Working toward a solution
Weve all thought of it: Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools, combining to form one school, no longer separated by the boundary we see as a lake. Now the idea doesnt seem so far-fetched, because a planning group known as the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC) has been looking into the benefits and negatives of combining the two high schools.
According to a Jan. 14 article in The Review, Consolidation is among the visions being considered by a planning committee looking at the future of the Lake Oswego School District. This vision, while of course still only in the conceptual stage, was the most favored of three ideas that were proposed.
As a student of Lakeridge High School, it is quite difficult to imagine being fellow classmates with students of Lake Oswego High. This idea would seem strange for most students, younger and older, likely because we have known nothing else. But as a spectator in this process and decision, I decided to look at some of the major variables of combining schools, for better or worse. I figured the best way to imagine such changes would be to go through an average day.
Seeing that the high school Id be attending would be Lake Oswego High School, I wouldnt have the luxury of rolling out of bed just in time to make it to first period. I would start my day about 20 minutes earlier, which of course is nothing too dramatic; some kids might even benefit from the change. Parking would be a difficult task, and double the spots would be needed to help ease the rushed minutes of the morning commute before the bell sounded.
As I got to class, there would likely be many more students, both familiar and unfamiliar, than I was initially used to. Teachers would teach as normal, although they would be able to answer individual questions less frequently. During a recent meeting held to display and discuss the proposal, Lakeridge senior Jocelyn Wright mentioned that having a small school allows students and teachers to build a relationship and create connections that last years to follow. However, this lack of individual help may very well be neutralized by the benefit of having more student interactions, thereby increasing learning and answered questions.
As I transition from class to class, the halls would be doubly as crowded, which (if you are a student now) is hard to even imagine. However, knowing how adaptable most students truly are, school in its entirety would be relatively the same. After school, I must imagine that with such a large student body, there would be a plethora of involved clubs. With twice as many people interested in the same things as you, there would be constant opportunities to do what you enjoy.
Later at night, I would likely head to a sports practice. However, considering every grade levels team will likely consist of the best half from LO and the best half from Lakeridge, who knows what sports I would play? I was able to try a lot of sports and stick with my favorites, because there was that opportunity. With twice as many kids growing up in the district, I would very likely not have been able to try as many sports, or ever become so involved in a team. Being someone who has learned a lot from a teams, coaches and sports as a whole, I think this is a crucial opportunity that should not be minimized.
I suppose the idea of if its not broken, dont fix it first popped into my head when I heard the proposal. While this thought still remains relevant, the LRFPC brought up a few solid points to consider during the council meeting. For example, school boundary adjustments may be required in the future to balance enrollment. If school boundary adjustments were required, it would make sense to make any school changes then, seeing that they had to be adjusted anyway.
The committee also said that compared to 2014-15 enrollment, district-wide enrollment is not expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years. Seeing that we want our city to grow in all aspects, the LRFPC brings up a good point that something should be done if our schools do not expect a trend upward.
Although a consolidated school may not be the best idea, I do agree that something needs to be done in coming years. The LRFPC has proposed other ideas, and will continue to work toward a solution.