Local Schools Make the Grade

Schools throughout the Conejo Valley are especially unique for their award-winning programs, high test scores and graduation rates that lead the majority of their students to top colleges and universities. Here is a glimpse of what schools throughout Conejo Valley have to offer:  

Ascension Lutheran School

With a mission to provide academic excellence in a caring, Christian community, Ascension Lutheran School is dedicated to nurturing each student, providing academic excellence and creating bold, compassionate leaders who inspire and serve others in their walk with Jesus Christ.

“We are big on carving the Christian environment, nurturing small class sizes, and we have a very unique outdoor classroom program that only a few schools in the state have,” says Tamara Nowlin, director of admissions and marketing. In addition to the religious program, “We have a Makerspace which offers STEM and coding and robotics activities that the kids can partake in.”

Ascension Lutheran School’s educational and co-curricular programs—which strive to foster spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and social development—prepare students to be successful and effective communicators, complex thinkers and problem solvers, productive individuals, cooperative and collaborative workers, and involved community citizens.

Above all, “it’s a family environment; you become part of a community of other parents who have similar goals and visions for their children,” Nowlin emphasizes. “It’s a really nice, safe place for your kids to grow up in. The kids stay young a little longer but are prepared for high school. We provide a great faith foundation that builds confidence, and kids have a good head on their shoulders before they head out to the bigger world.”

Ascension Lutheran School is located at 1600 E. Hillcrest Dr. in Thousand Oaks. For more information, visit ALSchool.org or call 805.496.2419.

La Reina High School & Middle School

La Reina’s unique environment provides a well-rounded and rigorous Catholic education that builds on the lessons of a traditional and classical education while pushing forward into today's interconnected, global society.

La Reina has long been known for its vibrant English program, which features a rigorous writing curriculum, coupled with a deep dive into engaging literature, and an annual Renaissance Day where students act in several of Shakespeare’s plays.

“What people tend not to know about La Reina is … our teachers serve as mentors to our students,” says Renee Biezins, director of admissions. “This personalized attention encourages students to be purposeful in their academic work as well as their extracurricular endeavors and ultimately sets our students up for success in college and beyond.”

At La Reina, “We believe that education is about more than test scores and GPA,” says Biezins, adding that these measures are important, of course, and La Reina students score 21% higher on the SAT than their female peers.

To prepare young women for an ever-changing world, La Reina goes beyond academics to educate the whole girl—mind, body and spirit. “In our classrooms, we offer a diverse and engaging hands-on curriculum. Our athletic coaches help young women achieve their individual goals and understand their valuable role on the team. And our religious education focuses on personal reflection, interpersonal connection and community service, encouraging our students to grow as moral and compassionate leaders.”

Above all, La Reina encourages young women to find their individual voice. “As an all-girls’ school, La Reina offers students an environment where they are free from many of the pressures facing high school students,” Biezins adds. “By creating a safe and nurturing environment for young women to learn and grow, La Reina ensures that students don’t just excel academically, but grow into competent, capable and compassionate young women.”

La Reina High School & Middle School is located at106 W. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For more information, visit LaReina.com or call 805.495.6494.

Conejo Valley Unified School District

Preparing students for successful futures is the goal of the Conejo Valley Unified School District, where students acquire lifelong skills through experiential learning opportunities. These K-12 campuses include preschool and early childcare, as well as elementary, middle and high schools, where the district offers the right fit for every family and believes each child has unique gifts to discover.

The schools—which foster positive, safe and inviting learning environments—operate in a partnership between the community, parents, students and faculty. Doing things in what they call “The Conejo Way” ensures ideal academic outcomes for students, as the district uses teamwork, relationship building, trust and accountability to lead youths into a bright future.

Special programs are also available as alternatives to neighborhood schools, including the BreakThrough Program, in which students or parents can self-refer or be referred due to individual or family stress, school challenges, family changes, attendance concerns, substance abuse concerns, safety concerns or mental health concerns.

“At Conejo Valley Unified School District, we’re beyond lucky to receive support from countless volunteers and community partners each and every school year,” says Superintendent Mark W. McLaughlin. “A caring community that gives back and works hard for the next generation of leaders to have a bright future. A community that donates its time and resources for the greater good. A community that supports one another. This is what makes the Conejo Valley so special and such a phenomenal place to raise children.”

The Conejo Valley Unified School District is located at 1400 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For more information, ConejoUSD.org call 805-497-9511.

Oaks Christian School

Preparing minds for leadership and hearts for service is the mission of Oaks Christian School, a premier, college-preparatory school that offers world-class opportunities and exposure in academics, arts and athletics in a diverse community where students thrive.

The school, in which 99% of graduates are accepted into universities, is known for its nationally ranked sports programs, nationally recognized arts and academics, customized learning programs and a safe and secure campus, as well as its IDEA Lab for innovation, design, engineering and aerospace. Additionally, Oaks Christian features a state-of-the-art Makerspace Innovation Lab where students are introduced to hands-on activities that foster design thinking and engineering activities.

Whether a student chooses the dorm or the homestay program, they are joining the Oaks Christian family, in which the staff, faculty, deans, residence life staff, homestay and dorm parents work to see every student as a unique individual and an important part of the community.

Notable programs that reflect the school’s caring culture include Prefect Leadership Mentoring for small groups of students attached to a prefect; Big Brother/Big Sister which involves day students connecting with homestay/boarders; and Adopt-a-Student, in which area families adopt a student who boards.

Above all, students develop life skills, gain self-confidence and become better organized, self-sufficient and responsible within an environment that is caring, supportive and safe. Consequently, they are more likely to begin college with better habits and skills than their peers.

Oaks Christian School is located at 31749 La Tienda Dr. in Westlake Village. For more information, visit OaksChristian.org or call 818.575.9900.

Oak Park Unified School District

The mission of the Oak Park Unified School District is to provide students with a strong foundation for learning which meets the challenge of the present and of the future through a balanced education that includes academic achievement, personal growth and social responsibility.

The district, which consists of seven K-12 public schools in the community of Oak Park, was formed in 1977 when residents voted to create a new school district to better meet the needs of its residents, beginning a long tradition of placing the highest priority toward ensuring a high-quality education. 

Today, all of the district's schools are California Gold Ribbon schools and have been nationally recognized as Blue Ribbon schools. Additionally, the district has been recognized as a national Green Ribbon school district for its focus on environmentally progressive policies and practices.

Notable programs include the two-year Discovery Kindergarten that exposes students to kindergarten standards and curriculum—but at a different pace—in which they are introduced to the curriculum but not expected to master it and have the opportunity to learn and practice important social and communication skills. 

“In Oak Park, our students are not data points, they are unique individuals, and valued by all,” says Superintendent Anthony W. Knight, “We appreciate that parents place their children in our trust knowing they will all have meaningful learning experiences each day that will lead to their development as capable, responsible and caring adults.       

The Oak Park Unified School District is located at 5801 Conifer St. in Oak Park. For more information, visit OakParkUSD.org or call 818.735.3200.

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