Fort Polk: Education Options for the Graduate and Adult

A move to Fort Polk is the perfect opportunity to learn new things or finish that degree. 

And the educational opportunities are plentiful for the enterprising recent graduate or adult.

Northwestern State University, located a little over an hour away in historic Natchitoches offers a variety of degree programs. However, don’t despair if the idea of driving all that way overwhelms you. One of NSU’s satellite campuses is right outside the Fort Polk gate. And if that’s too far, they offer a ton of online degrees

Mcneese State University offers similar opportunities, with online degrees as well. 

The Lamar Salter Campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College, located just south of Fort Polk on U.S. Highway 171, offers a variety of degrees in technical education. 

Effective July 1, 2021, SOWELA Technical Community College will acquire the Lamar Salter campus, greatly expanding the offerings. The transition is expected to take a year. 

Admissions for Central Texas College are open to all military members, their dependents, GS employees and the general public, and the requirements are much less stringent than other colleges. CTC offers a variety of programs. Classes and offices are located at 7460 Colorado Ave. Bldg. 660,  Room 102, Fort Polk. 

Upper Iowa University offers educational services to veterans and service men and women, as well as civilians, including Department of Defense (DoD) employees, federal contractors and military dependents (spouses and children). Explore the degree programs here

A move to Fort Polk could offer you the perfect opportunity to prepare for the next phase of your life: get that degree!

Let us know what questions you may have and we’ll  do our best to answer them!

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress
PO Box 1191
Leesville, LA 71496

Fort Polk: Education Options for Your Children

Now that you have a plan for where you’re going to live, if you have children, your mind is likely turning toward their education, and if you don’t have children, you may be thinking about your own education options. 

Let’s talk about the options for children first. There’s plenty to cover. 

Two public school districts serve the children of Fort Polk. The Vernon Parish School District serves approximately 2,000 military-connected children, while the Beauregard Parish School District serves close to 200 military-connected children. 

Fort Polk is actually located within the Vernon Parish School District, so you can expect transportation to be part of the package within the transportation circle of the school you choose. On their website, if you click on the Campus icon at the top of the page, a dropdown menu of all the schools in the district will appear. 

All told, two high schools (Pickering and Leesville); one dedicated junior high; one middle school and five elementary schools (Pickering, North Polk, Parkway, East and West) serve the area closest to the base. In addition, the district offers virtual school

The district is also keenly aware that it serves military families, and has a military liaison office to help you get settled and to learn about all the opportunities they offer that will help your children with their academic goals beyond high school. 

You can download enrollment forms for the Vernon Parish District here.

Another option is the Beauregard Parish School District, which is south of the base in another parish. For some families, this is a fine option. It just depends on your needs and preferences.  See the post on housing options for more on the benefits of living in different areas. 

Again, click on the Campus icon on the district’s home page for a drop down menu of the different schools in the parish. DeRidder High School and DeRidder Junior High make the most sense for anyone who lives in DeRidder and commutes to Fort Polk, as do Carver Elementary, K.R. Hanchey Elementary and Pinewood Elementary. 

You can read about each school and each district’s performance scores as measured by the state here. And you can discover state graduation requirements here. 

A third option is private school, which can either be your own home school, or one of two schools in the area. Faith Training Christian Academy offers a Christian education, using the A Beka program primarily for K-4 through 12th grade. First Assembly Christian Academy provides day care and education for ages 6 weeks through 8th grade. In addition, their extracurricular activities are open to homeschool students. 

Finally, of course, homeschooling is an option. To ensure you comply with state attendance laws, click here. 

Comment with your questions or insight below! We look forward to talking with you more!

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress
PO Box 1191
Leesville, LA 71496

Fort Polk Housing options: Where will I live?

If you’re about to be stationed at Fort Polk, your biggest question might be, where will I live?

And that question can only be answered depending on your wants and needs. 

How close do you want to be to the base? 

Do you like rural areas or do you prefer being in town? 

Do you have kids? 

Which schools do you want them to attend? What types of activities do you want them to be involved in?

If you choose to live on base, click here and here for a breakdown of your options and more guidance. 

Many soldiers, especially those with larger families and/or pets, choose to live off post in one of several communities surrounding Fort Polk because it is easier to find larger dwellings with acreage or large yards. Homes in the communities also tend to offer more privacy. To search for homes for sale or rent, go to and enter search terms such as “Vernon Parish, La.” or “Beauregard Parish, La.” or any of the towns named in this article.

When you find homes you’re interested in, use a mapping tool such as Google Maps or Mapquest to determine what sort of commute you’ll be facing for work and school. A word about the schools in Vernon Parish: you can choose to send your children to whichever school you like best. However, if your child plays varsity sports and does not live in that school’s district, then your child must sit out a full year before being eligible to play according to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) which governs the state’s high school athletics. Speak to the principal at the school you choose for more information and guidance.  

The nearest towns to Fort Polk headed north on U.S. Highway 171 are New Llano (5.1 miles away) and Leesville (6.8 milies). Many families choose these towns because of their proximity to the base and the schools, which are larger and offer more amenities than the smaller, rural schools.

A little further north on U.S. 171 are Anacoco (21 miles) and Hornbeck (30 miles). Many Fort Polk families enjoy the quiet country living these communities offer. The schools are smaller, but they are top notch in terms of academic performance, as are all of the schools in Vernon Parish.

The North entrance to Fort Polk on Louisiana Highway 28 is close to Hicks (16 miles) and Simpson (19.3 miles) which are also good choices for military families, especially if you’d like the option of being closer to Alexandria for short trips that include more restaurant and shopping options. 

To the south of Fort Polk  on U.S. 171 there is Pickering (4.1 miles from Entrance Road) and Rosepine (12.1 miles), and further south is DeRidder (16.1 miles). From DeRidder it is only another hour to Lake Charles, where the restaurant and shopping options are much expanded.

The following real estate companies have a long history of helping soldiers and their families with their real estate needs. (If you represent a real estate company and would like to be listed here, let us know in the comments below). 

ERA Sarver Real Estate, Inc.

Century 21 Delia Realty Group

Morris Team Realty

Candice Skinner Real Estate

American Dream Real Estate

Fertitta Real Estate

Which housing options sound most appealing to you as you plan your move? 

Let us know what issues you’re facing by joining one of our social media groups and engaging with us there or send us your questions about Fort Polk and the surrounding communities by commenting below! 

We’ll be happy to answer, and if we don’t know, we’ll find out for you. We can’t wait to see you!

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress
PO Box 1191
Leesville, LA 71496

Fort Polk: Where the heck?

Answer: The short, kinda boring answer is that Fort Polk is located in West Central Louisiana, or west Cenla (we’re big on abbreviating place names) or just Cenla. 

The nearest towns are New Llano (5.1 miles away), Leesville (6.8 milies) and DeRidder (16.1 miles), all relatively rural. 

Larger towns that feature more shopping and dining options within an hour and fifteen minutes are Alexandria (we abbreviate it to Alex. No offense, but you’re probably saying it wrong); Natchitoches (we can help you with these place names, I promise), and Lake Charles (one of our larger cities).

Fort Polk, Louisiana on the map

Shreveport is located about two hours away from Fort Polk, while Baton Rouge (our capitol) is a good three hours, and New Orleans is about four hours.

Do not fear. Fort Polk is surrounded by lots of interesting culture, great food and very friendly (okay, maybe a little strange, but it’s a good kinda strange) people, if you give it half a chance.

No, the base does not have a bunch of chain (predictable) restaurants right around the corner. No, we do not have a bunch of places to shop (isn’t that what Amazon is for?), and no, we don’t have the most hopping night life you’ve ever experienced. 

At Fort Polk you’ll discover a different kind of cool. We’re a jump in the lake, go fishing, boating, hiking, biking, muddin’, or just sit on the front porch and watch the world go by kinda cool. We are Sunday dinner cool. We are spontaneous get together cool. Crawfish boils, fish fries and backyard barbeques are our specialty. 

If you’re a history buff, at Fort Polk you’ll find that we’re Louisiana Purchase and oldest permanent settlement cool. We are longest-lived socialist utopian colony in the country cool. 

And if partying is your thing, you’ll see that Louisiana has more festivals than you can shake a stick at. And a lot of them are just a day trip away.

Like music? Not to brag, we’re located in the actual birthplace of a LOT of music genres. No kidding.

If you don’t expect what you’re used to, there’s no telling what you’ll discover exploring the food, festivals, historic sites, creeks, bayous, lakes, woods and mom and pop kind of shops surrounding Fort Polk.

Finally, if you’re ready to contemplate housing, let us help you. We’ve compiled some useful information here. 

Let us know what you think by joining one of our social media groups and engaging with us there or send us your questions about Fort Polk and the surrounding communities by commenting below! 

We’ll be happy to answer, and if we don’t know, we’ll find out for you. In the meantime, start planning, because there is so much to do around Fort Polk! We can’t wait to see you!

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress
PO Box 1191
Leesville, LA 71496