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April 19, 2022
Helping families stay connected to Bend-La Pine Schools
Taking a Moment to Celebrate Where We are Right Now
From Supt. Steven Cook:
This time of year, filled with birdsong and flowering trees, always gives me a sense of optimism. As I look around at our schools, that feeling of hope is multiplied. 

I want to take a moment and recognize where we are and celebrate this point in time, because it feels vastly different than the world just two months ago. 

This is the first time in the past two years that we have been able to return to so many of our loved events, traditions and connections. Here are just a few items that I am celebrating: 
  • Since spring break, volunteers are back - and have put in nearly 800 hours of volunteer time in those short weeks. 
  • Proms are scheduled to happen in-person.  
  • Graduations are scheduled to happen in-person. 
  • Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors hosted an in-person board meeting with community members for the first time in many months.
  • Families and teachers connected in-person during conferences last week. 
  • Our schools are planning all sorts of in-person events, including plays, concerts, open houses, curriculum nights and more. 
  • New kindergarten families are invited to in-person kickoff events at neighborhood schools in April and May. 

It feels good to get back to many of the customs that were part of school life for years. In particular, we love being able to connect more with our families. Our schools are richer, more engaging places when we are able to engage with all of you. In talking with our staff, I can tell you that they have also missed these face-to-face connections with our families. 

I would be remiss not to mention that, of course, we continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and follow guidance from the state, should it shift. But during the past two years I have learned how important it is to take time and appreciate the good moments. And right now I want to celebrate our ability to bring back so many programs and efforts.  

It feels good. It feels like spring. 

In partnership,

Dr. Steven Cook, Superintendent
News & Updates
Help us Thank Outstanding Staff Members

Has a teacher or other staff member made a positive impact on your student or family this year?

We want to know!

We will be honoring staff members who make a difference during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6. Use the form below to share a positive story or appreciation for a teacher or other staff member.

Public Invited to Board Leadership Q&A April 21

Community members are invited to attend the Spring Q&A Session of the Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors Leadership set Thursday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Caldera High School in the auditorium.

Board Chair Melissa Barnes Dholakia, Vice Chair Marcus LeGrand, Superintendent Steven Cook and other members of the district’s leadership team will be on hand to answer questions submitted from community members.

Individuals can submit questions for consideration in advance, as well as at the event as time allows. A moderator will ask questions of the panel, grouped by common themes.

Attendees must check in at the main entrance upon arrival.
In-Person Graduations Set for Class of 2022

Bend-La Pine Schools has announced graduation details for the district’s six high schools with all ceremonies to be in-person at each high school.

Graduations will occur at the following times and locations:
  • Bend Senior High School: June 11 at 10 a.m. – football field
  • Bend Tech Academy at Marshall High School: June 13 at 7 p.m. – gym
  • La Pine High School: June 10 at 7 p.m. – football field
  • Mountain View High School: June 9 at 7 p.m. – football field
  • Realms High School: June 14 at 7 p.m. – commons area
  • Summit High School: June 11 at 10 a.m. – soccer field

Kindergarten Kickoff
Families of incoming kindergartners are invited to register online now and join school events in April and May. Meet kindergarten teachers, learn about your school and connect with fellow families. Register and find your school’s event at
Curious to know what kindergarten is like in Bend-La Pine Schools? This video lets you peek inside a current classroom.
Kudos and Celebrations
Students Earn Honors for Outstanding Science Projects

Congratulations to our students from Bend Senior High and Caldera High who recently participated in in the annual COCC Regional Science Expo, where they earned multiple awards and recognition for their complex and fascinating science projects.  

Curran Jacobus of Bend Senior High took first place in the “Health” category, for his project, “A Quantitative Assay of Phosphate Backbone Mutation in M. Sapientum DNA Induced by UV-B Irradiation,” where he explored using alternative forms of sunscreen that may be more sustainable and ethical than traditional sunscreens. Curran also won the Regeneron Biomedical Science Award, awarding him a certificate and $500. 

Marlen Gonzalez of Caldera High was recognized in the “Outstanding Use of the International System of Units” category for her project, “Melophile Plants,” a project that studied playing orchestral music for seed sprouts to see if that would make them grow taller.  

Nick Hutnak of Caldera High won the Mu Alpha Theta Award and an Honorable Mention in the “Physical Science” category. Nick’s project, “Is Light a Wave or a Particle?,” took on the study of light waves experiencing both constructive and deconstructive interference. 
Summit High Thespians Earn Top Honors at State Festival

For the first time in three years, 12 Summit High School thespians attended the in-person Oregon State Thespian Festival in Salem, competing in a variety of categories.

Five students competing in the small group musical category won top honors, performing in the State Showcase, a first in Summit High Theatre’s history. 

“I’m incredibly proud of all of our theatre students,” said Lara Okamoto, Summit’s theatre director. “They have really persevered over the last few years, continuing to work on their craft and their skills online and in isolation. This was a huge culmination of their hard work and passion for performance. It’s really wonderful for them to be able to take the mainstage at an event like this and be able to show the whole state what Summit Theatre has to offer."
Champion For Students: La Pine High School Senior Trace Terrell

The April 12 Board Meeting was pretty special, marking the the first time we gave a Champion for Students award to a current student: La Pine High School senior Trace Terrell.

Trace, pictured here with his parents, received the award for his incredible advocacy in support of student mental health. Trace has channeled his personal experiences and challenges with mental health into powerful advocacy at the highest levels. Trace shared with us that as a young teenager he felt alone and experienced anxiety and other mental health challenges. Starting as a ninth-grader, that changed when Trace began volunteering for YouthLine, a teen-to-teen help line. Trace began volunteering to help support the line and, in helping others, got tools, resources and support that he needed as well.

Trace became a key supporter for YouthLine, speaking at events. He volunteered with a national mental health coalition and this past spring, was the ONLY student to testify in front of a Senate panel on student mental health. In fact, we understand that Trace’s testimony marks the first time in history that a teenager spoke to the senate about mental health and wellness.

Summit Student Earns Prestigious Language Scholarship
Summit High School senior Shelby Doden was recently awarded the prestigious U.S Department of State's merit-based scholarship!

Shelby was selected as a semifinalist from only 10% of applicants from around the country in Feb. 2022, and was excited to be considered for the highly competitive overseas language study program.

Winning this scholarship will open a new world for Shelby, who has proven that she has the ability to meet the challenges of the rigorous language program through her study of Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin at Summit.

She will use her full scholarship for the Chinese (Mandarin) Summer Intensive this summer. Congrats, Shelby!
Classroom Corner
Celebrating Earth Day

Bend-La Pine Schools’ students are taking a hands-on approach to celebrating Earth Day on April 22, with some even getting their hands dirty to help the planet! A few of the Earth Day-inspired efforts in our schools:
  • Pacific Crest Middle School will be planting trees on April 27, in an effort to offset their carbon footprint. 

  • Over at Pilot Butte Middle School, they have recently reduced their garbage pick- ups from 5 to 3 times a week, reducing cost by $6,000 annually. 

  • Westside Village Magnet school has started an anti-idling campaign focused on cutting down emissions from idling vehicles.  

  • Caldera High School is showcasing the Telluride Mountain Film for students in the Media Center. They’ve also created some Earth week displays and learning activities available in the Media Center.

Bear Creek Elementary Students Raise Funds for Humane Society 

Bear Creek Elementary School fifth graders recently raised over $2K for the Humane Society of Central Oregon.

The young fundraisers originally had a goal of raising $500, but after reaching that amount so quickly, they decided to step up their fundraising game. They outfitted each classroom with a coin collector and ran the next phase through December and January.

By the end, they were able to proudly present a check for $2,659.92 to the Humane Society.

La Pine High Students Shine in "High School Musical Jr"

La Pine High School will open "High School Musical Jr" starting May 5-7. Disney Channel's smash hit movie musical comes to life on stage in Disney’s High School Musical JR. In the play, Troy, Gabriella and the students of East High must deal with issues of love, friends and family while balancing their classes and extra-curricular activities.

Get tickets now to watch students perform in this fun musical. Tickets available now.

News from the Superintendent
No Dusty Shelves in our Libraries

It’s School Library Month and Dr. Steven Cook is connecting with two outstanding teacher librarians, Eila Overcash (Summit) and Donna Layne (Mountain View), to get an inside look at our thriving libraries. The duo share tips on how to find a book to reach even the most reluctant reader, how they approach books with controversial subjects and how they have turned their libraries into the center of the school (Wordle, a mannequin, a prize wheel and WWII museum all play a part). Plus, four book recommendations worth checking out! Listen now
Recap of April 12 Board Meeting with Dr. Steven Cook

Superintendent Steven Cook provides a short overview of what took place at the April 12 Board of Directors meeting.

Highlights include five new adopted policies, a superintendent's report on bias incidents in the district, finance report, budget and enrollment updates and more.

Policy Under Review: Share Your Thoughts by April 26
Key Dates
Upcoming key dates and days of recognition:

  • April 21 - School Board Leadership Q&A at Caldera High School
  • April 22 - Earth Day
  • April 26 - School Board Meeting
  • May - Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage Month
  • May 2-6 - Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 10 - School Board Meeting
  • May 11 - National School Nurse Day
  • May 24 - School Board Meeting
  • May 30 - Memorial Day, No School
  • June 9 at 7 p.m. - Mountain View High School Graduation
  • June 10 at 7 p.m. - La Pine High School Graduation
  • June 11 at 10 a.m. - Bend Senior High School Graduation, Summit High School Graduation
  • June 13 at 7 p.m. - Bend Tech Academy at Marshall High School Graduation
  • June 14 at 7 p.m. - Realms High School Graduation
  • June 21 - School Board Meeting
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