Of all the factors that add to the real estate value of homes in Lake Oswego, the reputation of the Lake Oswego School District is one of the biggest. And if you’re a family with school-age children, it’s the primary reason you want to call Lake Oswego home. In my twenty plus years of selling real estate, I’ve seen the school district’s reputation bring in homebuyers as much as the lake, the location, or the community. There are two ways of looking at it—by the numbers and through the words of school district patrons.
First the numbers:
- Lake Oswego schools have received the highest rating on Oregon Department of Education report cards over the last four consecutive years.
- Both high schools—Lakeridge and Lake Oswego—were named Silver Medal Schools by US News and World Reports in its annual ranking of America’s Best High Schools.
- Over 90 percent of high school students continue on to college.
- Lake Oswego students score higher on SAT and ACT scores than their counterparts in Oregon as well as the nation. In 2010 the mean SAT score of LOSD students was 1751 compared to 1546 for the state and 1509 for the nation. ACT scores showed the same pattern with LOSD students scoring 26.1 while the Oregon average was 21.5 and the national, 21.0.
- In addition to a challenging academic curriculum, the athletic programs at both high schools are strong, with seven state championships won between the two of them over the past eight years.
- Lake Oswego buys into the concept that “it takes a village.” The LOSD Foundation raises money each year for the express purpose of funding teaching jobs. In 2008 voters renewed a 5-year local option levy to supplement state funding.
Now the patrons:
- Julie Arnzen: “The school district’s reputation was a definite influence in our decision to move to Lake Oswego,” Julie explains. Having grown up in Lake Oswego, she knew it would be a good place to raise her son who started kindergarten at Forest Hills and is now at Lake Oswego High School. She has not been disappointed. “I am continually impressed by the high level of commitment by the teachers. The parent participation is simply outstanding and that is something you don’t see at many other districts. Teaching our kids is a true community effort and everyone in Lake Oswego seems to really get that.”
- John Wendland, School Board Chair: A product of Lake Oswego schools himself, John and his wife Lisa knew that Lake Oswego was where they wanted to live when they decided to move back to Oregon with their two daughters. “There’s a positive culture here,” John explains, “where the kids want to learn, the teachers want to teach and the parents want to be supportive. It’s that combination that creates an environment where kids can thrive,” he adds. While the LOSD is facing budget cuts like every school district across the nation, John believes that LOSD has been able to address the financial challenges while keeping much of what makes the district strong—from teacher-student ratios to extracurricular activities—intact.
What do you think the Lake Oswego School District does better than its counterparts? I’d love to hear it.