Best School Districts to live in PDX in 2020
Of course, there are other areas in and around Portland that have incredible schools, but we wanted to provide areas that have top schools for each age group. So these are the best school districts to live in that will ensure your children have the best from elementary all the way through to high school.
Reach out to us if you have any questions about the best school districts in Oregon or where to live in Portland, Oregon. We would be happy to answer them. We’re available day and night, because we absolutely love what we do and we want to help people find the best fit when moving to Oregon or Washington.
So, you’re moving to Portland, Oregon with your family. Naturally, you’re looking for the best schools in the Portland Metro. It’s important to us that our readers get correct and up-to-date information that could help them if they decide to move to Portland, Oregon.
In this post, we’re going to go over all of the top school districts in the Portland Metro area. As real estate agents in Portland and Vancouver, one of the number one questions we’re often asked by families is “what are the best school districts in Portland, Oregon?”
Before we dive in, here are the education stats for Portland as a whole:
Niche grade: A
Number of schools: 224 (including private schools)
Northwest Portland Schools
Niche grade: A+
Number of schools: 26
First, we’ll start with Northwest Portland. In the Bethany area of Northwest Portland, you’ll find three schools that all rank 8 or above on greatschools.org. We have one for each age group with Finley Elementary, Stoller Middle School, and Sunset High School all coming in at above average.
Northwest Portland has lots of great options for private schools as well. Jesuit High School is one of the top-rated high schools in the country and they have a very strong sports program.
Northwest Portland is home to some of our favorite communities.
- For those in the medical field, Northwest has the awe-inspiring Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and its attached hospitals.
- For jobs in tech, NW PDX is also where Portland’s tech area, also known as “Silicon Forest” resides. The Silicon Forest tech corridor runs between Hillsboro of Northwest Portland and Beaverton of Southwest Portland. The Forest is a huge hub for companies like Intel, Nike, Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, and many more. Not only is it a beautiful place to live; it’s walkable, full of opportunity, and close to downtown.
With these surroundings and such great schools, kids tend to thrive in Northwest Portland.
Southwest Portland Schools
Niche grade: A-
Number of schools: 30
In Southwest Portland, you’ll find the following top schools in the city: Nancy Ryles Elementary, Scholl’s Heights Elementary, Conestoga Middle School, and brand new Mountainside High School. Situated on a huge campus, Mountainside High School is the most technologically advanced high school in all of Oregon.
There’s also Southridge High School in the Southwest area, which is known for having an amazing top-rated sports program.
Southwest Portland is a phenomenal place to raise kids and the education programs are immaculate.
As far as the rest of the family is concerned, one of the best things about Southwest Portland is that it’s conveniently located next to all the amenities a growing family might need. It’s right by Washington Square mall and about 20 minutes from downtown Portland.
You’re also in Oregon wine country, so you’re just five minutes away from any of the world-class vineyards available within Willamette Valley. Southwest Portland also offers lots of great parks, restaurants, bars, and just a fantastic lifestyle overall. Whether you’re single, married, retired, it doesn’t matter–this city is your oyster.
South Portland Schools
Niche grade: A+
Number of schools: 42
In South Portland, you’ll find Lake Oswego North and Lake Oswego South. The Northside of Lake Oswego has some extremely impressive schools that rate in the 9-10 region. Forest Hills Elementary, Lake Oswego Junior High, and Lake Oswego High School all provide ample opportunities for their students to thrive. Here you can live on the lake, in the country club or within the trees.
Lake Oswego is known to be a very high-end area. It’s just 15 minutes from downtown Portland and 30 minutes to Oregon wine country. What more could a person want? But wait, there’s more. Heading south on the freeway will quickly take you to Tualatin and Salem. Tillamook (where the cheese is made) and the beautiful Oregon coast are just an hour and a half away. All in all, it’s a very accessible area.
On the south side of the lake, we have Hallinan Elementary, Waluga Middle School, and Lakeridge High School. These three schools have educational programs that rank among the world’s finest. They also have some of the best sports programs in Oregon.
If you happen to have horses and are looking for an equestrian property, South Lake Oswego school district also has some great acreage estates.
Southeast Portland Schools
Niche grade: A-
Number of schools: 22+
Lake Oswego is on the more expensive end of Portland living. So, if you’re looking for a good-sized house for less money, and great schools, look no further than Happy Valley in Southeast Portland.
Happy Valley is an up and coming area where you can get a lot of bang for your buck. In Happy Valley, there’s Scouters Mountain Elementary, Happy Valley Junior High, and Clackamas High School. With much of Happy Valley being fairly new, these schools are modern and very clean.
As mentioned in a previous post, Happy Valley is an extraordinary community where the house you get for the price doesn’t even compare to anywhere else in the Portland Metro. It’s also close to Portland International Airport, around 45 minutes from downtown Portland, and closer than most areas to the iconic Mount Hood where you can ski, snowboard, float, bike, camp and hike.
Although a little further out, Happy Valley is still conveniently located. You can easily get to West Linn, Lake Oswego, or head down to Salem. With a ton of brand new construction, Happy Valley is its own new, fully-fledged community with lots of entertainment, recreational areas, dining, shopping, and it even has a couple of awesome vineyards too.
Back closer into the Portland Metro is inner Southeast Portland. Southeast Portland is an interesting one because it’s almost as if it has been sliced into three unique areas.
There’s Happy Valley which we already discussed as being the new, modern, spacious area that is a really nice, safe place for families and will get you a lot of bang for your buck when buying a home.
There’s also the developing Lents Area, which is currently less desirable but on the up and up.
Then there’s the oldest part of SE Portland, which is inner Southeast. In the latter, you’ll find all the charm of Portland, great walkability, lots to do, and a really nice community-building vibe. Schools drop to an average ranking of 7 in some parts of inner Southeast Portland but we’ve found the best schools within that range.
If you’re new to the area, Southeast is not one to miss because it feels like Portland downtown but with more to do for the whole family.
The one area in Southeast that stands out for the highest quality of family living is Mount Tabor North. This area has Glencoe Elementary, Mount Tabor Middle, and Franklin High School. These three schools rank 7-8 on greatschools.org and the area is a very desirable place to live. The Mount Tabor North community boasts some amazing scenery, turn-of-the-century homes, lots of nightlife and entertainment, a walk score of almost 70, a bike score of 86, and plenty of parks for the kids.
Northeast Portland Schools
Niche grade: A+
Number of schools: 20
Right next to Mount Tabor is a great community named Laurelhurst. It has the best of two worlds because it spans across both SE Portland and NE Portland. It’s one of our favorite spots to go to and it’s home to Laurelhurst Park.
Laurelhurst Park is unique in that it has been known to feel very familiar to people who have hailed from all over the world. The only explanation that can be found is that the park has similar attributes to some of the world’s best outdoor recreational areas. This familiarity gives the Laurelhurst community a very homely vibe.
Head a little bit further to the East and you will find Rose City Park which is in the catchment area for Beverly Cleary Elementary, Mount Tabor Middle, and Grant High School. Rose City Park is connected to Fremont Street which has lots of OG Portland dining, and some quirky little stores. The actual park in the area has an accessible play area, accessible restrooms, paved and unpaved paths, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, softball field, and a lighted tennis court.
So those are two Northeast neighborhoods in Portland that are comfortable to live in, have great schools, lots of entertainment, recreational areas, awesome walkability, and generally all the things a family needs.
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