One of Danville and Boyle County’s most attractive features is its educational system. From preschool to college, the region’s schools help maintain a pipeline of talent to a growing workforce and help enhance the quality of life for area residents.
The Boyle County Schools (BCS) district is recognized as a state leader in academic achievement and innovative thinking. In 2016, the system was ranked fourth in the state and first among the 120 county districts in academic achievement. In addition to gains in standardized test scores, BCS continues to pursue innovations that develop skills to succeed in the 21st Century workplace.
“Our commitment to excellence within the community is a big reason for our success. We’ve had the opportunity to aggressively move forward in areas of academics, facilities and funding because of this community’s commitment to high achievement,” says Jennifer Broadwater, communication director for Boyle County Schools. “In return, the high-quality education provided in our primary and secondary schools makes Danville more economically competitive and positively influences property values and enhances workforce productivity. It’s a mutually beneficial cycle that builds a stronger community."
Both BCS and the Danville Independent School District have focused on integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into the curriculum.
“Jobs in STEM and computer science fields are projected to see unprecedented growth over the next 10 years, and we want our students to be prepared to compete for these jobs locally, nationally and globally,” Broadwater says. “As a result, we offer engineering and computer science experiences across grade levels. In computer science, our elementary schools give students opportunities in computer coding, followed by a computer science course for every student during middle school, and a selection of related courses during high school, including web design, software engineering, and AP Computer Science.”
The Danville campus of Bluegrass Community Technical College is also helping prepare students for future employment. The college recently earned a $4 million grant toward workforce development programs in high-demand areas, such as advanced manufacturing, welding and health care.
“Our Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program is really a unique program because it incorporates a work and learn educational model. Students take classes two days a week and then they're sponsored by a company and working for them three days a week,” says Erin Tipton, Ed.D, Danville campus director for Bluegrass Community and Technical College. “Students are able to apply what they're learning in the classroom to the job, and it also helps manufacturing because they're getting someone immediately who is learning skills along the way.”
Tipton says the ability of traditional students and working adults to receive job training at BCTC impacts the overall quality of life for the region.
“Having BCTC in a local community dramatically helps improve the quality of life of the citizens in the region, because there are individuals who could not access higher education at our affordable price if we weren't physically located in this area,” Tipton says. “We are training them for high-wage, high-demand jobs, which improves their economic outlook.”
In addition to job training, the region’s colleges and universities, including Eastern Kentucky University-Danville, American National University and Centre College, offer residents many cultural and recreational opportunities.
Centre College, for example, is home to the Norton Center for the Arts, which has hosted a range of performances — from the Vienna Philharmonic to Dolly Parton, to Yo-Yo Ma and the Blue Man Group, as well as two vice-presidential debates. The college, which is part of the top Division III conference in the country, also hosts several athletic events that are open to the community.
“It’s not unusual for our teams to win conference championships and then compete year end in NCAA Division III championships,” says Michael P. Strysick, Ph.D., chief communications officer for Centre College. “All of our events are open to the public and it's really wonderful to see not only adults in the community come out but younger kids who are playing these sports to see people playing at a little bit higher level.”
Private Schools in Danville & Boyle County
Danville and Boyle County also offer families several private school options, including Danville Montessori School, Danville Christian Academy, the Kentucky School for the Deaf and the Wilderness Trace Development Center, which is the only school of its kind in the state. The school offers educational and therapeutic services for children with disabilities, from birth through age 5.