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Bismarck, ND: Top of America’s Public School Systems

Bismarck, ND: Top of America’s Public School Systems
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Welcome to Bismarck.

Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota (and is the second most populous city in North Dakota after Fargo), is home to one great public school system. And either causally (because we doubt it is a coincidence) this is coupled with high livability, a thorough respect for education and a number of local sites that offer education outside the classroom walls.

Although Bismarck is the economic (and retail and healthcare) hub of south-central North Dakota and north-central South Dakota, people who live there will tell you about the community endorsement of the public school system.  The vision statement for the school district is “Together, we inspire a passion for learning, discovery, and excellence.” and the local community backs this up.


Historically Speaking

North Dakota State Capitol
By Bobak Ha’EriOwn work, CC BY 3.0

Originally known as Missouri Crossing, Bismarck was re-named in 1873 by the Northern Pacific Railway.  The Bismarck Public School District was also established in 1873, with the first class (of two pupils) graduating in 1887. By contrast, nearly 1000 students graduated last year. The oldest school building still standing (built in 1934) became a part of BHS, while Legacy High School is the newest addition to the district, celebrating its opening when school started in the fall of 2015.


Bismarck Public schools

Bismark ND photo
Photo by DVS1mn

In the realm of public school systems, the Bismarck district is exceptional and here are some of the reasons why:

The brick and mortar information: The district is comprised of 17 grade schools, 3 middle schools, 3 senior high schools and an alternative high school. All of these schools add up to greater than 500 classrooms. The district also plays host to a Career Academy and Technical Center and an early childhood program. There is a place for every learner.

And now for the human facts: Bismarck is the largest school district in the state, with over 12,000 students and 1800 teachers. The average attendance rate is 96%.  In education language that means very few kids stay home on a daily basis.

Bismarck’s drop-out rate was an impressive 1.2% in the 2013-2014 school year. Compare this with the 2013 National Average of 7%.  Over a quarter of the seniors who graduate from the school district earn Presidential Education Awards and over a quarter of the students in grades 10 – 12 are inducted into the National Honor Society.  The average ACT scores for college bound Bismarckians, at 20.7, tracks closely with the state average of 20.6.

And all of the public schools are “accredited with commendation” by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

On top of that several schools have earned the “Blue Ribbon” designation.

The Bismarck Public School District also happens to be the 4th largest employer in the region.

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Alana Armstrong Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.

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