A woman stands to speak and a man sits next to her listening.
Lauren Stoddard stands and speaks during a session of the 2023 Highlands Ranch Citizens Academy and Al Duff sits next to her, listening. Both were graduates of the program in 2023. Credit: Courtesy of Sherry Eppers

The Highlands Ranch Metro District is accepting applications for the 2024 Highlands Ranch Citizens Academy through Nov. 17. 

Throughout January and February, the citizen’s engagement program will hold class on Thursday nights from 5:30-9 p.m. with a graduation ceremony held in front of the Metro District Board on Feb. 27. 

Aimed to build civic capacity of Highlands Ranch residents, the Highlands Ranch Metro District established the Highlands Ranch Citizens Academy in 2020. 

“This eight-week program serves an an eye-opener to the inner workings of local government,” said Al Duff, Highlands Ranch resident and 2023 Citizens Academy graduate.

The course will introduce residents to key topics and issues in the community. 

In addition to the history of Highlands Ranch and its community partnerships, residents will learn about topics such as the role of local government, local services — including parks, recreation and open space — public works, water and wastewater, public safety and financial stability. 

Information is also provided about local leadership and services provided by the Highlands Ranch Community Association as well as local community partners. 

Each session will focus on a different topic and consist of engaging presentations, activities and Q&A sessions with local subject matter experts and fellow academy participants. 

As the academy provides an opportunity to learn more about government structure and community service providers, residents will also have the chance to take part in civic involvement and network with local leaders.

“If you have an interest in not only learning about local government but becoming an active participant, then this program is a springboard to get started,” said Duff.

To apply for the academy, participants must follow certain criteria:

  • Must be a Highlands Ranch resident. 
  • Must be 18 years of age or older. 
  • Willing to commit to attending eight evening sessions in January and February 2024, including the extra date for the graduation reception and ceremony. 
  • Participants are expected to display professional courtesy and respectful conduct to promote a positive experience. 

Class size will be limited. 

Benefits to participating in the course include learning about how local government impacts your daily life, provides network opportunities, learn about opportunities to become more involved in the community and will receive recognition by the Metro District board. 

The program is free to participants as it is funded by the Highlands Ranch Metro District and its community partners. 

More information about the program and the online application can be found on the Highlands Ranch Metro District website at tinyurl.com/49jvv4ru.

For questions about the program or the application process, contact Sherry Eppers at seppers@highlandsranch.org

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