The Big Picture

Thoughts on big issues, challenges, and celebrations of the education work we do....

Thirteen Hundred Attend 7th Annual Central Oregon Skilled Trades Fair

High school students attending skilled trade fair

Thank you to all of our industry partners, schools, and volunteers for supporting our largest Central Oregon Skilled Trades Fair! This year’s fair boasted over 85 businesses and nearly 280 industry partners! We had upwards of 1,300 high school students from 44 public, private, and charter schools from across Central Oregon. Students were able to get hands-on learning in construction, virtual welding, plumbing, fire fighting, EMS, veterinary care, culinary, manufacturing, and much more. A shout out to CS Construction for working with students to build a doghouse for donation to a local animal shelter. We are grateful for those who were willing to support our CTE and STEM Skilled Trades Scholarship fund, as well. For those of you who were willing to volunteer your time, we send endless thanks. We couldn’t do this without you. We invite you to join us next year – November 22, 2024 – for another fantastic event!

Central Oregon educators, leaders reaffirm commitment to strengthen school safety

Central Oregon school superintendents, fire and police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, and public and mental health leaders gathered on Wednesday, November 15 at the High Desert Education Service District in Redmond to publicly reaffirm their commitment to the region’s Safe Schools Alliance. The group, which meets monthly to strengthen the foundation for the prevention of youth violence and the healthy development of children and families, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue and grow their community and interagency partnerships. 

“When kids feel safe at school, they are better able to learn, and we know schools can’t do this critical work alone,” said Jim Boen, regional director of mental and behavioral health for HDESD and a former teacher, school counselor and administrator. “This multi-agency partnership continues to strengthen our efforts to provide safe and secure school environments.”

According to Boen, the multi-agency partnership was established in 1998 following the deadly on-campus attack at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. As a result of that tragedy, Deschutes County formed CRASH (Crime Reduction at School Houses). Not long after, the name was changed to Safe Schools Alliance and partner agencies were expanded to include Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. The local tri-county alliance to enhance safety within school environments, protect students and teachers and provide immediate accountability for crimes committed at schools was one of the first collaborations of police, fire, mental health, district attorneys and schools of its kind in the country, and quickly become a model for excellence in collaboration and communication among partner agencies that work together to improve school safety in the United States.

Today, SSA members work together to enhance safety training, facility reviews, positive school climate efforts and more. Safe Schools Alliance members meet monthly during the school year to discuss a wide range of issues, including substance use/abuse, sex trafficking, preventative facility safety, and the review of protocols for responding to school violence.

Agencies attending the Safe Schools Alliance MOU signing event include:

Bend Fire and Rescue
Bend Police Department
Bend-La Pine Schools
Black Butte Ranch Police Department
Cascades Academy
Crook County District Attorney
Crook County Fire and Rescue
Crook County Juvenile Justice
Crook County Sheriff’s Office
Crook County School District
Culver School District
Department of Human Services-Child Welfare
(Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties)
Deschutes County Behavioral Health
Deschutes County District Attorney
Deschutes County Juvenile Justice
Deschutes County Health Services
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
High Desert Education Service District
Jefferson County Education Service District
Jefferson County District Attorney
Jefferson Fire District
Jefferson County Juvenile Justice
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Jefferson County School District
La Pine Rural Fire Protection District
Prineville Police Department
Redmond Fire and Rescue
Redmond Police Department
Redmond School District
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District
Sisters School District
St. Francis School
Sunriver Fire Department
Sunriver Police Department
Trinity Lutheran School

Annemarie Hamlin joins High Desert Education Service District board of directors

Annemarie Hamlin

This month, the High Desert Education Service District announced the appointment of Annemarie Hamlin to its board of directors. Hamlin, who currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs for Central Oregon Community College, brings more than 30 years of post-secondary education experience to HDESD.

“Annemarie’s expertise and partnership is a big win for our organization and everyone we serve,” said HDESD Superintendent Paul Andrews. “Having a voice and perspective from higher education on our board keeps us looking ahead and focused on long-term student success. We’re continuously working to strengthen connections with our higher education and trade industry partners because we know it is good for kids, good for our team and good for our communities.”

Hamlin joined COCC in 2007 as a professor of English in 2007. In 2019, she served as an instructional dean before taking on the VPAA role in 2022. Prior to moving to Oregon, she was both an adjunct instructor and associate professor of English in California. She earned her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature/Letters in 1998 from Claremont Graduate University.  

“I feel deeply connected to education in Central Oregon, and having worked before with the HDESD in a grant-funded project to increase the college-going culture, I knew this organization would be one that resonated with me,” said Hamlin. “Since that time, I have become familiar with many other facets of HDESD’s work and how they support learners and learning in the region. COCC wants to be a strong partner in this work, so I am excited to be a connection point for the Board to the College and vice-versa.”

Migrant families find community and connection through summer school 

Migrant Ed Summer School

By Aedin Wright

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) in Region 11 shines as a bright example of respect and support for Central Oregon students and their families. With a mission to serve children whose parents work in agricultural, food processing, forestry or similar industries, the MEP team helps young learners and engages families who must move frequently to follow seasonal work, which often requires children to change schools throughout the school year. To help these young learners stay on track and feel connected, MEP also offers a summer school program to support and uplift students aged 3 to 22.

In addition to helping students keep up in school, teachers and staff work to honor culture and language and create a space for families to feel welcome.  

“This program deeply values the migrant families who form the backbone of our society and recognizes them as often overlooked community members who bring food to all our tables,” explains Kayla Hefling, director of High Desert Education Service District’s Regional Migrant Education Services. “Our goal is to create spaces where families can be really involved with their kids’ education and our mission is to ensure that every migrant student has a fair chance at a great education. It’s about creating community.” 

Celebrating and honoring culture

By understanding the unique challenges these families face, the MEP team creates an environment that celebrates diversity and empowers each student. This summer, MEP welcomed two teachers from Mexico as part of a binational teacher exchange program supported by the Oregon Department of Education, the Mexican Consulate and funded by the Central Oregon Health Council.

“On their first day, when the new teachers introduced themselves and explained where they were from, kids jumped up with excitement saying, ‘that’s where my mom was born!’ ‘That’s where my dad is from!’” says Hefling, smiling as she remembers the kiddos’ connection.

Teachers from Mexico

Guest teachers Grizelle Caballero from Morelia, Michoacán and Norma Chagoyán from León, Guanajuato joined the program this summer.

For these kids, who straddle two cultures, feeling connected and proud of their heritage is important. Caballero shares, “I think our being here helps these kids rediscover their identity. They have these roots in Mexico, and I like to think we help them feel proud of their roots.” Caballero even brought traditional Mexican dresses to show the kids. It’s clear the exchange teachers serve as living ambassadors and celebration of heritage. 

According to Hefling, the program’s success is deeply tied to the active involvement of parents, including participation on a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC), made up of dedicated volunteers who play a crucial role in shaping curriculum and services. 

“Our parent participation and engagement is truly amazing,” says Hefling. “Their insights and guidance ensure the program meets the unique needs of our families.”

Additionally, explains Hefling, the committee reaches out to potential community members who may qualify for the program, extending its uplifting impact to even more families in need. 

Beyond engaged parents and dedicated international teachers, there is a special staff member who has come full circle. Ruth Lopez, a former student in the program, is now a staff graduation specialist. 

“I’m here because I saw the need myself. I lived it. And now I want to give back,” said Lopez. “It’s not just about academics or language barriers, these students go through emotional stuff too. As a kid, I never had long-term friends because, just as I was making connections, we were moving again. And that is really tough on these kids.”

The 2023 6-week summer-school program, serving around 120 students, also provides parent workshops, health care and dental screenings in partnership with Mosaic Community Health and Advantage Dental, and healthy eating/cooking classes with OSU-Cascades

By recognizing the unique challenges faced by migrant families, the Migrant Education Program goes above and beyond to ensure students have the tools they need to thrive. With a commitment to emotional and academic success, as well as a celebration of cultural heritage, the MEP uplifts the spirits of these young learners, setting them on a path towards a promising future. As the program continues to inspire and empower, it serves as a heartwarming reminder that when the community comes together, it has the power to transform lives and build a brighter tomorrow.

HDESD Welcomes Kira Fee

The High Desert Education Service District welcomes Kira Fee as the new executive director of special programs and services on July 1. In her new role, she will lead the planning, development and implementation of all K-12 special education programs within the regional services organization. Partnering with school district teams in Deschutes, Crook, Harney, Jefferson, Gilliam, Wheeler and Sherman counties, Fee will oversee school-aged special education services to students with low-incidence disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Orthopedic Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury and Vision Impairment. 

Fee brings more than 14 years of experience to the role, including nine years of teaching and five years as an administrator. She currently serves as director of student services for Jefferson County School District 509-J.

“I am very excited to join the leadership team at HDESD,” said Fee. “I’ve had the privilege of working alongside HDESD in the region for the past five years, and have seen and felt the passion, creativity and dedication with which the team serves. I know first-hand how critical specialists are to ensuring educational equity and access for students who experience disabilities. This is truly a dream position for me.”

Fee began her career in education as a life skills assistant and then teacher with Lane County Education Service District. She also served as director of special education for Redmond School District prior to joining the Jefferson County School District 509J team.

“Kira has built strong and trusted relationships with colleagues, educators and specialists throughout our region and is a respected voice for students, families and educators at the state level,” said HDESD Superintendent Paul Andrews. “We are honored to have her join our team.”


Peer2Peer Internships: A Pilot Project Gains Traction

Growing in capacity, numbers, and options

When the South Umpqua transition team designed a new approach to summer internships in 2022, they expected good results. The Peer2Peer pilot project aimed to create stronger social connections to help students thrive in new work environments–and it worked, just as they’d planned. In fact, the program was so successful that every participant asked to be involved again this year, along with a good number of new students and businesses who signed on.

 How does a school district handle a pilot project that doubles in size over the course of a year? According to Rick Burton, director of Student Services at South Umpqua School District, it starts by saying yes.

 “We’re a small district, but we do big things because we always say yes. Our team steps up to divide and conquer the work, and we figure it out step by step. Our goal was to create a paid job program that gave transition students autonomy and developed relationships with peer mentors, all based on real-world work experiences. Peer2Peer does all that very effectively. It’s still not perfect, but we never let perfect get in the way of doing good,” said Burton.

About the Peer2Peer Program

This summer internship project matches transition students who are ready for a more advanced work experience with student mentors who are interested in jobs that help others. The mentor-mentee pairs work together in a work experience chosen by the transition student—a job that matches both their aptitude and abilities. Mentors receive training in positive communication and job coaching.

The peer groups begin by getting to know each other—their expectations, strengths, triggers and needs. They attend the Umpqua Community College Day of Discovery together, practice using the local bus transit system, and work together on tasks like acquiring food handler cards.  Once the students are matched to job opportunities, the paid work period is sixty hours. This year, the Vocational Rehabilitation grant also covers traveling worksite coordinators for additional student support.

Building confidence and relationships

For the students, Peer2Peer offers a unique opportunity to learn both hands-on job skills and person-to-person skills.  That combination is what motivated students like Olivia Redfeard to return for another summer. Redfeard, age 20, is a transition student in the South Umpqua School District. Last summer she worked at Ohana Paw Spa, a dog grooming business. She enjoyed washing and drying the dogs, and using the bus system was valuable too. But working in a positive environment was just as important.

“I want to learn more, but I also want to talk to people. I want to make more friends,” said Redfeard.

Krystal Gomez, age 18, is also a returning transition student. She worked at the Myrtle Creek Library last summer. “I learned a lot about how to keep things organized,” she said. This year, she hopes to try something new to expand her skills, but she’s still counting on the positive, friendly atmosphere that the Peer2Peer program creates.

For mentor student Stormi Fye, age 17, returning to the Peer2Peer program gives her a chance to build on her mentoring skills from last year.  “I learned how to calmly de-escalate stressful situations. I want to keep working on good communication skills and patience,” she said.

The students’ goals come as no surprise to Burton. “We’re focusing on jobs beyond the typical janitorial, agricultural, or fast-food, which can be isolating and repetitive. Work is more engaging when it matches aptitude.  But the emotional side matters, by building confidence and the ability to cope. That’s the part that is hard to measure, but that is where this program shines,” he said.

As Burton explained, Peer2Peer introduces new career possibilities for mentors as well. “Our mentors are drawn to helping others, but often don’t know about careers in vocational rehab, advocating and supporting people with disabilities— areas where we desperately need more people,” he said.

What’s next for Peer2Peer?

The South Umpqua Peer2Peer program has drawn in professionals from a variety of roles in the district. The team includes Elizabeth Hunter, YTP coordinator; Beau Shelby, school counselor; Ryan Jephson, district behavior coordinator; Lori Risner, developmental learning center instructor; Alyce Moore, case manager and transition support; and Les Rogers, transition network facilitator. Together they plan to continue growing the Peer2Peer summer program. One vision is to take it county-wide, with their school as a hub for the project.

For other districts hoping to add a Peer2Peer-style program, Burton has some advice:

“Start by saying yes to every opportunity. Then build a team that works collaboratively so no one person is overwhelmed. Know that things will go wrong, but don’t let that stop you. This is about students’ growth and development, and not exposing them to challenges is as much a disservice as not teaching at all.”

Krystal Gomez and Olivia Redfeard

Stormi Fye

Ready or Not, Get Set and Go!

A transition success story, with Susanna Quim

 When the opportunity for a paid internship came up this past winter, transition student Susanna Quim felt sure she was ready. Her teacher, Krista Hanson, was confident too becauseQuim had a solid foundation in job skills. But when the first day rolled around, Quim panicked. She felt anxious and unprepared, and Hanson wasn’t sure how to help.

Would this opportunity end before it even got started? Or could Quim work through her stress and stay on at the internship? (Here’s a hint: this is a success story!)


Filling a new internship opportunity

Quim, now age 21, will graduate this June from the Community Transition program in Hillsboro, Oregon. During her years as a transition student, Quim worked closely with Hanson and participated in many work experiences.

“I learned how to work by practicing at different jobs. Like at MOD Pizza, Baby’n’Me, and Sunrise Church. Rite Aid was my favorite place to work because I like stocking the shelves,” said Quim.

Hanson agreed that Quim put 100% into every opportunity. “Susanna excelled in every situation. She is always very positive and works so hard,” said Hanson.

Like most transition professionals, Hanson often reaches out to local businesses for new work experiences for her students. The Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hillsboro agreed to partner with the Community Transition program. They went beyond the typical work experience and embraced the idea of creating a resume-building opportunity that would come with a paycheck.

“The Chick-fil-A management really took it to the next level with a paid, semester-long internship. They recognize the value of paying a person for their work,” said Hanson.

The internship would be a perfect way for Quim to finish her transition years and learn to manage a paycheck before graduation. In preparation, Hanson and Quim met with the manager, had lunch there with the Community Transition group, and arranged to have a familiar teacher assistant present for her first workday. Quim liked her uniform, which had been tailored for her petite frame.

Everything was set for success. But when the first workday arrived, Quim felt overwhelmed and anxious. “I told myself over and over I can’t do this, I’m not ready!” she explained. But with a bit of guidance from her teacher, Quim remembered to use the self-care and mindfulness techniques they’d been practicing. This helped her move forward, and realize that she could do this, even when it felt scary.


Self-care tools make a difference

The first self-care technique they used was breathing. Slow, deep breaths help calm a stressed mind. The second technique was movement—Quim knows that for her, walking and getting outside releases tension. Finally, Hanson helped her take it one step at a time, starting by changing into the uniform she liked. And one step at a time, she got through the first shift.

Helping Quim was a learning experience for Hanson, too. “I learned that working ‘on the clock’ for a bonafide paycheck can feel very different from other unpaid experiences, even for a student who’s always been confident. We’ve always taught mindfulness and self-care for stress management as part of the Community Transition program, and now I’ve seen how critical those tools really are for students,” said Hanson.

One fear that nagged at Quim was being unable to reach items on higher shelves.

“I’m a fun-sized person, like my whole family. I didn’t know if I could do everything for this job,” she said. But instead of allowing this worry to take over, Quim spoke to her manager. They made sure she had a step stool available, and the problem was solved.

Quim’s duties include cleaning the tables and chairs, setting up silverware, and filling the salad dressings. During moments when she does feel stressed or fidgety, she heads out to the parking lot to check for litter—a self-care solution that fits into her job. She finds satisfaction in being part of a team of fun, friendly co-workers. And best of all, she got to hand out treats for pups on Chick-fil-A’s Doggy Day.

The Chick-fil-A team appreciated Quim’s cheerful disposition and diligence in doing every task well. In their final feedback comments, they emphasized their support for building an inclusive community.

“It’s wonderful to see that steps are being taken to be more inclusive and provide opportunities for people of all abilities to learn work skills in a supportive and accommodating work environment,” they wrote.

What’s next for Quim after wrapping up the internship and graduating from the Community Transition program? She’s not sure yet, but she’s ready to work towards her next step. She’s connecting with a job developer through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). After the thrill of receiving her first paychecks from Chick-fil-A, she’s looking forward to saving money from future wages and planning for travels and fun with friends.

Hanson plans to continue the Chick-fil-A internship for transition students in their final year; she’ll also keep expanding the variety of work experiences in the business community. Hanson describes the process as creative detective work, sleuthing out job opportunities and matching them to students’ skills.

“There’s no job too big or too small. Our students just need a start and then we can pedal our way to the right level of work. Finding that right fit changes lives—I’ve seen it happen. And the business benefits too,” said Hanson.

“I’ll sure miss our shining star, Susanna,” she added. “But I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Finding a Career that Fits Your Heart, with Adi Valencia

Passion + Planning = Success

Some students feel nervous about life after high school because they’re not sure what comes next. For Adi Valencia, the idea of graduating and living on her own is exciting, because she has a clear vision of her next steps.

“It’s a little scary because when you live on your own there’s a lot to figure out for yourself. But if you let fear hold you back, you’ll never move forward in life. I feel ready to do this,” said Valencia.


Reaching out instead of giving up.

Valencia, age 18, moved from California to Hermiston, Oregon for her final year of high school. She started with high hopes, but nothing seemed to go her way at first. She applied for jobs that didn’t work out, and her living situation was stressful. Valencia thought about returning to California. Instead, she reached out for support.

In December 2022, she shared her frustration with a teacher. The teacher referred Valencia to Youth Transition Program (YTP) specialist Nicole Depew. Once Valencia and Depew connected, they worked together to define Valencia’s goals. She wanted a job that matched her interest in taking care of people, with a paycheck that would allow her to move into an apartment of her own. Once the ball got rolling and the plan started to take shape, as Valencia said, “things really started to happen.”

Depew helped Valencia establish the services she’d need after graduation, like medical insurance and other benefits. Then she spotted an opening for a caregiver position at Ashley Manor, a senior living home. Valencia interviewed for the position and started work a few days later.

“I was surprised how quickly it all happened. They said they don’t usually hire people right away but they liked the passion I showed for taking care of people,” she said.


Caregiving as a career

Before moving to Hermiston, Valencia spent time with her grandmother. She saw the level of help that her grandmother needed as she aged, and realized what a difference good care makes in the lives of people who need extra help. She learned that caregiving is a calling that takes commitment and compassion.

“The work is hard but everyday I try to do my job with love. I want the people I work for to feel loved, especially in their last days,” said Valencia. The residents at Ashley Manor are elderly, many with memory loss and dementia. She calls the residents she works with “my ladies” and says that time with her ladies is the best part of her job.

“When I see joy on the faces of my ladies, that lets me know I am on the right track. Every day when I go to work I get excited—I think, ‘Today is going to be a good day.’”

Beyond the emotional rewards of caregiving, these jobs offer growth potential as well. Depew noted that many senior living facilities offer their own certification programs for medical technicians and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). That is huge for small towns, like Hermiston,

“Especially in a small town like ours, where people may not have access to certification programs—this kind of in-house training makes a huge difference. Having the option to grow professionally without going to a separate school makes the caretaking field more available,” said Depew.


Building an independent life

Valencia is currently working toward certification as a medical technician. After high school graduation, she’ll begin the certified nursing assistant (CNA) program. And because Ashley Manor has a large number of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, she’s receiving special training in that area as well. She’s begun applying for apartments to rent and expects to find her new home by early summer.

Her persistence continues to impress Depew. “When Adi first came to me, she knew she wanted to build an independent life. Now she is working step by step toward that goal. She’s like that expression ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ She finds caregiving so rewarding that it’s not like work. I’m always so impressed with her enthusiasm,” said Depew.

Interested in exploring a career in caregiving? Learn more about working as a caregiver, or find job opportunities in Oregon here.

A Transition Student finds the formula for success

Setting goals and sticking to them, with Sebastian McBurney

What’s the best approach to making the most of the transition program years?

For Sebastian McBurney, the answer is simple: just act like being a transition student is your job.

“You have to show up, sign in when you arrive, participate as much as you can, and then say goodbye before you leave,” said McBurney.

By treating the transition program like a job, McBurney gained experiences that helped him define important goals for his life. His list included finding a job at a business he liked, earning his driver’s license, living independently, and setting up a savings account. Achieving any one of those goals would be impressive—but McBurney has done them all.


Saying “yes” to every opportunity

McBurney, age 20, will graduate this spring from the Community Transition Program (CTP) in Springfield, Oregon. He feels ready for the change, knowing that during his years as a transition student he said yes to every opportunity that came his way.

Sally Mann, transition teacher at CTP, sees a clear connection between the commitment McBurney showed as a transition student and the success he is experiencing 

“Sebastian joined the transition program during distance learning, which was challenging, but even then he was a good participant. Once we got to meet in person, he became even stronger in his participation. Since then, Sebastian has accomplished more than any student I have known at CTP. He’s willing to try things that are hard, and he’s open to asking for help with problem-solving when needed,” said Mann.

McBurney started building his resume by working at the CTP coffee cart and the high school catering class. That helped him find a position working at the concession stand for the Eugene Emeralds and University of Oregon baseball games, and at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant. Most recently, McBurney was hired for the job that fits his long-term goals: a courtesy clerk position at Albertsons grocery store. 

“I always liked Albertsons grocery store because the people are friendly. When they had a job fair I brought in my resume. We talked for a while during the interview and then they said ‘You’re hired!’ I like being a courtesy clerk because it’s always busy and I can talk with lots of different people,” said McBurney.


Setting life goals beyond finding employment

As much as McBurney enjoys his job, he keeps his focus on other life goals as well. He wants to live independently. For McBurney, that means being able to drive his own car and live in his own home.

His first step towards the goal of owning a car was to learn to drive. He enrolled in driver education classes that could be paid for through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). After attending twelve class sessions, he got to check that goal off his list: McBurney passed the test with a score of 97% and received his license.

Meanwhile, McBurney started planning for his own apartment. He saved every extra dollar—even the gift cards he received for attendance and participation at CTP—so he could eventually buy furnishings. As Mann explained, “Sebastian wanted to be ready when the opportunity came up to move into an apartment. He knew he could make it happen.”

In December of 2022, his family recognized that McBurney was ready to move into a more independent living situation. He now shares an apartment with his sister and a friend. The three roommates work different schedules, so they have plenty of privacy and space. The apartment is perfect for now, but McBurney has bigger dreams: he’d like to be a homeowner. And for that, he needed to find a better way to save money.


The ABLE account: a great way to save

“I’ve always been more of a saver than a spender,” said McBurney. But a person can only save up to two thousand dollars in their bank account without impacting social security benefits. With a car and a house in mind, McBurney wanted to save far more than that.

He worked with Mann and with Rhonda Tolleson, YTP Specialist, to set up an ABLE account. This type of savings account allows people with disabilities to save money without losing social security or Medicaid benefits. ABLE accounts can be set up as simple cash-only savings, or they can be investment accounts that grow through stocks and bonds 

ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience, because the purpose of the account is to help pay for big goals like housing, education, and transportation. Families can set up ABLE accounts for their children with disabilities, or young adults with disabilities can set up ABLE accounts for themselves, with the help of VR or transition program specialists. These accounts make bigger dreams possible for transition students like McBurney.

“Sebastian is so driven to reach his goals. Setting up the ABLE account simply opened a way for him to make it happen. We’re all so impressed by his stick-to-it attitude, regardless of if he’s tired or not feeling well. He balances so much in his life, and he’s able to achieve all these dreams,” said Mann.

Future Educator Day

In early February, the CTE/STEM team hosted the inaugural Future Educator Day in partnership with Central Oregon Community College. Students from across the region joined to learn about the many opportunities in education through hands-on activities. In addition, a panel discussion provided opportunities for students to interact with the educators.

We had a variety of booths to display ways for students to engage in educational opportunities beyond the traditional K-12 setting with partners such as: Camp Tamarack, Pawsitive Choices, Boys and Girls Club, HDESD EI/ECSE, Central Oregon STEM Hub, and Neighborhood Impact. We had a teacher recognition booth for students to recognize the educators that have had a positive impact in their lives.

We appreciate the partnership with Amy Howell and Angie Cole from COCC, Joe Devine and team from HDESD, and Jenny Faircloth and the team with the Early Childhood program. For questions, contact Brook Rich at