The state of New Hampshire is known for many great things, from its rich history to the great hotels and fun activities for kids. It’s also known for having some pretty incredible schools. In the past, we’ve told you about the largest schools in the state and the richest schools, but today, we’re going to take things a step further and tell you about the largest school districts in New Hampshire. We’ll tell you how large they are, how many students call the schools home, and other interesting facts about what makes these districts so special.
Manchester School District
When it comes to the largest school districts in New Hampshire, there’s none larger than the Manchester School District, which is made up of 21 schools and 12,510 students at the time of this writing. All of the students here are between grades pre-kindergarten and 12th grade. In addition to being the largest, this district has also been graded as the #1 district in the state when it comes to diversity, according to the Niche 2023 Best Schools list.
Altogether, the schools in this district are about average. Of all the students, 27% of them are proficient in reading and 14% are proficient in math. The district has a graduation rate of 72%. The average SAT score is 1140, and the average ACT score is 26, both of which are above the average that many colleges look for when accepting applicants.
The Manchester School District is located in Manchester, NH, which is a large city. As of 2021, there were 115,462 people living in the area, which makes it the most populous city in the whole state. People like it because it has affordable living, many job opportunities, and an overall good quality of life. Some of the best schools in this district include:
- Green Acres School
- Hillside Middle School
- Manchester Central High School
Nashua School District
Next on the list of the largest school districts in New Hampshire is the Nashua School District, which is the location of 19 schools and just over 10,000 students. While it’s a smaller district, the schools get better scores in some metrics over the previous entry. Specifically, it gets good grades for diversity and clubs & activities. The students here are in grades PK-12th grade, and the district boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1, which means that the students are getting fairly individualized attention.
The school is fairly high in the rankings in several metrics according to Niche.com, which says that the district is ranked #2 for diversity among the other districts in the state and that it’s the #12 best district for student-athletes. Also, 40% of the students are proficient in reading and 27% are proficient in math.
The city where the district is located, Nashua, NH, is fairly large with just over 91,000 people as of the 2021 census. It’s located in Hillsborough County, which is considered to be one of the best places to live in the state. It has a mix of urban and suburban flair, and most of the people who live there own their homes. Some of the best-performing schools in this district include:
- Bicentennial Elementary School
- Main Dunstable Elementary School
- Nashua High School South
- Nashua High School North
Rochester School District
The third largest district in New Hampshire by number of schools is Rochester School District, with 11 schools and just under 4,000 students between them. This district is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the largest school districts in New Hampshire. While it gets good marks for clubs & activities (in fact, Niche rates it as #36 out of 70 for student-athletes), there’s room for improvement when it comes to academics, diversity, teaching, and college prep. Currently, 27% of students here are proficient in math, and 35% are proficient in reading.
All of the students are in grades pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. The school has a graduation rate of 76%. Students who do graduate get an average score of 1160 on the SAT and 25 on the ACT, which is respectable. Like many other somewhat smaller districts, the students here enjoy a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1, indicating fairly good individualized attention.
This district is in the city of Rochester, New Hampshire, which had about 32,500 folks as of the 2020 census. It’s the 6th most populous city in NH, which explains the large school district. The city is good for families and even hosts an annual Lilac Family Fun Festival in the spring, as well as the Rochester Fair. It's an affordable town, and that’s why many people call it home. The noteworthy schools in this district/town include:
- Gonic School
- Nancy Loud School
- Spaulding High School
Contoocook Valley School District
Also with 11 schools is the Contoocook Valley School District, which also has just over 2,000 students as of the time of this writing. This is a fairly good school district that gets good grades from experts in numerous categories, including teaching, academics, and college prep. All of these students are in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, and they do fairly decently. Of those in the district, 46% of them are proficient in reading, and 31% are proficient in math.
The district is large, but it’s middle-of-the-road for many metrics, including with the teaching and the student-athletes. However, there is a very impressive graduation rate of 92%. Plus, the students here get an average ACT score of 27 and an average SAT score of 1210, which are scores that are promising for those hoping to attend college. These numbers may be due to the fact that in this district, there’s a student-to-teacher ratio of 10:1, which is much better than the national average of 17:1.
Despite the name of the district, it's actually located in Peterborough, New Hampshire. It’s a small town with about 6,500 residents as of the 2020 census. That’s particularly interesting considering that 2,000 of those residents attend the schools. The town provides the residents with an easy-going suburban feel, and it’s a nice place to live. Some of the higher-performing schools in the district include:
- Hancock Elementary School
- Peterborough Elementary School
- South Meadow School
- Conval Regional High School
Salem School District
Finally, we have the impressive Salem School District, which is not only one of the largest school districts in New Hampshire, but it’s also home to some of the highest-performing schools in the state. There are eight schools here and they provide education to 3,580 students at the time of this writing. The schools here get high marks in the areas of academics, clubs & activities, college prep, and teaching, among other metrics.
The students, who range from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, do pretty well, and the numbers prove it. Currently, 56% of the students are proficient in reading, and 47% of the students are proficient in math. On top of that, the schools have an astounding graduation rate of 95%, which means that nearly everyone gets their diploma. Students who take the tests get an average of 29 on the ACT and 1180 on the SAT, which bodes well for their academic futures. The schools also get high marks for being a great place to teach and a great place for student-athletes.
The city of Salem, NH, is also fairly large, with a population of 30,647 as of the 2022 census, and the students are getting a good education. The town is also very safe, with a low crime rate, and it’s very affordable. While many of the schools are impressive, schools with the best scores include:
- William T. Barron Elementary School
- North Salem Elementary School
- Woodbury School (middle)
- Salem High School
These are the largest school districts in New Hampshire. While they’re not as huge as those in some of the other states in the nation, they’re still rather impressive. If you’re a parent who lives in this state, there’s a good chance that your kids attend one of the schools in one of these districts.
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