5 Tips for Choosing a School in Bend

Moving To Bend offers 5 tips for selecting the right school in Bend for your family.

One of the most important choices a family moving to Bend can make is which school is right for their growing children – and that means finding a neighborhood that works for everyone!

Overall, Bend has 17 elementary schools, seven middle schools, and four primary public high schools – and new schools are continuing to open. Keep in mind there are also private schools, independent schools, and other options in the city. How do you choose the right option? Here’s where to begin.

1. Know Your Location Needs

Bend has a number of excellent elementary and middle schools throughout its neighborhoods, which means finding the right school for your younger children doesn’t have to be difficult! It’s best to look at elementary schools and neighborhoods at the same time, so you can get a good idea of school options, how near schools are, and which are your favorite. Pine Ridge Elementary and Juniper Elementary are two traditionally popular options, but newer schools have great campuses and are worth a visit, too! The goal is to find a neighborhood with a matching school that works for your entire family. If you’re brand new to Bend, this can be a challenge, but Moving To Bend is happy to help out with resources, advice, and valuable services.

It’s also a good idea to check out school bus routes when looking for the right home, although this is a more flexible consideration.

2. Understand School Types

Schools in Bend include several different types available throughout the city. Public schools and charter schools (independently operated public schools that often offer specializations) are two of the most common. There are also magnet schools in the area, which are public schools with a particular focus and a lottery application process to attend. Private schools and independent schools also offer options throughout the city and registering for homeschooling is always a possibility!

Finally, if you are considering higher education in Bend, your primary two in-person options are COCC (Central Oregon Community College) and Oregon State University Cascades Campus.

3. Understand School Areas

Middle and high school students are generally assigned a school based on regional attendance areas and your address. For example, high schoolers within city limits go to Bend High (central locations), Summit (western Bend), Mountain View (northern Bend) or Caldera (southern Bend) based on their home address and school zone boundaries. Additional high schools like Skyline and Bend Tech Academy also provide alternatives. Bend schools give parents useful handbooks and maps for easier planning, so it’s important to always check your potential home address while looking for schools in Bend.

4. Start Applications Early If Necessary

Choice options for a specific school and lotteries for magnet schools require a thorough application process and request form. It’s important to start this process ASAP, since these applications generally open around the beginning of the year and quickly fill up.

5. Be Aware of Important Changes

Even school districts and options can change, sometimes quickly. For example, this will be the first year that Caldera High School will be open, which required a significant redrawing of Bend’s school district boundaries (including middle school boundaries). It’s important to keep up on these changes and always refer to the latest information when moving to Bend.

Remember, Moving To Bend can help you with school enrollment, finding the right neighborhood, and other important steps to make your move to Bend as smooth as possible.