Category: Public Schools
By Gwyn Herbein
When moving to a new city, or even just changing neighborhoods, parents want to know what the schools are like. Metro Atlanta boasts a wide range of options, from public schools to charters and a wide range of independent institutions, that are committed to preparing students for college, careers and beyond. Determining the best choice for your family can be overwhelming, so for additional information and resources, visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website (doe.k12.ga.us).
Success in public schools
Educators and leaders in the metro area’s 33 public school districts have long been focused on aligning the state’s educational standards with those of other districts across the country. Over the past four years, the state has worked to implement 31 different projects, from revised testing procedures to new methods of teacher evaluations, proposed under the federal Race to the Top grants. Additionally, the entire high school curricula has recently been updated to better meet college and career standards. These efforts, plus many more, are paying off: For the fifth straight year, Georgia’s 2015 high school graduation rate rose significantly, from 72.5 percent in 2014 to 78.8 percent in 2015.
Under the leadership of State Superintendent Richard Woods, who took office earlier this year, parents can be sure the reforms and improvements will keep coming. Schools across the metro area have much to be proud of these days. In February, four local districts were awarded Striving Reader Grants, a program designed to raise literacy rates. In 2014, seven area schools—a mix of public, charter, magnet and independent schools—were awarded the prestigious “National Blue Ribbon Award,” a distinction given each year by the U.S. Department of Education to schools working to close the achievement gap among their students.
Charter schools are another good option for those seeking public education. Operating under the terms of a charter, these schools are not required to adhere to the same rules as other public schools, but are held to a higher standard of accountability when it comes to student achievement. For more information and a list of schools in the area, visit gacharters.org.
Explore other options
For some students, educational success may come from smaller classes, a curriculum focused on a specific career path or other non-traditional options. When investigating whether an independent school environment might be a good fit, it is important to consider the mission of each school to ensure it aligns with your family’s needs. The metro area is home to a wide range of options, from single-gender programs to boarding schools, and many schools use rolling admissions, which gives relocating families more flexibility during the application process. The Southern Association of Independent Schools (sais.org) can help narrow down your search of schools.
Atlanta City Public Schools
(404) 802-3500, atlanta.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 18 Charter, 54 Elementary Schools, 12 Middle
Schools, 11 High Schools, and 8 Other.
Barrow County Public Schools
(770) 867-4527, barrow.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 8 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle Schools,
4 High Schools, and 1 Other.
Bartow County Public Schools
(770) 606-5800, bartow.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 1 Charter, 12 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle
Schools, and 3 High Schools.
Buford City Public Schools
(770) 945-5035, bufordcityschools.org
Number of schools: 1 Elementary School, 1 Middle School, 1 High
School, and 1 Other.
Cherokee County Public Schools
(770) 479-1871, cherokee.k12.com
ga.us Number of schools: 1 Charter, 24 Elementary Schools, 6 Middle
Schools, 6 High Schools, and 5 Other.
Clayton County Public Schools
(770) 473-2706, clayton.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 37 Elementary Schools, 17 Middle Schools,
12 High Schools, and 3 Other.
Cobb County Public Schools
(770) 426-3300, cobbk12.org
Number of schools: 4 Charter, 68 Elementary Schools, 25 Middle
Schools, and 16 High Schools
Dekalb County Public Schools
(678) 676-1200, dekalb.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 2 Charter, 73 Elementary Schools, 18 Middle
Schools, and 21 High Schools.
Douglas County Public Schools
(770) 651-2000, douglas.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 20 Elementary Schools, 7 Middle Schools,
4 High Schools, and 2 Other.
Fayette County Public Schools
(770) 460-3535, fcboe.org
Number of schools: 14 Elementary Schools, 5 Middle Schools,
5 High Schools, and 2 Other.
Forsyth County Public Schools
(770) 887-2461, forsyth.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 20 Elementary Schools, 9 Middle Schools,
5 High Schools, and 3 Other.
Fulton County Public Schools
(404) 768-3600, fultonschools.org
Number of schools: 8 Charter, 59 Elementary Schools, 19 Middle Schools,
17 High Schools, and 4 Other.
Gainesville City Public Schools
(770) 536-5275, gcssk12.net
Number of schools: 5 Elementary, 1 Middle, and 2 High School.
Gwinnett County Public Schools
(678) 301-6000, gwinnett.k12.ga.us
Number of schools: 73 Elementary Schools, 29 Middle Schools, 20 High
Schools, and 14 Other.
Hall County Public Schools
(770) 534-1080, hallco.org
Number of schools: 1 Charter, 20 Elementary Schools, 8 Middle Schools,
and 8 High Schools.
Marietta City Schools
(770) 422-3500, marietta-city.org
Number of schools: 1 Charter, 7 Elementary Schools, 2 Middle Schools,
and 1 High School.
Barrow County Public Schools (770) 867-4527
Number of schools 8 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle Schools, and 2 High Schools.
Bartow County Public Schools (770) 606-5800
Number of schools 12 Elementary Schools, 4 Middle Schools, and 4 High Schools.
Cherokee County Public Schools (770) 479-1871
Number of schools 24 Elementary Schools, 7 Middle Schools, and 7 High Schools
Clayton County Public Schools (770) 473-2706
Number of schools 39 Elementary Schools, 14 Middle Schools, and 9 High Schools
Cobb County Public Schools (770) 426-3300
Number of schools 72 Elementary Schools, 25 Middle Schools, and 17 High Schools
Marietta City Schools (770) 422-3500
Number of schools 8 Elementary Schools, 2 Middle Schools, and 1 High School.
Dekalb County Public Schools (678) 676-1200
Number of schools 87 Elementary Schools, 20 Middle Schools, and 26 High Schools.
Douglas County Public Schools (770) 651-2000
Number of schools 21 Elementary Schools, 8 Middle Schools, and 6 High Schools.
Fayette County Public Schools (770) 460-3535
Number of schools 17 Elementary Schools, 6 Middle Schools, and 5 High Schools.
Forsyth County Public Schools (770) 887-2461
Number of schools 20 Elementary Schools, 9 Middle Schools, and 6 High Schools.
Fulton County Public Schools (404) 768-3600
Number of schools 64 Elementary Schools, 22 Middle Schools, and 17 High Schools.
Atlanta City Public Schools (404) 802-3500
Number of schools 64 Elementary Schools, 19 Middle Schools, and 23 High Schools.
Gwinnett County Public Schools (678) 301-6000
Number of schools 83 Elementary Schools, 26 Middle Schools, and 23 High Schools.
Buford City Public Schools (770) 945-5035
Number of schools 1 Elementary School, 1 Middle School, and 1 High School.
Hall County Public Schools (770) 534-1080
Number of schools 20 Elementary Schools, 6 Middle Schools, and 7 High Schools.
Gainesville City Public Schools (770) 536-5275
Number of schools 5 Academies, 1 International Baccalaureate World School, 1 Middle School, and 1 High School.
Independent School Profiles
Alfred and Adele Davis Academy (PreK–8)
(770) 671-0085 (lower school)
(770) 804-9191 (middle school)
In addition to its challenging academics, students at Davis Academy also learn values, life skills and a strong background in Judaic studies. As an accredited Reform Jewish Day School, “Davis Academy strives to create a community in which children develop a life-long love for learning and commitment to Jewish life founded on morals, values and ethics, grounded in Torah,” according to the school’s website. Its focus on 21st century learning, as well as athletics, extracurricular activities and the fine arts, ensures that students grow to be confident, motivated and appreciative of the diversity around them.
Bridgeway Christian Academy (PreK-4–8)
This Alpharetta school was founded in 1998 with the mission of providing a quality, Christ-centered education. BCA’s nurturing environment begins with its small class sizes: fewer than 20 for PreK-4 through fifth grade, 22 for the middle school. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Association of Christian Schools International, so parents can be sure their children are getting a quality education. As well as North Fulton, students come from Gwinnett, Cherokee and southern Forsyth counties to attend BCA, and represent more than 80 different churches across the metro area.
The Cottage School (6–12)
The Cottage School began in 1985 as an after-school tutoring program for academically frustrated students. While the original “campus” was a one-room office in a Roswell office park, students now have access to a 23-acre wooded campus. Its enrollment of only 150 ensures that all students receive the one-on-one attention they need in order to achieve success, and the school has stayed true to its mission to serve students who were disillusioned or discouraged with more traditional educational environments. TCS also teaches basic work and life skills, such as managing a budget, study skills and organizational skills.
Fellowship Christian School (PreK-4–12)
(770) 992-4975 (elementary school)
(770) 993-1650 (middle and high school)
Fellowship Christian began in 1986 serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The high school was added in 1993 and the Pre-K program in 2007. Current enrollment across all grades is 834 students, who attend 70 different churches. Located on a 30-acre campus in Roswell, FCS boasts computer labs, new playgrounds and an athletic building that includes facilities for baseball, football, softball, soccer, tennis and track and field. FCS also values the arts, beginning art and music classes in its Pre-K program and offering performing arts, yearbook, digital design and web design to its middle school and high school students.
Greenfield Hebrew Academy (PreK–8)
As the first Jewish day school in the U.S. to earn SACS accreditation, Greenfield has been setting the educational standard in the Atlanta area since 1953. GHA has also been honored as a National School of Excellence by the Council for American Private Education. The curriculum includes general studies in language arts, math, science and social studies, as well as Judaic studies. Students at GHA consistently excel in regional and statewide competitions, in everything from science and math to writing.
High Meadows School (PreK–8)
Founded in 1973, High Meadows occupies a 40-acre campus in the heart of Roswell. Student enrollment is approximately 400, and the school is an International Baccalaureate World School and is also accredited by SACS and the Southern Association of Independent Schools. High Meadows engages students in an inquiry-based approach to learning, so that they develop a strong sense of personal responsibility and respect for other perspectives. Almost all of High Meadows’ students go on to attend the independent high school of their choice.
Holy Spirit Preparatory School (PreK-2–12)
Founded in 1996 in order to fill a need for Catholic schools in the Atlanta area, Holy Spirit began as a kindergarten through fifth grade school. It added one grade per year and graduated its first high school class in 2006. Its educational philosophy is informed by its mission statement: “Every child has been blessed by God with unique potential; our mission is to inspire each child with an education that is Catholic, classical and complete.” Students at Holy Spirit experience a holistic approach to education and are encouraged to become leaders who seek fuller knowledge of themselves, the world around them, and God.
King’s Ridge Christian School (K–12)
Founded in 2011 by the Advancement for Christian Education, King’s Ridge occupies 116 acres in Alpharetta, and most of its students live within 10 miles of the campus. Student enrollment is around 760, and the school maintains a student/teacher ratio of 8-1. King’s Ridge has earned accreditation from SACS, SAIS and the Georgia Accrediting Commission. Its rigorous academic program and strong focus on community service (high school students must complete 50 hours of service prior to graduation) mean that students are well prepared for their college years and professional careers.
Mill Springs Academy (1–12)
Mill Springs focuses on the “whole child” by creating a multidisciplinary academic plan for each student, based on a variety of evaluations, communications and observations. This approach is in line with founder Tweetie L. Moore’s belief that “if a student can’t learn the way we teach … we should teach the way a student can learn,” a philosophy that is especially important for its students who have been diagnosed with learning differences such as dyslexia or attention deficit. In addition to its college-prep focused curriculum—with 95 percent of students earning college acceptance—the school also offers a communication arts school for grades seven through 12.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (Preschool–12)
(404) 252-3448 (preschool–6)
(404) 250-5880 (7–12)
Located on 37 acres in Sandy Springs, Mount Vernon was established in 1972 and has a current enrollment of nearly 900. With 100 percent of its student having access to a laptop computer, Mount Vernon understands the role of technology in encouraging creative problem-solving. The school also values learning outside of the classroom and offers travel opportunities for cultural arts, college tours, mission trips and internships. Students at Mount Vernon perform more than 10,000 hours of community service every year.
Georgia has 2,146 public schools in 188 districts. Out of those, 1,356 schools meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). To read more about the schools in Georgia visit www.doe.k12.ga.us. To find more specific numbers in regards to AYP and test scores, click on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the Data Reporting tab.
Pickens County Schools
Towns County Schools
Union County Schools
Fannin County Schools
Gilmer County Schools
Choosing the Best School
Resources to help the decision-making process
For families with school-aged children, relocating to a new city means more than just finding the perfect home—deciding on which of the area’s schools will be best for your child is a top priority when choosing a place to live. Gwinnett’s high-ranking schools are sure to fit your needs, regardless of the type of educational experience you are seeking.
Gwinnett is home to many nationally competitive schools and some of the top-ranking institutions in the state of Georgia, from public and private to charter and more. Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) in the largest school system in the state and continues to grow, serving 173,036 students in 2014-15. Dedicated teachers and professors, involved parents and the support of the community make this a world-class system of schools. GCPS student achievement has soared, with 11,000 graduates in the class of 2014 and more than $148 million scholarships awarded to GCPS students, in addition HOPE and full-ride Gates Millenium and QuestBridge scholarships.
Beginning Your School Search
Finding the right school may seem like a daunting task, but you will find a wealth of information on the Gwinnett-area schools on the following pages, as well as statistics, data and testing information on the Georgia Department of Education’s website (gadoe.org).
Public School Offerings
Gwinnett’s well-established school system is made up of more than 134 schools and more than 20,000 employees. New schools emerge and changes are made within the many academic settings annually, which is why it’s important to understand your child’s school options for your preferred area and to keep abreast with changes relevant when choosing where to relocate your family. With 77 elementary schools, 27 middle schools, 19 high schools, five charter schools and six other special schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools was named Georgia’s Green Ribbon District for its energy conservation and green initiatives.
Going the Independent Route
Traditional, religious, independent—private schools in Gwinnett are diverse and ready to serve their students. The Georgia Independent School Association (GISA; gisaschools.org) is composed of independent schools that are united in their desire to determine the best educational match between a child and his or her family and a school and can be a great starting point when seeking a private education.
So start looking! There are many great educational options for you and your family to explore in Gwinnett, and it’s important to investigate each school’s mission, curriculum, extracurricular opportunities and more to see what fits best with your family’s expectations and needs. Initiate school visits with your children and talk to administrators to really understand how your top choices operate. With so many excellent choices in the county, you’re sure to find the perfect school that best supports and expands your child’s education.
Auburn – Number of Schools: 4; 3 elementary schools, 1 private school
Berkeley Lake – Number of Schools: 1 elementary school
Buford– Number of Schools: 13; 7 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 1 high school, 1 private school
Dacula – Number of Schools: 10; 6 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school, 2 private schools
Duluth – Number of Schools: 24; 10 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools, 7 private schools
Grayson – Number of Schools: 7; 3 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 2 private schools
Lawrenceville – Number of Schools: 36; 19 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, 5 high schools, 6 private schools
Lilburn – Number of Schools: 18; 8 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 high schools, 5 private schools
Loganville – Number of Schools: 19; 7 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools, 5 private schools
Norcross – Number of Schools: 21; 8 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools, 7 private schools
Peachtree Corners – Number of Schools: 5; 1 elementary school, 1 middle school, 3 private schools
Snellville – Number of Schools: 17; 9 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 3 high schools, 3 private schools
Sugar Hill – Number of Schools: 7; 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school, 2 private schools
Suwanee – Number of Schools: 20; 10 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 4 high schools, 5 private schools
Public Education in North Fulton
Public schools in North Fulton are part of Fulton County Schools and the area is home to some of the system’s best schools. The FCS comprises 58 elementary, 19 middle, 17 high and eight charter schools and is the fourth-largest system in Georgia in terms of student enrollment. The system as a whole has received many accolades in the past few years, including being named one of the top school districts in affordable places by Money magazine. It was also the first school system in the country to receive system-wide accreditation from AdvancEd. And the system is determined to never stop improving, after having boosted overall SAT scores from No. 25 in the state to No. 2. North Fulton schools consistently perform well, with Johns Creek’s Northview High School recently earning high marks with the Georgia Department of Education as the top-performing public school in metro Atlanta. Its 2013 College and Career- Ready Performance Index score was 93.9. Other top-performing schools in the area include Webb Bridge Middle and Medlock Bridge Elementary.
With so many great schools across the county, North Fulton students are sure to be prepared for their college and professional careers. Here is a quick look at just some of the county’s top schools; for additional information, including zoning, be sure to check out the system’s website (www.fultonschools.org).
Medlock Bridge Elementary
The curriculum for Medlock Bridge’s 700 students focuses on what Principal Tiffany Hutchens refers to as the four C’s of 21st century learning: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking skills. The school also earned a score of 97.4 on the CCRPI.
Fulton Sunshine Academy (charter)
Students who live in Fulton County are admitted to this charter school each year via a lottery. FSA’s robotics team recently won a statewide competition, and the school offers a host of extracurricular activities like public speaking, technology and creative writing.
Abbotts Hill Elementary
Nearly 94 percent of Abbotts’ third graders met or exceeded CRCT reading standards in 2012, and the school earned a CCRPI score of 95.1 in 2013. Principal Dr. Roytunda Stabler was nominated by other Fulton County principals as someone who exemplifies the system’s beliefs and mission statement.
Webb Bridge Middle
In 2012, Webb Bridge earned its second Lighthouse School to Watch designation, which means it consistently meets the national criteria for high-performing middle schools and can demonstrate measurable gains in students’ academic success.
River Trail Middle
This spring, River Trail’s Academic Team was crowned Georgia Academic Team Association champions at its annual competition.
Between 2012 and 2013, Northwestern raised its CCRPI score from 92.4 to 93.9 and it offers school clubs in everything from cooking and broadcasting to engineering and math.
In addition to its recognition from the state, Northview also earned a spot on Newsweek’s list of the top high schools in America for three straight years. It boasts a 94 percent graduation rate and offers 29 Advanced Placement courses.
The school has earned accolades from Newsweek and Atlanta magazines and has twice been named a Georgia School of Excellence. It was also named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2000. Ninety-five percent of its graduates go on to college, earning more than $8 million in scholarships
Johns Creek High
With 24 AP classes in subjects like 3-D Design, and Language and Composition, students at Johns Creek are sure to gain a wide range of college- and career-applicable skills. Parent involvement at JCH is high, with its PTSA earning its third consecutive win for Outstanding Local High School PTSA in Georgia.