Meet Erin Leonard, Speech Language Pathologist

High Desert Education Service District employs over 200 staff members. Here’s a little behind the scenes of one such employee, Erin Leonard, Speech Language Pathologist.

“I have been a member of the HDESD team since January of 2014. I am a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

SLPs wear many hats; we work with people across the lifespan from infants to the elderly, targeting speech, language, swallowing, and cognition. As an SLP in early childhood intervention and early childhood special education, I work closely with kids and their families to provide individualized treatment targeting language acquisition and development, speech-sound disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders, and feeding and swallowing difficulties.

I love seeing a child’s face light up when they feel successful and I’ve found that success comes in all shapes and sizes. Success might be saying a sound correctly, being able to sing along in circle with sign, or eating snack without trouble.

In my free time I enjoy hiking and camping, cuddling with my Cocker Spaniel, singing to my house plants, and sharing a meal with friends and family. I’m currently learning how to knit and I’m always on the lookout for a good book, the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe, and my next adventure–my fingers are crossed for some place warm and sunny.”

The Sisters High School fire sciences program now has an ambulance for realistic training

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District (RFPD) delivered a reserve ambulance to the Sisters School District for use in the high school’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Science program.

The ambulance was surplus to the district’s needs and will provide the students an opportunity to simulate treating injured patients in a realistic environment.

Sisters High School teacher Heather Johnson is the lead EMS instructor and program coordinator. The Sisters High School Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science Program relies on establishing and developing industry partnerships. The High Desert Educational Services District  Career Technical Education (CTE) department provides funds for equipment, teacher training and student training through the federal Perkins Act. Ray Hasart and Brook Rich from CTE have been instrumental in providing assistance to the program.

Central Oregon Community College (COCC) has worked closely with the High Desert Education Service District and Sisters High School to provide college credits for students who successfully complete the program. Students are able to earn five college credits for Introduction to EMS and Communication and Documentation.

Healthy Beginnings Turns 20!

Healthy Beginnings (HB) is a non-profit program under the ESD that provides a comprehensive assessment and referral service for the health and development of child under the age of kindergarten in Central Oregon. Covering 12 key areas, the free screenings determine whether a child is developing appropriately for their age including identifying problems that can easily be overlooked at regular check-ups. Referrals and follow-up are provided to all children who are identified as needing additional or more in-depth services.

Since its inception, HB has provided 275 community clinics throughout Central Oregon screening nearly 9,000 children (8,837 to date to be exact) and providing parent information and education to over 8,500 parents. HB is supported by a broad base of trained professional volunteers including RN’s, licensed Speech Pathologists, Retired educators and administrators, licensed nutritionist, dentists and hygienists and licensed behavior specialists. A testament to the program and its volunteers, Healthy Beginnings was awarded:

Oregon’s Governor’s award for the best Regional Volunteer Program in 2010
Received the Organization of the Year – Sage Award by the Bend Chamber in 2012
In 2013, Healthy Beginnings was awarded the Health Hero Award from the Deschutes County Public Health Advisory Board.

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Essential Skills in the Smarter Balanced Era

Bryan Toller, Mathematics Assessment Specialist from Oregon Department of Education, presented the Essential Skills requirement and the procedures for work sample administration to central Oregon teachers. Emphasis was placed on how teachers can structure activities during regular classroom instruction to promote student confidence and success.  The training also provided participants with an in-depth training and calibration to the Official Mathematics Scoring Guide including scoring student work samples to meet the Essential Skills requirement.



A Learning Experience in the Forest

Visually Impaired students from Redmond, Crook County, and Bend La Pine Schools schools got the opportunity to get up close and personal with various wild life at Skyliner Lodge in Bend. The Audubon Society was there to share their knowledge on various birds and the sounds they make.  Did you know that the Meadowlark is Oregon’s state bird? Forest Service biologist were also present to share and show information on bobcats, bears, and eagles. Students got to touch various animal skulls, feathers of large prey as well as their talons. A great day for learning in the outdoors!


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.

Latest News

A visit from Greywolf

  During their unit on forest animals, Larson Learning Center/Footsteps Preschool children enjoyed a visit from Greywolf.  The children were excited to hug and cuddle with her. Larson Learning Center/Footsteps Preschool is an Early Childhood Special Education program... read more

Searching for the Great Pumpkin

Children from the Early Childhood Special Education class in Redmond took advantage of a beautiful day in search for the great pumpkin. This youngster took his time before finding the right one. Thank You Central Oregon Pumpkin Patch for providing a great experience... read more

Student Success Story

“When Max was younger, like many other students, he had difficulty with making changes in his schedule or doing unexpected tasks. He has been given a lot of opportunities to learn how to express his feelings and was coached on how to communicate his needs by... 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