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Jan. 18, 2022
Helping families stay connected to Bend-La Pine Schools.
We are Striving to Keep Our Schools Open In-Person
From Supt. Steven Cook Jan. 14:
As we are seeing a few schools across the state temporarily close for in-person learning, we have had some families reach out to ask if Bend-La Pine Schools has similar plans. Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep our schools open for in-person learning, as we firmly believe that is the best place for students. Our schools continue to be places filled with learning and engagement where students are thriving.
   •   We are prepared for the expected rapid rise in positive COVID cases to continue through most of January and have made some temporary changes to support our efforts to keep our doors open, including:
   •   Limiting spectators at athletic and activities events,
   •   Dispatching district staff to help at schools when the number of substitute teachers and staff available do not meet the demand,
   •   Providing COVID-19 testing for qualifying employees and students to keep them at school when they’ve been exposed (per state guidance),
   •   Making diagnostic testing available in all schools,
   •   Providing 3-ply medical grade masks and KN95 masks to students and staff who request them,
   •   Working toward alignment to Center for Disease Control and Oregon Health Authority guidance for shortened isolation and quarantine periods for students. This could allow students to return to school earlier after isolation or quarantine, thus reducing instructional time loss.

Students, Schools Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
Schools and classrooms throughout Bend-La Pine Schools honored the legacy of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in conjunction with the holiday, Monday, January 17.

At Summit High School, members of the school’s Social Justice Club created large banners to hang throughout the hallways at Summit, each featuring a different Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. The students, who volunteered for this project, selected quotes that meant something to them. 

Delaney Skuse, eleventh grader, says it was important for the club members that the messages come from students, not from administrators or teachers. “It feels different when it comes from peers. We want to flood the hallways with positive messages about Martin Luther King.” 

News & Updates
Budget Committee Applications Due Jan. 21

Bend-La Pine Schools seeks volunteers to join its Budget Committee beginning in February 2022. The committee, which includes the seven elected members of the Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors and seven members of the community, currently has three openings. The committee works with district staff to review and approve the school district’s budget each year.

Members of the committee typically serve three-year terms and are asked to participate in a few meetings during the spring of each school year to review the proposed budget.

Learn more and apply by Jan. 21:
Hiring Substitute Teachers - $500 Bonus Available

Our teachers give students and families their all, but despite their dedication, they still get sick and have to miss work sometimes. The entire state is experiencing a substitute teacher shortage and we are feeling it here in Bend-La Pine Schools, too. If you've ever thought about helping out the district or trying your hand at teaching, now is a great time!

A $500 bonus is available to licensed substitutes who work 10+ days per month!

For more information and to learn how to get a substitute teaching license, please visit
Families Invited to Participate in YouthTruth

Bend-La Pine Schools has partnered with the national nonprofit, YouthTruth, to help us hear feedback from you about what we are doing well, and how we can improve.

From January 3 to January 28, the YouthTruth Family survey will be open and we want to hear from you!

Please take this 15-minute online survey here:

Your response is anonymous and will be combined with responses from other parents/guardians throughout the district. Thank you for your feedback! It is a gift that helps us continually improve.
Learn More About Our Small Choice Option High Schools
Did you know Bend-La Pine Schools has two small choice option high schools, which offer unique programs to serve high schoolers? These schools are hosting information nights for prospective families to learn more. Bend Tech Academy at Marshall, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.; Realms High School, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. Watch the videos below to learn more about these two schools and visit our Choice Options website to learn about all of our K-12 options.
News from the Superintendent
Inside Look: School Resource Officer Amy Ward
What does a School Resource Officer do? Superintendent Steven Cook talks with longtime School Resource Officer Amy Ward from Bend Police Department about her day-to-day duties, how she collaborates with Bend High Principal Chris Reese, and why relationships are at the heart of everything she does. Listen now

Listen to the podcast today :
Find any of our podcast episodes now:

Suggest a podcast guest

Superintendent Cook is always on the lookout for his next guest and would love to hear your thoughts. Send us an email with your suggestion:
Students Share: It's OK to reach out for help
In this podcast episode, Superintendent Steven Cook learns about a key local resource for mental health support for students – YouthLine, a free teen-to-teen crisis support and help line. Dr. Cook talks with two of YouthLine’s local student volunteers who share the kind of issues and challenges they are hearing from students, how youth today are breaking the stigma of reaching out for help and what’s giving them hope right now. This is part 2 in a series on student mental health. Listen now

If you or someone needs mental health support, reach out:
  • First Step App,
  • Deschutes County crisis line - 541-322-7500 ext. 9 (bilingual)
  • Oregon YouthLine (a free, confidential teen-to-teen crisis and help line; teens are available 4 to 10 p.m. daily; adults available all other times) 1-877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 (bilingual)
  • National Suicide Prevention hotline: English 1-800-273-8255 and Español - 1-888-628-9454
Jan. 11: School Board Meeting Recap
Superintendent Steve Cook provides short recap of the Jan. 11 Board of Directors' meeting, which included a discussion of how Omicron is affecting our schools and staffing as well as inclement weather decision-making.

Policies Under Review Include Choice Options, Transfers
Kudos and Celebrations
Student Musicians Receive All-State Music Honors
Congrats to our middle and high school students who recently received All-State honors in Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Orchestra. They were honored at the Oregon Music Education Association State Conference Banquet on Jan. 13, along with students from throughout Oregon.
Bend Senior High School: Symphony Orchestra: Sophia Boone - string bass, Tyler Dickinson - violin, Veda Robertson - viola
Mountain View High School: Jazz Band: Sophia Gonzales - vibraphone; Symphony Orchestra: Zane Sanders, string bass
Wind Ensemble: Seth Husband - percussion, Finley Smith - baritone saxophone
Summit High School:
Symphonic Band: Andrew Brook - trombone, Zach Daines - saxophone
Cascade Middle School: Orchestra: Parker C - violin
High Desert Middle School: Orchestra: Perrin Standen - viola, Elliot Tucker - cello
Pacific Crest Middle School: Orchestra: Hazel Donnolly - violin, Kepler Orton - violin
Pilot Butte Middle School: Orchestra: Nora Marlowe - violin, Brendan M – violin
Sky View Middle School: Orchestra: Emma Long - violin, Autumn Orr - violin
Champions for Students: School Resource Officers

During the Jan. 11 board meeting, we honored our School Resource Officers from the Bend Police Department and School Resource Deputies from Deschutes County Sheriff's Office as Champions for Students!

January 9th was National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day and we wanted to take a moment to honor the contributions our SROs and SRDs have made within our school community.

This award is in recognition of your partnership to help build positive relationship with students, support student mental health and help create a safe school climate for all students.

Curious to learn more? Listen to Officer Amy Ward talk with Supt. Steven Cook about her role: Listen now
Thank you, Board of Directors!

This month, Bend-La Pine Schools is honoring the contributions of the seven members of the Board of Directors during School Board Appreciation Month. Every January, School Board Appreciation Month is celebrated by school districts across the United States, including Bend-La Pine Schools, which recognized the board during the Jan. 11 school board meeting.

“I hope our families, staff and community will join me in offering thanks to these seven dedicated volunteers who have spent countless hours in service of our students and schools. I offer my heartfelt thanks for their commitment,” said Superintendent Steven Cook.

Read more about their backgrounds on the School Board Member webpage.

Photo: Back row from left, Shimiko Montgomery, Carrie McPherson Douglass, Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia, Shirley Olson and Vice Chair Marcus LeGrand; front row from left Amy Tatom and Janet Sarai Llerandi Gonzalez.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Is it time to upgrade your child's mask?
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 is forcing everyone to re-evaluate previous practices. Experts are making new recommendations regarding the types of masks that provide the best protection against Omicron.
BEST – N95, KN95 and KF94
These masks are made out of a material that has an electrostatic charge and contains polypropylene fibers. They’re best at preventing tiny particles from getting into your nose and mouth. Learn tips on how to best store your masks.

BETTER – Surgical Mask + Cloth Mask
The next best solution is to wear a surgical mask (like the disposable blue ones) closest to the face with a cloth mask on top to ensure a tighter fit. Do not wear a surgical mask on top of another surgical mask.

GOOD – Surgical Mask Alone
These blue disposable masks are available for free at all our school offices.

POOR – Cloth Mask
Cloth masks do little to prevent tiny virus particles from getting into your nose and mouth and aren’t effective against the new Omicron variant.
Changes for Contact Tracing Investigation From State
Friday, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority released changes to how COVID-19 should be investigated and instructions for broader quarantines. Oregon will no longer consider masked contact in K-12 settings (including on school buses) to be an exposure regardless of distancing. Physical distancing will still be practiced to the greatest extent possible in our schools and classrooms.

Effective immediately our contact tracing teams will prioritize their efforts on:
   •   Identifying positive school cases and isolating the positive case
   •   Identifying exposures during meal times
   •   Identifying exposures during settings in which masking is not universally in place.

It is important to note that now, those students and staff in congregate settings in which masks are not universally worn, may all be subject to quarantine.

Exposed fully vaccinated children and adults who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination series and boosters are not subject to quarantine and may continue to attend school. Individuals exposed to COVID-19 at school remain eligible for test to stay and may continue to attend school during their modified quarantine period, if they are asymptomatic.
Find a Local Booster, Vaccine Provider

Anyone who qualifies for a booster can receive any of the FDA-approved vaccines. Individuals may receive either the same or a different COVID-19 vaccine, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference, availability or convenience. Find a vaccine.

Thank you for doing what you can to stay healthy, help slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect our school community.
Check for Wellness Every Day

Students feeling unwell or experiencing any of the following symptoms are expected to stay home:

Symptoms may include:
Fever (100.4 or higher) or chills, cough/shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of appetite or loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
Living with a COVID-19 Positive Person

If the staff person is up to date on their vaccine or has been a documented case within the last 90 days and live with a person positive with COVID-19, they do not need to quarantine at home, as long as they remain asymptomatic. However, they must wear a well fitting mask at all times for the next five days. Staff should seek out testing on day 5 and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If staff develop any symptoms, they should isolate and get a test.
Find a Local COVID-19 Test

Staff who become symptomatic at work, or who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 at work, are encouraged to contact their supervisor for a BinaxNOW rapid test. Many providers in Central Oregon offer testing for COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider, urgent care, or local clinic to schedule an appointment.

New Free At-home Testing Option

Starting this week, free at-home rapid COVID tests will be available for order through’s online order form.

Though the program officially launches tomorrow, January 19, it is currently up and running. Through the program, every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. There is no charge for the tests. Orders are expected to ship withing 7-12 days. 

The tests available for order:
  • Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
  • Can be taken anywhere
  • Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
  • Work whether or not you have COVID-⁠19 symptoms
  • Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-⁠19 vaccines
  • Are also referred to self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests
If you need a COVID-⁠19 test now, please see other testing resources for free testing locations in our area.
Key Dates
Key Dates and Days of Recognition

  • January – School Board Appreciation Month
  • Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
  • Jan. 25 – School Board Work Session
  • February – Black History Month
  • Feb. – CTE Month
  • Feb. 1 – Chinese New Year
  • Feb. 4 - No School, all schools
  • Feb. 7-11 – National School Counseling Week (pictured: Counselors at Pilot Butte Middle School)
  • Feb. 21 - Presidents' Day, No School
  • March 1 - Attendance Area Change Requests Due; Choice Option High School Applications Due
  • March 21 - Choice Option K-8 Applications Due
Resources for Families
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