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Let’s Settle This: Which is Best, East or West?

After so many years, it’s time to figure out which side of Lakota is statistically better, settling the Lakota rivalry once and for all.
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Back in 1997, Lakota made the decision to split the district into two different sides, Lakota East and Lakota West. As with many districts, the two were often compared, and continue to be to this day, as each side’s clubs and sports clash with each other to prove their dominance. With the non-stop battle of the two Lakota’s raging year after year, many have asked which side of Lakota is actually better. Often times people answer this question with bias, but is there any source out there that has actually analyzed the facts, and not opinion?

Now it’s been over 25 years since each of the High Schools opened, I have taken it upon myself to create a non-bias, in-depth analysis of the two sides of the Lakota School District, settling the endless debate of which side of Lakota is best, East or West…25+ Years Later.

In order to complete this task, plenty of things needed to be sorted out. How can we evaluate the two sides of the district without giving bias to one or the other? How do we grade each district, and what categories should be used to do so? Who do I talk to, what categories hold the most importance, and how do I do this in a professional manner? All of these questions came and went as I thought through such a tedious process of figuring out which side of Lakota is better. 

After laying things out in January, I spent the next few months going through ways to score each district based on 5 different categories: Academics, Clubs + Sports, Facilities, Students + Staff, and Overall Experience. Academics would be worth 10 points, Clubs and Sports would be worth 7 points, Facilities would be worth 5 points, Students + Staff would be worth 10 points, and the Overall Experience would be worth 8 points. In total, 40 points would be counted, with each category containing student opinion and unique qualities that each side of Lakota values. 

12 East and 53 West students filled out a survey on what they thought their side of the district did best, and where their side fell short. Thanks to their opinion, understanding which side performed better in each category becomes incredibly simplified, saving loads of time when trying to figure out who does which thing better. East didn’t have nearly as many responses as I hoped for, but it was the best I could do after spending multiple weeks reaching out to dozens of people/groups.

As mentioned before, my main goal is to have as little bias as possible. Take this with a grain of salt, however, as some people might value different aspects of Lakota higher. Some people might think Facilities are more valuable than Clubs and Sports, while others might say Academics should be a higher value than what it is right now. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself which side of Lakota is better, but I am here to leave mine, without boasting for West or East without good reason.

With all said and done, let’s look at each of the five categories and figure out where each side of the district scores.

 

Academics

Here at Lakota, both East and West hold fairly high standards in their students’ Academic Lives. Both sides of the district are in the top 20% of English and Math proficiency throughout the state, and according to Niche’s District Ranking, Lakota as a whole ranks #633 in the best districts to attend in the nation. However, rankings start to become a little more diverse on each side of the district. East and West both share a 95% Graduation Rate, though each high school’s national ranking starts to differ drastically. Ranking 1903 out of all the districts in the US according to US News, Lakota East pulls ahead of West by a wide margin, who ranks 2510 in the country. East also has a higher Math, Science, and English proficiency rate, plus a higher AP participation and passing rate when compared to West. 

Though East has a higher academic report card, student opinions also contribute to the overall score. 

When asking students if they thought their side of Lakota valued their academics (1 meaning they do care and 5 being they do not care), Lakota West rated it 2.25 on average, while Lakota East gave it 2.1 out of 5. 

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Who do you think has the better Academics?

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We also asked students if they thought their side of Lakota valued other things HIGHER than their academics (which, of course, is the whole point of school). West ranked it as 2.55 out of 5, meaning that most students thought something else was being valued higher, and East ranked it 2.4 out of 5, implying they found East to have even MORE things the district valued over academics. Both sides of the district are teaching the same things with pretty parallel sports programs (except for the obvious strengths West carries), so how come East is valued more in athletics than academics? The overall statement is already contradictory, as West often is seeing them as the sports school, but hey, can’t judge too soon.

Overall, East appears to have the upper hand in academics. Better grades, higher ranking, and a larger class proficiency/passing rate. West shares many of these values, such as a 95% graduation rate, but East truly is a step above in quality and achievements inside the classroom. Regardless, both districts have above-average scores and stand as prominent places of education in the state of Ohio. Out of 10 points, East will get a 9, while West will receive an 8. 

 

Clubs + Sports

No matter which side of the district you are on, the sports and clubs offered have always been essential in student morale and giving meaning to people’s free time. Whether it’s spending your hours after school practicing with the marching band, or making the winning serve in your volleyball game, being able to participate in outside-of-school sports is an exciting way to keep your days moving. With that being said, some groups happen to perform better than their counterparts on the flip side of Lakota. Football is an easy call for West; Since the district split in two, West has had a higher win ratio for 15 years, while East had a higher win ratio for only 10 years (and for any football nerds, the two tied their win/lose ratio in 2010). While East hasn’t had the best Football team in the last few years, both have good basketball teams (though once again, west happens to pull ahead by quite a bit). A lot of other sports didn’t have much data to pull from on East’s and West’s athletics pages, which unfortunately leads me to leave out a lot of other sports. I don’t want to declare which side is statistically better if I don’t have the stats in front of me.

Taking a look at some other sports opportunities Lakota offers, the East and West Marching Bands tends to be very competitive against each other. Both East and West have achieved highly through Bands of America and OMEA Competitions, so without getting into any details, they are evenly placed in score. Chess is also one of the more competitive offerings in Lakota. According to the West Chess Team Instructor Mark Moody, East and West have both been fairly matched for years, but in recent times West has pulled through and set some of its best records. With one of their best players graduating this year, however, Mr. Moody exclaims that the tables could easily turn in who performs better in this upcoming 2023 season. We also can’t leave out the West softball team, who has won state championships and beaten East many, many times in the past few years.

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Who do you think has better Clubs + Sports?

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The student opinions on Clubs and Sports have also been incredibly insightful – A huge benefit was that both East and West students were brutally honest in saying that sometimes, the other side of Lakota is better than where they are at. After asking ALL survey participants to be as neutral as possible, 91% of participants said West was better with Football. 63% of people said West had a better Cross Country + Track and Field program, while 55% of people said East had the better band and choir programs. Taking ALL of these groups into consideration, it appeared that West was favored in Sports and Clubs, with others mentioning how West has a strong Bowling Team, plus the growing strength of their theatre program at West. East does offer more school-sponsored clubs, such as Culture Club, so it doesn’t mean they have weak points either. Both sides of the district thrive off extracurricular and will continue to be prominent in student life for years and years to come. Out of 7 points, West gets all 7, while East trails behind with 5.

 

Facilities

This has always been a pretty easy choice, whether you are attending Lakota East or Lakota West. Unfortunately, West has some…not so high-quality facilities, such as Freedom Elementary, Ridge Jr. High,  and West Freshman. Of the 53 West kids who filled out the survey, 51 of them mentioned the quality of West Freshman, stating it as “The home of the Cockroaches” and a place that is “run down and very tired.” One person went as far as saying the place was “sterile, cluttered, claustrophobic, boring, and maze-like near in its entirety.”

East was fortunate to have its Freshman building redone, but that doesn’t mean their side of the district doesn’t also have flaws. One current Lakota East student brought up Hopewell Junior, saying the place was “very small with outdated lockers that I could hardly fit my backpack in. I’d also see a lot of bugs.” 

This poll has ended.

Who do you think has the better Facilities?

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Multiple East students also complained about the low amounts of color in their buildings, claiming them to be dry and feel “more like a prison than a school that is light and open.”

Lakota’s Central Office is currently conducting plans for West Freshman’s demolition, while most of East’s facilities are standing strong with much smaller safety and quality issues. So, which side will prevail in Facility Quality? East Students ranked their side of the district’s facility quality to be (on average) 3 out of 5, meanwhile, West’s average was 2 out of 5 for facility quality. Because of the HUGE amounts of complaints and poor reviews, mostly from West’s side, we can place a very confident guess on scoring for this category. Out of 5, East is a solid 4, while West is a bit lower at 3.

**For those who think West should be one lower, do keep in mind facilities like Heritage Early Childhood, Plains, and Main Campus; All of those buildings are in exceptional condition and are very well maintained.**

 

Students + Staff

In order to figure out where points should go for this category (and the next), we will have to rely very heavily on survey opinion. In terms of factual information from East and West, both have a 24:1 student-to-teacher ratio, and both have a very similar student body. East’s average enrollment has actually dipped a bit in the past few years, while West’s has simultaneously gone up a little bit each year. Whatever the case, West Chester is still expected to tremendously grow in the next few years as business continues to boom and new suburbs are formed each passing school year.

Talking to students, West averaged a 3 out of 5 in Main Campus Student behavior (with 1 being spectacular and 5 being terrible). East’s average was almost identical, just a bit better with 2.9 out of 5. While it’s very little, the separation between the two goes to show that both sides of Lakota are just mirrors of one another, with slightly different takes on how things work.

This poll has ended.

Who do you think has the better Staff/Students?

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When asking both sides of Lakota together, many students viewed class sizes as NOT being an issue, even though it was been floating around the community for years in the push for smaller class sizes in order to help teachers with their workload. ⅔ of Students thought that on average, a class size of 17-24 was the best when given a range of 14-30+. Then, we asked students to share what the current class sizes are. Almost all survey participants marked 21-27 as being the current trending sizes, with ¼ of participants also adding on the 28-30 class size as a current standard in schools. With class sizes higher than students’ wishes and teachers’ wishes, will the district do anything about it? 

Of the West students who filled out the survey, about half said their experience with student and staff quality has been a comfortable 3 out of 7, with 7 being the worst. East’s results came on just a .0005 difference to West, with their average again being 3 out of 7 in teacher/staff quality. To make things clearer, both sides of the district are almost exactly the same in teacher and student quality. West may have more diversity, but in terms of quality of the students, each are parallel to one another. So, how do we figure out who gets how many points? Since things are pretty much even, the safest grade (out of 10) will be a comfortable 8 for East AND for West.

 

Overall Experience

Last, but definitely not least, we have to look at the student’s Overall Experience. This is an essential category to finding out which side of Lakota is actually better, though figuring out which side is better happens to be a challenge. No stats can really give a spread of people’s overall experience. Instead, we need the opinions of Lakota students, staff, and alumni to help figure out how their side of the district has been as a whole.

In the survey sent out by The West Press earlier this May, we asked participants to rate their overall time at their side of Lakota out of 7. 1 means they had the best experience possible, while 7 means almost nothing went right. For Lakota East, the average was 2.8 out of 7, meanwhile West was actually a bit higher with an average of 2.4/7. Carter Willbrand, a senior at West, talked about West’s graduation readiness as he moves on from high school.

“I just feel like they don’t succeed at helping students get to colleges that they wish to go to. It is hard to get into prestigious schools when we have the correct qualifications, but lack one thing and that’s just not being well prepared. I also feel like students overvalue GPA and rank and choose to take easier classes instead of pursuing knowledge because they want to take what’s ‘easier’.”

This poll has ended.

Who do you think has the better Overall Experience?

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Other West students mentioned that their experience was “great and awful simultaneously.” East students had far fewer of these complaints, but a fairly large majority mentioned they had wonderful extra-curricular experiences, but “the opposite when it came to the academic side.” This, of course, has caused lots of conflicts when figuring out if school is being handled properly or not. As Cardale Jones, a previous Quarterback for Ohio State once said, “We ain’t come to play SCHOOL…we came here to play FOOTBALL.” 

Assigning each side a score for this one is tough because students and staff can have widely different experiences depending on the person they are and what kind of things they did in their free time. Simply going off what people said in the survey should be enough, but as I said at the beginning of the article, take it with a grain of salt. This is truly up to your interpretation; I’m just trying to take a neutral, statistical look at what students have actually said and who is actually better than the other. Out of 8, East will receive 6 points, with West being one ahead with 7 points.

 

Let’s Settle This

Now that each category has been thoroughly analyzed, it’s time to figure out who actually is better in the fight of the Lakota’s: East, or West? Below you will see a chart of each category and the possible points you could earn for that category. On the left of that, you can see where East and West scored, respectively. Of course, this is an attempt at a no-bias analysis, so this might not be what everyone thinks. I encourage you to think up your own scoring system, to figure out which side of Lakota you think is really the best.

With all of that said, it’s time to settle this district-wide rivalry once and for all: Which is best, East or West?

Category

East

West

Out of:

Academics

9

8

10

Clubs + Sports

5

7

7

Facilities

4

3

5

Students + Staff

8

8

10

Overall Experience

6

7

8

Total Points

32

33

40

Which side of Lakota do YOU think is better?

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For Phone Users: East 32/40, West 33/40. Full Chart Best Viewed on Computer

So, how do you feel? Lakota West definitely deserves their placement as the better half of Lakota, but where would you judge differently? It was a very close battle, so if a certain category or categories were given more or less value, how do you think that would affect the final score?

Remember, we all have our own interpretations of what makes one half of the district better than the other, so take this analysis with a grain of salt. I did my best to keep things as unbiased as possible, but it’s impossible to avoid every bit of it. Be sure to like the article, and please comment your thoughts on the article! I’d love to hear how you feel about the East vs. West debate. Whatever stance you have on the long-time rivalry, just remember that at the end of it all, WE are Lakota!

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About the Writer
Thomas Price, Website Manager
Thomas Price is a second-year student in Journalism who has been heavily involved in The West Press over the last school year. He participates in many of Lakota’s extra-curricular and in-school programs, such as being a member of the Hope Squad, Junior Board, Lakota West Drumline, performer in the Marching Band, and a Percussionist in Symphonic Winds. As a creatively driven student, Thomas is also skilled in many technical areas, whether through the use of photography, video design, or media creation. Through The West Press, he focuses on writing local news and opinion articles, giving daily insight into the good and bad West has to offer to its students and staff.

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