Kansas has a vibrant educational scene with various school options, including traditional, charter, magnet, private, and virtual schools. The Kansas State Department of Education(KSDE) oversees the public education system, divided into 338 operating school districts serving over 485,424 K-12 students.
This guide explores the thirteen largest schools in the state. We’ll explore their unique academic offerings, academic performance compared to other schools, faculty size and experience, graduation rates, costs, and more. Here are the 13 biggest schools by student population at elementary, middle, high school, and college levels.
Tonganoxie Elementary School
1180 S. East Street, Tonganoxie, KS 66086
Tonganoxie Elementary is an elementary public school in the Tonganoxie Unified School District. It is home to roughly 838 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, making it one of the largest schools in the state. The school has a minority enrollment of 17%, with 32% of the kids coming from economically-challenged backgrounds.
The school takes pride in its inclusive preschool for kids aged three and four. The diverse and welcoming environment prepares the kids for their educational programs as they proceed to kindergarten. State assessment test scores for third-grade students show that 43% attained proficiency in math and 38% in English.
Tonganoxie Elementary also runs a gifted program per the district’s policy. The program provides support to intellectually-gifted kids who wish to accelerate their learning. The school has over 64 full-time teachers, with one teacher for every fourteen kids.
All full-time teachers at Tonganoxie are state certified, with 78% having over three years of teaching experience. The school district also employs a nurse, psychologist, law enforcement officer, and social worker to support the kids.
Vermillion Elementary School
501 S James Ave, Maize, KS 67101
Vermillion Elementary is a top-rated public school under the Maize Unified School District. The school serves roughly 924 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade kids. The school has 24% of students from minority populations and 24% from economically disadvantaged families.
The school’s performance in state assessments is above the state average. 49% of the kids performed at or above the proficiency level set by the state in math, and 50% scored at or above that level for English. Vermillion Elementary also has a gifted and talented program for students that wish to accelerate their K-12 education.
The school has roughly 38 full-time teachers, with an average student-teacher ratio of 25:1. However, the faculty team is highly experienced, with all full-time teachers holding state certifications. Additionally. 91% of the teachers have taught for over three years. Vermillion Elementary also employs a full-time nurse to cater to the kids’ medical needs.
Community Elementary School
102 N Cline Rd, Coffeyville, KS 67337
Community Elementary School is an average-performing public school in the Coffeyville Schools USD-445 School District. The school serves approximately 1,050 students in pre-K through sixth grade. 50% of the student body comes from minority families, with 74% eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
The student’s performance on standardized assessment tests falls below the state’s average. 27% of the students perform at or above grade level in English, 20% in math, and 34% in science. Students can participate in various extracurricular activities outside the classroom, including the Coffeyville Community Children’s Choir and the band.
The school has roughly 55 full-time instructors, with an average of one teacher for every nineteen kids. 90% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, 97% of the full-time teachers are state certified. The school also employs a full-time law enforcement officer who keeps the students and staff safe.
Kansas Virtual Academy (KSVA)
101 E South St, Spring Hill, KS 66083
Families looking for a non-traditional education for their kids in Kansas can opt for the Kansas Virtual Academy. The school is an online, tuition-free public school in the Spring Hill School District. It serves roughly 1,197 kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, making it the largest elementary school in the state.
The students undertake the K-12 stride curriculum with online instruction delivered through online synchronous sessions called “Class Connects.” Each child is assigned to a state-certified teacher that provides course assistance, tutoring, and teaching.
Parents of homeschooling kids play a vital role as “learning coaches,” closely monitoring the student’s academic progress. Typical learning coach commitment time is roughly 4-6 hours. Grades K-2 spent approximately 10-15% of their time online. Students in grades 3-6 attain more independence, with learning coach involvement about 70-85% of the school time.
The school maintains roughly 24 full-time teachers, translating to a student-teacher ratio of approximately 44:1. All teachers receive specialized training in online learning, and 98% of the full-time instructors are state-certified.
Junction City Middle School
700 Wildcat Ln, Junction City, KS 66441
Junction City Middle School is a public school in the Geary County Schools Unified School District 475. It is home to roughly 952 “Wildcats” in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. The school got a 4/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org.
The school offers a rigorous academic curriculum with multiple extracurricular opportunities. According to state assessment test results, 20% of the students attain proficiency in English and 23% in math. The school also has a gifted program for academically-talented kids who wish to receive an appropriate level of challenge to meet their unique learning needs.
Additionally, Junction City students can enroll in elective programs such as art, music, band, multimedia, and physical education. Your child can also participate in sports. Popular athletic teams include cross-country, football, volleyball, basketball, bowling, wrestling, golf, track, and tennis.
The school has over 76 full-time teachers, with an overall student-teacher ratio of 13:1. 99% of the full-time instructors are state-certified, and 68% have over three years of teaching experience.
Washburn Rural Middle School
5620 SW 61st St, Topeka, KS 66619
Washburn Rural Middle is an average-performing public school in Topeka, within the Auburn Washburn Unified School District. Founded in 1964 as Jay Shideler Junior High, the school currently educates roughly 971 seventh and eighth graders.
Students at the school perform about the same as most of their peers across the state. 24% attain proficiency in English, while 28% perform at or above grade level in math. The school also runs the district’s gifted program, providing the necessary support to academically-gifted kids that wish to accelerate their learning.
The school has one teacher for every thirteen kids. Seventy-nine of the faculty staff are full-time. All full-time instructors are state-certified, and 93% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience.
Washburn Rural Middle School has numerous extracurricular opportunities. Students can join one of the eleven clubs and organizations. Additionally, they can participate in sports, such as cheerleading, cross-country, football, tennis, volleyball, and basketball.
Maize Middle School
4600 N Maize Rd, Maize, KS 67101
Maize Middle School is a top-rated public school in the Maize Unified School District. The school serves roughly 1,026 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade kids. Niche.com ranked the school as the third-best public middle school in Sedgwick County.
State assessments test scores indicate that 45% of the students are proficient in reading while 35% attain proficiency in math. The school also runs a gifted program for intellectually-gifted kids. Students struggling with their learning also receive support through the Maize Educational Outreach Center, which offers online courses for credit acquisition and recovery courses.
The school has an average student-teacher ratio of 18:1. 91% of the faculty team have taught for over three years. Additionally, all full-time teachers are state-certified. The district has also assigned a full-time nurse to the school.
Maize Middle School has an active parents teacher organization(PTO) that plans and funds numerous events and enrichment programs. Students can also participate in athletic programs such as basketball, cheerleading, cross-country, football, tennis, track, and volleyball.
Olathe North High School
600 E Prairie St, Olathe, KS 66061
Olathe North High School is the oldest of the five public high schools under the Olathe Public Schools District. It was founded in 1883 as Olathe High School. The school moved to its current location in 1958 and changed its name. Olathe North High currently serves over 2,093 students in ninth through twelfth grade.
The school is divided into five 21st-century academies:
- Animal Health
- Medical Professions
- Sports Medicine
- Distinguished Scholars
The programs allow students to pursue specialized skills and interests that fit their career goals. The school offers 21 Advanced Placement courses, with 28% of the students enrolling. Additionally, 35% of the students participate in dual enrollment programs that allow them to earn college credits.
Despite its large student body, the school maintains a student-teacher ratio of 15:1. All the teachers at Olathe North High are state certified, and 93% have over three years of teaching experience.
Derby High School
920 Rock Rd, Derby, KS 67037
Derby High is an above-average public school that is the only high school in the Derby Unified School District 260. The school serves roughly 2,176 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school has a rich history spanning over 100 years, offering rigorous academic activities and championship-level athletic programs.
Students need to earn a minimum of 25 units of credits to graduate. 91% of the students attain this mark. The school offers 18 Advanced Placement courses with a 14% participation rate. Additionally, students can enroll in dual credit classes that allow them to earn college credits while in high school. 24% of the students participate in the dual enrollment program.
Derby High School offers over 16 Career and Technical Education pathways that provide students with a college preparatory education. It also provides three STEM programs from PLTW, i.e., the Engineering, Computer Science, and Biomedical Science curricula.
Besides the academic programs, students can participate in numerous athletic teams, clubs, and organizations. The school offers over 50 extracurricular opportunities. The school has over 122 full-time teachers with an average student-teacher ratio of 18:1.
Wichita High School East
2301 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67211
Wichita High School East is one of the eight comprehensive high schools within the Wichita Public Schools USD259 School District. The school is on a 44-acre campus with collage-gothic-style buildings serving roughly 2,261 students in grades 9-12.
The school has a comprehensive curriculum with numerous academic offerings, including advanced placement, AVID, Gifted Education, ESOL, Special Education, and the International Baccalaureate program. The school offers 13 AP courses with a 13% participation rate.
14% of the students enroll in the IB program, getting a chance to earn college credits while in high school. The school also offers two STEM programs from Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curricula, i.e., the Engineering and Computer Science programs.
The school staff consists of one principal, five assistant principals, an IB director, two social workers, five counselors, a college and career coordinator, and 160 teachers. 90% of the teachers at the school have over three years of teaching experience, while 98% hold state certifications.
Johnson County Community College
12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210
Johnson County Community College is a public two-year community college in Overland Park. The school serves roughly 16,643 students, making it the state’s third-largest institution of higher learning.
The school offers over 100 degrees and certificates in over 45 programs of study. The school has an open enrollment policy that permits any high school graduate or GED certificate holder to enroll. Admissions are granted continually throughout the year.
The college charges an in-district annual tuition fee of $1,872 and $2,304 to Kansas residents. 66% of the full-time undergraduates benefit from financial aid, with an average of $4,094 per student.
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Kansas State University is a large public land-grant research university in Manhattan, KS. Founded in 1869, it was the first institution of high learning in Kansas. It serves roughly 20,229 students.
The school is designated as “R1: Doctorate Universities: Highest Research Activity” under the Carnegie Classification. The school has a 95.6% acceptance rate and is relatively easy to join. Most students admitted have an average of 3.77 GPA.
Kansas residents pay an annual tuition fee of $9,489. Out-of-state students may part with up to $25,560 in tuition fees. Luckily, 87% of the students enrolled receive financial aid, with an average of $8,453 per student.
University of Kansas
1450 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS 66045
The University of Kansas is a public four-year research university with the main campus in Lawrence and two other campuses in Kansas City and Overland Park. The school is home to over 26,780, making it the largest college in the state.
The school is classified as “R1: Doctorate University Very High Research Activity” under the Carnegie Classification. The school has an acceptance rate of 92.5%, ranking as the 18th lowest acceptance rate in the state. The school typically admits students in the top 43% in standardized admission tests with an average GPA of 3.66.
Kansas residents can expect to pay roughly $10,092 in annual tuition fees. Out-of-state students pay $26,960. 84% of undergrad students admitted received financial aid, with an average of $10,457 per student.
Finding the Right School for Your Child
Kansas has a robust educational landscape, with numerous top-rated public and private schools. Some schools have large campuses serving thousands of students at a time.
The schools on this list have unique academic offerings. From online curricula and STEM courses to IB programs and CTE classes, there are educational opportunities to fit every student’s profile. The schools are an excellent starting point for families searching for unique educational opportunities in the state.