Understanding all that Central Oregon’s High Schools Have to Offer
By Lizzi Katz
Not sure what’s out there when it comes to secondary education in Central Oregon? While still focusing on general academic skills, our high schools are evolving as they strive to keep students engaged and prepared for an ever-changing world.
Local high schools offer a wealth of programs to challenge students academically, prepare them for college and introduce them to today’s career options. In addition to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, there are programs where students learn technical skills, earn college credits from Central Oregon Community College (COCC), and even earn an associate’s degree upon graduation from high school.
The three largest high schools all host incoming freshman nights. This is the best way to tour the school and learn more in-depth about each one’s unique academics, clubs and sports (Summit High School February 21 at 6 p.m., Mountain View High School February 22 at 6 p.m., Bend Senior High School February 27 at 6:30 p.m.).
If your student is interested in a program offered at a school outside their home high school, families must submit an Attendance Area Change Request (available on the Bend-La Pine website) by March 1. Jay Mathisen, Bend-La Pine’s Deputy Superintendent of Secondary
Programs warns that transferring may be more difficult this year with all high schools being over capacity. Switching schools is only possible as space allows, and transfer
applications for each school will be selected randomly.
Here’s a quick peek into some of the programs currently offered in our local high schools:
Bend La-Pine Public High Schools
Bend High School, the oldest and largest of our schools, with almost 1800 students, offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. Here students follow an international curriculum and take in-depth classes with a world-view, and can opt to earn an IB diploma. Other programs include the popular rec/tech class (students learn real world skills in engineering, manufacturing and digital design while producing skis and snowboards), an award winning culinary arts program and Mandarin Chinese classes.
Mountain View High School has created a partnership with Central Oregon Community College (COCC) that allows students to earn their associate’s degree while taking most of their classes at the high school. Mountain View also offers an active Agriscience program through Future Farmers of America, and classes in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, as well.
Summit High School offers 18 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, including computer science. Students can participate in Project Lead the Way, a national three-class program in Engineering or BioMed, where students complete coursework along with project-based learning experiences. Summit has classes in journalism (includes working on The Pinnacle, Summit’s award winning newspaper) and Japanese. Here, also, the arts – theatrical, visual and music – are a thriving part of the Summit culture.
La Pine High School offers classes to help students be successful in their rural community. In addition to college prep, there are classes in forestry, as well as a class on hospitality, tourism & recreation. Taught in partnership with Sunriver Resort, students visit the resort, learn about a wide variety of careers in the hospitality industry, job shadow professionals, build resumes, and even find seasonal employment.
Looking for something outside the box? There are alternative, virtual, charter and private high school options in Central Oregon. Contact these schools directly for more
information and to schedule a tour.
Marshall High School is Bend-La Pine School district’s alternative school. This small community (current enrollment is under 160 students) offers credit-deficient students a fresh start. Students receive daily academic support with classroom teachers as well as with peer tutors through Proficiency Lab (Pro Lab).
Bend-La Pine Online offers students full and part-time enrollment online. While some students use virtual classes to earn their diplomas, the majority of students use the 200+ classes available to supplement their home or school-based education.
Cascades Academy is an independent K-12 private school located in Tumalo, just outside Bend. A small upper school (35 students currently are enrolled in grades 9-12) allows a close learning community. Students balance college preparatory curriculum with experiential learning, including opportunities for professional internships, service learning, fine arts, travel and outdoor education. Scholarships are available.
Trinity Lutheran School is a K-12 private school offering a college preparatory curriculum for families seeking a small learning community with a Christian framework. AP classes are available.
Redmond Proficiency Academy (RPA) is a tuition-free college preparatory charter school. The open campus and independent learning environments, including flexible class schedules, are designed to empower students in managing
Baker Early College is a tuition-free charter school, which enrolls students full-time at COCC. If your student demonstrates readiness to be successful at the college level and is ready to leave the social environment of high school, this option gives students college credit from
a community college while they complete their high school diploma.