Lake Oswego Schools Foundation kicks off season of fundraising

The Lake Oswego Schools Foundation had its annual luncheon Monday, and as in years past, it did not disappoint.

Attended by school board members, parents and administrators, the luncheon featured an address by LOSF Chairman Steve Wells.

“An excellent education opens the door to a lifetime of opportunity,” he said. “Really the backbone of everything that we have as a community, our schools have been successful, phenomenally, by any measure you could possibly give.”

For that success to continue, however, the Lake Oswego School District will somehow have to pull itself out of a $3 million budgetary hole — the primary reason for the luncheon.

But, Wells pointed out: “Whether we add 25 teachers or 50 teachers, we are much better than we would be without the foundation.”

Lakeridge High School senior Matt White, one of two student speakers, agreed.

“Here in Lake Oswego we are afforded numerous opportunities,” he said. “What truly makes this district the best in the state is the work that all of you do.”

“This isn’t just a school district,” Lake Oswego High School senior Nicholas King said. “It’s a community.”

The foundation’s ultimate goal is not only to have district coffers full but overflowing, so as to be able to offer an even higher caliber level of educational programming.

Keynote speaker John Taponga had some thoughts on the matter.

The president of economic consulting firm ECONorthwest, Taponga explained that the dominant educational paradigm that has existed for more than a century may no longer be relevant.

“Beginning in 1980, we started to lose the race with technology and globalization,” he said. “Technology ... has reduced the demand for low-skilled labor.”

In order to be formidable potential employees, Lake Oswego students will “have to be problem solvers,” Taponga said. “Simply being able to do math over and over again, that’s a routine. That will be replaced. People are going to have to be great thinkers and problem solvers.”

By being able to afford educational technologies that can test and grade for teachers, Taponga said, LOSD would give teachers more time for individualized instruction.

And if the foundation is successful in its quest for funding, Wells said, “If any district would have the ability to lead, I believe it would be us.”

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