Best School Districts in Atlanta [2021] | Best Schools in Atlanta GUIDE

Moving to Atlanta or relocating with kids? Location is everything, especially when it comes to the quality of the education your children will receive. Fortunately, Atlanta is home to some of Georgia’s top school districts, public high schools, elementary schools, and STEM schools.

Here are the top school districts in the Atlanta area including the best high schools in Atlanta and excellent private schools to consider.

Atlanta Public Schools | Atlanta, GA

  • Enrollment: 52,000
  • Number of schools: 91
  • Teacher to student ratio: 13:1

Atlanta Public Schools usually isn’t ranked among the best in the metro area with the more well-funded suburbs beating it out. However, it serves all neighborhoods in the city limits with some amazing, award-winning public schools in Atlanta.

The district’s M. Agnes Jones elementary school is one of the best elementary schools in Atlanta and the state. It’s one of just five STEAM-certified Georgia elementary schools. The top high school is Atlanta Classical Academy, one of the best charter schools in Atlanta with excellent reading and language arts scores and a low student to teacher ratio.

Buford City Schools | Buford, GA

  • Enrollment: 4,600
  • Number of schools: 5
  • Teacher to student ratio: 16:1

Buford, located in northern Gwinnett County, is a small suburb of Atlanta. It’s one of the best places to live near Atlanta for families with Bogan Park (which has an indoor aquatic center!), Lake Lanier, and one of the best school districts in the Atlanta metro area. In fact, Buford City Schools has been ranked as one of the top school districts in Georgia!

What makes BCS stand out?

  • #1 in Georgia for safest school
  • #1 best school in Georgia for athletes (#6 nationwide)
  • #1 top school in Georgia to teach in
  • #2 Georgia school for the best teachers
  • #13 statewide for diversity

You can learn more about the Buford athletics program here. Buford High School offers everything from baseball, cross country, and cheerleading to golf, wrestling, soccer, and riflery.

It isn’t just Buford High School that’s highly rated. Buford Academy has been ranked as a Highest-Performing School by the Georgia Department of Education and named one of the best elementary schools in Georgia!

Forsyth County Schools | Cumming, GA

  • Enrollment: 51,500
  • Number of schools: 42
  • Teacher to student ratio: 16:1

If you’re willing to move a bit further out of the city while staying with metro Atlanta, consider Forsyth County. The county’s only city of Cumming has a population of just 5,500 but there are more than 100,000 people in unincorporated areas with a Cumming address. It’s one of the best exurbs of Atlanta and just 38 miles from the city.

One of the top reasons to consider living in Cumming, GA? Forsyth County Schools is one of the top school districts in the Atlanta area! This large district has a diverse student body representing 120+ countries with 54 languages spoken. Forsyth County Schools has:

  • 9 National Blue Ribbon Schools
  • Internationally acclaimed STEM schools
  • 17 schools that have won the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement award
  • Advanced Placement Honor Roll District status
  • Dual Language Immersion programs at several elementary schools

One of the larger school districts in the Atlanta metro area, FCS has the highest ACT score, the highest SAT score, the highest CCRPI, and the highest county graduation rate of 94.6%!

For the 2020/2021 school year, students at FCS had:

  • An average SAT score of 1161 (1030, national; 1043, Georgia)
  • An average ACT score of 24.9 (20.6, national; 21.7, Georgia)

City Schools of Decatur | Decatur, GA

  • Enrollment: 5,600
  • Number of schools: 10
  • Teacher to student ratio: 14:1

City Schools of Decatur is a public charter school district serving Decatur, a city just 5 miles outside downtown Atlanta and served by several MARTA rail stations. The city is known for its food scene, art scene, and festivals which makes it popular for young families, millennials, and singles.

City Schools of Decatur is one of the best school districts in Atlanta, Georgia and always achieves excellent performance on standardized tests. Decatur High School is one of the best high schools in Atlanta and ranks in the top 25 in Georgia. Here’s what makes Decatur High School a great place to send your kids:

  • 77% AP participation rate
  • 95% graduation rate
  • Top 20 high schools in Georgia for College Readiness
  • AP Honor School
  • AP Merit School
  • AP Challenge School
  • Average SAT and ACT scores usually among the top 10 in Georgia

Gwinnett County Public Schools | Gwinnett County, GA

  • Enrollment: 177,500
  • Number of schools: 141
  • Teacher to student ratio: 16:1

Looking for the best public schools in Atlanta? Don’t overlook Gwinnett County Public Schools which serves dozens of communities throughout the county. GCPS is the largest of the many top school districts in Atlanta, Georgia and the entire state.

This award-winning Atlanta school district has 23 high schools, 29 middle schools, 80 elementary schools, 2 charter schools, and 7 specialty schools. The school has its own police department with full police powers and the schools are divided into 19 zones or clusters. You can click here to find your neighborhood school by address.

The district’s Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology is frequently ranked as the best high school in Atlanta and the entire state. In fact, it’s even been rated as one of the top 3 high schools in America several times.

Students are admitted to GSMST based on a county-wide lottery system, but participants must meet several requirements. It’s one of Georgia’s most prestigious high schools with a project-based STEM education and strong focus on technology. The school also has a robust extracurricular program with options like the Robotics Club, Science Bowl, Computer Science Club, Chinese Club, and String Quartet Club.

 

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Even if your child doesn’t get into GSMST, the district has many other top-rated schools. Here are just some of the accolades this top Atlanta school district has earned in 2020 alone.

  • 9 Georgia-certified STEM/STEAM schools
  • 12 schools with Dual Language Immersion
  • 21 AP Honor schools
  • iFive Distinguished Schools and 6 Reward Schools
  • 27 SHAPE Honor Roll Schools
  • 18 schools recognized for Highest Performance
  • Creative School Arts Integration School of Excellence award
  • 2 state athletic championships for 2019/2020
  • A US Presidential Scholar, 39 Georgia Scholars, and 109 students chosen for the Governor’s Honors Program in 2020
  • Student teams won awards at state, national, and international levels in over one dozen groups like video game development and mathematics
  • 1097 average SAT score is 54 points above the state average and 67 points above the national average

The district isn’t just home to the top high schools, it also has some of the best elementary schools in Atlanta!

Fulton County Schools | Fulton County, GA

  • Enrollment: 93,000
  • Number of schools: 106
  • Teacher to student ratio: 15:1

Named One of the Top 100 School Districts in Places You Can Afford, Fulton County Schools is home to dozens of Georgia Schools of Excellence and National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The district’s Northview High School in Johns Creek is one of the best charter schools in Atlanta. It’s ranked among the top 5 best high schools in the Atlanta metro area and among the top 10 best Georgia high schools.

Best Private Schools in Atlanta

There are over 137 private schools serving 30,000 Atlanta students. Here are the top private schools in Atlanta, most of them within the city and all of them ranked among the top 10 in Georgia.

Atlanta School Districts FAQs

Does Atlanta have good schools?

9 of Georgia’s top 10 schools are in metro Atlanta, including one of the top 10 high schools in the country! Atlanta has many quality school districts to choose from.

What is the best school district in Atlanta?

That depends on what you’re looking for! The best schools in Atlanta for athletics are in the Buford City Schools district. Forsyth County Schools is the best district for STEM. For academics and extracurricular, Gwinnett County is the best Atlanta school district.

What is the best high school in Atlanta, GA?

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology is Gwinnett County is usually named the best public high school in Atlanta and top 3 in the U.S. Students are chosen with a lottery system, however. The runner-up is Northview High School in the Fulton County district.

Have you narrowed down your options and chosen a great Atlanta school district? Once you’re ready to rent or buy in the district of your choice, Wirks Moving & Storage is here to help. We’ll get you set up in your new home without the hassle and stress so you can focus on more important matters like enrolling your kids in school.