By Mary Owen
There’s no place like home – on the range! That’s the message Lourdes School wants to convey in its upcoming Missoula Children’s Theatre production, The Wiz of the West.
The musical production will be performed at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 and 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Lourdes School gym at 39029 Jordan Road, Scio.
All students audition for their part and then will spend Tuesday to Friday practicing with two artists from Missoula Children’s Theatre to produce the hour-long musical, Lourdes spokeswoman Linda Duman said.
“To watch the students audition for parts is a performance in itself,” she added. “The older students set a standard that all try to meet.”
Duman said the common response students give when asked about the Missoula experience is “awesome!”
“It helps you build confidence in yourself,” said Elaina, an eight-grader at the public charter school.
Duman called Lourdes unique because of its three blended, non-graded classrooms: grades 1-3, grades 4-6 and grades 7-8.
“This enables students to work at their level in core subject areas,” she said. “Teachers exchange classrooms to teach their specialized subject areas. This allows students to advance above or below their homeroom, if necessary.”
Duman said the FTE student ratio is low enough that each student receives the necessary one-on-one instruction to succeed.
“The Missoula Children’s Theatre, the speech tournament, spring and winter performance help all children with public speaking and self-esteem,” she said. “In our family surveys, the overwhelming response is ‘we appreciate the low student/teacher ratio and the family atmosphere.’”
An open house was held last month to celebrate National School Choice. At the event, the newest project technology equipment, made possible with a grant from the Frank Family Foundation and the R.H. Parker/United Foundation, was on display.
Along with its unique charter status, the school has maintained its independent spirit, its impressive community support, and flavor of a rural country school, according to school officials.
Lourdes has been named an “Outstanding School” by the state of Oregon, according to a recent press release.
Lourdes Public Charter School began in 1898 to serve a rural agricultural and logging community and then operated for decades as a small K-8 option for the local community. The school moved to its present location on Jordan Road, Scio, in the early 1900s.
After passage of Ballot Measure 5 in 1990, legislation that capped property taxes and limited the amount of local revenue generated for school districts, lawmakers passed a school consolidation law in 1991.
As a result of this statutory requirement, Lourdes almost lost its independent status. This led to the school’s evolution into a charter school under the umbrella of the Scio School District. Lourdes School opened in 1999 as the very first charter school in Oregon.
In the last five years Lourdes has installed a computer network and has expanded and computerized the school library.
The school has a weather station, and has adopted the GLOBE program, which enables the students to collect atmospheric, water and soil data.
For more information, call 503-394-3340 or visit