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Estacada High earns praise in national news magazine

Estacada High School has been focusing on student-centered education, which leaders credit for recognition by U.S. News and World Report as one of Oregon’s best high schools.

Of Oregon’s 325 high schools, 114 made the list.

When ranking schools, U.S. News and World Report took into consideration reading and math performance, performance of disadvantaged students and college readiness.

In the rankings, Oregon schools had three schools with gold medals, 25 with silver medals and 86 with bronze medals. Estacada High school ranked as bronze.

One of the tenants of the rankings was that the school “must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

The high school has been striving to do just that.

“We want to embrace the different student needs that come into our school. We’re really working on it,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter noted that all teachers focus on individualized instruction in order to familiarize themselves with the needs of each student.

“They’re really able to tell where students are at, and from that relationship, they’re able to cater education to that student based on their specific needs,” he said. “We’ve also been trying to be really intentional of teachers knowing each student’s goals and aspirations so they can help them get there.”

These efforts have paid off. School administrators were pleased with the language arts scores on this year’s Smarter Balanced tests, which were higher than those of schools in similar districts.

Additionally, Estacada’s students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students scored higher than the state wide averages in English, math and science.

The school has many opportunities for the economically disadvantaged, including free and reduced lunch programs.

Carpenter also noted that community partners often donate money to fund the activity fees of students who otherwise would be unable to participate.

“Our goal is that money should not exclude anyone from any activity,” Carpenter said. “We have a lot of support for students within our own community.”

The high school also strives to further cater to student needs by offering courses that the students are interested in.

The new engineering and agriculture programs are a result of this focus. In the future, Carpenter also hopes to start a culinary arts program.

Carpenter looks forward to seeing continued progress at the high school.

“We’re going in the right direction,” Carpenter said. “But we’re still a growing school.”

Still, he’s proud of where the school is now.

“I want to shout it from the rooftops,” he said. “Your kids go to a great school.”