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C.O. Latino education leader honored

REDMOND, Ore. - Mary Conde-Rivera recently received the Oregon Community Foundation's Latino Partnership Program's Community Leader of the Year Award for her work with the Latino communities in Central Oregon.

Conde-Rivera is the coordinator of the Oregon Mexico Education Partnership (OMEP) Program also known as Plaza Comunitaria, a collaboration between the Redmond and Bend school districts, the Mexican Consulate, COCC and the High Desert Education Services District (HDESD).  

OMEP offers the opportunity for Mexican citizens living in the US to continue their education in Spanish using national curriculum from Mexico. Adult students are able to complete their "primaria" or "secundaria" certificates and many continue in their studies to earn a GED.

"Mary has spent countless hours building this program in both Bend and Redmond," said HDESD Superintendent John Rexford. "To get the program started, Mary went door to door to recruit participants."

According to Rexford, the program began with two students and has since grown to serve 30.

"Mary's passion for education and commitment to her students is extraordinary. She has been both a role model and source of encouragement to so many in our communities," said Rexford.

In addition to her work with OMEP, Conde-Rivera coordinates the HDESD's Interpreter/ Translator Program to serve Latino residents region-wide, including those in the Bend-LaPine, Redmond, Crook and Sisters school districts.

In this capacity, she recruits and screens quality interpreters and translators for school districts and regional agencies.

Conde-Rivera has also co-authored an interpreter training manual for ongoing monthly professional development to enhance the delivery of interpretation.

The manual focuses on the Code of Ethics, academic language and the Do's and Don'ts of Interpreting.  It is recognized as a unique model within the state and her team recently presented the manual at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). 

The presentation has led to many requests from districts around the state to present and assist with developing ongoing district professional development training for interpreters working in the school environment.

The High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) is a regional support system that links school districts in Central Oregon to state and national education resources. HDESD programs help districts minimize duplication of services, preserve local budgets and receive special programs that might otherwise be unavailable to them.

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