Superintendent's Blog

Superintendent's Blog: What About That Second High School?

Posted 5/8/2017

The Cabot School District is extremely fortunate to have amazing teachers, students, faculty, staff, programs, and facilities. As one of the top-rated districts in Arkansas, the opportunities we’re able to provide our students from pre-kindergarten through high school are endless. 

Throughout the years, we’ve experienced tremendous growth. The Cabot School District is the seventh largest in the state, with more than 10,000 students. Families want to be part of our district. However, a large number of students can sometimes bring up concerns, especially from parents.

Recently, the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) released its 2018 reclassification numbers. The numbers are based on a three-year average enrollment of every high school in the state. In 7A, Cabot High School is the third largest in the state with an enrollment of 2,373 students. Springdale (2,413) is the largest and Springdale Har-Ber is second (2,402). Conway comes in fourth with a three-year average enrollment of 2,134. These numbers have once again sparked conversations and questions I’m often asked, including, “When are we going to build a second high school?”

Conway, Cabot, and Bryant are the largest districts in central Arkansas that have one high school. Fayetteville is the largest Northwest Arkansas district with one high school. Recently, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville have split into two high schools each. There are several challenges brought forward in a community when the flagship high school is split into two. 

It can be a major challenge and an emotionally charged project for a community since it has the potential to upset parents, students, teachers, and community members. There are many questions, including:

What about zoning?

What students will go where? 

Will that create dissention?

Will juniors and seniors be allowed to graduate from their current school or will they be moved to the new high school immediately? 

Is it possible to create two totally equal high schools?

Would a split help or hurt a student’s education?

Would it split the community?

Can it be accomplished without the perception that one school is for the “haves” and the other is for the “have-nots?” 

Unless you build two new schools at the same time, one will inevitably be the “old” school. Someone has to go to the “old” school and that starts the challenge of equality.

Keep in mind too, when you build a new high school, you’re starting from the ground up. Everything your original school has, your new school needs, from band, football, basketball, cheer, dance, fine arts, theatre, career-technical classes, advanced placement classes, etc. 

What about a new mascot? Would the new school still be called the Cabot Panthers? Often, the new school gets a new name and a new identity. Will we share Panther Stadium, Panther Arena, and Panther Fields?

Imagine dividing the staff, which teachers would go where?  You can’t make the next school significantly or physically better, or you’re going to create a lot of animosity.

As I mentioned above, in terms of numbers, right now Cabot High School has an enrollment of 2,373. Keep in mind though, this includes over 200 high school students enrolled at the Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) and ACE-North. They are included since they can enroll in activities at CHS. The high school campus has a capacity of 2,600 students according to the state facilities division, so it was planned with plenty of growth space. 

If we were to take the combined enrollments of CHS, ACE, and ACE-North (2,373) and split those today, it would give us two high schools of 1,186 students. Remember though, 1,186 includes ACE students, so the total number of students physically at CHS could be significantly less. ACE has a maximum capacity of 500 students.

To put this in perspective using the current enrollments released this week:

Springdale High School

2,413

Springdale Har-Ber High School

2,402

Bentonville High School

1,973

Bentonville West High School

1,572

Rogers High School

1,781

Rogers Heritage High School

1,679

Cabot High School 1

1,186 Minus ACE Students

Cabot High School 2

1,186 Minus ACE Students

Conway High School (1 HS)

2,134

Bryant High School (1 HS)

2,087


In fact, if we were to split CHS today, we would be classified as two Class 6A high schools

When using our K-12 enrollment and considering the three largest classes that will ever be at CHS in one year, based on those numbers that will be the year 2019-2020. If every student enrolled today in those grades were to remain in the district, though we typically have students drop as they get older, we would have 2,513 students attending CHS, ACE, and ACE-North. After 2020, those numbers will decrease based on current enrollment. 

Now, I understand that some kids do better in a smaller environment. That's why we developed the ACE and ACE-North programs. The award-winning charter school provides the same opportunities, but in an academic setting that is much smaller. If you have a student moving toward CHS and are worried they will not do well with the size, I highly encourage you to visit the ACE and ACE-North programs to find out what it is all about. In fact, ACE was recently named the National Charter School of the Year, and we host districts from everywhere that want to duplicate the program. It's worth checking out! If you would like me to help schedule a tour of the schools, just message me or contact them directly at 501-743-3520.

Finally, I understand the downside of being in a large district. I also know there are many positives due to the academic, career-technical, fine arts, and activity programs that can be provided. Most kids do great in the environment because they find that niche and peer group that fits them, and more often than not, it’s the parents that are more stressed about the size of the school than the kids. 

As always, our Cabot School Board and administration will continue to monitor student enrollment and do what’s best for our kids.


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Cabot Public Schools

Elementary Schools (Grades PreK-4)

Central Elementary
36 Pond Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3564
Fax: (501) 843-4503
Eastside Elementary
17 Bellamy Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3563
Fax: (501) 843-5619
Magness Creek Elementary
16150 Arkansas Hwy 5, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3565
Fax: (501) 843-7567
Mountain Springs Elementary
3620 Mountain Springs
Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3575
Fax: (501) 605-1300
Northside Elementary
814 West Locust Street,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3568
Fax: (501) 843-6032
Southside Elementary
2600 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3567
Fax: (501) 843-6229
Stagecoach Elementary
850 South Stagecoach Road,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3574
Fax: (501) 605-1221
Ward Central Elementary
1570 Wilson Loop Road,
Ward, AR 72176
(501) 743-3569
Fax: (501) 843-9744
Westside Elementary
1701 South Second Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3566
Fax: (501) 843-5802

High School (Grades 10-12)

Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 843-3562
Fax: (501) 843-4231

Academic Center of Excellence
(Grades 7-12)

Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3520
Fax: (501) 843-0283

Cabot Freshman Academy

Cabot Freshman Academy
18 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3576
Fax: (501) 941-1505

Cabot Learning Academy

Cabot Learning Academy
813 West Locust, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3540
Fax: (501) 843-3138

Special Programs

404 North 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 743-3543
Fax: (501) 941-2613

Central Administrative Office

602 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 843-3363
Fax: (501)843-0576

Middle Schools (Grades 5-6)

Cabot Middle School North
1900 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3571
Fax: (501) 605-0413

Cabot Middle School South
2555 Kerr Station Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3570
Fax: (501) 941-7432

Junior High Schools
(Grades 7-8)

Cabot Junior High North
38 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3572
Fax: (501) 605-8472

Cabot Junior High South
38 Panther Trail, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3573
Fax: (501) 941-7746