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Wilsonville schools receive high marks in Niche report, district shows impressive grades overall

PMG FILE PHOTO  - WL-WV School District ranked No. 2 in the state, according to the Niche report. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District named No. 2 in a ranking of public school districts in Oregon, and 16 area schools — including Three Rivers Charter School and excluding Meridian Creek Middle School, which was not included in the Niche report — received impressive report cards from Niche's 2020 Best Schools list.

"We're always pleased to hear that our schools are being noticed for their quality and we are always grateful or appreciative (that) we are noticed for the quality of our schools, the hard work of our staff (and) the efforts of our students," said WL-WV Superintendent Kathy Ludwig, adding that the support of the communities have made a tremendous impact on the success of the district.

Niche is a national organization that gives letter grades to various elements of a school district ranging from academics to health and safety. The group then produces a report card for the district and each individual school. The report cards are calculated by gathering data from dozens of public data sources including the Department of Education and U.S. Census as well as reviews and survey responses from parents and students, which are analyzed and compared to other school districts across the state and country.

The WL-WV School District received an A-, A and A+ in many categories: academics, teachers, clubs and activities, administration, college prep, health and safety and sports.

The district's food was graded a B, resources and facilities were given a B+ and the district was given a B- for diversity. According to Niche, this grade is based on racial and economic diversity and survey responses on school culture and diversity from parents and students.

Ludwig and WL-WV Communications Director Andrew Kilstrom both said equity is integral to what they do and it's a top priority and focus in the district. They also noted that Niche's methodologies are not completely clear. Ludwig said there is a certain demographic in the WL-WV communities and the district educates the demographic of students that reside here. She added that she is proud of the efforts of the district to make a more equitable and inclusive school culture.

The district took the top spot for student athletes and came in fourth place for the best teachers in Oregon.

West Linn High School was ranked the fifth best public high school in the state, and the second best high school for athletes in Oregon.

Wilsonville High School was ranked the 11th best public high school in the state, and received fourth for athletes in the Oregon.

Arts and Technology High School had grades ranging from a C to a B+, with its highest ranked category being a B+ in diversity. It's important to note Art Tech is a smaller school that focuses on individualized learning for students in grades 10-12. There are also fewer teachers and no athletic teams at the high school, so Ludwig said she is hesitant to compare it to other high schools around the state.

Rather, Ludwig would like to focus on other indicators to show a school's success like attendance, graduation rate and how students are making growth toward their goals.

Three Rivers Charter School was named the best public charter middle school in the state and was ranked 75 out of 3,092 public charter middle schools nationwide.

"We were really excited to see how we ranked with other charter schools across the state. It is nice for us to be recognized, but it really is a reward for our students, staff and families that work as hard as they can to make TRCS the best we are capable of being," said Three Rivers Administrator Nic Chapin in an email. "We try and focus on working to be better than the day before. Those small attainable steps allow for success over a year. I could not be more proud of our community and the dedication they have towards TRCS. It really is a great community. We also feel lucky to be part of and work with an amazing district. The leadership team in the WLWV School District is amazing and have been so supportive of Three Rivers."

Both Athey Creek and Rosemont middle schools made the Top 10 and were given an overall A grade. Inza R. Wood Middle school received a B+ grade overall, a B+ in academics, A- for teachers and B+ for diversity.

All nine elementary schools in the WL-WV School District received high marks, with grades ranging from an A- to an A.

To view the complete Niche report card, go to https://www.niche.com/k12/d/west-linn-wilsonville-school-district-or/.

While Ludwig said it's nice to receive accolades, the ultimate indicators that show how well the district and its schools are operating are graduation rates, attendance, academic achievement growth and interim data that shows how students are progressing and growing toward the goals they set. Ludwig said the district has more control over these indicators and can monitor the impact on a more regular basis.


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