Tag Archives: Katie Cook

Voices From the Crowd: My Thoughts on Vernonia Schools

  I’ve had a year to reflect on the choice we made to uproot our family after seventeen years and move to Vernonia and away from everything we know and everyone we love, including our schools and familiar teachers in the Hillsboro and Beaverton School Districts. 

When recently asked what our thoughts were on our new school situation, my first initial idea was, “I thought I was moving to a nightmare but possibly ended up finding a little bit of heaven.”

We moved from extremely overcrowded schools. My kids succeeded much more in the class rooms in the grade school when they had a good student/teacher relationship. In other words, the teachers knew the kids. In Washington County, once my children hit middle school and high school, it became visible that students became numbers. Classes were overflowing and with these high numbers came a disconnect between student and teacher. With higher numbers, individual needs were next to impossible to meet. This brought the question, “Is the time spent at school truly worth the 6 ½ hours that my children are there? Is it even worth the teacher’s time?” Even the sports programs were overcrowded. Extremely talented players were not able to play because there were simply too many students crammed up into the schools. Deserving players missed the opportunity for experience and scholarships due to the fact of the overcrowded issue. Some of my family described it as “suffocating.”

As a parent, I felt I couldn’t breathe. I was subsequently consumed at all times; consumed with finding other options for my children’s education; consumed with trying to find tutors; consumed with searching for other opportune moments in sports; consumed with over-volunteering to try to help out; consumed with politics to try to fix the budget problems and help avoid cutting programs; consumed with keeping up with my own budget because all the money was going somewhere else to make up the difference missed in school and sports, the very system that I was pouring taxes into already. It was, in fact, suffocating and frustrating.  Read More