Wants.’  Hope to see... read more

Partner of the Year awarded to Healthy Families of the High Desert

During Healing Hearts luncheon sponsored by The Kids Center, Mt. Star Family Relief Nursery awarded Healthy Families of the High Desert as its Child Abuse Prevention Partner of the Year.  In this photo, Lori Colvin (left), Coordinator of Healthy Families of the High Desert is pictured with Shelly Smith, The Kids Center Executive Director. Healthy Families of the High Desert is Deschutes County’s Oregon Healthy Start Program. It is a voluntary home visiting program that assists families in giving their newborn children a “healthy start” in life. The program offers weekly intensive home visits for first birth, high-need families and a one-time welcome home visit to all families with... 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