Casper: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Natrona County School District serves students not just in Casper but also the communities of Midwest, Edgerton, Mills, Evansville, Bar Nunn, Alcova, Mountain View, and Powder River. The school district emphasizes site-based decision making in schools of choice, a system that allows parents to enroll students in any school without regard to location. Ideally, this encourages a cooperative approach between school administration, parents, and students in targeting an educational environment that best fits the needs of the individual.
The district operates a K-12 substance abuse program that has been recognized at the national level, along with specialized services for English language learners. Since 2001, the school district has offered an after-school program and community learning center at two elementary schools, with stated goals of retention, improved academic performance, life-long learning, and a safe drug-free environment. Out-reach is also conducted for students who are homebound and those who are homeless.
The Natrona County School District created a planetarium in 1966, which over the years has brought the stars and planets to more than 500,000 students. The Casper Planetarium also presents programs for the public throughout the year, including the This Month's Sky series.
The following is a summary of data regarding Natrona County School District as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 11,532
Number of facilities
elementary schools: 27
junior high schools: 7
high schools: 4
rural schools: 4
Student teacher ratio: junior high, 16.3:1; high school, 17.6:1
Funding per pupil: $6,911
Public Schools Information: Natrona County School District, 970 N. Glenn Rd., Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)577-0200
Colleges and Universities
Perched in the foothills of Casper Mountain, higher education takes on a literal meaning at Casper College. One of the largest community colleges, Casper College offers students a choice of 50 academic majors and more than 30 technical and career programs. The college enrolls a total of 3,800 students in small, personal classes in Business, Health Sciences, Trades and Technology, and Life Sciences programs, among others. The college also provides free Adult Basic Education and General Educational Development (GED) assistance in the Werner Technical Center.
The University of Wyoming in nearby Laramie maintains an outreach school in conjunction with the Casper College; the University of Wyoming/Casper College Center offers 14 baccalaureate degrees, 13 master's programs and a variety of certification programs. Coursework is completed onsite, via teleconferencing or through web-based instruction, with internships and educational travel experiences offered in various degree programs.
At the Natrona County International Airport, the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting training program offers classroom and hands-on experience with firefighting techniques unique to aeronautical equipment. Small classes ensure individual attention as students learn to deal with hazardous materials, ventilation issues, fire behavior, and search and rescue procedures.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Natrona County Library's main branch is located in the heart of Casper with branch libraries maintained in the communities of Edgerton and Mills. The library offers access to 204,922 books, 4,312 audio materials and 4,264 video materials, supplemented by 352 serial subscriptions and online research resources. Children's programs include a Reader's Advisory program that recommends books tailored to particular ages and interests; outreach programs to schools and community groups; educational games and reference programs; Storytime; a summer reading program; and Dial-a-Story with a new story available by phone every week.
The Goodstein Foundation Library at Casper College contains a collection of 118,000 volumes catering to the needs of faculty and students at the college. The library subscribes to more than 500 periodicals, with access to more than 20,000 full-text periodicals available online. The library is also home to a Western history collection, with materials focused on Casper and Natrona County.
Public Library Information: Natrona County Public Library (Main Branch), 307 East Second Street, Casper, WY 82601; telephone (307)237-4935
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