The top cities to live and learn in the West 2011
What are most family-friendly towns in the Western states? From beautiful coastal hamlets to brainy college enclaves, we found the 10 best cities for housing and public schools.
By GreatSchools Staff
Lake Oswego, OR
Education quality score: 93.74
Median home value: $392,040
This winning city has a laundry list of honors: It’s won the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award twice, each of the city’s 13 schools has been named an “Exceptional School” by the state of Oregon, and it made Money magazine’s top 100 places to live in 2009. Plus, sitting on the banks of the Willamette River and Lake Oswego, the city has acres of parks, walkways, and outdoor recreation, but it’s just a stone’s throw from the state’s major cities. While its humble roots are in the fur trade, lumber mills, and iron manufacturing, Lake Oswego is one of the state’s most affluent and cultural cities, renowned for its stellar arts organizations and outstanding schools.
Lake Oswego schools outperform most in the state. More than 90 percent of graduates continue to college, and last year 16 students were National Merit Finalists considered for one of 2,500 scholarships nationwide based on outstanding academic achievement – and four students won.
What makes the schools special? For starters, consistently small classes, good student-teacher ratios, and small neighborhood schools play a key role. But the district also offers a host of enviable programs, including before- and after-school programs, athletics, gifted programs, art, and music (starting in first grade). Currently, there are 6,767 students in nine elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two high schools – but that may be about to change. Anticipating a huge budget shortfall for next year, the city is grappling with potential solutions, including closing some elementary schools and moving sixth grade to middle school. Another dark cloud? The possibility of teacher layoffs looms.
Learn more about all schools in Lake Oswego, OR.
Photo credit: brx0
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