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Bismarck Education

By | Last Modified: May 5, 2017
Horizon Middle School

Bismarck is home to a diverse mix of educational institutions, including private and public. Numerous higher education offerings are available, most notably Bismarck State College, University of Mary, and United Tribes Technical College.

Bismarck schools have among the highest graduation and attendance rates in the country, in addition to being a leader in standardized testing scores.

The first Bismarck school was opened in 1873 by Linda Warfel Slaughter, with the first graduating class consisting of two students in 1887.

Bismarck Public Schools

Bismarck Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, serving 12,750 students and employing more than 2,100 people. As of 2017, the district operated 16 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 senior high schools, an alternative high school, and the Career Academy and Technical Center.

The district’s graduating class consisted of 822 graduates in 2016, with the largest graduating class consisting of 826 in 2003 (excluding private schools).

Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence

Several Bismarck schools have been recognized as “Blue Ribbon” award recipients, the highest national honor, including Bismarck High, Century High, Horizon Middle, Northridge Elementary, and Highland Acres Elementary.

Elementary Schools

There are currently sixteen public elementary schools in the Bismarck Public School district. Will-Moore is the oldest elementary school building still standing, opened in 1952, and Liberty is the newest, opened in 2014.

Middle/Junior High Schools

Bismarck Public Schools operates three middle schools: Simle, Horizon, and Wachter.

Hughes Junior High opened in 1958, followed by Hillside Park Junior High (now Simle Middle School) in 1961, both replacing the original junior high facility that had been built in 1912 to house the high school. Wachter Middle School opened in 1967. Hughes was replaced in 2001 by Horizon Middle School.

High Schools

Bismarck High School

Bismarck High School

Bismarck Public Schools operates three public high schools and an alternative high school.

Bismarck High School

The current Bismarck High School building is the oldest facility within the school district, completed in 1935. The building has seen several expansions and renovations since, including major ones in 1986 and 1998. Bismarck High is currently the largest school in the district in terms of number of students, with nearly 1,500 students, and the state’s second-largest high school.

Bismarck High’s school colors are maroon and white, and the school has used the Demon mascot since 1922.

Century High School

To meet the demands of the growing city, a new high school was constructed in 1976, named Century High School to honor the nation’s bicentennial. In keeping with its patriotic tradition, the Century High school colors are red, white, and blue; and its mascot is the Patriot.

Legacy High School

In September 2012, voters overwhelmingly approved a school bond that includes the construction of two new elementary schools and a third public high school. Legacy High School opened in 2015.

South Central High School

South Central is the district’s alternative high school.

Private Schools

Bismarck also has several private school options. Shiloh Christian and Saint Mary’s Academy are the largest private school institutions in the region, with Saint Mary’s High School being the largest private high school in all of North Dakota.

Colleges & Universities

Bismarck State College: Jack Science Center

Bismarck State College

Bismarck has several options for post-secondary education and training. Established in 1939, Bismarck State College offers mostly 2-year degree programs. The college does offer one in-house 4-year program, and partners with state universities to offer other on campus programs.

The University of Mary is a private Catholic-based college offering both 2- and 4-year programs. It is the largest degree-granting institution in the region. The school was established as Mary College in 1947 and granted full university status in 1986.

Between 2003-2015, Minnesota-based Rasmussen College (previously known as Aaker’s College) operated a Bismarck campus. Rasmussen shuttered their Bismarck campus in 2015.

Other options include United Tribes Technical College, Sanford College of Nursing, The Hair Academy, and JZ Trend Academy.

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