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Students, teachers return to LO schools

The district welcomes new teachers for the first time in five years, meets AYP standards

Residents of Lake Oswego and students of the Lake Oswego School District should be proud of two major accomplishments by their district.

The new school year, which kicked off this week with orientations and classes, marked the first time in five years that the district has hired new instructors. And it isn't a small number. A whopping 51 new teachers (enough to fill two elementary schools) began leading classes this week at the district's 13 schools. The full-time and part-time employees were divided up among the schools based on need and enrollment.

The addition came about thanks to $1.85 million in community donations through the Lake Oswego School Foundation's annual fund-raiser. All of the money is used to hire - or retain - teachers. State funds also helped the major hire. Not only did LOSD avoid cutting teaching positions this year, it was able to bring the 51 on board.

The hires come from a wide range of backgrounds and teaching experiences, from William Campbell (who took the place of retired and revered Lakeridge High School Choral Director Steve Ticen) to social studies teacher Mike Noble (a world traveler who has spent the past two years teaching in Mexico). They are first-timers and veterans. The district even hired two new elementary principals. Everyone will do their part in helping to reduce class size and bolster school offerings.

The district, which faces declining enrollment, should be applauded for such a high achievement. While many school districts across Oregon are busy cutting programs and staff, LOSD is welcoming more to its high-achieving ranks.

And that's not all.

For the first time, all schools in the LOSD have met the 'adequate' rating for the state's Adequate Yearly Progress report. Lake Oswego High School was the only district school deemed 'inadequate' last month when preliminary ratings were released, but LOSD officials cited a small data glitch and appealed the decision.

The Oregon Department of Education agreed to grant a change in the school's rating. The new ratings were released by ODE this week.

The 'adequate' designation is part of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act and is based on a number of criteria including student performance, graduation rates and participation on state tests.

The feat is a big step for the district, which (aside from its quality education) relies on perception and a widespread reputation to attract and keep students who might otherwise attend private school. Kudos to all!