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Bend-La Pine Schools have new schools, leader this fall


The 2015-16 school year brings new changes and new faces to Bend-La Pine Schools. The district welcomes two newly built schools and a new superintendent.

“Growth brings lots of opportunities and we’re seeing that across our district,” first-year Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools Shay Mikalson said Wednesday.

Silver Rail Elementary and Pacific Crest Middle School will open their doors to students beginning Sept. 9.

On Wednesday, staff, students, and supporters celebrated the opening of Pacific Crest Middle School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the northwest Bend site. The new building features a collaborative learning environment for students, with open spaces.

“That team was our community ,first and foremost in supporting those schools,” Mikalson said. “We’re grateful for that, and then working with our teachers and our staff to envision what we want for those schools.”

Silver Rail Elementary in southeast Bend currently has open classrooms in anticipation of more students enrolling in the district and future neighborhoods built nearby.

Pacific Crest Middle School currently has more than 600 students enrolled and Silver Rail Elementary has nearly 400.

In addition to two new schools, REALMS Charter School joins the school district as a magnet school. Bend International School also will open this year as a charter school.

“What we’re able to do in terms of moving with a magnet is just be even more closely aligned and support the great work that’s happening here,” Mikalson said.

Full-day kindergarten is also available to all students, beginning this year. Mikalson takes over for former Superintendent Ron Wilkinson after serving on the Bend-La Pine School Board.

“It’s one of the things that as a new superintendent, one of the challenges is to continue the legacy of planning forward for schools and opportunities for our students,” he said. “And that’s one of the highest priorities I have this year, stepping into this role.”

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