what are the best public schools in the greater Atlanta area?

Asked by Doug, Florence, AL Sat Apr 26, 2008

We plan to move to the Atlanta area, and our top priority is finding a good public school for our daughter. She will be entering 5th grade, and I presume we will need to live in the school district zoned for the school if we expect her to be eligible to attend any particular public school. Is this an accurate understanding? If so, then we need to pick a school before we buy a house. Thanks for your help.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Kitty O'malley Brown’s answer
Kitty O'mall…, Home Buyer, J.S.J. Estates, Laredo, TX
Mon Jul 22, 2013
Hi Doug, I was looking up what people are told for unrelated reasons, but I would like to add my thoughts to some of these comments. I was born and raised in Ohio, great schools, went to both public and private, found little difference between the two, if any it was the penguins who I now remember with great affection. I raised my son here in Atlanta; he started in Christ the King and then moved over to Atlanta's public, Peachtree Battle. BP students had a wide range in financial backgrounds; some lived in motels, while others came from some of the wealthiest homes in Atlanta. I found no difference between Ohio and Georgia's education no matter what the national numbers reflect. What I think is key to finding a good school are the parents! Schools dominated by poor parents struggle due to a lack of parent involvement. The parents of the poor, work low end jobs, long hours, and most of their employers, whose children go to those better(?) schools will not let them have time off to participate in school events. Schools in area's where mom's don't work, available to participate in supporting school events, seem to do better; maybe because they are under the constant scrutiny of parents? If you are a parent who participates in your child's education I suspect your child will do well no matter what school he is in; so be a hero and make a difference! Few days go by that for one reason or another I think of the neighbors I grew up with, who were not just rich, but who on occasion shared. One made Halloween the best, with a dining room table filled with choice items to choose from; in the summer they had a 2 foot pool with a slide added to it, and EVERY child in the neighborhood was allowed to play there. One bought all the kids in the neighborhood movie tickets, another always showed up on the playground with his children and spun us on the merry-go-round or pushed us on the swing. Theirs were the children who were well liked for obvious reasons, but then again, the child might have just been that likable because of how we treated them. I was very active in my child's classrooms and the school in general, the end result was my child did well no matter what school he attended! All of the teachers were good teachers, some had more attitude than I would have liked. But no matter, my son scored 98 - 99% on all of the national test... even those we were RENTERS, as I saw once written across his chart in big red letters; the shame of it! My house was the one that all the children came to play maybe because I was the one who umped best because I knew when the children needed snacks because fighting was more a sign of dropping sugar; tempers flaring meant best time for a quiet game! Knowing children understanding what is going on in their world is what makes a difference in how well they do in school. One of my child's friends was about to be held back for a third time and he wasn't even out of elementary school. His principal was wise to share information with me. The boy and I had a serious talk, in record time he turned into an A B student and went on to the next grade ; he remained a good student the rest of his life. It isn't about school, it is about effective parenting!
0 votes
John Reinhar…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
Doug -

Without taking the commute & price range into consideration North Fulton the cities of Alpharetta & Roswell. Also in my opinion is the city of Marietta in Cobb County. For 2008 the Marietta city schools now offer its choice academies program at all seven of its seven elementary schools. That means Marietta City residents may now send their child to their zoned school or ANY of the outstanding elementary schools in the district. Each elementary facility offers a specific learning program so parents can choose the school that best fits their child’s skills and interest. This would be an excellent option if you love a certain house or neighborhood, but prefer the program at a different Marietta elementary school.

Marietta City Schools continues to be a shining star in COBB County educational system:
• They been listed among Newsweek’s “Top U.S. School Systems” for several years in a row
• The 2008 Georgia State Teacher of the Year is from MCS
• Marietta High School is consistently named in among top 5% of all US high schools
All of MCS met state progress goals in 2007 (only 29% of all Georgia school districts accomplished this goal)

Doug I would be more than happy to discuss with you the schools in the areas & can be contacted at 678.784.4440.

John J. Reinhardt
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta
2 votes
Thanks for the info. I am looking to move to this area with my new husband and my son is high functioning in the autism spectrum. I will check out what public schools are good for him in that area.
Flag Tue Jan 21, 2014
William M "M…, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
Good Morning Doug. You are correct in that you need to live in an area that is zoned for the specific school you are interested in. Gwinnett County, North Fulton County and Cobb County are generally considered the best public school systems in the metro area. I am partial to Gwinnett County due to reasonable taxes and affordable housing along with one of the best school systems in the state. While you daughter is preparing to finish elementary school you will probably want to be looking toward middle school. The results of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills are in and the top performing middle school in Gwinnett County is Crews Middle School. This school is located in the Brookwood High School District of the county.

I will be happy to email you properties that are for sale in the area, just let me know your exact criteria. I look forward to hearing from you.
1 vote
Linda Cox, , Peachtree City, GA
Mon May 26, 2008
Fayette County Middle and High Schools ranked 5th in the Georgia rankings of better school system. With the declining home markets, Fayette County continues to draw buyers mainly because of the reputation of the Fayette County Schools.
Web Reference:  http://www.agentcox.net
0 votes
Ramiro Garcia, , Grants Park, Atlanta, GA
Mon Apr 28, 2008
Doug, just as your childI(ren) are unique and have different personalities and needs, the same goes for schools! Many may look good on paper, but when you visit, you'll know it's not right for your child.

There are many great schools, both public and private. Are you looking for a suburban or intown environment? This will affect the neighborhoods and schools you consider. To specifically answer your question, yes... you'll have to choose a house by the zoning of the school. I have several links to intown school we are involved with here in the Grant Park area: http://www.GrantParkExpert.com
Web Reference:  http://www.DweLLintown.com
0 votes
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Mon Apr 28, 2008

Here's a list of geographic areas with the "best public schools" that I compiled for Heather from Trulia last month

parts of city of Alpharetta
unincorporated East Cobb's Marietta
parts of Suwanee
parts of City of Atlanta
parts of Decatur both city and unincorporated
parts of Dunwoody, unincorporated Dekalb
immediate demographic, geographic and psychographic charter schools metro wide all operating on unique criteria

So, how do you determine which school is a "good school?" I added a link to an article regarding the insights of "Atlanta Parent" magazine - I've found that the folks behind Atlanta Parent and Atlanta Baby are really thorough and they have a solid grasp on the needs of parents in our city.

That being said, Georgia schools statewide are among the worst in the USA, and in order to make the best public school placement for your 5th grader, judge the few that merit any scores above a national level. Start with them - the geographical choices that I mentioned offer you a wide array of choices that should offer a fit that works best for you, your commute, your family and the education of your child.

The real story is how charter schools are reinvigorating education across Georgia. The abject failure of our system statewide requires remarkable change agency, and charter schools must deliver change or they go extinct.

You can certainly pick just one school and go from there, but striking a counterbalance between your quality of life, your family's lifestyle, and your child's school choice ... and your commute(s) ... is paramount.

The good news - you have a lot of choices in many price ranges.
0 votes
superduper, Home Buyer, Atlanta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008

I happen to live in an area with some of the best public schools. I myself do not have any children but I know that people pay more to live here for the schools. I do have relatives that attend the schools here. Check out the following areas. Briarcliff and Oak Grove are excellent.. There are a several other areas. A good way to do your own research is to go online and pull up the SAT scores and other rating for both Dekalb and Fulton county.
0 votes
Kathy Drewien…, , Atlanta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
On the surface, your question seems simple enough. And yet, Atlanta is so much larger than Birmingham, a list is not enough to tell you what you want to know. You also want a house in your price range, with a "reasonable" commute, located in a strong school district.

In what part of Atlanta will you be working? Are you open to a 45-minute commute? What style of house is best for you and your family? Is your price range less than $350K? More than $500K? Answers to these questions enable us to better answer your question about school districts.

We could say the Higgledy-Piggledy district is the highest ranking in Atlanta. And yet, if housing prices start at $600K and your price range is $300-350K, the information is meaningless.

With all that said... to help our clients we have made The Report Card for Parents available on our site.

The Report Card for Parents is primarily designed to give parents information about their schools. It also provides valuable information for discussions that will help parents make informed decisions about the quality of public schools in Georgia.

The testing and evaluation of Georgia’s children generate an enormous amount of statistical data. The Report Card for Parents transforms this mountain of data into an understandable ranking of Georgia’s public schools. Access the reports using the link below.
0 votes
Rainey Ragla…, , Atlanta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
Coweta county and Fayette County
0 votes
Natascha M K…, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
Go to http://www.schoolmatters.com for good information about schools.
Good Luck,
Steven & Tascha
Web Reference:  http://www.purrfecthome.com
0 votes
Deryk Harper, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Sat Apr 26, 2008
Hi Doug,
http://www.greatschools.net is a very good source for school infomation, There are many good schools to choose from in the metro Atlanta area. We live in Windward in Alpharetta, GA . Schools are Lakewood and Creekview Elementary, Webb Bridge Middle and Alppharetta High....all very good schools. Almost any North Fulton or South Forsyth School ranks high in our state. You are right in thinking your daughter should be eligible to attend any public school as long as you live in that schools district. Please contact us at 770-906-0317 if you would like to discuss this further or visit our website at http://www.keylocationsforyou.com.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more