A Guide to Choosing High Schools in Bend

A multi-ethnic group of high school students stand in front of a row of lockers in a Bend, Oregon high school

Selecting the right high school in Bend, Oregon, is a critical decision that can significantly impact your student’s academic and personal development. Bend, known for its scenic beauty and vibrant community, offers a variety of high schools, each with unique characteristics and strengths. This comprehensive guide aims to provide parents and students with the essential considerations for making an informed choice.

Understanding Your Options

Bend boasts a mix of public, private, and charter high schools, each offering distinct educational philosophies and environments. Public high schools, such as Bend High School and Mountain View High School, typically offer a broad curriculum with a range of extracurricular activities. Private schools, like Cascades Academy, may provide smaller class sizes and specialized programs. Charter schools, such as Realms High School, often focus on specific educational approaches or themes. Following are 11 factors to consider when making a decision about which high school for your student to attend.

1. Academic Programs and Curriculum

The cornerstone of a good high school education is a strong academic program. Investigate the curriculum offered by each school, including Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, electives, and special education programs. Consider how these align with the student’s academic interests and goals. For instance, a student interested in science and technology might look for schools with robust STEM programs.

2. Extracurricular Activities and Sports

Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in a student’s development. Schools in Bend offer a range of options, from sports teams to music, arts, and various clubs. These activities can help students develop new skills, foster a sense of community, and provide opportunities for leadership. If your child has specific interests or talents, look for schools that support and nurture these areas.

3. School Culture and Environment

The school’s culture and environment can significantly influence a student’s experience. Consider the school’s values, disciplinary policies, and the overall atmosphere. Visiting the school, attending open houses, and talking to current students and parents can provide valuable insights into the school’s culture.

4. Support Services

Examine the support services available, including counseling, college preparation, and tutoring. These services can be crucial for academic success and emotional well-being. Schools with strong support systems can help students navigate academic challenges and plan for the future.

5. Location and Logistics

The school’s location is an essential practical consideration. Proximity to home, transportation options, and commute times can affect daily life and participation in school activities. Consider how the location aligns with your family’s routine and needs.

6. Specialized Programs and Unique Offerings

Some high schools offer specialized programs or unique offerings that might appeal to certain students. For instance, a school might have a renowned arts program, a strong focus on environmental science, or offer unique international exchange opportunities. These can provide enriching experiences and enhance a student’s educational journey.

7. Performance Metrics and Reputation

Research each school’s performance metrics, such as graduation rates, test scores, and college admission rates. While these should not be the sole criteria for decision-making, they can provide a sense of the school’s academic rigor and effectiveness.

8. Community Involvement and Partnerships

Schools with strong community ties and partnerships can offer additional opportunities for learning and development. This could include internships, community service projects, or collaborations with local businesses and organizations.

9. Cost and Financial Considerations

For private schools, cost is a significant factor. Consider tuition fees, scholarships, and financial aid options. Assess how these fit into your family’s budget and financial planning.

10. Future Planning and Resources

High schools that provide robust resources for college and career planning can be invaluable. Look into each school’s resources for college counseling, career guidance, and alumni networks.

11. Personalized Education and Student Well-being

Finally, consider how each school addresses individual student needs and promotes well-being. A school that values personalized education and caters to diverse learning styles can make a significant difference in a student’s high school experience.

Making the Decision

Looking up at a group of Bend, Oregon high school students in graduation gowns and caps and holding their diplomas.

Once you’ve gathered information and weighed the factors, involve your student in the final decision-making process. Their comfort and enthusiasm for the school are crucial for a successful high school experience.

Choosing the right high school in Bend, Oregon, involves balancing academic needs, extracurricular interests, and practical considerations. By thoroughly researching and considering each factor, families can find a school that not only meets academic expectations but also supports the student’s overall growth and development. Remember, the best choice is one that aligns with your student’s unique needs, aspirations, and personality.