When picking out a school for your kid in Arkansas, many factors come into play. From academic programs and extracurricular opportunities to location and costs, the decision-making process can often feel overwhelming. An often overlooked aspect is school size.
Large school campuses are often frowned upon, but they can be an excellent fit for your child. Large schools often have increased diversity, a wider range of academic programs, more resources, and better networking opportunities.
Today’s post will explore the 13 largest schools in Arkansas. You’ll discover the unique programs offered at the school, extracurricular opportunities, faculty size and experience, among many other factors that make these schools attractive to thousands of kids.
Here are the 13 biggest schools in the state, from elementary level through college.
eStem Downtown Elementary Public Charter School
112 W 3Rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201
eStem Downtown Elementary is an average-performing public charter school in Little Rock. The school serves roughly 981 in kindergarten through sixth grade and is one of the largest elementary schools in the state. The school’s charter indicates that it aims to produce critical thinkers well-versed in engineering, science, math, literacy, technology, and economics.
The school has an open enrollment policy, with a random anonymous lottery conducted once a year for students on the waiting list after the open enrollment period ends. Test scores at eStem Downtown Elementary are about the same as the state average. 55% of the students attain proficiency in math and 45% in reading.
Your child may participate in sports, with the school offering golf, cross-country, cheerleading, baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer. eStem Downtown Elementary has 59 full-time teachers, with an average student-teacher ratio of 17:1.
98% of the full-time instructors are certified. Additionally, 97.8% of the teachers have taught for over three years. The school also has a full-time nurse and security guard.
Don Roberts Elementary School
16601 Lamarche Dr, Little Rock, AR 72223
Don Roberts Elementary is one of the best-performing elementary schools in Arkansas. Located in Little Rock, the school serves roughly 1,012 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The school operates under the Little Rock School District.
GreatSchools.org gave the school an overall 8/10 rating for its academic performance and drive toward equity. Niche.com ranks Don Roberts as the second-best public elementary school in Pulaski County. 79% of the students are proficient in math and 71% in reading.
The school also runs a gifted program and would be an excellent fit for families seeking to provide their intellectually-gifted kids with the right level of challenge. Don Roberts also has an active PTO that funds numerous school events and afterschool programs.
The school has one teacher for every eighteen kids. All 56 full-time teachers at Don Roberts are certified. 88.2% of the teachers have taught for over three years. The school also has two full-time counselors.
W.J. Clinton Primary School
601 Lakeshore Dr, Hope, AR 71801
Located in a rural fringe setting, W.J. Clinton Primary is an average-performing public elementary school. The school is under the Hope School District. It is home to over 1,032 “Bobcats” in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
The school falls below the state average in state proficiency assessments. 39% of the kids perform at or above grade level in math and 29% in English. Students at Clinton Primary can participate in various enrichment programs, including art, music, and physical education.
Clinton Primary also offers special education services and support for dyslexic kids. The school has roughly 60 full-time teachers. It has an average student-teacher ratio of 17:1. The faculty is highly qualified. 75% have taught for over three years and all full-time teachers hold state-approved certifications. The school also has a full-time nurse on staff.
Arkansas Virtual Academy, Elementary School
1400 W Markham St, Suite 206, Little Rock, AR 72201
Families that prefer to have greater control over their kids’ education through homeschooling can enroll in the largest elementary school in the state: Arkansas Virtual Academy-Elementary School. The elementary section of the Arkansas Virtual Academy serves over 1,367 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The school is a tuition-free public online school. Students undertake the Stride K-12 curriculum, with core subjects in language arts, math, science, history, and art. From third grade, students can choose to participate in self-directed electives in world languages and music.
Teachers at Arkansas Virtual are specially trained in online learning, with classes offered in small groups of online synchronous sessions identified as “Class Connects.” Students are expected to attend all class connects.
Parents play a critical role in the learning process, acting as “learning coaches.” In kindergarten through third grade, daily parental involvement is necessary, with 10-15% of the time spent online. The students spend roughly 4-6 hours on active learning per day.
Benton Middle School
204 N Cox St, Benton, AR 72015
Benton Middle School is one of the biggest school campuses in Arkansas, serving roughly 1,305 “Panthers” in fifth through seventh grade. The school is part of the Benton School District. GreatSchools.org gave it a 6/10 overall rating. Niche.com ranks it fifth among the best public middle schools in Little Rock.
The school’s academic performance is above average, with 66% of the students gaining proficiency in math and 51% in reading. Benton Middle also runs a gifted program that provides the necessary level of support and challenge to academically gifted kids.
The school has roughly 76 full-time teachers. The school has an average of one teacher for every seventeen kids. 92% of the teachers have taught for over three years, and all full-time instructors are certified. Benton Middle also employs a full-time nurse and security guard.
Bryant Junior High School
301 Hill Farm Rd, Bryant, AR 72022
Bryant Junior High is an above-average public school in the Bryant School District. The school serves about 1,630 students in eighth and ninth grade, making it one of the largest middle schools in the state. The school has a minority enrollment of 39%, which contributes massively to bridging the achievement and diversity gaps in the state.
47% of the students in the school come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with most benefiting from free or reduced-price lunches. The school has one teacher for every sixteen students. The school district employs roughly 94 full-time teachers.
The school’s curriculum features a range of core subjects, including English, social studies, science, and math. Students can also enroll in elective programs, such as art, music, physical education, and foreign languages in French and Spanish. Bryant Junior also has numerous athletic teams, including basketball and football.
Conway Junior High School
1815 Prince St, Conway, AR 72034
Conway Junior High School is a top-rated public school in the Conway School District. The school serves 1,574 “Wampus Cats” in eighth and ninth grades. It is the largest middle school in Arkansas.
The school is ranked eighth amongst public middle schools in the Little Rock area and 55th in the state. 59% of the students at the school attain proficiency in math and 58% in reading. 50% are proficient in science. Conway Junior High also has a gifted and talented program that serves intellectually-gifted kids in the district.
The school has 99 full-time instructors, with an average student-teacher ratio of 15:1. All the full-time teachers are certified. Additionally, 99% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. Conway Junior High also has a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer.
Arkansas Connections Academy
1009 Beau Terre Dr building o, Bentonville, AR 72712
Arkansas Connections Academy is a public, tuition-free, online school with a physical office in Beau Terre Office Park, Bentonville, AR. The school serves over 2,836 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The school offers the Stride K-12 online curriculum, allowing homeschooling kids to pace themselves. Students must attend lessons identified as “Class Connects”. High school students must earn a minimum of 22 course credits to graduate under the Smart Core or the Core Curriculum.
The school has a 70% high school graduation rate. Students at the school earn a composite SAT score of 1435, speaking highly of the school’s college preparatory program. The school has a student-teacher ratio of 27:1.
All full-time teachers at the school are certified. Additionally, 78% have over three years of teaching experience. The teachers also receive specialized instruction on online learning and lesson delivery. Arkansas Connections Academy also has a full-time counselor on staff.
Bentonville High School
1901 Southeast J Street, Bentonville, AR 72712
Bentonville High is a top-performing public school under the Bentonville School District. It is also one of the largest schools in the state. The school is home to over 3,159 students in ninth through twelfth grade.
GreatSchools.org gives Bentonville High an 8/10 overall ranking. 92% of the students graduate after four years in high school. 47% of the graduates proceed to college or vocational training. The school has a rigorous college preparatory program, with students having an average SAT score of 1306.
The school offers a wide range of academic programs, including 30 advanced placement courses, two STEM programs, seven art courses, six music courses, and three performance arts courses. 35% of the students participate in the AP program.
6% of students join dual enrollment classes, allowing them to earn college credits while still in high school. The school has over 268 full-time instructors, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12:1.
95% of the teachers have taught for over three years. Additionally, all full-time teachers are certified. The school also has a nurse, social worker, psychologist, security guard, and law enforcement officer among its support staff.
Springdale School Of Innovations
2667 Hylton Rd, Springdale, AR 72764
The largest school in Arkansas’ K-12 public education system is the Springdale School of Innovations. This public charter school is home to over 4,029 sixth through twelfth-grade students.
The school is a technology-rich STEM school that embraces flexible and blended learning to promote student success. The school boasts of a 93% high school graduation rate. Students at the school have an average SAT score of 1470.
Students undertake numerous college preparatory programs, including 18 advanced placement courses and two STEM courses. 22% of the students enroll in AP courses. The STEM courses provided at the school are the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Gateway and Engineering curricula.
23% of the students participate in dual credit classes, getting an opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. The school has over 235 full-time teachers, with an overall student-teacher ratio of 17:1.
The teachers at the school are highly experienced, with 85% having over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, 91% of the full-time instructors are certified. The school also employs a full-time nurse, a law enforcement officer, and three school counselors.
University of Central Arkansas
201 Donaghey Ave, Conway, AR 72035
Founded in 1907, the University of Central Arkansas is a premier, public, four-year university in Conway. The university is home to over 10,105 students in undergrad, graduate, and doctoral programs. It is the state’s third-largest college. The university maintains a student-faculty ratio of roughly 17:1.
The university is classified as a Doctoral/Research university under the Carnegie Classification. It has an average acceptance rate of 92%. The school is relatively easy to join, with most students admitted scoring within the top 60% in standardized admission tests.
The school charges a $6,870 annual tuition fee to Arkansas residents. Out-of-state students may have to pay more, with the tuition fee averaging $13,740. The total costs, including boarding, books, and other expenses, may balloon to over $30,000.
97% of the full-time undergrad students at the University of Central Arkansas receive financial aid. The average aid package is $7,735 per student.
Notable University of Central Arkansas Alumni
Notable University of Central Arkansas alumni include:
- Kris Allen, singer and winner of the reality music competition American Idol
- Dee Brown, author
- Julia Koch, one of the world's richest women
- Benjamin Travis Laney, 33rd governor of Arkansas
- Mike Norvell, head football coach at Florida State University
- Gavin Stone, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Charlie Strong, head football coach at the University of South Florida
- Scottie Pippen, six-time NBA Champion and Basketball Hall of Famer
- Monte Coleman, former linebacker for the Washington Commanders
- James Bridges, actor and director
- Bob Johnson, member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
Arkansas State University
2105 East, Aggie Rd, Jonesboro, AR 72401
Arkansas State University is a four-year public university on a 1,376-acre campus on Crowley’s Ridge, Jonesboro, AR. It is the flagship university of the Arkansas State University system and serves over 12,863 students. It is the second-largest college in the state.
The school is classified as Doctorate High Research Activity under the Carnegie Classification, with the highest educational programs being doctoral/research degrees. The school has an average acceptance rate of 63%, with the admissions process being mildly competitive.
Arkansas State University charges $5,232 in in-state annual tuition fees. Students from out-of-state may have to pay up to $10,800 for tuition. 98% of the students receive financial aid, with the aid packages averaging $10,913 per student.
Notable Arkansas State University Alumni
Notable Arkansas State University alumni include:
- Bill Bergey, former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles
- Rodger Bumpass, voice of Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants
- Ray Brown, former guard in the NFL
- Jeff Hartwig, former U.S. record holder in the pole vault
- Buddy Jewell, country music artist
- Ken Jones, former offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets
- Al Joyner, Olympic gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics
- Chris Odom, defensive end who is currently a free agent
- Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College
- Mike Beebe, 45th governor of Arkansas
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
The University of Arkansas is a large, public, four-year university in Fayetteville. Founded in 1871, it is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas system. The school serves over 29,068 students, making it the largest school in the state by student population.
The university is classified as “R1–Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity” under the Carnegie Classification. The school has an average acceptance rate of 83%. The school admits students within the top 47% of standardized admissions tests.
In-state residents pay $7,666 in annual tuition fees, while out-of-state students may have to pay $24,482. 85% of the students received financial aid, with an average aid package of $5,709 per student.
Notable University of Arkansas alumni include:
- Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart
- Cliff Lee, former starting pitcher in the MLB
- Stacy Lewis, 2-time LPGA champion
- Jerry Jones, owner and president of the Dallas Cowboys
- Rodney E. Slater, 13th U.S. Secretary of Transportation
- S. Robson Walton, former chairman of Walmart
- Jim Walton, chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank Group, Inc.
- Ricardo Martinelli, 36th President of Panama
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Choosing the right learning environment for their kids is one of the hardest decisions parents may make. State public systems with hundreds of school options, such as the one in Arkansas, can complicate decision-making.
Large schools are often overlooked in the selection process and can often be excellent options for parents. Most of the schools in this list not only maintain low student-teacher ratios but also perform excellently in state assessments. This guide can be an excellent starting point for families searching for a new school for their kids.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©elenavolf/Shutterstock.com.