Rankings affect home values, pique outsiders' interest in Lake Oswego, school officials say

The word is out: Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools are at the top of their class when it comes to the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Both schools landed on the U.S. News’ Best High Schools list this year. The rankings, released last week, named Lake Oswego High School as a Gold Medal School, ranked fourth in the state and 388th in the nation; and Lakeridge High School as a Silver Medal School, ranked sixth in the state and 797th in the nation.

The schools for years have medaled and received a ranking with the exception of what happened to Lakeridge in 2013, an error occurring when data for the ranking passed from state officials to U.S. News.Schubert

But what do the rankings mean?

Lake Oswego High School now has received its third Gold Medal School designation, and Principal Cindy Schubert said it’s a positive thing for the community, but it doesn’t define the school nor tell the whole story of its supportive teachers and the welcome it gives all its students.

She did say local high schools’ reputation is important for potential residents.

“I imagine families moving into the area look at information from the U.S. News and World Report and possibly use it to decide what schools to look at,” Schubert said.

In addition to helping people decide whether to move here, that gold and silver reputation of local high schools also may contribute to high property values, Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Bill Korach said.

“Bringing families into Lake Oswego is important to the prosperity of the community,” Korach said.Korach

A high school’s ranking is not something most colleges look at, however, said Lisa Meyer

Dean for enrollment and communications at Lewis & Clark. Admissions staff have their own way of selecting undergraduates and do not fully trust the list — U.S. News does not make public every aspect of its ranking method. Most schools already know the reputations of a high school, and the school counselor offers up details on graduation rates and how many AP classes are offered. Meyer said a student’s school and community are influences, and the student’s level of preparation and potential are crucial. Students of all types and from all walks of life benefit a school, she said.

“When we are building a whole new class, we don’t want just one type of student,” she said.

About the rankings

Every year, U.S. News releases rankings for high schools, colleges, universities and graduate schools, a list many people use to choose their educational institutions. U.S. News partners with Washington, D.C.-based research organization American Institutes for Research to judge high schools on factors including advanced placement scores, state testing scores, how well a school serves all students and how well a school prepares students for college.

“We live in an increasingly data-driven and competitive world,” SchieleLakeridge Principal Jennifer Schiele said. “These types of rankings matter to people who want a quick validation of the comparative quality of a school. To its credit, US News does a good job determining rankings based on a variety of important data. We do know, however, that the rankings do not provide the whole picture.

“Just as education is about so much more than grades, what we do in our schools is about so much more than a ranking. That is why we encourage potential families to visit and prospective students to shadow for the day.”

A few of the other schools receiving top state rankings in Oregon are: International School of Beaverton, first; Corbett School, second; Corbett Charter School, third; and Lincoln High School of Portland, fifth.

The 2014 U.S. News annual report evaluated more than 31,200 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Earning a national ranking is a distinction with most schools receiving an analysis but no ranking. The list ends with No. 2,019, Vashon Island High School in Washington.

A few select schools also receive gold, silver, or bronze medals. About 73 percent of schools did not medal this year; 9 percent got silver; and 3 percent earned gold.

“I’m just really, really proud of our kids and teachers and parents we’re very fortunate to have that kind of performance with our kids,” Korach said.

The Lakeridge omission

For last year’s ranking, the state testing scores Lakeridge was judged on were so high, something went amiss, and the school ended up not being ranked, though LOHS was a Gold Medal High School ranked second in the state.

The Oregon Department of Education does not report the exact percentage of students with scores of 95 percent or more, a policy adopted to keep in line with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

In 2013, more than 95 percent of Lakeridge students met or exceeded state testing standards for reading and math, according to the Lake Oswego School District. Almost 95 percent of Lake Oswego High school students met or exceeded standards in reading and 90 percent did so in math.

U.S. News officials said the problem was with how Oregon Department of Education provided state-testing data used to inform rankings.

Kevin Hamler-Dupras, O.D.E. accountability reporting manager, said state officials have been presenting the same data to U.S News in the same way for years.

To view for the full 2014 U.S. News High Schools rankings, visit

By Jillian Daley
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