hether you’re walking your child to the first day of kindergarten or yourself pursuing an advanced degree, Douglas boasts a wide variety of high-quality educational opportunities. Inside the classroom, students receive top-notch instruction. Outside of the classroom, they’re encouraged to pursue their interests whether it’s through athletics, school clubs or a community with an appreciation for learning. Douglas schools deliver the perfect mixture of student opportunity, while being small enough to ensure your child isn’t lost in the crowd.
“We have an excellent school system with very good leaders as principals in the buildings and excellent staff,” says Dan Espeland, Superintendent of Converse County School District #1 in Douglas.
Converse County is part of a larger quest for educational greatness across the Cowboy State. In February 2016, under the headline “Wyo. K-12 schools the best in the West,” the Wyoming Business Report shared the news that Wyoming was ranked eight in the nation in the Education Week’s Quality Counts report. States were scored using the letter grade system and Wyoming was the only western state to earn above a “C.”
“What it says to Wyoming is this is a great place to raise kids and have them go to school,” says State Superintendent of Schools Jillian Balow. “But there’s always room to grow.”
Several Douglas teachers have pursued that growth by going above and beyond to improve their skills as educators. According to Tiffany White, Executive Director of the Elbogen Foundation, Douglas is home to 10 “Nationally Board Certified Teachers.” Across Wyoming nearly 550 educators have completed the rigorous process, enhancing their skills and underscoring their commitment to delivering a high-quality experience to their students.
Douglas public schools spend $17,649 per student compared to a national average of $12,435.
There are roughly 12 students per educator in Douglas.
dding to the overall learning environ, Converse County will soon be boasting of two new libraries. Totaling 30,000 square feet, the Douglas facility is slated to be complete late 2016. The main floor will include two meeting rooms with a retractable wall, resulting in one large room. Cutting edge audiovisual equipment, a laptop computer network, a room featuring local history and a reading porch overlooking the downtown area are just a few of the exciting features. The building contains few hard walls, ensuring it can be easily rearranged for changing needs.
Of the workshop area to be included on the main floor, Library Director Kirk Hissam says, “On the first floor there will be a ‘maker’s space,’” a large workshop area designed for anyone with a special talent. Sewing, wood carving, circuit board construction, any number of things can be shared utilizing the space and teaching skills. For us, it’s like taking what you might learn from a non-fiction book or public speaker and doing a hands-on version of that.”Similar facilities recently opened in Glenrock.
Spring 2015 in Douglas brought the unveiling of a new Eastern Wyoming Community College Campus. “Community members can take both credit classes and non-credit classes,” says Campus Director Sue McBride. “They can earn everything from a degree in education or nursing to welding. The community is really excited about the campus and we’ve seen an increase in first time enrolled students.”
Wyoming as a whole offers many high-quality opportunities for a post-secondary education at a competitive rate. Beyond the numerous scholarships available in the Wyoming, the state operated Hathaway Scholarship program further offsets educational costs for Wyoming’s college-aged students. Much money has been invested in new construction in recent years, further bolstering the learning infrastructure and the opportunities to earn a quality education in-state.