Schools 2017: The Other Districts

A Look at Portland’s Metro-Area School Districts—Other Than PPS

Together, these surrounding districts educate nearly four times as many students.

By Margaret Seiler and Zach Dundas January 23, 2017 Published in the February 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Portland Public Schools’ enrollment of around 49,000 makes it the state’s largest district (and gives it the bulk of the local headlines). But most metro-area kids don’t go to a PPS school. Together, these surrounding districts educate nearly four times as many students.

1. Scappoose

Approximately 2,300 students

Scappoose has one of the metro area’s lowest rate of English-language learners.

2. Vancouver


Residents vote February 14 on a bond, the district’s first since 2001, that would rebuild seven existing schools and construct two new elementaries.

3. Evergreen


Just days before the start of this school year, a teacher strike loomed for the sixth-largest school district in Washington state—until a 3 a.m. agreement between the district and the teachers’ union.

4. Reynolds


As of 2015, Reynolds—named for the aluminum foil maker that was a big employer in the area before its Troutdale plant closed in 2000—had the metro area’s highest percentage of students defined as homeless: those without “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”

5. Hillsboro


The fourth-largest district in the state (after Portland, Salem-Keizer, and Beaverton) claims 91 different countries of origin among its families.

6. Parkrose


It’s a family affair: the superintendent’s grandchildren attend school in the district, which has the metro area’s highest percentage of students of color.

7. Beaverton


After approving construction of a sixth high school, the district has been through its own boundary review process, with freshmen and most sophomores starting at their newly assigned high schools this coming fall.

8. Riverdale


One of the wealthiest school districts in the country per capita, tiny Riverdale boasts the state’s highest percentage of students scoring in the top level of last year’s math, science, and language arts standardized tests.

9. David Douglas


David Douglas is also the namesake of the Douglas fir. The district’s percentage of students of color went from 38 in 2005 to 59 in 2015.

10. Centennial


Founded the year of the nation’s bicentennial (and sharing its name with a high school that opened when Oregon turned 100), it now has one of the state’s highest rates of English-language learners.

11. Gresham-Barlow


Families in the district speak more than 50 languages.

12. Tigard-Tualatin


In November, voters in this suburban district overwhelmingly approved a $291 million bond measure, the largest in the district’s history.

13. North Clackamas


With more than 86 percent of students present and accounted for regularly, North Clack boasts one of the state’s highest attendance rates.

14. Lake Oswego


In May, Lake O will vote on its own bond measure: $187 million to rebuild Lakeridge Junior High and replace the district pool, among other improvements.

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