Did you know that the average public school in Mississippi has a student population of 500 kids? Student enrollment is one of the key figures that parents look at when searching for the ideal learning institution for their kids. It directly impacts the class size and the personalized attention students receive.
Mississippi is home to roughly 1,040 public schools in 140 operating school districts. The state has numerous large schools that serve thousands of K-12 and college kids, contributing massively to shaping the future of Mississippi students.
This post will explore Mississippi’s thirteen largest institutions of learning, from elementary level through college. We’ll also explore the schools’ academic performances, class sizes, faculty number and experience, extracurricular opportunities, and other vital metrics.
Gain a better understanding of the state’s educational offerings with these 13 largest schools in Mississippi.
Neshoba Central Elementary School
1125 Golf Course Rd, Philadelphia, MS 39350
Neshoba Central Elementary is an above-average public school in Philadelphia, MS, under the Neshoba County School District. The school has a student population of 1,346 kids in prekindergarten through fifth grade, making it one of the largest elementary schools in the state. Neshoba Central Elementary looks forward to providing a rewarding school experience by challenging each child to their limits.
The school excellently preaches the kids for middle school and life beyond. School test scores are above the state average, with 62% of kids performing at or above grade level in math and 53% in English. Neshoba Central received an overall rating of 7/10 from GreatSchools.org. The school also runs a gifted program that provides the necessary support to intellectually-gifted kids.
Despite the large student population, the school maintains a decent student-teacher ratio, with one teacher for every fifteen kids. 96% of the instructors have over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, all full-time faculty members are certified. Neshoba Central Elementary also employs a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer.
Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School
2320 Government St, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School is a top-rated public elementary school under the Ocean Springs School District. It serves roughly 1,355 students in fourth through sixth grade. The school received an overall 8/10 rating from GreatSchools.org for its academic performance and drive toward equity.
Most students at the school perform better than their peers across the state, with 63% gaining proficiency in math and 57% in English. The school also runs a gifted and talented program that fits talented kids that may require an additional level of challenge than the regular curriculum provides.
Ocean Springs Upper Elementary has one teacher for every sixteen kids. This excellent student-teacher ratio allows the school to maintain small class sizes and offer personalized attention to each child. 87% of the faculty team has over three years of experience, and all full-time teachers are certified, making a qualified team to educate the learners.
Pearl River Central Elementary School
116 Alphabet Avenue, Carriere, MS 39426
Pearl River Central Elementary is an above-average public elementary school in Carriere under the Pearl River County School District. The school is home to over 1,500 “Blue Devils” and is one of the largest public schools in the state. Despite the huge student size, the school maintains a student-teacher ratio of 17:1.
Pearl River Central Elementary prides itself on offering students and staff a safe, secure environment. Test scores at the school are about the same as the state average, with 47% attaining proficiency in English and 44% in math. The school also has a gifted program.
In addition to standard core subjects, students can participate in elective programs such as computer science, music, art, and physical education. The school also has two full-time social workers that work with kids, teachers, and parents to provide an optimal academic and social system to support the student’s success.
97% of all full-time teachers are certified, and 90% of the instructors have over three years of teaching experience. The school also has a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer.
Grenada Elementary School
250 Pender Drive, Grenada, MS 38901
The largest Elementary school in Mississippi is the Grenada Elementary School, with a population of 1,921 kids. Located at the heart of Grenada, the school serves prekindergarten through fifth-grade kids and is part of the Grenada School District.
The school seeks to foster an enthusiasm for learning among the kids through a hands-on approach from the faculty team. The school takes pride in its active reading programs, playful math instructions, and specials that introduce art, music, and computers to the kids while they are young.
The fourth and fifth grades are tucked in a building farther uphill from the “Red-Top” campus hosting the Pre-K to third grade. The school has a discovery lab where students can participate in after-school books and math clubs.
52% of the students attain the proficiency score in math and 44% in English. Grenada Elementary also offers a STEM program through the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch curriculum.
Southaven Middle School
899 Rasco Rd, Southaven, MS 38671
Southaven Middle School is an above-average public school in Southaven under the DeSoto County School District. The school serves roughly 1,468 students in sixth through eighth grade and ungraded. The school is in the top 10% for diversity in the student.
The school offers a traditional curriculum for a world-class education in a safe learning environment. The students at the school perform at about the same level as most of their peers across the state, with 48% gaining proficiency in math and 29% in English.
The school also runs a Gifted Services program where academically-talented kids can maximize their potential through an appropriate level of challenge and personalized instruction. Students at Southaven Middle are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, with the school having seven athletic teams and six clubs and organizations.
Southaven Middle has 102 full-time teachers, translating to one teacher for every fourteen kids. 87% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience, and 88% hold professional certifications.
DeSoto Central Middle School
2611 Central Pkwy, Southaven, MS 38671
Founded in 2004, the DeSoto Central Middle is a top-performing public school in the DeSoto County School District. The school is also one of the largest in the state, housing over 1,525 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students. DeSoto Central earned a 9/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
The school credits its dedicated faculty for the success of its students, where 74% perform at or above grade level in math and 55% in English. DeSoto Central Middle also runs a gifted program for academically-gifted kids.
DeSoto Central Middle has 82 full-time teachers and a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. 85% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, 78% of the full-time faculty members hold state-approved professional certifications. The school also has a full-time nurse on staff.
Students at the school have numerous extracurricular opportunities that can help grow their talents and develop their discipline. The school has seven clubs, organizations, and ten athletic teams.
Oak Grove Middle School
2543 Old Hwy 24, Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Oak Grove Middle School is a highly-rated public school under the Lamar County School District. It is one of the largest middle schools in the state, serving roughly 1500 students in sixth through eighth grade. The school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008.
Most students at Oak Groove Middle perform at or above their grade level in standardized assessments. 68% attained proficiency in math and a further 51% in English. Algebra 1 had a 98% pass rate.
The school is proud to have several National Board Certified teachers. 92% of the teachers have three years or more of teaching experience, and all full-time faculty members are certified. Despite its vast student population, the school has one teacher for every fifteen kids. Oak Grove Middle also has a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer among its staff.
Ocean Springs High School
6701 Old Spanish Trail, Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Ocean Springs High School is a top-performing, IB-certified public school in the Ocean Springs School District. The school has one of the largest student bodies in the state, serving 1,845 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school offers numerous course offerings, including traditional high school diplomas, AP courses, and the International Baccalaureate program.
The school has a high school graduation rate of 88%, with 77% of the graduates proceeding to college or vocational training. 82% of those enrolled in college returned for a second year, speaking highly of Ocean Springs’ college preparatory program. 2% of the students are enrolled in the IB program.
Students can participate in advanced placement courses, with the school offering 19 AP courses with a 90% participation rate. 8% of the students also enroll in dual credit classes, enabling them to earn college credits while in high school. The school also offers the PLTW Computer Science curriculum.
Ocean Springing High has one teacher for every sixteen students. 98% of teachers have over three years of experience, and all full-time teachers are certified.
DeSoto Central High School
2911 Central Pkwy, Southaven, MS 38672
DeSoto Central High School is a top-rated public high school in the DeSoto County School District. The school has a student population of roughly 1,917, making it one of the most significant learning institutions in the state. The school earned a 9/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org.
DeSoto Central offers a rigorous college preparatory program, with 94% of those enrolled graduating after four years. 78% of the graduates proceed to college, with 88% returning for a second year. This speaks highly about the students’ college readiness by the time they complete high school.
The school offers 18 advanced placement courses with an 89% student participation rate. 7% of the students also participate in dual enrollment classes that enable them to earn college credits while in high school.
DeSoto High has one teacher for every eighteen kids. Additionally, 93% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. 88% of those fully employed have professional certifications. The school also has a full-time nurse and law enforcement officer.
Tupelo High School
4125 Golden Wave Dr, Tupelo, MS 38801
Tupelo High School is an award-winning public high school in Tupelo and is part of the Tupelo Public School District. The school is also the largest enrolled public high school in the state, with roughly 2,030 students.
The school is a two-time National Blue Ribbon award winner, in 1984 and 2000. It has a 90% graduation rate, with 82% proceeding to college or vocational training. The students have an average ACT composite score of 19.
Tupelo High School offers 19 advanced placement programs with a 38% participation rate. Besides the AP courses, students can earn college credits by enrolling in dual enrollment classes with a 13% participation rate.
The school has over 60 clubs and societies that students can join. Tupelo High takes pride in having a student-teacher ratio of 13:1, despite its huge enrollment. 90% of the teachers have over three years of experience, and all full-time faculty are certified.
University Of Southern Mississippi
118 College Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Deep in the heart of Hattiesburg is a 300-acre campus home to the University of Southern Mississippi. The school boasts of being the sixth-oldest acceptance-based Honors College in the nation. It is home to 14,146 students.
The school has a 95.6% acceptance rate and is easy to get into when you meet the admissions requirements. The University of Southern Mississippi admits students with an average GPA of approximately 3.5.
The annual Mississippi resident tuition fee is $9,094, while an out-of-state student may have to pay $11,094. 93% of full-time undergrad students are on financial aid, with an average of $8,623 per student.
Notable University of Southern Mississippi Alumni
The University of Southern Mississippi's notable alumni include:
- Phil Bryant, 64th governor of Mississippi
- Cat Cora, chef known for being an “Iron Chef” on the cooking competition with the same name
- Brian Dozier, former second baseman for the Minnesota Twins
- Gary Grubbs, actor
- Ray Guy, former punter for the then-Oakland Raiders
- Robert L. Stewart, astronaut
- Steven Palazzo, former U.S. Representative
- Tori Bowie, Olympic gold medalist
- Jimmy Buffett, singer and songwriter
- Jeffry Hammond, retired Major General in the U.S. Army
University Of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi is the state’s flagship university. It is home to 21,203 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The school is identified under Category R1: Doctorial Universities with the highest research activity by the Carnegie Classification.
The school has an 89.7% acceptance rate, with high admissions requirements. Students admitted at the school typically are in the top 43% in standardized test scores. They also have an average GPA of 3.6.
The school charges an $8,934 annual tuition fee to Mississippi residents and $25,776 to out-of-state students. The costs can go as high as $43,798 when other expenses are added. 86% of full-time students receive financial aid, with the average aid package being $11,650 per student.
Notable University of Mississippi Alumni
The University of Mississippi has a lot of notable alumni, including:
- James Meredith, first African-American student at the University of Mississippi and a civil rights activist
- Mary Ann Mobley, actress
- Kate Jackson, actress
- Lynda Mead Shea, Miss America 1960
- William Eggleston, photographer
- A.J. Brown, wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles
- Bobby Crespino, former tight end for the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns
- Jim Dunaway, former defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills
- Jennifer Gillom, Olympic medalist and basketball player
- Deuce McAllister, former running back for the New Orleans Saints
- William Faulkner, author
- Josh Kelley, musician
- Jim Weatherly, singer and songwriter
Mississippi State University
75 B.S. Hood Drive Mississippi State, MS 39762
Mississippi State University is a comprehensive, public, four-year research university identified in Category R1 of universities with the highest research activity by the Carnegie Classification. The school is home to roughly 23,086 students.
Mississippi State University has a 76.1% acceptance rate, with fairly easy admissions requirements. The school attracts students with a GPA of 3.58 and who score in the top 49% of standardized admissions tests.
The school charges a $9,110 tuition fee to Mississippi residents, while out-of-state scholars may have to pay $24,790. 98% of full-time MSU undergrads are on financial aid, with an average aid package of $12,871 per student.
Notable Mississippi State University Alumni
As one of Mississippi's largest schools, it's no wonder that this university is home to a long list of notable alumni. Some names on this list include:
- Will Clark, former first baseman and 6-time MLB All-Star
- Jerry Clower, comedian
- Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles
- John Grisham, bestselling author
- Jonathan Papelbon, former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
- Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys
- Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Senator
- John C. Stennis, former U.S. Senator
- Buck Showalter, manager for the New York Mets
- Brandon Woodruff, pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Mississippi is home to several large schools that serve thousands of K-12 and college students. The schools offer diverse academic programs and extracurricular activities and play a critical role in shaping the future of numerous Mississippi residents.
Most of the schools in the list are also high performing, with some recognized nationally through the National Blue Ribbon School program. They can serve as an excellent starting point in your search for the right school for your child.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.