BUT! It might be windy in Cheyenne, BUT according to Parenting Magazine, it’s a GREAT place to raise a family. I LOVED seeing this in the paper last week and had to share it on the blog. Of course, I already knew this. I LOVE Cheyenne and our kids love Cheyenne, but it was really cool to see Cheyenne ranked #5 in the nation according to Parenting, as a place to raise children. Just one goal I have based off the article. How cool would it be if 20 years, 10 years, 5 years from now, Cheyenne was rated this high and one of the reasons was because of the GREAT kids ministries at the churches in town? Now THAT would be pretty stinkin’ cool! I already believe the churches here make Cheyenne an even BETTER place for raising kids, but it would be awesome to have someone else recognize it. You can read the article below, or click HERE to read it at Wyoming News:
Cheyenne ranked family-friendly
By James Chilton
CHEYENNE — The city of Cheyenne has been ranked as the fifth-best city in the nation in which to raise a family by Parenting magazine. The list, which was published on the magazine’s website Tuesday, lists the 100 best cities for growing families, based on metrics that include education, employment opportunities, crime rate and access to health care.
Cheyenne ranked ahead of many major metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles. This is the first time Cheyenne has appeared on the list, which was first published in 2010.
The Capital City shared the top 10 with several other smaller rural communities, including Burlington, Vt.; Portland, Maine; and Sioux Falls, S.D. Several larger cities also topped the list, including Boston, Minneapolis and Arlington, Va.
“Each year we listen to comments from our readers, determining which factors they find to be most important,” said Julie Christie, Parenting magazine’s digital executive editor.
“This year we placed a greater emphasis on education, based on reader feedback. That helped Cheyenne’s ranking on the list due to the city’s great education score.”
In fact, in a separate listing of the top 10 best cities for education, Cheyenne ranked second only to Burlington.
Christie said that is owing to small class sizes, high per-student spending and access to alternative education outlets.
Mark Stock, superintendent for Laramie County School District 1, said he appreciated the factors the magazine considered in placing Cheyenne as high as it did.
“Occasionally, Laramie County (District) 1 has been criticized for having large class sizes, but what people fail to realize is that we’re lower than many cities,” Stock said.
“Next year in grades K-3 we should be at (a student-to-teacher ratio of) 17.5:1 And if we open Prairie Wind, a new school that’s supposed to open in 2014, we should be close to 16:1.”
Stock also pointed to several local elementary schools n Jessup and Gilchrist n that have been recognized as “Blue Ribbon” schools in recent years.
Blue Ribbon is a national designation given to schools that show high levels of student achievement or significant improvements in achievement gaps.
Stock also pointed to several local schools that have been recognized as outstanding Title I schools where students perform well despite coming from disadvantaged economic backgrounds.
He added that the Measures of Academic Progress standardized test results also have been reaching higher levels as well.
“We’ve done very well in terms of our growth in the last two years,” he said. “Our K-6 and 9-10 test scores are at record levels for us. We’ve given this test three years in a row and we’ve got the best results we’ve had in three years.”
But Christie said there are many other factors that worked in Cheyenne’s favor, particularly this year, as the magazine began looking at some of the “softer” factors that affect quality of living.
“In 2010, we focused heavily on ‘harder’ factors like jobs, safety, etc. to determine the best cities rankings,” she said. “And then last year we added the ‘charm and culture index’ because we felt it was a very relevant factor for families when choosing a city.”
The charm and culture index was based on factors such as the number of farmers markets, co-ops, libraries, museums, zoos and aquariums in a city. Christie pointed to the Cheyenne Greenway as one of the big factors that boosted the city’s ratings in that area.
“In addition to a low unemployment rate and access to the outdoors, we also love the Greenway because it provides a safe place to push a stroller or for kids to ride their bikes,” she said.
“As a community gathering place and a safe way to get active, the Greenway exemplifies the city’s dedication to providing a healthy city to raise kids.”
Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen said the Greenway illustrates just one of the many ways the city has been investing in its residents’ quality of life.
“Linking the Greenway to our various communities, neighborhoods and parks, it’s a great alternative to jumping in a vehicle,” he said.
“We also look at our Botanical Gardens, which are continuing to grow. And part of that, too, is our Children’s Village, which is a huge, huge asset, not only for children but adults as well.”
Kaysen added that while the city’s low crime and unemployment are the “spokes in the wheel” of Cheyenne’s quality of living, it is the city’s ability to foster public-private partnerships for improvement projects that have helped to solidify the city’s sense of community.
“One of the things I think is absolutely great about Cheyenne is the partnerships that are developed,” he said.
“We made improvements at Holliday Park earlier this summer, and we worked with the Coca Cola-Sprite beverage people here in town to do it. Again, that’s just an example of the public-private partnership that helps build a positive community.”
Top 10 cities:
Arlington, Va./Washington, D.C.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Source: Parenting magazine