Butte’s Excellent Public School System

 In Butte Culture

Small towns aren’t known for their public school systems? Right?

In the case of Butte — population 33,000— that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Butte has a great public school system that’s right on par with  — if not better than — the rest of the nation.

Primary education

An old depiction of Grant School in Butte, MT in black and white.

There are six elementary schools and one middle school in the Butte public school system.

All of these schools have small student-teacher ratios (compared to the national average) spanning from 15:1 to 25:1. This means teachers have the opportunity to give their young students the attention they need to thrive in a classroom environment. Research shows that students who attend primary schools with smaller class sizes tend to be more successful for the duration of their academic career.

By the time these students reach high school, they’re prepared across the board, from math and reading, to science and writing.

Butte High School

Butte’s sole high school, Butte High School claims that it’s the “soul” of Butte, America and has been since 1896. Home of the Bulldogs, the high school currently houses 1,260 students.

A close up view of a red brick building with the lettering Butte High School on the front.

Like Butte k-12 schools, one enormous advantage of Butte High School is the small 15:1 student-teacher ratio. That’s half of the national average, which hovers around 30:1 in secondary schools.

Students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and all assessments, compared to their colleagues in larger classes. These students also have a higher rate of engagement and create a stronger bond with their teachers and their peers.

A color coded map of national ACT scores.

Not surprisingly then, Butte High School students have a higher ACT score than the national average (25 vs 20) and have a higher proficiency in math and reading compared with the rest of the state. Butte High School also offers AP math, science, and humanities classes, giving students who choose that route a leg up in college.

Moreover, the Butte High School graduation rate of 83 percent matches the national average. And after high school, graduates have the option to attend one of the outstanding public universities or colleges within the state.

Affordable higher education

We’ve already discussed why Montana Tech has been named the fourth best public university in the west by the Princeton Review, from its highly employable associate’s degrees in Aerospace Welding Technology and Metals Fabrication to its affordable cost.

But Montana Tech is only one of the great universities Montana students can choose from. The University of Montana offers the best Wildlife Biology program in the nation, while Montana State University is known to be a top research university.

And — even better — these schools give you great bang for your buck. They have relatively cheap in-state tuition compared to other states.

Butte’s public education system is just one more reason the small, historic town is a wonderful place to call home.

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