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Old 02-06-2009, 03:17 PM
10 posts, read 25,852 times
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Our family has been considering a move to Portland for a while; our current focus is on the schools. (We have job flexibility.) We currently live in a Bay Area community with very highly rated schools. Although we very much value quality education, we are concerned about the stress levels kids are under here. Many kids are under an incredible amount of pressure from home to take the top track of classes, earn perfect (or more than perfect) grades, succeed in sports, etc. all to achieve the goal of getting into a "top" college. It's really hard for other good students not to get caught up in all of the craziness, even if they are not getting the same pressure from home.

I'm wondering if the situation is similar in the highest rated schools in Portland, or if life for the kids is a bit more balanced. I'm especially intruiged by the Riverdale schools -- the philosophy of the district, small class sizes, etc. but wonder here how much wealth affects the kids -- I would love for anyone with experience with the Riverdale or Sylvan, Lincoln schools to share any experience they've had with the schools and/or their perceptions of what academic life is for the kids (good or bad). Thanks a bunch!
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:25 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA
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It is my impression that Lincoln is more academically rigorous than Riverdale, which is partly hindered by its tiny size. Lincoln has an IB Diploma program, more sports, more clubs, etc. Riverdale is probably a bit more "exclusive," but it also lacks the diversity that Lincoln does. Lincoln's strong acadmeics mean that it functions unofficially as a magnet school, so a lot of talented kids from all over Portland get an exemption to go there. This means that Lincoln has a more socioeconomically diverse student body than Riverdale. In short, Riverdale is smaller, weathier (more or less like a private school), and more subruban. Lincoln is larger (but still small by California public school standards), more diverse, and more urban.

Generally, I think you will find that Portland will have less of the driven, overachiever culture that you are experiencing in your Bay Area community, even at the top public high schools. People tend to be a bit more laid back and don't think it's the end of the world if their kid gets a B.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:29 PM
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Default Thanks!

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I appreciate it.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:11 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I attended Lincoln, as did both of my children. I know nothing of Riverdale but agree that Lincoln parents set high academic standards for their children; they also support programs such as speech. The one thing that has been an issue at Lincoln since I was a kid is the social grind. Lots of kids don't give a feather about that because they are immersed in academics, but for kids who want to be liked by the in-crowd it can be an unhappy existence.

Know your child, provide activities outside of high school so that their school friends don't comprise their only social circle, and they will do fine.

FYI, my SIL teaches at Tino. Academically the schools are similar (although their band is better). Lincoln's football team used to be like Tino's, but recently Lincoln had played much better. Tino, however, is several times Lincoln's size.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:20 PM
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Default Thank You

Thank you for your response.
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:55 PM
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I am doing some research on-line for my real estate company and stumbled onto your question. I am a parent of two Riverdale students (my husband a Riverdale grad) and I am a current Riverdale School board member. While I do not have a student at the High School yet many of my friends do and are thrilled with the education their kids are getting. Honors are offered for all classes. There is a great sense of community. Two thirds of the students come from out of district and either transfer in or pay tuition. Our graduation requirements are higher than any other school in the state. Students will tell you it is cool to be involved and smart but I think do not feel too overwhelmed. As for the wealth. It is here but the HS is diverse as is the neighborhood. While most are very well off there are many who make ends meet so their kids can go to the school. If you would like I would be happy to connect you with someone to talk to at the school.
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