Only 20 Schools but Hundreds of Reasons to Love the Lakota School District
Date: April 19, 2017
It’s no accident that so many families move to West Chester and Liberty Township. Not only is the quality of life fantastic and the cost of living low, but the Lakota School District that serves this area is one of the best in the state! Don’t just take my word for it. The quality of schools speaks for itself.
According to greatschools.org, an independent and non-partisan website that evaluates school quality, many of Lakota’s schools rank between 8 and 10 on a 10-point scale. The highest rated schools include Independence Elementary (10) and Vangorden Elementary (9) schools in Liberty Township and Adena Elementary (10) and Endeavor Elementary (9) in West Chester.
Concerned that only the elementary schools are top notch? Don’t be! The middle schools and high schools rank above average as well, with most posting a score of 8 out of 10 in terms of school quality. No matter which way you slice the data, Lakota Schools stand out as being exceptional.
Top Rated Faculty
The Lakota School District is renowned for providing an exceptional level of staffing for instructional intervention and enrichment. That’s at least partially because Lakota its teachers to the highest standards. Every Lakota teacher has at least a bachelor’s degree; and nearly 80% have earned advanced degrees. The average teacher has 14 years’ experience, so parents can rest assured their children are in qualified hands.
“At Lakota, we value a personalized educational experience for every student,” explains Rob Vogellman, acting superintendent of Lakota local schools. We know every student will take a different path after graduation. It’s our job to prepare them and inspire every student to explore all of their options. That requires a tremendous amount of support, yet we welcome the opportunity to help students…realize their individual gifts, discover their passions, and unlock their full potential.”
The Lakota East vs. West Rivalry
Lakota High School was once a unified district, but severe overcrowding precipitated the school district to split the school into two. In 1997, the Lakota School District opened two physically identical high schools: Lakota East and Lakota West. Naturally, the two schools became instant rivals. There’s nowhere this is born out more than in sports, which culminates each year in the East/West football game. The matchup between the Thunderhawks (Lakota East) and the Firebirds (Lakota West) usually draws record crowds, and once had to be held in Oxford, Ohio because attendance was expected to be so high.
Not a football fan? No problem. The Lakota School District boasts 26 varsity programs at each school. There are more than 2,600 student-athletes between the two schools, making it one of the largest athletic programs in the state. There are an additional 1,000 student athletes at the junior high level, too, serving as a pipeline for future state championships.
Despite the competitive spirit that exists between the two schools, Lakota East and Lakota West are actually very similar in most regards. Lakota East has about 2,700 students; Lakota West has just under 2,500. Both schools are considered two of the largest in the state.
Students at both schools average similar ACT scores (24.2), although SAT scores are a bit higher at Lakota East. This may be why Lakota East sends more students to college (81.5%) than Lakota West (75.5%), but both schools rank higher academically than other schools in the state. According to US News & World Report, there are 890 high schools in Ohio: Lakota East ranks #51 with Lakota West chomping at its heels at #54. When it comes to comparing these two schools, the “any given Sunday” reference applies to much more than just football.
Lakota Schools place a keen focus on keeping parents up to speed about the schools’ happenings as well as students’ progress. The district has adopted progressive, integrated communication platforms that enable two-way engagement between staff and parents. These platforms are also used to foster a consistent, honest and open dialogue about the schools—particularly regarding the district’s ongoing financial status. To that end, the district boasts long-term, sustainable financial planning that allows it to invest in advanced curricula, technology and high-quality operational delivery.
The Lakota school system realizes it cannot operate in a vacuum. That’s why the district has gone to such great lengths to partner with businesses and organizations throughout the community. From partnerships with organizations like West Chester Hospital and Butler Tech to the West Chester Liberty Community Foundation, students have access to advanced skill training and internship opportunities. Students’ futures are tied to the experience they get today, which is why the school district goes to such great lengths to immerse students into the community before they graduate.
These community partnerships benefit students, but the district wants to equally benefit the community. All year long, from kindergarten up through senior year, the schools find ways to make philanthropy and selfless acts of community service part of the learning experience.
“At my school, strong character and community service is as much a part of the curriculum as reading, writing or math,” says Kelly Carstons, a guidance counselor in Lakota. “Every month, a different service opportunity emphasizes to students the role they can play in serving the needs of others right here in our own community, or even halfway around the world. It’s about helping them gain a wider perspective for how they can use their talents to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.”
What we’ve laid out here is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other reasons why we love Lakota schools: from the after school programming to use of technology to supplement traditional education. The Lakota School District is at the forefront of modern education and is unquestionably going above and beyond to prepare our youth for the future.
It’s why we love Lakota schools, and why so many families are eager to settle down in West Chester and Liberty Township. You can’t put a price tag on your child’s education—but thankfully, moving to the area doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Interested in learning more? Give me a shout and let’s talk about your options. If you’re ready to make the move to West Chester or Liberty Township, we should get shopping now so you and your family will be settled in time for the Lakota school year next fall!