Every child is unique, and while some fare better in private school settings, there are many that thrive in a public school atmosphere. Before you make a decision regarding your child’s education, take a moment to give Atlanta-area public systems a second glance. The systems boast some special and unique programs that just might be the ideal fit for your child.
Grants and Programs
Located in Marietta, The Wheeler High School Center for Advanced Studies in Science, Mathematics and Technology is a nationally recognized magnet program which focuses on engineering and medical biotechnology. Students in this program also must complete an internship or research experience in the field.
Are you raising a budding scientist? Take a look at the Atlanta Public School System’s Mathematics and Science Initiative. Bestowed by General Electric, this $22 million dollar grant funds salaries for premium math and science educators and private-industry experts to work with students. If you reside in Gwinnett County, check out Freeman’s Mill Elementary where students will benefit from a $20,000 AT&T grant used to fund a state-of the-art science lab.
Children with special needs receive highly trained instruction at Dekalb County’s Coralwood School, a recently renovated facility that serves students with special needs ages 3-6. The school offers preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in which students with disabilities are mainstreamed with community students. The school also offers, among other things, speech therapy, vision therapy, audiology services, occupational therapy, physical therapy and music.
The Atlanta Public School’s Single Gender Academies are another avenue for parents seeking an alternative to the regular co-ed classroom. The Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy for 6th grade girls and the B.E.S.T (Business, Engineering, Science and Technology) Academy for 6th grade boys at Ben Carson will eventually expand into a grades 6-12 configuration, creating a seamless transition from middle to high school. Several area public systems also offer International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs, a challenging globally recognized curriculum with special focus on mathematics, science and humanities.
Magnet programs offer unique exposure to special subject areas along with a concentrated curriculum in specific areas of interest. Dekalb County’s schools have 13 magnet programs serving students in disciplines ranging from math, science and technology to foreign languages and the arts.
Atlanta Public Schools have creatively broken down their populations into smaller more focused units. Carver High School now features four separate schools that focus on specific disciplines: Early College, School of the Arts, School of Health, Sciences & Research, and School of Technology. At Maynard H. Jackson, students can concentrate study in Fine Arts & Media Communications, Information Technology, and Engineering and Early College.
Many systems also require magnet students to pursue internships and special research projects as part of their senior year studies. At Cobb County’s Kennesaw Mountain High School Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, students complete a senior research project and engage in field experience with a local professional practice, industry or institution of higher learning.
Athletics and Laurels
Given the size and scope of most public schools, athletic programs tend to be top-drawer, offering athletes the chance to work with seasoned coaches and compete in everything from baseball, golf and lacrosse to soccer, tennis and, of course, quad A (AAAA) football.
Several area systems have received noteworthy recognition and praise for their overall performance and programs. Gwinnet County was selected as one of five Top Urban Districts nationwide by the Broad Founda
tion, while Cobb County’s Dickerson Middle School’s music program recently won the first ever Exemplary Performance Award from the Georgia Music Educators Association.
Clearly, Atlanta-area school systems continually seek ways to improve education and meet the needs of every child they serve, so when considering your child’s academic options, look at the positives of public schools.