As might be expected, education plays an important role in the community. The Ann Arbor Public Schools district oversees 22 elementary schools, six middle schools and six high schools. All the public elementary schools in the area offer extended care for children before and/or after school. Of the five high schools, two are alternative schools. The Roberto Clemente Student Development Center is available for the students who have special needs and require extra attention. Ann Arbor is also home to four charter schools. There is an extensive offering of private schools in the area as well.
The University of Michigan is an integral part of the city. One of every three adults in the city is employed by the university. "Big Blue" enjoys a worldwide reputation that draws esteemed professors from all parts of the world and the university hosts a wide range of cultural events promoting local and visiting artists, musicians, writers and celebrities. Ann Arbor is also home to several other institutions of higher learning including Cleary College, Concordia College, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College.
Parks and Recreation
Residents have access to more than 2,000 acres of parks and recreational facilities. Activities include hiking, canoeing, camping, horseback riding and roller-skating. Numerous off-street trails are available to joggers throughout the year. During the colder months, there are several recreational services to utilize, such as the YMCA, the facilities at the University of Michigan and also the Washtenaw County Recreation Center. Downhill and cross-country skiing is only a 30-minute drive away.
For those who prefer a less-stressful activity, there is a wealth of shopping opportunities. The stores in downtown have a bazaar-like quality to them as they are locally owned and usually offer anything and everything from brand new retail clothing to used blue jeans, antique items to high tech products, to local grown produce and specialty foods. In Ann Arbor, there are more used and new bookshops per capita than in almost any other city in the world. The larger stores and the chain stores are found towards the outskirts of town, near the freeway entrances and exits. Briarwood Mall is Ann Arbor's largest shopping area with four major department stores in addition to 130 plus specialty shops.
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