Alabama is the 24th most populous state in the United States, with a population of 5,024,279 (per the 2020 decennial census). It has a population density of 99.1 people per square mile. The state runs a robust public education system through the Alabama Department of Education, which manages 152 school districts serving over 748,274 students in K-12.
With most of the population concentrated within its largest cities, Alabama has a fair share of large school campuses with enrollments running into the thousands. From Birmingham to Huntsville to Mobile, these schools offer diverse academic programs and extracurricular activities to thousands of kids across the state.
This post will highlight the thirteen largest schools in the state, from the elementary to tertiary level. We’ll take you on a tour of these schools, exploring their histories, academics, educational offerings, student experiences, faculty size and experience, among other unique characteristics.
Keep reading to better understand Alabama’s educational scene with our list of the thirteen largest learning institutions in the state.
Daniel Pratt Elementary School
420 Harvest Loop, Prattville, AL 36066
Daniel Pratt Elementary is one of the largest and best public elementary schools in the Montgomery Area. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the school is home to roughly 1,029 “DPES Eagles.” The school operates under the Autauga County School District.
The school serves kids in first through sixth grade with a comprehensive and enriched curriculum that prepares them for high school and life beyond. State assessments reveal that students at the school are performing at or above grade level. 90% of students attained proficiency in reading and 48% in math.
Daniel Pratt Elementary maintains reasonably small class sizes despite the relatively large population. The school has one teacher for every nineteen kids, matching the state’s average. The teachers are also highly qualified, with 89% having more than three years of experience and all full-time holding special certifications. The school also has a full-time nurse on staff.
Clanton Elementary School
1000 Cloverleaf Dr, Clanton, AL 35045
Clanton Elementary School is a public elementary school under the Chilton County Schools District. Built in 1973, the facility houses roughly 1,036 kids and 115 faculty and staff. The students are in prekindergarten through third grade. In 2011, the school completed its Pre-K building, located across the bus road from the main school.
The Pre-K building has twelve classrooms housing roughly 171 kids. The main school is divided into modules, each with a unique color code. The school prides itself in offering a developmentally appropriate curriculum with numerous enrichment activities such as art, music, STEAM, and physical education.
Students at Clanton can also participate in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch curriculum, creating a solid foundation for STEM courses. The school’s performance in standardized assessments is about the same as the state average. 73% attain proficiency in reading, 49% in English, and 35% in math.
Clanton Elementary has a student-teacher ratio of 18:1. All full-time teachers are certified. Additionally, 86% have more than three years of teaching experience. Clanton Elementary also has a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer among its staff.
Rehobeth Elementary School
5525 Co Rd 203, Dothan, AL 36301
Rehobeth Elementary is a top-performing public school in the Houston County School District. The school hosts roughly 1,145 kids in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The school received an 8/10 rating on test score performance and a 7/10 overall from GreatSchools.org.
Despite the large student population, Rehobeth Elementary maintains a rigorous academic environment, with most students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards. 87% of the kids attain proficiency in reading, 62% in English, 59% in math, and 42% in science.
The school has one teacher for every nineteen students. Nonetheless, the faculty team is highly qualified, with all instructors certified and possessing over three years of teaching experience. It also has a full-time law-enforcement officer and nurse on staff.
Students can also participate in a range of extracurricular activities, including the Junior Beta Club and Honor Choir. Here’s what one parent said about their experience at the school: “My son loves this school. He been coming here since the 2nd grade from Newton and is now a straight-A student.”
Paine Elementary School
7600 Gadsden Hwy, Trussville, AL 35173
Paine Elementary is a highly-rated public school in Trussville, AL, within the Trussville City School District. The school is home to over 1,300 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The school earned a 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.org for its academic and equity achievements.
Students at Paine Elementary are performing better than most of their peers across the state, with a majority attaining the proficiency requirements for their respective grades. 94% achieve proficiency in reading, 80% in English, 73% in math, and 72% in science.
The school maintains a student-teacher ratio of 14:1, which allows teachers to provide more personalized feedback and instruction to the kids. 95% of the teaching staff have over three years of experience, while all full-time faculty are certified.
Paine Elementary has a robust and active PTO that arranges numerous events and extracurricular programs for the kids throughout the year. Most parents are satisfied with their interactions with the school, with one highlighting the incredible teachers, challenging curriculum, and open communication between teachers and parents as the biggest positives.
Thompson Middle School
100 Warrior Dr, Alabaster, AL 35007
Thompson Middle is one of the largest schools in Shelby County and is part of the Alabaster City School District. It serves roughly 1,436 kids in sixth through eighth grade. The school earned a 6/10 overall school from GreatSchools.org.
Students’ performance on the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program shows that 60% of the students attain proficiency in English and 50% in science. The kids' performance in math was below the state average, with only 23% achieving the proficiency grade. Besides the traditional core curriculum, students interested in STEM can sign up for the PLTW Gateway curriculum.
The school has one teacher for every eighteen kids. 96% of the instructors have over three years of experience, with 98% of the full-time teachers holding professional certifications. Thompson Middle also employs a full-time law enforcement officer and nurse.
Thompson Middle offers numerous extracurricular opportunities to its students, with over 19 clubs and organizations to choose from. Additionally, students can enroll in one of the seventeen athletics teams at the school.
Semmes Middle School
4566 Ed George Rd, Semmes, AL 36575
Semmes Middle is a public school within the Mobile County School District serving kids in sixth through eighth grade. The school identifies as the “Home of the Bulldogs” and has a student population of 1,444, making it one of the largest middle schools in the state.
Unfortunately, the school doesn’t seem to be faring well in academics. Data from the 2020 Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program indicates that test scores at Semmes Middle fall below the state average. Only 39% of students attained proficiency in English, 12% in math, and 29% in science.
Semmes Middle runs a robust extracurricular program, with students choosing from thirteen sports teams and six clubs and societies. The school has over 120 faculty and staff, with 63 full-time teachers. As such, it has a student-teacher ratio of 22:1.
Bernice J Causey Middle School
2205 McFarland Rd, Mobile, AL 36695
Bernice J Causey Middle School is a public school in the Mobile County School District. The School serves roughly 1,455 “Causey Tigers” in sixth through eighth grade. Causey Middle School strives to provide a challenging and quality education in a safe, nurturing environment.
The school’s performance on state assessments is slightly above the average. 51% of students attain proficiency in English and 55% in science, both higher than the state average. However, only 23% attained proficiency in math, four percentage points below the state average. Causey Middle also offers a STEM program through the PLTW Gateway Curriculum.
The school offers opportunities for kids to explore their talents and interests outside the classroom. Students can join one of the thirteen clubs and societies or one of the eleven athletic teams.
An alum spoke highly of the school in a review on Niche.com, saying that the school made every student feel safe. The student also noted that the school kept them motivated through numerous creative strategies and programs. They also appreciated the numerous extracurricular opportunities at the school.
Hoover High School
1000 Buccaneer Dr, Hoover, AL 35244
Hoover High School is a top-rated public school within the Hoover City School District. It’s also one of the largest schools in the state, with 2,716 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum supplemented with multiple special programs.
Hoover High School boasts of a 93% high school graduation rate. 53% of the graduates proceed to college or vocational training. The school scores a 77% ACT College Readiness rate, indicating its commitment to providing a firm foundation for tertiary education and beyond.
The school offers numerous opportunities for students to earn college credits while in high school. The first is through the advanced placement program, in which 18% of the students enroll. The school offers 27 AP courses. Additionally, students can participate in dual enrollment classes, with 6% of the students participating.
The school offers the International Baccalaureate program in which 3% of the students participate. Hoover High School also has several special academies in several disciplines, including Engineering, FACS, Business and Entrepreneurship, Health Science, and Law. It also has 47 athletic teams fielded in Junior Varsity, Varsity, and Freshman leagues.
Alabama Virtual Academy At Eufaula City Schools
831 W Washington St, Eufaula, AL 36027
Alabama Virtual Academy is a public school under the Eufaula City School District. It is a virtual school for over 4,300 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school provides a personalized approach for all remote, full-time students, with a rigorous curriculum powered by Stride K12.
The school offers core courses in math, science, language arts, and history, complemented by special rotational programs such as physical education, art, and music. The school is tuition-free, with all qualified students receiving a loaner computer, printer, and internet stipend.
The teachers provide instruction personally or via small group interventions identified as “Class Connects.” All students must attend all their Class Connects to receive tutoring and feedback.
Alabama Virtual Academy boasts a 100% high school graduation rate. The school offers nine advanced placement courses. The school also provides Stride’s career prep programs in Business Management and Administration, Education and Training, and Information Technology.
Alabama Connections Academy
21465 AL-99, Athens, AL 35614
Alabama Connections Academy is a tuition-free online public school under the Limestone County Schools District. It is the largest K-12 school in Alabama, serving roughly 6,834 students. The school offers a comprehensive curriculum with honors and standard core courses.
Each day, students participate in a series of engaging lessons online, with a 90/10 split- 90% on a computer and 10% working independently offline. Parents act as the child’s learning coach and can follow the kid’s progress and provide a lending hand.
Teachers at the school are state certified and specially trained in online learning to provide the necessary support and feedback to the kids. The school also runs a gifted and talented program from elementary through high school.
In addition to meeting their peers in LiveLessonⓇ sessions and collaborating during school projects, students can join one of the numerous virtual clubs available at the school. Students also socialize during school trips, pop-up events, and special events.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1720 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35294
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a mid-sized college classified as a Research University by the Carnegie Classification. The institution has a total enrollment of 22,289, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. The school has one of the highest acceptance rates at 89%.
That said, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has high admission requirements, with the average freshman having a 1280 SAT Score. A 1280 is within the 86th percentile of all test takers.
The average annual tuition cost for Alabama residents is roughly $8,568, and $20,400 for out-of-state students. 95% of full-time undergrad students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham received financial aid through grants, fellowships, or scholarships from the institution or federal, state, or local government agencies.
- Roddy White, former wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons
- Garrett Whitlock, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
- Joe Webb, former quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers
- Larry Langford, former mayor of Birmingham, Alabama
- Regina Benjamin, 18th Surgeon General of the United States
- Chris Collins, former U.S. Representative
- David Sandlin, book artist
- Deidre Downs, Miss America 2005
- Beth Chapman, Alabama's 51st Secretary of State
- Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Auburn, AL 36849
Auburn University is a public, four-year institution of higher learning classified as a Research University by the Carnegie Classification. It has a total student population of 31,526, making it the second-largest tertiary institution in the state.
The school has an average acceptance rate of 71%. The admissions process is moderately competitive, with the school ranked 7th in Alabama for the lowest acceptance rates. The school admits students with an average 3.97 GPA in their high school grades.
The average annual tuition cost for Alabama residents is $10,080, while out-of-state students part with $30,240. 73% of full-time undergraduates received financial aid through grants, scholarships, and fellowships, with aids averaging $9,247 per student.
- Ashley Crow, actress
- Travis S. Taylor, science fiction writer
- Richard Marcinko, first commanding officer of the Navy SEAL Team Six
- Kate Higgins, voice actress
- Drake White, country music artist
- Willie Anderson, former offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens
- Stephen Huss, 2005 Wimbledon Men's Doubles champion
- Timothy D. Cook, CEO of Apple
- Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity
- Don Logan, former chairman of Time Warner Cable
- Richard Myers, 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Fob James, 48th Governor of Alabama
The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
The University of Alabama is a four-year public college in Tuscaloosa, AL. The school has a total student enrollment of 38,316, making it the largest institution of learning in Alabama.
The School has a 79% acceptance rate and ranks 16th in the state for this metric. The school has high admission requirements, admitting students in the 55th percentile in standardized tests. The average freshman at the school has a high school GPA of 3.76.
The average tuition cost for Alabama residents is $10,780, while their out-of-state peers pay $30,250 for tuition. 84% of full-time undergraduates receive financial aid, which averages $14,400 per student.
- Hugo Black, former U.S. Senator and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
- Harper Lee, bestselling author
- George Wallace, 45th Governor of Alabama
- Doug Jones, former U.S. Senator
- Richard Shelby, former U.S. Senator
- Joe Namath, former quarterback for the New York Jets
- C.J. Mosley, linebacker for the New York Jets
- Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia
- Julio Jones, wide receiver who is currently a free agent
- Gay Talese, writer
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Alabama has a diverse educational landscape, with many top-rated schools in rural and urban settings. It also has a significant number of large schools, with student populations of over 1,000 students.
Most schools on this list also do well in academics despite their high student enrollment and would make excellent choices for your family. Remember that the right school should fit your child’s unique needs and preferences.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©FamVeld/Shutterstock.com.