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.