25 back to school themes for WordPress

Carrie Cousins.
July 09, 2014
25 back to school themes for WordPress.

With back to school season right around the corner, chances are that educators are thinking about the best ways to present their class information. An easy way to connect with students and parents is through a website. Here we look at 25 great options for creating a WordPress website using a theme designed just for schools, educators or learning professionals.

What’s in a theme? With so many options and choices, how do you know what’s right for your site? It might help to start with a theme that is designed for your type of website. Every month we are going to round up collection of “themed” themes – paid and free – to help you get the most of your WordPress site.

Academica (free)

Academica has the look and feel you might expect from a university website. The theme includes a simple, yet modern design on a three-column template. The theme is easy to customize and includes plenty of options including, custom background and logo, menu management, easy color customization, custom shortcodes, slideshows and is translation-ready. Academica also includes multiple post formats and is search engine optimized.

Academy ($55)

What’s the most-liked class at your school? The awesome ratings system in the Academy theme can help you find out. The theme is packed with educator tools including lesson attachments, a lesson support system and WooCommerce integration. The theme allows users to create individual profiles and customization is a breeze.

Book Lite (free)

Book Lite is a simple theme with a focus on photography. The theme includes a great featured image area, stylized type, featured header images and elegantly simple design. The theme allows for the addition of up to three widgets in the footer and has a custom menu, header and background.

Campus ($45)

Campus features an aesthetic you would expect with a collegiate theme. With block-style lettering and bold color, the theme is packed with backend options as well. Campus features a login area for students and an easy to build framework. Campus is fully-responsive and retina-ready and includes an unlimited color palette – so you can use your school colors – and more than 10,000 font options. Campus also includes multiple sidebar and widget areas, sliders, shortcodes and a professional-grade lightbox.

Carry Hill School ($45)

Carry Hill School is a theme designed with youngsters in mind. The responsive theme features a drag and drop builder, premium slider, boxed and wide layout formats, unlimited colors and more than 500 Google fonts. What’s unique about this theme is that the large fonts, bright color options and icons are all design to appeal to young schoolchildren and enhance their learning experience. You can use on of the nine predesigned color schemes or create your own. This theme also features animated tools and a nice sense of whimsy and fun.

Chalk ($75)

Chalk continues to be one of the more popular education themes available on the WordPress website. The theme features a fun and modern design on a responsive framework. And it’s packed with tools for teachers -- post lesson lists, share a syllabus or a class schedule, track a group to-do list, review a discussion. The theme also includes an optional print link with any post or page. Chalk is also fully customizable, with seven font options and multiple color and background choices.

Chalkboard (free)

Chalkboard is a super-simple theme designed as you would expect. The theme comes with the look of whimsy and can work great for a virtual chalkboard or learning blog. The theme comes with widget areas in the sidebar – a great place for a class photo — and footer and available customization for the menu, header and background.

City College ($12)

City College comes ready for educators right out of the box with template pages for current students, international students, study departments, research and more. The theme also includes a news blog and photo gallery options. The theme includes some basic customization, including four color scheme options – blue, green, red or yellow. You can customize it even more using the included PSD files.

Dreamy ($35)

Dreamy is a simple and fun theme designed for child care, kindergarten and preschools. The responsive design comes with multiple page templates – blog, contact, gallery, testimonials and full width. Dreamy also includes custom widgets, Google Maps integration, multiple color skins, a shortcode generator, translation options and comes with PSD files for additional customization.

Educator (free)

Educator is a blog-style theme featuring a skeuomorphic design style. The responsive design includes an easy-to-use dynamic content loader, Google maps shortcodes and custom sidebars. The theme also comes with modern features such as social sharing tools, custom widget capability, contacts page and search engine optimization.

EduPress ($75)

EduPress is a university-style theme that comes packed with widgets. With seven custom widgets from WPZOOM, it’s easy to build a website packed with information. The design is simple and clean and works best for a blog or news feed. EduPress comes with a featured image slider, customizable logo and backgrounds, menu management, shortcodes, slideshows and is translation-ready. Multiple page formats also make it easy to create a fairly robust site.

Hot Academy ($39)

Hot Academy is a responsive theme with plenty of customization options. While the theme comes with four predefined styles, there are an infinite number of combinations. The theme includes a full carousel, film tape and gallery plugins. There are an unlimited number of widget areas and the theme comes with PSD source files. Hot Academy features a flat-style design with plenty of open space and clean typography.

iEducation (free)

iEducation is a responsive theme with a simple, easy to use design that works great for school or education-based sites of any level. The theme includes a main content area, featured post area and sidebar with a variety of widgets. The theme is customizable and is integrated with WooCommerce for product sales.

I Love Math (free)

I Love Math is designed for elementary math classes, with a fun, cartoon style design and easy to read format. The theme includes an extensive color palette and allows you to change the background image with some included patterns. I Love Math includes tools for commenting, linking, multiple content categories and archives.

Kids Zone ($55)

If child education – from preschool to kindergarten to day care – is your thing, Kids Zone may be the theme for your website. The theme features six home page design, four gallery options, hand-crafted slider animations and three skins for an easy to create site. The responsive theme also supports some of the top WordPress plugins such as WPML, WooCommerce, Event Calendar Pro, Buddy Press, bb Press and Contact Form 7. Kids Zone also comes with MailChimp e-newsletter integration, plenty of shortcodes, Google Map integration and Font Awesome icons.

Learner (free)

Learner has a simple and professional design with features made just for educators. The responsive theme includes multiple page templates, including contact forms, a sitemap and multiple pages and is easy to customize and organize. The theme includes WooCommerce integration and could also work for an educationally-based business. Learner also comes packed with widgets, including plenty of social media integration in the sidebar.

Molecula (free)

As the name implies, Molecula would be a great theme for science-based sites. The theme has an open layout and design, which would work best for blog-style sites. The responsive theme supports Google maps, WooCommerce, custom sidebars and is SEO-ready. You can also add social media in the sharing bar or custom widgets. Another fun option with this theme is multicolored related posts, which tags relevant posts by color to help keep users on your site longer.

My College ($45)

My College is a responsive theme that is designed for the modern student with touch and swipe features enabled “out of the box.” The theme features three – blue, green and orange — available color styles, search engine optimization, custom widgets and a slider. One of the nicest features with this theme is the searchable course list builder. You can customize My College even more using the included PSD files.

Pachyderm (free)

Perfect for a preschool or kindergarten class, Pachyderm is a responsive theme that supports a variety of formats – image, video, quote, link, gallery, status and chat. The blogging theme also includes a custom menu, widget areas, custom header and background and template for a wide-format option.

SciencePress (free)

SciencePress works for more than just science class websites. The responsive design includes a lot of features, including Google maps integration, customizable sidebars, a dynamic content loader and WooCommerce integration. The theme also comes with a contacts page, social sharing tools, customizable menus and allows for the addition of a slider and custom widgets.

Statfort ($55)

Statfort is specially designed for colleges, universities and educational websites. This theme is easy to modify and ready to go right “out of the box.” With course and event management and a drag and drop builder, Statfort has powerful admin tools. The responsive theme also features unlimited color options, Font Awesome icons, unlimited sidebars, plenty of widget options and is WooCommerce-ready. The look of the theme is also super-clean and modern; all you need is a collection of great images to get your site running.

StudentBlog (free)

StudentBlog is a simple blogging theme with two columns and a sidebar. While this theme does not offer a lot in the way of customization, it can be a great starter theme. It comes with a blue background and image of students that can be used in the header. The theme also includes a simple slider, popular posts widget, calendar and social media integration.

Universe ($45)

Universe is a clean and modern theme suitable for educational websites of any level; it is packed with features and a theme options panel to control every aspect of your theme design. The fully-responsive theme is also retina-ready and features a flat, block-style design. It includes multiple color schemes, plenty of widget areas, MailChimp e-newsletter integration, unlimited sidebars and Google maps functionality.

WP Education ($45)

WP Education claims to be one of the original education themes for WordPress and has stood the test of time for a reason. This theme has a classic design and plenty of features for educators. The fully-responsive theme features an unlimited color palette, blogging network, schedule management tools, file sharing and plenty of theme options. WP Education also has plenty of school-specific tools as well – course lists, calendar, user groups and an events widget in a block-style design framework.

WPLMS Learning Management System ($60)

WPLMS is a theme and learning tool all-in-one. The theme allows you to create and edit courses, units and quizzes; set prices; ask questions; create categories, groups and forums and more. The theme also features an instructor dashboard and evaluation tools for instructors and students. The theme features a modern, almost-flat design style, widget areas, slider, shortcodes, multiple layout options, a form generator and is responsive and retina-ready.

Carrie Cousins

Carrie Cousins is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in the communications industry, including writing for print and online publications, and design and editing. You can connect with Carrie on Twitter @carriecousins.

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