▶️ Central Oregon high school football scores for Week 4

It’s time for more high school football.

Below is a look at the scores from the fourth week of action for 2022 in Central Oregon, provided by ScoreStream.

A reminder that Bend-La Pine Schools have switched to an online ticketing only system this year. Cash will not be accepted at the gate. To purchase tickets you can click this link.
You can also find the full 2022 football schedules for Central Oregon High Schools at these links

Bend | Caldera | Crook County | Culver | La Pine | Madras | Mountain ViewRedmond | Ridgeview | Sisters | Summit


▶️ Oregon math, reading scores drop during COVID; Local schools find positives

English, science and math proficiency scores in Oregon dropped dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to numbers released by the Oregon Department of Education Thursday morning looking at state assessment results.

School districts in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties did not buck the trend. Some were able to note achievements in specific categories and even, in some cases, finishing above state averages.

Oregon Department of Education officials say 2022 testing shows students who were already behind before the pandemic had the most learning loss but all children overall lost ground when compared to 2019 test scores.

Statewide, English Language arts proficiency dropped from 53.4% in the 2018-19 school year to 43.6% in 2021-22. Math fell from 39.4% to 30.4% and science dropped from 36.9% to 29.5%.

RELATED: Crook County’s Sara Johnson named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

RELATED: Central Oregon school districts see slight increase in student enrollment

Across grades three through eight, just 39% of students scored as proficient at reading and writing last spring, down from the previous low of 51%, and just 28% scored proficient in math, far below the previous low point of 40%.

In addition to the overall numbers, the report breaks the levels down by multiple demographic groups including grades, gender, race, students with disabilities and more.

Here is the breakdown of districts in Central Oregon. These numbers are for total population in all grades combined. If you want to see a school-by-school breakdown, we have a list of links at the bottom of this story.

Bend-La Pine

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 60.7%
  • 2021-22: 56.0% 


  • 2018-19: 49.4%
  • 2021-22 44.9%


  • 2018-19: 43.0%
  • 2021-22: 33.4%


English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 52.8%
  • 2021-22: 45.5%


  • 2018-19: 42.2%
  • 2021-22: 32.8%


  • 2018-19: 34.5%
  • 2021-22: 30.9%

Crook County

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 54.4%
  • 2021-22: 48.8%


  • 2018-19: 38.0%
  • 2021-22: 32.6%


  • 2018-19: 34.9%
  • 2021-22: 29.0%


English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 63.7%
  • 2021-22: 55.4%


  • 2018-19: 42.5%
  • 2021-22: 34.4%


  • 2018-19: 53.8%
  • 2021-22: 41.4%

Jefferson County 509J

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 41.2%
  • 2021-22: 30.1%


  • 2018-19: 26.4%
  • 2021-22: 20.8%


  • 2018-19: 16.4%
  • 2021-22: 15.2%

“The results were generally not surprising. They are also consistent with what we are seeing across the country,” Oregon Department of Education spokesman Marc Siegel told Central Oregon Daily News said in a statement.

“We do not know how the results break on socio-economic lines due to changes in program eligibility for free/reduced price lunch, which we have used as our ‘economically disadvantaged’ indicators,” Siegel added, “but we do know that students who were behind before the pandemic fell further behind and those who were advanced did not lose much ground.”

Bend-La Pine responds

The Bend-La Pine School District released this statement from Director of School Improvement Dave VanLoo.

“These statewide assessment results are one of many ways that our schools assess students academically and are fairly in line with what we anticipated. While we avoided steep declines seen in some districts across the nation, we did experience an overall dip. Likely these results are connected to the disrupted learning that students experienced during the pandemic, which included a variety of increased stressors both in and outside of school for families. Our teachers and schools are doing great work now to support learning for all students and move forward in a positive direction.”

Redmond responds

Redmond released a statement saying its results fall in line with state averages. It said the impacts of the pandemic — including remote learning and inconsistent attendance due to quarantines and illness — need to be taken into account.

It also said that the information has been unreliable for some groups due to lack of participation.

A 95 percent participation rate is ideal for getting accurate and usable data and an 80 percent participation rate is recommended as a minimum by Oregon Department of Education’s Technical Advisory Committee. Redmond School District ranged from a high of 91 percent participation in 3rd to 5th grade language arts to a low of 6.1 percent participation in 11th grade science,” the district said.

Redmond said it performed at or above the state average in 3-5 and 7-8 grade language arts and math and all grades tested in science.

Crook County responds

Crook County said the results show its students are above the state average in 14 of 20 categories.

“We’re now above the state average in a number of categories, particularly in English Language Arts. We still have a ton of work to do. We’re not satisfied with where our math’s at. Until every student is achieving on grade level, we’re not going to be satisfied,” said Dr. Joel Hoff, Assistant Superintendent of the Crook County School District.

Crook said much of its gains happened at the elementary school level and were most significant in English Language Arts and Math. it noted that 4th and 7th graders were 10% above the state average in English and 4th graders were 9% above in math.

Even with that, Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson said more needed to be done.

“We’re better now at tracking students, knowing where the gaps exist and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each student. Our next big step is to give more individualized attention to students who need interventions. It’s our responsibility to find those barriers and respond to the uniqueness of each child,” Johnson said in a statement.

Links to results

English Language Arts



▶️ Welcome to the High Desert highway that is one-of-a-kind in Oregon

The Oregon Department Of Transportation owns and maintains about 8,000 miles of state highways

One small section of that 8,000 miles is unique. And it’s located in the High Desert.

Oregon Highway 27 starts as Main Street in Prineville.

On its entire 44.78-mile southbound route, there is only one sign telling you that you’re driving OR 27.

And that drive is spectacular — along the Crooked River through some of the wildest basalt cliffs in basalt cliff country. Up over the Bowman Dam that’s holding back the slim puddle that is the Prineville Reservoir these days.


Down to the south, through open range and the land of cows you’ll find an occasional mailbox and a dirt side road or two.

But this is where the story really starts.

And where the pavement ends.

RELATED: OSP shares adorable video of deer family properly using the crosswalk

“We are out here on Highway 27, which is the only gravel state-maintained through highway in the entire state,” said Kacey Davey of the Department of Transportation.

“I did the math and it’s 0.002% of the roads we maintain are gravel.”


Highway data shows OR 27 averages 17 vehicles per day.

How quiet is this road? Just ask Pam and J.W. Hart. They’re at the Sage Hollow Ranch — the only property that has a driveway off the gravel section of OR 27.

They bought the place 35 years ago.

“You’d go weeks without seeing a vehicle up and down the road. You might see a neighbors truck go by that you know but as far as anybody from the outside world. You just didn’t see that much,” J.W. said.


So what’s rush hour like there?

“I guess is when you got a bunch of cows that’s been stampeded by a mountain lion,” J.W. said.

RELATED: OSP catches driver doing 119 in a 55 and the fine is … WHOA!

They say you can probably go a half-day without ever seeing a car.

“And then there’s other days, holidays and stuff when the weather’s nice and you might have fifty cars in one day,” J.W. said.


In the three hours and 20 minutes we spent shooting this story, we saw three cars go by.

One of those was being driven by road warriors Steve and Lisa from Seattle. We met them where U.S. Highway 20 and OR 27 meet. They were considering what looked like a shortcut on the map.

“We found this road and it looked like something interesting. We have a vehicle that can handle it so we though, let’s give it a crack,” Steve said. 

But they didn’t know about the gravel thing.

After considering their options, Lisa makes the call.

“I was going to say no. I’ve been driving in the crosswinds all this way and I don’t think I want to do 25 miles of gravel,” Lisa said.

RELATED: ‘I got this’: Remembering the famed ‘Prineville Wheelie’ 40 years later

It’s a little shorter than that. ODOT says it’s 18.5 miles. Our odometer says 17. And it’s really good gravel.

Wikipedia says it’s also known as the “Les Schwab Highway.” It’s not. That’s Millican Road a few miles west.

A technicality here. There is one short stretch of pavement over a little bridge. 

You’ll pass under a Bonneville power high voltage line that’s electricity to Burns. And you’ll hit five cattle guards.


At the south end, you’ll see just one sign heading north that tells you what road you’re on.

And it turns out this stretched out gravel patch is useful.

“We use it to train our new employees on how to use our graders,” said Davey.”

Once or twice a year, it’s the grader driving school for ODOT rookies.

“We also use graders for things like blade-patching which is a type of pavement repair that we do. We use graders on the gravel shoulders and also to move snow in the wintertime. So our crews spend a lot more time on graders than just maintaining this one highway,” said Davey.

The road is nicely graded in places and looks like it will stay that way for awhile. ODOT says it has no current plans to pave this stretch of OR 27.

Highway 27 pavement ends

▶️ Crook County’s Sara Johnson named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

Crook County School District Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson was named Oregon’s Superintendent of the Year Wednesday.

Johnson was presented the honor at the Crook County High School library by representatives from the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA).

And they kept it a big secret from her. She walked into the building to thunderous applause, unaware of what was coming next.


“Super grateful and overwhelmed and surprised. Just thinking about how amazing our staff … our staff is incredible. It’s just remarkable to work with such an amazing district,” Johnson said.

The award highlights what is described as four essential areas:

  • Leadership for Learning
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Community Involvement

“Dr. Johnson was recognized for many successes, including safely reopening schools during the pandemic before most other schools in Oregon, increasing the graduation rate at Crook County High School to 98%, successfully opening Steins Pillar Elementary School, creating a new hybrid learning program called Grizzly Mountain HomeLink, prioritizing improved school culture, and giving more voice to students and staff through yearly surveys and initiatives,” the district said in a statement announcing the award. “Those results have also led to consecutive years of enrollment growth when many districts face declines.”

RELATED: Central Oregon school districts see slight increase in student enrollment

RELATED: Oregon’s tuition-free preschool program hits major delays

Johnson will now be in the running for national superintendent of the year.

Johnson’s award continues a string of achievements for the school district.

Crook County High School Principal Michelle Jonas was named Principal of the Year in 2021.

Rob Bonner, Crook County H.S. athletic director, was named 5A Athletic Director of the Year last year.

The district says Johnson was born and raised in Burns. Most of her career has been mostly in rural Oregon schools. She has made helping young students overcome the mental health challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic one of her priorities.

And her own education isn’t done. She’s pursuing a degree in child psychology at George Fox University.

▶️ Central Oregon school districts see slight increase in student enrollment

At least three Central Oregon school districts are reporting a slight increase in enrollment from the last school year.

The Redmond School District reports a 1% increase in enrolled students from last year.

The total: 7,129 students. Up 62 students from 2021-22.

The loosening of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions seem to be a major factor in bringing students back into the buildings.

“Now that we have loosened an amount of those, I think people are making choices based on what they really want for their students,” Redmond School District Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline said.

RELATED: Applications open for vacant Bend-La Pine School Board seat

RELATED: Coaches, players react to shot clock coming to Oregon high school basketball

Crook County School District is reporting an even higher increase of 2.6%.

Current total enrollment for Crook County stands at 3,313 students, adding 83 more students from last year.

Bend-La Pine Schools also reported a slight increase at a board meeting last week. 

“In our schools, the actual enrollment is above projections by about 40 students,” Chief Operations and Financial Officer for the district Brad Henry said.

Bend-La Pine says that these numbers are subject to change through October 1 when it officially submits its student numbers to the state.


▶️ ‘Like smoking 15 cigarettes’: Central Oregon air quality among world’s worst

Heavy wildfire smoke rolled into Central Oregon Monday, moving much of the region into the hazardous air quality territory. It ranked Central Oregon among the worst air quality levels in the world. 

There were signs of improvement on Tuesday.

These were the air quality levels in Central Oregon cities Monday morning. An Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous. air quality.

  • La Pine and Sunriver: 455 AQI (Hazardous)
  • Bend: 326 AQI (Hazardous)
  • Redmond: 326 AQI (Hazardous)
  • Madras: 111 AQI (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups)
  • Sisters: 109 AQI (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups)
  • Prineville: 108 AQI (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups)

“If you were outside right now, in the 350’s for 24 hours, that would be like smoking 15 cigarettes,” said Jess LeBlanc, Mosaic Medical Chief Health Officer.

By Tuesday morning, much of that smoke had cleared. But the region remained in the unhealthy and unhealthy for sensitive groups range between La Pine and Warm Springs.

Air Quality Index chart

RELATED: Cedar Creek Fire growth slows dramatically; Some evacuation levels lowered

The World Air Quality Index project map at 10:15 a.m. Monday showed that Central Oregon was listed among the worst air quality levels on the planet. The maroon 371 marker you see listed on the map is for Bend.

Sept 12 World air quality index

How is the Air Quality Index calculated?

“The Air Quality Index when it comes to wildfire smoke, is measuring these little particulate grains of soot, essentially called particulate matter 2.5. And that’s referring to the size, which is just teeny, tiny,” said Harry Esteve with the Oregon Department of Environmental quality. “Wildfire smoke produces these particles and that’s where the health concerns come in because they can get breathed in, absorbed into the bloodstream, etc.”

But what if you live in an area that doesn’t have an Air Quality Index monitor? Central Oregon Fire Information has these tips says you should use the 5-3-1 visibility index as a guide.


How Central Oregon schools handle the smoke 

The Bend La-Pine School District says it has has mitigation strategies in place to reduce smoke exposure such as adjusting HVAC air flow and limiting outdoor activities.

Jefferson County School District 509J says it has similar plans of action and does not intend to cancel or shorten school days based on the air quality.

Other local school districts did not respond to requests for comment.

Other facilities close for the smoke

Several attractions and businesses shut down Monday due to the poor air quality, such as the Lava River Cave.

The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC) closed due to indoor air quality levels reaching 355 — well into the hazardous range.

Mosaic Medical also closed several of its facilities Monday.

▶️ Natural Selection Proving Grounds mountain biking competition in Prineville

Mountain biking competitors are fighting for honor this weekend in Prineville. 

Thirty-two riders will participate in the Natural Selection Proving Grounds competition at the Flying Blind Dirt Park Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – midnight.

People will get to see top freeride mountain bike action as riders show off their skills

Besides the competition, there’s also a family-friendly festival featuring food trucks and giveaways.


▶️ Prineville Reservoir water releases to be reduced significantly

Water releases from Prineville Reservoir will be decreased significantly starting next Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the current flow rate of 180 cubic feet per second (cfs) will drop to approximately 10 cfs starting September 14. The move is being made as downstream irrigation demands decrease.

The Bureau said the public should expect much lower-than-normal water levels in the Crooked River. That may impact recreational activities and wildlife.

“The Crooked River Basin is in the midst of a multi-year drought conditions and received one of the lowest snowpack on record this season. This resulted in limited fill of the reservoir this spring and the low reservoir levels that we’re seeing right now,” said Peter Cooper, a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation.

RELATED: The Great Outdoors: Low water, high temps threaten Crooked River fish

Prineville Reservoir is currently at 12% full, according to the Bureau. That’s the lowest level on record. Once the flow of water is reduced, the reservoir level is expected to stabilize at 11% full. Water release flows are expected to go back up by November 1.

The dam was primarily built for irrigation and flood control.

Central Oregon Daily’s Brooke Snavely recently highlighted how high temperatures and the low level of the Prineville Reservoir could endanger Crooked River fish. Watch his story below.



Central Oregon high school football scores for Week 2

It’s time for more high school football.

Below is a look at the scores from the second week of action for 2022 in Central Oregon, provided by ScoreStream.

A reminder that Bend-La Pine Schools have switched to an online ticketing only system this year. Cash will not be accepted at the gate. To purchase tickets you can click this link.

You can also find the full 2022 football schedules for Central Oregon High Schools at these links

Bend | Caldera | Crook County | Culver | La Pine | Madras | Mountain ViewRedmond | Ridgeview | Sisters | Summit


▶️ 9/11 memorial in Prineville honors those lost in the attacks

A display in Crook County is honoring victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The 9/11 tribute in downtown Prineville is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the attacks.

It was created by Chuck Pore, who prepared the display until his death in 2020.

Two Prineville residents are keeping the tradition going, hoping to share this tribute with others in the community.

“Police officers that were killed that day their pictures are mounted,” said Mona Glade of Prineville. And we’re also adding t-shirts that years we requested from departments around the state of Oregon and we’re continuing to add on to those.”

RELATED: 20th anniversary of 9/11 marked by ceremony in Bend

The public is invited to view the display, which will also be illuminated for viewing at night. 

It’s located at Rick Steber Makers, 131 NE 5th Street.

The display will remain up through Sept. 12