There are many reasons families choose to move to Sheridan. For many, a strong school district is one of the deciding factors helping solidify that choice.
Sheridan County’s population is made up of 26.9% of people younger than 18 years old and 52.1% of the population rests between 19 and 64 years old, meaning the vast majority of the population includes young families. Some of those families are born and raised Sheridanites who return after starting a family. Others happen upon Sheridan during travels and choose to establish a family in the city or in outlying towns.
For Brandi Miller, location is what drew her to working as the executive secretary for Sheridan County School District 1. Miller was raised in the Tongue River Valley and graduated from Tongue River High School.
With children in tow, Miller wanted a great school system for her children and herself in which to work. Even with children grown and out of the house now, she remains in her position because of her love for her job.
“I wanted to work close to home and be on a schedule that matched my kids,” Miller said in an email to The Sheridan Press. “Now that my kids have grown, if you were to ask me why I stay in my current position, my answer would be that I love my job.”
The coworkers that surround her bring value to the district, and that mentality reflects throughout all three of Sheridan County’s school districts.
“Sheridan County is blessed to have great schools,” Miller said. “We have caring staff members and a lot of community support. Our students know that they are surrounded by staff and a community that wants them to succeed.”
Several schools in Sheridan County have earned National Blue Ribbon honors. All five of Sheridan County School District 2 elementary schools have received the honor, including Sagebrush and Meadowlark elementary schools twice. Big Horn High School was also awarded the honor in 2011.
Each year, the Wyoming Department of Education completes a school performance report card for each district. Big Horn elementary, middle and high schools, Tongue River elementary and middle schools and Highland Park, Story, Woodland Park, Meadowlark and Sagebrush elementary schools all met or exceeded expectations in the 2018-19 school year.
Sheridan County schools rank high statistically but excellence goes beyond numbers.
“One of the best aspects of SCSD1 is our family atmosphere,” Miller said. “Everyone wants to see our kids succeed and will do whatever they can to make that happen. Our district is filled with employees who take pride in their work and want to be and do the best they can. I believe our district takes pride in sending well-rounded productive citizens out into the world.”
Before children reach school age, child care options are tight, but typically available for all ages. Most facilities allow for toddlers, day care and preschool age children and a small number allow infants 12 months and younger. Because of waitlists, families are encouraged to apply shortly after learning of a pregnancy. Even with waitlists, drop-in day cares are available at the YMCA and other locations.
Throughout the year, different nonprofit groups cater to young families. Science Kids’ goal is to get kids outside, where great learning happens, according to the organization’s website. The group provides educational summer classes in the outdoors, guest lecturers at Sheridan College for everyone in the community and indoor activities through the colder months teaching interactive science lessons. Unplug is another initiative Science Kids started to help families put down electronics and spend time together, fully engaged, outdoors.
Art opportunities abound in Sheridan County, from painting and cooking classes downtown to magic and theater activities throughout the year.
Whether traversing the Bighorn Mountains with a sled, chasing children fully involved in sports or joining together for ice cream cones and playing at the park, Sheridan County provides many opportunities for families of all ages.