Bend, OR's K-12, College Classrooms Keep Student-Teacher Ratio Low

or many graduating high school seniors, college is just a few neighborhoods away, not a few states away.

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 06:55

Bend isn’t a sprawling metropolis, but you wouldn’t know that by its educational options. For many graduating high school seniors, college is just a few neighborhoods away, not a few states away. Central Oregon Community College offers dozens of associates degree and transfer programs, creating an accessible bridge from high school to a four-year university. Intramural and club sports programs, as well as student clubs and activities, contribute to a vibrant campus atmosphere that encourages many students to stay local after graduation. The campus falls squarely in the mid-sized school range, serving just over 7,000 students. Class sizes hover around a manageable 24 students, however, giving the college a smaller, more individualized feel. What perhaps many students find most attractive about COCC is its affordability. The cost for a semester, depending on where you live, starts at less than $800. For students seeking a four-year degree in Bend, Oregon State University operates its Cascades Campus. Students can choose from more than 20 degrees, such as business, psychology and international ecotourism. Bend also boasts a number of private colleges, such as High Desert Christian College, which encourages the pursuit of spirituality in an academic context. More than 70 percent of students in the Bend-La Pine K-12 School System continue their education after graduation, and they’re well prepared. System-wide SAT test scores have been consistently above the state and national average since 2001, thanks in part, likely, to the low 21 student-per-teacher ratio. Indeed, from kindergarten through college, Bend’s educational climate is geared toward individual student success. Three new elementary schools are slated for construction in the next few years, and more than 170 other construction projects are in progress. Bend-La Pine is the seventh largest school district in the state, with nearly 16,000 students at 24 schools.