As an educator at Three Rivers Charter School, I am always surprised at the number of people unaware that the West Linn-Wilsonville School District has a charter school in its midst. 

If they do know of our existence, they are often misinformed about our school. We are mistaken as a private school or maybe as the feeder school for the Art Tech High School since it was a charter school. Neither of these is true. 

Visiting our school, you see that Three Rivers hosts students from grades four through eight. They come seeking small class sizes afforded by the only 100 students in the school.  They come for the continuity provided by the staff of 10 adults who walk with them through their five years here. Last, but not least, they seek the challenge provided in our self-developed curriculum. 

With our close-knit community, we counsel our students to self-advocate, to take responsibility and to become the change they want to see. Leadership is expected. Humanities becomes a part of our culture and an understanding of respect and caring ensues. 

Our school retains a reputation of being highly academic, recently advertised through the top rating we received through the state’s report card, our 10th consecutive since the rating system was instituted. In fact, our waiting list each year sports approximately 40 families who would like to join us at TRCS. 

As the WL-WV School Board negotiates our charter renewal, my hope is that they and the wider community recognize the empowered young leaders we have sent into the world the last 13 years. 

Help us celebrate the contributions we make to the larger district, that of quality education. Believing in our motto, “Your life is what you make it,” I am living my dream as an educator of this amazing organization.   

Denise Collins is a teacher at Three Rivers Charter School in West Linn.

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