Idaho is experiencing a massive population boom. According to the U.S Census Bureau, the gem state was the second-fastest growing state in 2010-2020. The population grew by 17.3% to 1,839,106. Another analysis from the United Postal Service showed that Idaho topped a recent list of states with the most inbound moves since the pandemic.
The population growth continues to fuel a change in the educational landscape in the state. There’s an increased demand for education at all levels, with many school districts building new schools and expanding existing ones to manage the influx of K-12 students. As a result, large school complexes serving thousands of students at a go continue to emerge.
This post explores the thirteen largest schools in Idaho. The list is diverse, from online schools with unique academic offerings to traditional schools with student populations exceeding 2,400 students.
Keep reading to discover the 13 largest schools in the state, explore their histories, academic offerings, faculty size, and experience, and how they are evolving to meet the changing needs of learners and their families.
Idaho Arts Charter School
1220 5th St N, Nampa, ID 83687
Idaho Arts Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school in Nampa. The school serves roughly 1,274 kids in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Founded in 2003, the school aims to provide a college preparatory education with a focus on the arts.
The school’s performance in state assessments is above-average. Recent test scores show that 43% of students attain proficiency in math and 60% in reading. As an integrated school, art programs are often infused into all subject areas. Students can also participate in music, performance art, and world language enrichment programs.
Idaho Arts Charter School has roughly 63 full-time teachers and two full-time school counselors. The school maintains a relatively high student-teacher ratio, with one teacher for every twenty kids. The instructors are highly experienced, with all holding state certifications. Additionally, 88.5% of the teachers have taught for over three years.
Inspire Connections Academy
600 Steelhead Way #164, Boise, ID 83704
Founded in 2002, Inspire Connections Academy is a public charter school in Boise that offers an online educational program to pre-K through twelfth-grade students. Inspire Connections has a population of 1,752 students, with nearly half of the students in the elementary section.
After enrollment, your child will create an individualized learning plan with target goals for the academic year. As the parent or guardian, you play the role of a learning coach who closely monitors the learner’s progress. Elementary kids in K-5 spend roughly 30 hours learning every week, with parental input required for two to four hours daily.
Students at Inspire Connections have to sit for state assessment tests for their appropriate grades. According to recent test scores, 26% of the students are proficient in math and 58% in reading. The school also has a gifted program for students that wish to accelerate their learning.
The school has over 34 full-time teachers who are state-certified and specially trained in online learning. The teachers offer lessons in small groups called LiveLesson® sessions. All students must attend to receive further instruction and feedback on their learning process.
Idaho Virtual Academy K-12
1965 S. Eagle Road, Suite 190, Meridian, ID 83642
Idaho Virtual Academy is a full-time public virtual school for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school serves roughly 2,114 students. The learners undertake a comprehensive curriculum issued by Stride K-12.
The school provides all instructional material, with families bearing the costs for common household items like printer ink and paper. Students attend lessons identified as “Class Connects,” where state-certified teachers provide feedback and personalized instructions to the kids.
Students in elementary school spend less than 30% of their school day on computers. A typical school day is roughly 4-6 hours. Students also have to undertake state-mandated grade assessments. Recent test scores show that 30% of students at the school are proficient in math and 49% in reading.
The school organizes regular school outings, field trips, picnics, and other social events, which allow the kids to socialize with their peers. Idaho Virtual Academy has roughly 76 full-time instructors specially trained in online learning.
Idaho Home Learning Academy
25 East 50 South, Malad City, ID 83252
Idaho Home Learning Academy is an accredited, public online school established by the Oneida County School District. The school provides a virtual curriculum to over 6,022 homeschooling kids statewide. Unlike other virtual schools in the state, Idaho Home Learning Academy is not a charter school.
Parents and students can customize the curriculum to fit their specific needs. The school district partners with two educational vendors, Harmony Educational Services and Tech Prep Academy, to provide educational materials to families at no additional cost.
Students at the school have to sit for state assessment tests for their respective grades to monitor their academic progress. 25% of the students attain proficiency in math and 42% in reading.
All Idaho Home Learning Academy students are assigned to a state-certified teacher that supports them throughout their learning journey. The school has over 295 full-time teachers, with an overall student-teacher ratio of 20:1.
Heritage Middle School
4990 N Meridian Rd, Meridian, ID 83646
Heritage Middle is a top-performing magnet school under the Meridian Joint School District 2. The school has roughly 1,041 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade kids. The school received a 9/10 rating from GreatSchools.org, with U.S. News ranking it the seventh-best middle school in the state.
The school utilizes a unique instructional model identified as FIT, which encompasses five interdependent concepts:
- Instruction with attention
- Cultivating a learning climate
- Impacting student learning
- Planning with a purpose
- Assessing with a system
The school’s unique academic approach works, with 74% of the students attaining proficiency in math and 81% in reading. Learners interested in STEM can enroll in the PLTW Gateway curriculum. The school also offers a gifted program that provides adequate support to kids who wish to accelerate their learning.
Heritage Middle has over fifty full-time teachers, with an overall student-teacher ratio of 20:1. 93% of the teachers at the school are certified. Additionally, 88% have over three years of teaching experience.
Rocky Mountain Middle School
3443 N Ammon Rd, Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Rocky Mountain Middle School is an above-average public school in Bonneville County, founded in 1992. The school is under the Bonneville Joint District and serves roughly 1,114 “Stingers” in seventh and eighth grade.
The school posts above-average performance in state assessment tests. The 2022 Idaho Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT) data shows that 61% of the students attained proficiency in English and 41% in math. The school also offers gifted program services for students wishing to accelerate their K-12 education.
The school offers numerous opportunities for students to explore their talents and interests outside the classroom walls. Students can join clubs and organizations such as Math Counts, National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, and Yearbook. Additionally, Rocky Mountain has a competitive track team.
Rocky Mountain has one teacher for every twenty-two kids. However, all teachers are state-certified, and 85% have over three years of experience. The school district also employs a full-time security officer to keep the students and staff safe.
Sage Valley Middle School
18070 Santa Ana Ave, Nampa, ID 83687
Sage Valley Middle School is a public school in the Vallivue School District. The school houses over 1,240 students in sixth through eighth grade, making it one of the largest middle schools in the state.
The school posts an average performance in state assessments, with students scoring about the same as the state average. 53% of the students attain proficiency in English, 33% in math, and 38% in science. The school also runs the district’s gifted program for intellectually-gifted students that require additional support to match their needs.
Sage Valley Middle has one teacher for every nineteen kids. The teachers at the school are highly qualified, with all full-time instructors certified by the state. 67% of the faculty team have taught for over three years.
The school offers several extracurricular opportunities for students to grow their talents. Some of the popular athletic teams at the school include cross-country, track, tennis, wrestling, volleyball, football, and basketball.
Timberline High School
701 E Boise Ave, Boise, ID 83706
Timberline High School is a top-rated public school in the Boise City Independent School District 1. Founded in 1998, the school serves roughly 2,102 tenth-, eleventh-, and twelfth-graders. The school is fully accredited by AdvancED.
The school offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with numerous academic offerings. Students can participate in the 29 Advanced Placement classes available at Timberline. The AP courses have a 61% participation rate.
Students must attain 48 semester credits to graduate. 89% of the learners graduate, with 60% of the graduates proceeding to college. Timberline High also has a dual credit program with over 19 courses, with a 1% participation rate.
The school has over 88 full-time teaching staff. The faculty are highly qualified, with 89% holding advanced degrees. 81% of the teachers also have more than three years of teaching experience.
Students at the school can participate in various extracurricular programs. Timberline High has approximately 70 student-sponsored clubs and organizations.
Mountain View High School
2000 S Millennium Way, Meridian, ID 83642
Mountain View High is an above-average public school under the Meridian Joint School District 2. The school is one of the largest high schools in the state, serving 2,245 students in ninth through twelfth grade.
The school offers numerous academic programs, including 15 advanced placement courses and a PLTW Engineering curriculum. The AP courses have a 16% participation rate. Students can also enroll in dual credit classes, which provide an opportunity to earn college credits while in high school. 52% participate in dual enrollment programs.
Mountain View High has a 91% graduation rate, with 87% of the graduates proceeding to college. The school runs an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program that supports academically-gifted kids that wish to accelerate their learning.
The school has 133 faculty members. The staff is highly qualified, with the team having 1,488 combined years of educational experience. 43% hold advanced degrees, and the average teaching experience is 12. The school employs a nurse, psychologist, security guard, and law enforcement officer.
Rocky Mountain High School
5450 N Linder Rd, Meridian, ID 83646
Opened in 2008, Rocky Mountain High School is the largest public high school in the state, with over 2,403 students in grades 9-12. The school is within the Meridian Joint School District 2. GreatSchools.org gives the school an overall 7/10 rating.
The school is fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. It operates on a block schedule of four periods per day, with classes attended on alternate days. Students need to complete 56 semester credits before graduation.
Rocky Mountain High has a 4-year high school graduation rate of 96%. The school offers 15 advanced placement courses, 44 college courses in the dual enrollment program, and a PLTW Engineering curriculum. 51% of the students participate in dual credit classes, while 24% enroll in AP courses.
The school has 96 certified teaching staff, with 81% having more than three years of teaching experience. The school also has a full-time nurse, law enforcement officer, and security guard on staff.
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Dr, Moscow, ID 83844
The University of Idaho is a mid-size public land-grant research university in Moscow, ID. The school serves over 11,303 students, making it the third-largest public college in the state.
The university is designated as “R2: Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Commission. It has an acceptance rate of 81% and ranks third in the state for the lowest acceptance rates. The school typically admits students who score in the top 56% in standardized tests.
The annual tuition fee for Idaho residents is roughly $6,182. Out-of-state students may have to fork out $25,418. Fortunately, 98% of the students benefit from financial aid, with an average of $10,483 per student.
Notable University of Idaho Alumni
Notable University of Idaho alumni include:
- Frank Shrontz, former CEO and chairman of Boeing
- Jim Risch, U.S. Senator
- Mark Felt, Watergate informer
- Sarah Palin, 9th governor of Alaska
- Herman Welker, former U.S. Senator
- Phil Batt, 29th Governor of Idaho
- Michael Kirk, co-creator of Frontline
- James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Thomas Mueller, founding employee of SpaceX
- Jerry Kramer, former offensive lineman with the Green Bay Packers and hall of famer
- Wayne Walker, former linebacker and placekicker for the Detroit Lions
Idaho State University
921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, ID 83209
Founded in 1901, the Idaho State University is a public four-year research university in Pocatello. The university offers over 250 undergrad and graduate programs to over 12,135 students.
The university falls under the “R2: Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity”, per the Carnegie Classification. The school has an open admissions policy, enrolling students with a high school diploma or GED certificate that meets their set requirements.
In-state residents pay an average of $5,928 in annual tuition fees. Out-of-state yearly tuition fees can go as high as $23,382. 93% of the enrolled students receive financial aid, with an average of $7,825 per student.
Notable Idaho State University Alumni
Notable Idaho State University alumni include:
- Bill Byrne, former athletic director at Texas A&M University
- Jeff Charleston, former defensive end for the Houston Texans
- James A. McClure, former U.S. Senator
- Bruce Nelson, former CEO of Office Depot
- William Petersen, actor
- Fred S. Martin, former member of the Idaho Senate
- Josh Hill, former tight end with the New Orleans Saints
- Stacy Dragila, Olympic gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics
- Don Aslett, author and entrepreneur
- Sue Ane Langdon, actress
Boise State University
1910 W University Dr, Boise, ID 83725
The largest public college in Idaho is Boise State University. Founded in 1932 by the Episcopal church, the school serves over 25,794 students in undergrad, graduate, and doctoral programs. The school is designated a Doctoral University with High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
An in-state resident can expect to pay approximately $5,532 in annual tuition fees. Out-of-state residents may have to pay $23,382. 82% of the students receive financial aid, with an average aid package of $10,260 per student.
Boise State University has an 83.1% acceptance rate. Prospective students have a high chance of acceptance if they meet the admission requirements. Generally, the school admits students with an average GPA of 3.37.
Notable Boise State University Alumni
Notable Boise State University alumni include:
- Steve Appleton, Chairman and CEO of Micron Technology
- Butch Otter, 32nd Governor of Idaho
- Mike O'Callaghan, 23rd Governor of Nevada
- Michael Hoffman, director
- William Anderson, beststelling author
- Ryan Clady, former offensive tackle for the Denver Broncos
- Tyrone Crawford, former defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys
- Alexander Mattison, running back for the Minnesota Vikings
- Kyle Wilson, former cornerback for the New York Jets
- Gary Green, award-winning conductor
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Idaho’s population is surging as more families prefer to relocate to the Gem State. The population boom continues to spur changes in education, with the emergence of large schools with unique academic offerings.
Online schools are gaining popularity, with most families preferring to homeschool their kids. The virtual schools are among the largest elementary schools in the state. High-performing traditional schools, such as Timberline High, would be an excellent fit for parents searching for a traditional model.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©stockfour/Shutterstock.com.