West Hills gets new tricks of the trade

The Pendleton Tech and Trade Center is a work in progress, and will probably remain that way even after it opens in January.

As a few dozen Hawthorne Alternative High School students were led through the former West Hills Intermediate School on Monday, they ran into contractors and employees from the InterMountain Education Service District working on the building.

Curt Thompson, the district’s career technical education coordinator and Hawthorne principal, fielded questions from the curious group of teens about the repurposed school, which will house Hawthorne’s alternative education program as well as several CTE classes.

Would the school bus drop them off down the hill by Pendleton High School or in the center parking lot? (The center parking lot)

What school would it say on their diploma? (It would still read Hawthorne)

Could they paint one of the walls with chalkboard paint and then write on it? (Thompson wasn’t sure, but he did like the idea of a mural)

While Thompson couldn’t answer all of their questions definitively, he said he was committed to gathering student input.

Chris Bettineski, a Pendleton High School assistant principal and the former lead teacher for Hawthorne, echoed Thompson’s sentiments.

“There’s always growing pains,” he said. “There’s always adjustments that need to be made. Nothing stays the same.”

Thompson said the district will begin moving furniture from Hawthorne’s current building over winter break and start alternative school classes Jan. 3.

The center will also be open to Pendleton High School students, who will trek up the hill to take some of the more advanced CTE courses when their next semester starts in February.

Hawthorne has been without a permanent home since 2014, when the school was moved to the old district office across the street while the old Hawthorne School was renovated into the Pendleton Early Learning Center.

The Pendleton Tech and Trade Center will be the last major project completed from the district’s $55 million bond.

Thompson sees the center as an extension of the high school campus that will allow students from both schools to move freely between them.

Besides the alternative high school classrooms, Thompson showed Hawthorne students some of the CTE spaces they could inhabit with their Pendleton High peers, like the labs with the 3-D printer and the milling machine.

Perhaps the most comprehensive section of the center was the wing for the culinary program, which has risen in prominence over the past few years.

The center’s cafeteria also doubles as an event space for community meetings or open air cafe (the room has retractable, wall-length windows) catered by the culinary program.

Once culinary students learn a new recipe in a customized classroom with a stove and live video feed, they can jump into the professional-grade kitchen with a walk-in refrigerator and an industrial dishwasher that can wash a load in 30 seconds.

“This kitchen is as nice as you’ll see anywhere,” Thompson said. “Even in a big fancy hotel in Vegas.”

Thompson assured students that they would be able to access the high-level culinary and robotics classes that will be held at the center. Although those classes usually have lower-level prerequisites at Pendleton High School that conflict with the Hawthorne schedule, Thompson said those requirements would be waived for alternative students.

Although the tour was accompanied by the usual wisecracks, Hawthorne students also characterized the new facility as “sick” and “legit.”

Even as work crews continue to put the finishing touches on the new school, Thompson said further expansion could be in the cards for the Pendleton Tech and Trade Center.


Originally published in the East Oregonian: December 12, 2016 7:19PM.

Antonio Sierra or 541-966-0836.
East Oregonian

Pendleton High School Invites Speakers, Adds Work Site Tours to Career Day Event in December

This year’s event to include over a dozen speakers and tours to fourteen worksites and facilities in the region.

Pendleton, Oregon, November 25, 2016 - On Thursday, December 1, Pendleton High School will host a Career Day event. The morning’s schedule will feature speakers representing a wide range of community leaders and professionals. The afternoon will include tours to work sites and facilities in the area. Both speakers and tours will be organized by the six career clusters recognized by the Oregon Department of Education, including: Human Resources; Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Systems; Industrial and Engineering Systems; Business and Management; Health Sciences; and Arts, Information and Communication.

This year’s event is being offered for the 110+ students who are enrolled in Success 201, a college and career planning class taught by Sonia Cooley. The event will also be attended by groups of students from Hawthorne Alternative School and Nixya’awii Community School.

Christina van der Kamp, the district’s School to Careers Coordinator, has helped to support the planning for this event. “We are excited to be able to offer tours as part of this year’s event. Students will be able to connect what they’ve heard from the speakers in the morning to actual work sites and job opportunities in the community. Our hope is that this event helps students to envision themselves in one of these career fields and as a vital member of our region’s future workforce,” she says. The School to Career program is supported by Umatilla County Board of Commissioners and Blue Mountain Community College and recognized as an investment in workforce development.

Below is a schedule of the day’s events with participant information. If you would like any further information about this event, please do not hesitate to call Christina van der Kamp, School to Careers Coordinator at (541)969-6748 or email

Districts to Spend Money on New Equipment for Drone, Culinary and Manufacturing Programs

Like any workplace, a career technical education program without proper equipment is at a disadvantage.

The InterMountain Education Service District announced Monday that the Pendleton School District and the Morrow County School District each received a $390,745 grant from the state to strengthen their CTE programs with new equipment and infrastructure. 

Pendleton and Morrow County were just two of 70 districts that competed for $9 million divvied up by the state to revitalize programs that provide the training needed to help students secure jobs in the trades.

The Pendleton School District has already committed to bolstering its CTE program, using a portion $57 million bond to convert West Hills Intermediate School into the Pendleton Technology and Trade Center.

“It will contain ‘real work’ lab settings, giving students hands-on experience in two priority areas: industrial and engineering systems and hospitality/tourism management,” an IMESD press release states. “Preliminary plans include converting the gym into a professional quality kitchen with a designated dining area to host local business meetings and other catered events, and the remodeling of several classrooms to be used as lab space for the engineering, robotics and SUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) classes.”

Pendleton CTE Coordinator Curt Thompson said the district was planning on expanding the program regardless of whether they received the grant or not, but the grant will make it much easier to obtain needed equipment for the center before it opens in January 2017.

The grant funding will help purchase new kitchen equipment for the culinary program, a new 3-D printer and milling machine to make prototypes for the robotics program, as well as platforms and other support equipment for the UAS program.

The CTE grant will also pay for a contract employee who will help students get the opportunity to shadow people already working the field, as well as land internships and mentorships, and bring professionals to Pendleton schools to share their expertise.

With those duties expected to get easier once they’re established, Thompson said the district is only budgeting the position for one year and will reevaluate after that.

Although no new buildings are planned, the Morrow County School District plans to upgrade its existing facilities at its high schools in Heppner, Boardman and Irrigon.

The press release states the grant will be focused on upgrading infrastructure and equipment for its welding and manufacturing labs, two fields that are in demand at the Port of Morrow, Morrow County Superintendent Dirk Dirksen said.

Dirksen said the grant award was the result of a successful collaboration between the school district, the IMESD, Port of Morrow and Blue Mountain Community College, which plans to build a workforce training center in Boardman.

Almost all the CTE programs in Umatilla and Morrow County are coordinated through the InterMountain CTE Consortium, an arm of the IMESD.

IMESD CTE Cooradinator Jennifer Pambrun said funding for local CTE programs has atrophied in recent years. The roughly $300,000 the IMESD receives annually from the federal government pays for programs at BMCC and the 12 school districts that comprise the consortium.

Originally published in the East Oregonian:January 12, 2016 12:01AM. Used with permission.

Antonio Sierra or 541-966-0836.
East Oregonian

Pendleton High School

1800 NW Carden Ave.

Pendleton, OR 97801

Phone: (541) 966-3800

Fax: (541) 966-3813

Information Board: (541) 966-3800

 Pendleton High School