Back to School: Pahlisch School District Guide

Ah, summer. It’s the season of sunshine, pool parties, backyard barbecues . . . and moving vans? Statistics say yes! It’s estimated that nearly 45% of annual U.S. moves occur between May and August. And common sense supports the data. The summer months are usually more flexible for many people, and families want to settle into a new home before the school year starts.

If your family is considering moving to the Pacific Northwest — or a new city if you’re already a PNW local — you may have lots of questions about the region’s many school districts. Have no fear; we can help you find some answers! With forty years of experience building homes and designing neighborhoods in Oregon and Washington, we have a good grasp of what different school districts have to offer in the communities where we build.

So here’s our guide to Northwest Oregon, Central Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Southeast Washington school districts.

Northwest Oregon School Districts

Equally close to the culture and amenities of a city like Portland and the lush forests of the Cascade Mountains, residents of Northwest Oregon get the best of both worlds. In Hillsboro, Estacada, and soon Canby, we build communities in the greater Portland area that are designed to accommodate the wide range of lifestyles that reflect this region.


Hillsboro School District

Hillsboro is Oregon’s fifth-largest city and has a thriving and innovative economy thanks to the nearby headquarters of companies like Intel and Nike. Serving 19,000 students across four high schools, four middle schools, and many elementary schools, Hillsboro School District stands out for its diversity. With 2,400 bilingual students in Dual Language Programs across ten schools, Hillsboro actually ranks as the state’s most diverse school district after Portland Public Schools.

Estacada Schools

The Estacada School District is made up of two elementary schools, a middle school, a high school, and a charter school, serving approximately 2,800 total students. According to the district website, they provide a small-town school environment to the students in their expansive 750-square-mile geographic area, and they offer options for career technical education that rival larger school districts.

Canby School District

Just 20 miles south of Portland and known for its rich farmland, Canby strikes an appealing balance of quiet country living with proximity to city life. Canby School District educates around 4,200 students across eight schools in the heart of Clackamas County, including a dual language immersion elementary school. The district also enjoys a B grade from Niche, a leading ranking and review website with in-depth profiles of schools throughout the country. 

Central Oregon School Districts

With stunning mountains, lots of sun, and pristine landscapes, Central Oregon is known for its nature. Couple that beautiful scenery with a bustling arts and food scene, and it’s no wonder why Bend — the biggest city in the region — is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. To keep up with population growth, the City of Bend has a comprehensive plan for developing land to meet the demands of more residents. This includes the development of new schools.

Whether you’re looking to live in Bend or want a quieter community outside the city, there are multiple Pahlisch communities with beautiful homes within the region’s top school districts.


Bend-La Pine Schools

Bend is the biggest city in Central Oregon, with plenty of great shops and restaurants, plus access to fun water activities on the Deschutes River which winds its way through downtown. Bend-La Pine is the fifth-largest school district in Oregon, with over 17,000 students spread across 33 schools, including elementary, K-8, middle, and high schools, as well as charter schools, a tech academy, and other programs. It’s also ranked as the eighth-best school district for athletes in Oregon, and its student test scores are in the top 20% of all schools in the state.

Redmond School District

Redmond is about 20 minutes north of Bend, nestled between the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests. Redmond School District has 13 schools and 7,000 students. It offers a good educational experience in a smaller community with less hustle and bustle than in neighboring Bend. It also ranks in the top 18% of school districts in Oregon.

Crook County School District

In the middle of the high desert, Prineville offers great fishing, biking, hiking, and more outdoor fun for families. Crook County School District serves over 3,200 students at eight schools from elementary through high school, including two rural schools that serve families in Paulina and Brothers. One unique aspect of the district is its partnership with Facebook and its local data centers. According to the district, “the company has contributed nearly $2 million over the past decade helping the school district achieve 1-to-1 in technology – meaning every student has access to their own iPad or Chromebook.” They also invest in the district’s Science, Technical, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.

Southwest Washington School Districts

The heart of this region is the city of Vancouver, which sits right across the Columbia River from Portland and only a couple of hours south of Seattle. This proximity to the major hubs of the Pacific Northwest makes Vancouver a desirable location, which is partly why the city is preparing for its population to more than double in the next 20 years. This will require the building of more schools to accommodate families moving to the area.

In Vancouver and neighboring Ridgefield, we have Pahlisch communities that offer convenient locations with easy access to some of the region’s best schools.


Vancouver Public Schools

Vancouver Public Schools comprises 21 elementary schools, six middle schools, five high schools, an arts school, a STEM school, and three additional programs — all serving a population of 22,000 students. The district has an overall B grade from Niche and an A grade for diversity, with 100 different languages spoken by students across the district.

Ridgefield School District

Ridgefield is a smaller city of about 10,000 just north of Vancouver along the I-5 corridor. Ridgefield School District, with six schools and over 3,300 students, is the second-ranked school in Clark County and has an impressive A- grade from Niche. Fun fact: the school’s mascot is a potato, and its sports teams are called the “Spudders.” If mascots weigh heavily in your school choices, you probably can’t do better than this!

Southeast Washington School Districts

With sunshine, lava flows, and rich farmland, Southeast Washington stands apart from Vancouver, Ridgefield, and other places in the western part of the state. While some cities in the region — like Pasco — are growing quickly like their western counterparts, many Southeast Washington residents love the slower pace and community feel of the area compared to larger cities like Seattle.

In both Pasco and nearby Richland, you can find a number of Pahlisch homes in beautifully-designed communities with stunning views, relaxing pools, and other world-class amenities. 


Richland School District

Richland is part of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area in southeast Washington, and Richland School District serves over 13,000 students in 21 schools. With an overall A- grade from Niche, the district ranks highly in many areas, including being #10 in “Districts with the Best Teachers in Washington” and #22 in “Best School Districts in Washington.”

Pasco School District

Also part of the Tri-Cities area, Pasco is a thriving agricultural area with great food and farmers’ markets. Pasco School District has over 19,000 students across 17 elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools, and four digital learning platforms. It ranks as one of the best school districts for athletes and one of the best places to teach in the area.

Discover Your Dream Community With Pahlisch Homes

If your family is ready to move to the Pacific Northwest and you’ve found a school or community you love, we’re here to help! Reach out to one of our New Home Specialists to learn more about finding a beautiful Pahlisch home in the community of your dreams.


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