Bismarck Education

By | Last Modified: December 8, 2014
Horizon Middle School

Bismarck Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, serving over 10,700 students and employing more than 1,600 people. Bismarck has one of the highest graduation 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.

Today, BPS operates sixteen elementary schools, three middle schools, and two senior high schools. There are also many private school options. The 2008 Bismarck graduating class consisted of 773 graduates, with the largest graduating class consisting of 826 in 2003 (as of May 2008, 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 Sunrise is the newest, built in 2009. The name “Will-Moore” iss a combination of two former schools, Will School and William Moore 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.

Middle/Junior High Schools

Bismarck Public Schools operates three middle schools. 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 two public high schools and an alternative school. The current Bismarck High School building is the oldest facility within the school district, opened in 1935. It 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.

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

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.

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

Private & Alternative Schools

Bismarck also has several private and alternative school options. South Central High School is operated out of the Hughes Education Center by Bismarck Public Schools. 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.

Rasmussen College (previously known as Aaker’s College) is a fully accredited private college offering both 2- and 4-year degree programs. Their Bismarck campus opened in 2003 and saw an expansion shortly after.

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

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