Atlanta Schools FAQs

Finding the right school for your child is a big decision. There are a variety of sources that can provide statistics and test scores. Do not rely on statistics alone! Many public schools and private schools in Atlanta offer open houses for prospective students. You can also call the school and set up an appointment for a personal tour. Talk with the principal, ask to see students in a classroom environment as well as on the playground or lunchroom. Trust your instincts and ask questions.

Here are some frequently asked questions about schools in Atlanta to help you get a better understanding of the programs offered.

What is a charter school?

A charter school is a public school that operates freely from many of the regulations that apply to the traditional schools. With a charter school, parents, teachers and administrators work together as partners and have greater flexibility in choosing the types of programs offered and the curriculum. Being able to operate freely of the regulations, allows teachers and administrators to make more decisions in classroom. Accountability comes purely in the form of academic results. Charter schools are funded by enrollment as other public schools. However, grants are given to states by the US Department of Education to grant to new charter schools for start-up costs.

Who can attend charter schools?

Charter schools are open to all students living in the school’s attendance zone. However, the demand for charters is typically higher than the enrollment maximum. By law, charter schools must have a non-discriminating admissions process. Therefore, many charter schools use a lottery to randomly select which students are accepted.

What are the benefits of charter schools?

In Georgia, charter school students have consistently performed higher on the CRCT testing, high school graduation rate and rated higher on the No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

What Atlanta area schools are charter schools?

Georgia has 122 charter public schools serving 65,000 students. Below is a list of the charter schools in metro Atlanta.

What is a Magnet School?

A magnet school is a  public school that offers a distinctive curriculum. They typically focus on subjects such as performing arts, math, science and technology.

What Atlanta area schools are Magnet Schools?

What is the International Baccalaureate Program (IB)?

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit education foundation. IB works with schools and international organizations to maintain an internationally common framework for educational curriculum. IB offer programs at three levels: Primary Years (age 3-12), Middle Years (age 11-16) and Diploma (age 16-19). There are over 3000 schools around the world offering at least one of the IB programs.

Can any school offer an International Baccalaureate Program?

In order to be an International Baccalaureate World school, a school must  undergo an extensive application process. This process typically takes two to three years to complete. IB wants to ensures the school has the resources, commitment and longevity to the adhere to the IB philosophy and mission.

Which metro Atlanta schools offer IB programs?

  • IB Primary Years Programme
  • IB Middle Years Programme
  • IB Diploma Programme

Where can I get more information about the International Baccalaureate Program?

You can find out more at

Do Atlanta area public schools offer gifted programs?


Atlanta Public Schools has The Challenge Program for gifted and talented students in all APS schools. Although the delivery method may vary from school to school, every school will promote advanced critical thinking, communicating, researching, and creativity skills. Read about the APS gifted students identification process.

Cobb County Public Schools offers Advanced Learning Programs for students of all ages who are gifted learners. Programs include Gifted Services, Advanced Placement, AVID, and the Governor Honors Program. Read more about the Cobb County School District Gifted Services and evaluation process.

DeKalb County has gifted programs for all ages. Dekalb offers the Discovery Program for elementary school students and the Impact Program for middle school students. For high school students, there are a few options available including Advance Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and joint enrollment. Eligibility for these programs vary by grades. Read about specific eligibility on DeKalb County School System’s Gifted Program website.

Fulton County Public Schools offers The Talented and Gifted (TAG) program for those exceptional and advanced learner. TAG is offered for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Find out more about TAG and the TAG screening process.

Can a school zone change?


If needed, the Board of Education can re-zone any public school to balance student population in order to avoid situations such as overcrowding. These decisions are not made lightly. Public meetings are held and community input is evaluated when redistricting is needed. Use the links below as a guide to determine the assigned school zone for a specific address. ALWAYS call the school directly to verify that the information is correct and ask if any rezoning is planned in the foreseeable future.

What is a Blue Ribbon School?

A Blue Ribbon School is a public or private elementary, middle or high schools that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a high performing school. Click here to see a list of the present and past National Blue Ribbon Schools awards.

What is a Georgia School of Excellence?

The Department of Education picks one school from each district that is ranked in the 10 percent of all Georgia schools. In addition, the schools must meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for a minimum of three years and offer at least two Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

What is CRCT Testing?

The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests were developed in 2000 to measure if a student has gained the skills and knowledge as outlined in the Georgia Performance Standards. The tests are used to determine a student’s strengths and weaknesses along with the quality of education.

What is meant by No Child Left Behind?

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a federal reform act designed to create educational standards. The standards are set at individual state levels. The Act states that in order for states to receive federal educational funding, every state must develop methods to assess basic skills.

What is the HOPE Scholarship?

Funded by the Georgia Lottery, the HOPE Scholarship was created to promote Georgia colleges and universities and to reward student achievement. The  HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) scholarship program awards college bound students with scholarships for tuition, fees along with a book stipend. To be eligible, a student must have lived in Georgia for two years, maintained a minimum of a 3.0 average (4.0 scale) and attend a Georgia public university or other eligible institution. The scholarship is only based on merit and not based on financial need. Read more about the HOPE Scholarship and eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship.


You can find more information on the individual school districts websites below:

More information on Atlanta Public and Private Schools.

You can find out more information about Atlanta area schools at Great Schools.