Top 10 high schools in Georgia: Fulton dominates, but Gwinnett school takes first place

U.S. News & World Report issued its annual list of top high schools both at the national and state level today.

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology emerges Georgia's top high school on a new ranking. (AJC Photo)

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology emerges Georgia’s top high school on a new ranking. (AJC Photo)

The rankings consider overall student performance on state tests, how effectively schools educated their least-advantaged students, black, Hispanic and low-income students, and how well they readied students for college based on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate participation and test performance.

As usual, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology landed in the national top 10, taking fourth place nationally this year. (It was third last year.)

On the state list of best schools, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is No. 1. Fulton County has four schools in the top 10 state list.

Several of the top 10 are magnet schools that draw students from across their districts.

Here are the Georgia top 10 high schools according to the magazine. Go here to see the rankings of other Georgia high schools.

1 Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology

970 MCELVANEY LN, LAWRENCEVILLE, GA 30044

2 Davidson Fine Arts

615 12TH ST, AUGUSTA, GA 30901

3 Columbus High School

1700 CHEROKEE AVE, COLUMBUS, GA 31906

4 DeKalb School Of The Arts

1192 CLARENDON AVE, AVONDALE ESTATES, GA 30002

5 Savannah Arts Academy

500 WASHINGTON AVE, SAVANNAH, GA 31405

6 Milton High School

13025 BIRMINGHAM HWY, ALPHARETTA, GA 30004

7 Walton High School

1590 BILL MURDOCK RD, MARIETTA, GA 30062

8 Northview High School

10625 PARSONS RD, DULUTH, GA 30097

9 Johns Creek High School

5575 STATE BRIDGE RD, JOHNS CREEK, GA 30022

10 Alpharetta High School

3595 WEBB BRIDGE RD, ALPHARETTA, GA 30005

Reader Comments 0

29 comments
BCW1
BCW1

If you want great test scores, you need great students!!!

hssped
hssped

Some schools had a population of just over 300 while others had over 3000 students!  What a difference.   I looked at the top 50 list.  

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Y'all. Schools are rarely the determining factor on school performance. Yo! Did you see how good that Olympic track team is? It's way  mo' betta  than that sorry group of 5K runners at the local charity event. It must be because they are "charter" or something. We oughtta test the buttocks off those sorry 5K runners and determine that they are failing runners. Then we can turn them over to the Gov'nor and put them in private charter running clubs and pay the right folks big money, and they will sho nuff fix it up.


Hey, let's take the top sales performers from 8 district offices and move them to one district that expects top level performance. Oh man, that new "charter" sales office is the bomb. it's a good office-much better than those failing offices where we sent the lowest performers because they couldn't perform at this high level or even afford a house in the high performing sales district.


A school is a collection of students. if you have a school that attracts hard working, high performing, well resourced kids, you can't say the school(building, personnel, curriculum) is that much of a factor. You are just moving kids from one place to another in the same school district.



Mirva
Mirva

@MiltonMan "You libs"  Really?  Wealthy families don't just value education, they POUR money into extras for their kids.  When I call home to express a concern, the parent usually responds by hiring a private tutor or putting them into some sort of study group of clinic to help them. Wealthy students have access to a host of extras like private tutors, teachers, coaches and whatnot.   I have worked in rich schools and poor schools, and while they both have their issues, we "libs" don't just want to "throw money" at education, but acknowledge how much funding inequity there is in schools, but inside and outside the classroom. 

booful98
booful98

@Mirva I still don't understand this funding inequality thing. I have asked this SEVERAL times in this blog and no one answers me.

In Cobb Co (where Walton High School is) all the money from property taxes and whatever comes from Washington is pooled together. Each school gets the EXACT same amount of money per student. WHERE is the funding inequality??? Everyone gets the same amount of money!!!!

PLEASE someone explain it to me

class80olddog
class80olddog

So what is your suggestion? Throw money at the poor students and hope it will make up for the bad choices of their parents? Or make it against the law for rich people to help their children out?

Why not just accept the fact that inequalities will always exist? There are loads of opportunities for poor students to make good, but they have to WANT them. That is why magnet schools look good - the parents CARE!

Mirva
Mirva

@booful98- In Cobb county- all the schools get the same amount of money.  But Cobb schools get more money per student than say Lamar County or Telfiar County. These poor counties don't have the tax base to pull from and they operate under much less money per student. In my county, active and industrious PTA's raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay for all kinds of nice things for our school.  I fully appreciate it coming from a poor system where we didn't have anything like this.  Just one example: at the other school, teachers were allotted one box of copy paper for the entire semester.  Anything else, we had to pay for ourselves.  In my current school, copy paper is unlimited.  Some systems also have to make different decisions for their individual schools based on the needs of students.  In the poorer schools, money is spent on social workers and other social services for the students, there is no money left over for AP classes.  In my current school, there is one social worker who serves several schools, there is just not the need.  We have plenty of money for AP classes.  

booful98
booful98

@Mirva Even if that is true (which I don't buy, but we'll get to that in a minute), it doesn't explain the vast differences in performance within the same county. All the schools get the same money, so giving more money isn't going to solve a fundamental problem that most likely has nothing to do with the schools.

And why are schools spending all that money on social workers? What kind of social workers? What do they do?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@booful98 @Mirva Title 1 schools get a good bit more money.  It does not, however, wipe away the disadvantages of the students, but provides more teachers to try to catch students up.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@booful98 @Mirva The problem is that the problems that need solving, while not belonging exclusively to the school, are NOT getting funded and taken care of by other entities.  So the problems remain, and get in the way of student attendance, student attention, student performance.


It would be great if DFACS,HHS, the judicial system, churches, Big Brother groups, etc would step up and provide the needed services, but most of them are also starved for money, volunteers, etc.

User777
User777

@Mirva @MiltonMan  I have to admit I get irritated with the suggestion that students of wealthy parents just fall in to good grades because of their parents.  I fully understand that parents have an impact, but at the end of the day, the student has to do the work.  It is a little insulting to those kids to be so dismissive of the effort they put in and the personal choices they have made in order to be successful.  Plenty of children of wealthy parents have pissed away any advantage they may have.  And I know plenty of parents with a fair amount of resources who couldn't tell you what classes their kids are taking.  Do parents give their children an advantage when they emphasize education?  ISure, but isn't that their job??   I am very familiar with the top school on the list.  The students come from all over Gwinnett County.  I would say it is very diverse, admittedly with a higher percentage of Asian students than Gwinnett as a whole.  What I have found, almost across the board, is the parents and students are very committed to academics, regardless of race or financial background. If you took the honor students from most Gwinnett high schools and put them in a school by themselves, I would guess the results would be similar.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Cambridge High School in Milton should be on the list.

Starik
Starik

@MiltonMan It just opened a couple of years ago.  It will be there soon.

class80olddog
class80olddog

What I see is that a lot of these require admittance criteria (not everyone can go)

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

The wealth of the families, and the educational levels, personal activities and qualities, marital stability, and educational and behavioral expectations are what makes these high schools the best. If most of your cars are new Porsches, your fleet looks great in comparison to the fleets of broken down, 15 year old Dodge Chargers and 30 year old Chevy Vegas.


I'm glad for these schools, but when you have the students they generally have, it would be difficult to look too bad.  I'd like to see the top ranked high schools with over 70% free/reduced lunch, instead.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@Wascatlady 


Because most wealthy families family value an education while you libs simply think that throwing more money toward education and allowing the teachers to join a union is the way to a quality education.

heyteacher
heyteacher

@Wascatlady bingo. If you look at the demographics of North Fulton, you'll find very few students living in apartments, much less on free/reduced lunch. I'd like to see rankings with family income considered.

bu2
bu2

@Wascatlady 

Chamblee HS is 42% economically disadvantaged and 78% minority and is ranked #12 on the list.


Now it is also a high achiever magnet.


Cross Keys is not a magnet, is 89% economically disadvantaged, 77% Hispanic, 98% minority and is #57.


I'm sure there are some others similar, but I noticed these two.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan @Wascatlady Exactly when did I call for more money?


I merely pointed out that it isn't hard to score highly on this measure if your students have the best of everything (including parents.)


Give us a ranking of high schools of 60-70% free/reduced lunch (or more).  THAT would actually mean something!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan I note that the top 10 range from 34% FaRPL to 7%.


That means that 2/3 or more of the students are NOT poor.  Quite a different school atmosphere than when 66-93% of the students are poor.  Peers are even more important to student aspirations than teachers/schools (but not as important as mothers.)

GTJoe
GTJoe

Why would magnet schools be included in such a list, when they require testing for entrance?  Magnets should be compared to private schools, not standard public schools.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@GTJoe


District magnet schools are under the jurisdiction of their local school districts, in contrast with the privately operated TNT Academy, about which we have recently read, which has no supervisory monitoring source as do district magnet schools.

bu2
bu2

Out of curiosity I counted.  Top 60:

Gwinnett County 12

Fulton County 8

Cobb County 8

DeKalb County 3

APS 0

Other area districts 12

Outside metro Atlanta 17


Gwinnett and Fulton do pretty well.  Cobb had 8 as well, although theirs were clustered near the bottom of the top 60.

Kvinnan2
Kvinnan2

Are any of these charter schools? It seems that detail is only noted here when there's unpleasant news to report.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Kvinnan2 These are all district-run schools. Cobb Schools converted Walton, which has always been high performing, to charter status a few years ago. As I noted, several are district-run magnets.

altantamom
altantamom

@Kvinnan2 @MaureenDowney

The first 5 schools on the list are charter schools, but what is your point? If you were to compare the demographics of the charter schools with the demographics of the county, you will find a disconnect.  Same for the other top ten schools.  

C. Diff
C. Diff

Isn't it ironic that three of the top five schools in the state have the word 'arts' in their name when every time there is a 'financial crisis' in a school system the first thing to get the axe is . . . . THE ARTS.