Student Photography Highlights

Home of the Rockets

Pilot Rock School District is located approximately 15 miles south of Pendleton in Umatilla County near the foothills of the beautiful Blue Mountains. The District is comprised of two buildings - an elementary building serving students in grades K-6 and a Junior/Senior High School for students in grades 7-12. Approximately 375 students are enrolled in the District.

The original senior high school was built in 1919 and now mainly serves junior high school students. A senior high school was built in 1955 and a connecting ramp between the two buildings was constructed in 1981. The current elementary building was opened in 1948 with an addition in 1962.

The Pilot Rock staff is proud of the excellent education that it offers its students. The community is very supportive of its schools through volunteer activities, donations, and attendance at school events. It's great to be a Rocket!

Crystal Apple Award Nominations Now Open

Nominations for the annual Crystal Apple "Excellence in Education" Awards are now open through April 1, 2018. These annual awards organized by the InterMountain Eduation Service District (IMESD) recognize outstanding individuals in education.

Those eligible to be nominated are any full-time or part-time employee who has a cumulative total of regular service of at least one year in the Pilot Rock School District. Crystal Apples can be given to principals, assistant principals, teachers, paraeducators, office staff, maintenance staff and other district staff. They can be nominated by administrators, teachers, paraeducators, other school staff, students, parents or community members. The Nomination Form is available here (on IMESD website).

More than 50 Crystal Apple award winners will be honored in May – in La Grande on Monday, May 7 and in Pendleton on Monday, May 14.

If you have questions about the Crystal Apple Awards, please email or call 541-966-3115.

Annual District Event Honored Veterans on November 9

Pilot Rock School District staff and students honored veterans from around the region on Thursday, November 9 with their annual Veterans Day Breakfast and Assembly at Pilot Rock High School.

To view photos from the event, please visit the district Facebook page at

A hearty breakfast prepared by district cooks was served by FFA students at 9 AM. Dozens of veterans and their families enjoyed the meal and visiting with one another, students and staff.

Three members of the National Guard 41st Combat Brigade from Pendleton attended. Sergeant First Class Eric Smidt, who is Pilot Rock’s varsity boys basketball coach, invited two of his soldiers, SPC Walter Tygret and SPC Nicholas Azevedo. “These two guys are pretty young and haven’t yet been shown that appreciation for their service, so this is one good way to do that,” Smidt said. Tygret, who is from Washington, and Azevedo, who is from Connecticut, both seemed to enjoy the breakfast and the recognition.

World War II veteran Bob Michael attended with his wife, Shirley. Bob grew up on a farm about five miles outside of Pilot Rock and he and Shirley both graduated from Pilot Rock High School. Bob served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1946 in the South Pacific on a transport ship. He was 21 miles away from Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb was detonated there. Bob said the Pilot Rock Veterans Day event is a great time to socialize with other veteran friends and with high school students. “I believe we need to be teaching young people more about World War II, Korea and the Vietnam War,” said Bob.

Pilot Rock High School’s librarian Marion Schuening is also a veteran, serving in the Army twice in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States and Germany. She said the breakfast is a great opportunity for youth to honor veterans and have conversations with them.

FFA students Olivia Warner, Kylie Gaines and Mia Atkins served breakfast. They all said the veterans were really nice and this event is a small gesture for people who have done so much. “It’s great to show our respect to them since they risked their lives for our freedoms,” Warner said.

At the 10 AM assembly, a variety of American songs including “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “This Land is Your Land”, were performed by various grades, kindergarten through high school. Both band and choral students participated. Bob Deno, WWII Navy veteran, was the guest speaker and shared some of his experiences on four tours of duty aboard the USS Lexington air craft carrier. Deno said he was blessed to come home safe, but many of his friends did not, saying “Freedom isn’t free.”

Annie Tester, principal of Pilot Rock High School, said the district has been doing this event for five years, and the idea was brought by Superintendent Steve Staniak and his wife, Janis. Tester said, “We just want our veterans to feel like we love them, and I think they do.”

New System for Reporting School Safety Concerns

The Pilot Rock School District has a new system, called SafeOregon, for reporting school safety threats. SafeOregon is a program created for Oregon students, parents, school staff, and community members to report and respond to student safety threats. Tips can be submitted through email, phone call or text, mobile app or the web portal. Tips are confidential and can be made anonymously.

Tips may include bullying, violence, threat of violence, harassment, intimidation, cyber bullying, self-harm, etc.

When a tip is reported, it is handled by specially trained technicians who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for all of Oregon’s public schools Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade. The Oregon State Police provides this service through a contracted vendor.

SafeOregon is made possible through Oregon HB 4075 as a result of recommendations from the Oregon Task Force on School Safety.

The Pilot Rock School District is committed to student safety and realizes that when students feel safe in their schools, learning is more effective.

We encourage you to find out more about SafeOregon by visiting

District Online Survey

The Pilot Rock School Board is conducting an online survey of parents and community members to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the district and of the schools. In order to have your voice heard, please respond to the parent/community member survey at

Thanks for your participation!