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GAC is a great school.

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Foster Academic Preparedness.

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GAC consistently satisfies the highest standards of teaching and learning excellence.

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Academics

We prepare students at every age level for success during their time at GAC, in college, and beyond.

GAC designs and engages rigorous, intentional academic experiences that keep in mind the distinct purpose of each student. Research and care inform every decision, from classroom layout to daily schedules and technology resources.

In the GAC Lower School, our youngest Spartans gain a firm grounding in the academics, faith, and community that will carry them through their educational career. They discover their interests, talents, and the joy of learning through experiences inside the classroom, STEAM labs, and across the campus.

Once in the Middle School, our Spartans are challenged and nurtured in an academic community designed to prepare them for the excitement and rigor of high school. A time marked by rich intellectual, extracurricular, peer, and spiritual immersion, this is a phase of tremendous growth.

Each GAC High School student is set firmly on a path forward. Their busy days are filled with opportunities to develop intellect, faith, culture, generosity, and confidence. Our Spartans go into the world prepared for what it has to offer.

The GAC Approach to Academic Excellence

An Education that is Aligned from Young Learners to High School

We have thoughtfully designed a curriculum to enhance your child’s education for an even greater experience throughout their years at GAC, college, and beyond. We meet students’ academic needs and further ensure student success with our state-of-the-art curriculum planning software and Professional Learning Communities where teachers work to create an aligned educational plan for each student.

Flexible Learning with Ethos, Blended Classes, and Zero Hour Classes

Ethos School is an innovative online platform that gives your child flexibility and choice in the modalities they use to learn. Ethos is integrated into our college preparatory academic environment, so students have more space to pursue their passions while working towards the next step in their education. GAC also offers Blended and Zero Hour classes, making it possible for students to open up their schedules for classes that will allow them to specialize in an area of interest.

Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication Skills Infused in Each Course

At GAC we go well beyond learning how to answers questions correctly on a test. Your child will learn to present an argument to the class and defend a hypothesis through a well-researched paper. Students collaborate and learn to reach consensus among their peers.

Global Education Creates Global Citizens

A GAC education extends far beyond the classroom, instilling the value and responsibility of being a global citizen. Students participate in learning excursions, mission trips, and study abroad opportunities. Last year, more than 400 students participated in authentic service, locally and abroad. GAC also has global partnerships bringing our faith infused curriculum to students outside of the US with our online learning Ethos School.

A Broad Variety of Educational Opportunities

Your child can grow and nurture their interests by participating in one of the many programs at GAC. Elite tennis players can take advantage of our Tennis Academy. Skilled dancers flourish in our School of Ballet. Musicians are cultivated in our School of Music. Scholars thrive in our 29 AP and 32 honors courses. Students who need additional support benefit from our Academic Support program. At GAC, there is something for every student.

Spaces Our Students Thrive

High School Complex
Both Long Hall and Tidwell Hall are original structures to GAC when it opened to students in 1968. The 34,000 square foot High School Complex was redesigned and fully renovated in 2016 based on extensive research of best practices of innovative education and needs of the 21st century student. Interactive, engaging learning is facilitated by glass walls that allow for natural light, flexible furniture, and portable technology that is easily adapted to hands-on, experiential, project-based learning. The collaborative, alcove settings provide a place for students to gather in small groups to work on projects.
Middle School Complex
Completely redesigned and renovated in 2016, the 35,000 square foot Middle School incorporates research-based best practices for student-centered teaching and learning spaces. The active learning classrooms are flexible and adaptable with writable surfaces for interactive discussions, movable desks and chairs, and portable technology. Glass walls extend the classroom to the hallway that provides gathering areas for small group discussions and project work.
Nasmyth Environmental Center

Equipped with a sizable chicken coop, turtle pond, 2,300 sq ft greenhouse, food forest, vermiculture, and aquaponics, the Nasmyth Environmental Center provides hands-on learning space for students to witness and engage in sustainable practices. The Nasmyth Environment Center is named after long-time board member and GAC friend Fernando Nasmyth and his wife.

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Fields Science Hall

Originally built in the late 1990s as a single hall of classrooms, Fields Science Hall was completely redesigned and expanded to advance STEM learning in 2017.  Now 13,000 square feet, the facility hosts a new state-of-the-art chemistry lab, a green roof, solar energy panels, and classroom space for anatomy, engineering, marine biology, and astronomy.

Academic News

Kaitlyn Williams, Trey Dixon, and Camille Hollier are Peachtree Corners "20 Under 20"

GAC is thrilled to announce that Kaitlyn Williams, Trey Dixon, and Camille Hollier have been selected and featured as “20 Under 20” in Peachtree Corners Magazine’s December 2019/January 2020 edition. This honor celebrates Peachtree Corners students ages 19 and younger who have impacted the community in a significant way through leadership, and/or personal achievements.

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National Merit Semifinalist and Commended Scholars Recognized
GAC is pleased to announce that senior Nicolas Veltmaat was named as a National Merit Semifinalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Mr. Veltmaat has been named among approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
 
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Everyday STEAM, Extraordinary Results

Do you remember the wonder you felt as a child? When a cardboard box held endless possibilities and each star in the sky fired your imagination? We often associate wonder with childhood because it is a feeling of looking at something for the first time. Humans were created for wonder, and our teachers in our Village and Elementary School want students to experience it every day, particularly with their STEAM curriculum. 

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For National Literacy Month, Meet GAC's Resident Bibliophile

September is National Literacy Month, and GAC has a great role model in its 18-year-veteran Media Specialist Ms. Bonnie Baker. A voracious reader, she read 42 books over the past summer alone and has read 5,000 of the 14,479 titles in the Liles Media Center to date. (She keeps a spreadsheet to track her progress). Ms. Baker has one piece of advice for students who want to know her secret: “Don’t have screens nearby!”

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For Mathematical Rigor and Fun, Meet Us in the Middle

Middle school math classrooms here on the GAC campus look and feel differently than most classrooms around metro Atlanta. Instead of “sit and get” instruction, worksheets, and silent practice at their desks, GAC students are fortunate to have a completely different experience.

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Connecting Statistics to the Real World: GAC Partners with Turner Sports

How are we preparing our students for life beyond the four walls of the classroom? That’s a question GAC educators ask themselves often. It’s also the reason why experiential learning is always the goal here. But some subjects lend themselves more easily to these opportunities than others. For example, how can our teachers connect an AP statistics class to the real world?

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Ushering in the 2019-2020 School Year

GAC had a wonderful start to the school year this morning as faculty and students from pre-first to seniors gathered in the Long Forum for a time of worship, reflection, and celebration.

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Summertime Fellowship: Time Well Spent

How much farther would you be in your career if you had discovered what you wanted to do earlier in life? How would it have impacted your time in college? For GAC, these questions have led to the development of a unique opportunity, the Summer Fellowship Program, which provides students with real-world experience in an industry of their choice. Students gain valuable insight into careers under the guidance of mentors who are invested in their development.

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GAC Summer Fellowship Program Paves the Way for Future Dream Jobs

As employers require more and more work experience from entry-level employees, where does that leave students who are fresh out of college and new to the workforce? GPAs and extracurriculars don’t carry the weight they once did, and students must consistently do more to get a leg up. To fill that gap and ensure that our graduates gain the valuable experience they need, GAC’s Community Relations and College Counseling teams have partnered together to create the GAC Summer Fellowship Program.

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By The Numbers

216

Faculty members

76% 

Faculty hold advanced degrees

86.5%

AP Pass rate in 29 courses

60+

STEM courses in middle and
high school

40+

Performing and visual
art electives

20+

Trips for experiential learning outside the classroom

Faculty Spotlights

Meet Aaron Jongko: Fifth Grade Teacher

Aaron Jongko has always challenged himself as a teacher: “how do I make learning happen and keep students fully engaged while they’re having fun?” Over the 10 years he’s been teaching, he thinks he’s found the secret sauce. “I’ve tried to always keep kids at ease because it makes learning happen more naturally.” Aaron has found this to be especially important given the project-based learning approach he uses for social studies.

Aaron Jongko has always challenged himself as a teacher: “how do I make learning happen and keep students fully engaged while they’re having fun?” Over the 10 years he’s been teaching, he thinks he’s found the secret sauce. “I’ve tried to always keep kids at ease because it makes learning happen more naturally.” Aaron has found this to be especially important given the project-based learning approach he uses for social studies. “I know that when students start this class they have a lot of anxiety on their faces because they know there are going to be a lot of projects. That alone is something that intimidates them. As they go through the school year, I see them start to do things more fluidly and confidently when I’m looking over their shoulders. I can see them reading a lot of text and summarizing without copying; when they are doing that independently then I know that they are learning.”

Mr. Jongko believes the most important thing his students can take away from his classroom is empathy for the human experience. “In American and European history we look at a lot of very difficult topics—slavery, the trail of tears, the Holocaust. I hope they come to see that different people have different experiences and that you need to learn from them. If they can learn that as a child, they are more likely to make decisions that will help a lot of people as they get older. These students have an opportunity to be really influential in the future.”

Also important are the critical research skills students develop which help them address questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer: “Was the Civil War worth the cost?” he asks them. Mr. Jongko is excited to watch as his students research, summarize information, and form their own conclusions. “I always see a huge amount of growth between the first research project and the last one in terms of their comfort, confidence, and how proud they are of their work.”

Mr. Jongko has a passion for social studies but it’s one that students don’t always share. “If you ask students what their favorite subject is, it’s rarely social studies,” he says. But he wanted to put this to the test. As part of a research project developed for Apple Education and one he presented at the annual conference for Apple Distinguished Schools (which GAC has been since 2010), Mr. Jongko worked for a year to address what affects motivation in an elementary social studies class. He conducted a pre-survey and then tailored the class to meet the students’ preferences. What he got was a more interesting and exciting experience for both him and his students. “The blended learning style has worked really well for this class as it gives students the chance to be independent. And this means greater learning outcomes for them.” In the three years that he’s taught fifth grade, Mr. Jongko has refined his curriculum, bringing together the best of online and traditional instruction. For example, students are able to take advantage of the video tutorials that Mr. Jongko creates as resources for them.  

Having spent time working in both public and private schools, Mr. Jongko finds that he can be more innovative in his classroom at a private school. “As a teacher, I get to be really responsive to students’ learning needs. If I am looking at a learning standard and think we need to add something to the curriculum, I can make it happen if I make a case for it and present a solution. There is no bureaucracy and red tape to go through. Teachers have the ability to be change-makers and ultimately the students benefit.”

Mr. Jongko has significant experience with curriculum development and has played an influential role at GAC as Lower School Social Studies Chair and PK-12 Instructional Lead Teacher. He was a finalist for the GAC Lower School Educator of the Year, and was the Athens Chamber of Commerce Educator of Excellence, Clarke County School District Teacher of the Year, Whitehead Road Elementary Teacher of the Year, and has been awarded the Foundation for Excellence Mae Whatley and Peach State Crystal Apple Awards. Among his secret talents is that he is a licensed pyrotechnician and a skilled carpenter. When he’s not perfecting his pyrotechnics or building something, you’ll find him thinking up yet another way to create even more meaningful experiences for the students in his classroom.

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Meet Dr. Laura Markert: Middle School Math Teacher

She molds her instruction so that her students “own” the knowledge. They learn their own way of solving problems, and it’s not just the teacher passing down the step-by-step instructions. “I love math because it’s like a puzzle. There is more than one way to solve the problem. I want the kids to know that I want to hear about their way of tackling a problem. It’s not just about how I do it.”

No matter how old you are, everyone remembers a student like Laura Markert. The student who sits in the front row of class, eager to soak up every bit of knowledge she can. The student who loves math. The student who enthusiastically puts forth 100% every day.

Still at the front of the classroom, now Laura Markert is a teacher, and her students call her Dr. Markert. She finished a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University and says, “I love learning. I’ve always wanted to get my doctorate.” As both a teacher and student, she is conscientious, hard-working, and determined. While Dr. Markert could have been successful in a myriad of careers, GAC is fortunate she chose education. A 6th grade math teacher, Dr. Markert has been teaching at GAC for five years.

As you watch Dr. Markert teach, you begin to wonder how you might bottle her energy and sell it. She is highly engaged, focused, lively, communicative. She doesn’t miss a beat. She studies her students carefully, scanning the room for signs of understanding and critical thinking. This is her 11th year of teaching, and she is fueled by the work and the pace. A classic extrovert who gets her energy from people and building relationships, she is kind of stumped when asked what she does for downtime.

As a high school student at Parkview High School, Dr. Markert got a cup of coffee from the teacher’s lounge for her algebra teacher every morning. She has fond memories of this ritual, remembering that it made her feel special. “When teachers are nice to me, it makes me feel special. I try to make my students feel that way,” she says. It is well-known that students are more engaged in the classroom when they have a meaningful relationship with their teachers. “As an undergraduate, I had a professor who would take me and others out with his family to dinner and dessert. We would discuss education and life. We built a strong relationship, and because of that relationship I became even more engaged in research and college,” she said.

Indeed, she has empathy and determination to serve all students. She tailors her instruction to reach even the most mathematically anxious students. Her classroom is dynamic, one where movement is encouraged and writing on the desks and windows is permitted. Her dissertation was “Writing to Learn in Math”, and her passion for creativity within the math classroom can be seen all over her walls.

She molds her instruction so that her students “own” the knowledge. They learn their own way of solving problems, and it’s not just the teacher passing down the step-by-step instructions. “I love math because it’s like a puzzle. There is more than one way to solve the problem. I want the kids to know that I want to hear about their way of tackling a problem. It’s not just about how I do it.”

Dr. Markert was raised in Lilburn, Georgia, and attended Berry College in Rome. She married her husband Dave, a GAC alum, in 2012. Hard work runs in the family, and Dr. Markert said her father in particular has always served as an example of life-long learning. Dr. Markert’s older sister is a Language Arts teacher, and Dr. Markert grew up helping her set up her classrooms and bulletin boards. So Dr. Markert’s career choice feels like home.

Middle School Academic Dean Lauren Hollier especially appreciates Dr. Markert: “Laura epitomizes the term dedication.  She works tirelessly before, during, and after school with her kids. She encourages, motivates, instills confidence, and loves her students. If one way doesn’t work, she tries another, and another. She is one of the most patient teachers I’ve ever met.”

While she has taught in several other school environments, Dr. Markert says, “I love the spiritual aspect of GAC. I love that we have the chance to pray. I like the way the kids love each other. The light really shines through here at GAC.”

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Terry Beasley

Results from our recent annual Parent Survey reveal that the top reason why parents choose GAC is our high-quality teachers. Math teacher and Department Chair Terry Beasley is a prime example and a reminder of why investing in private Christian education is worthwhile. Fifty percent of his AP Calculus students earn a 5 on the AP exam.

Terry Beasley

Results from our recent annual Parent Survey reveal that the top reason why parents choose GAC is our high-quality teachers. Math teacher and Department Chair Terry Beasley is a prime example and a reminder of why investing in private Christian education is worthwhile. Fifty percent of his AP Calculus students earn a 5 on the AP exam. Were you to visit his class, this veteran teacher of 21 years might pull out a manila envelope full of notes from former students who discovered something truly remarkable while in his class: how limitless and capable they really were. He keeps these notes for sentimental reasons but also as a way to encourage his current students, especially when they read of students for whom math wasn’t “their thing” but who, as a result of Mr. Beasley’s teaching, were able to succeed at a high level.

One of the funniest questions Mr. Beasley has received about his teaching has come from his international students. They’ve asked him, in a deadpan and confused sort of way, “Mr. Beasley why do you make everything so fun?” Says Mr. Beasley, “It’s much different than anything they’ve experienced in their home country.” His response? “If I have to be here, I’m going to make math fun.” He goes on to explain: “But don’t misunderstand me though. My classes are hard. I’m going to keep the bar here (hold his hand up high), but I’m going to help you get there.” And for good reason. “If you’re just fun and not challenging, the kids don’t grow. If you’re challenging and not fun, the kids don’t enjoy it. If you’re both, kids realize that they can be good at something and that it doesn’t have to be boring. It can be something they look forward to, even if it’s not their favorite subject.

During the course of a school year, Mr. Beasley helps kids find a love for math, but there’s also character that gets built as well. Students become resilient as they work to uncover the “why” behind the work they are doing. And part of that means making mistakes along the way. Mr. Beasley (who thinks of himself as a mathematical coach) is there to help them get over “the fear of the fear” of messing up. “Our kids are so pressured into thinking that they must get A+. ‘I got that wrong. I'm gonna fail’ instead of, ‘I got that wrong. Let me figure out why’. Once you do that, the grade starts to reflect the knowledge.”

“Even if you don’t like calculus, I’m going to help you become a better student. Everything I teach the students about how to approach learning is universal. If you can figure out why or how you do the things you do, it makes preparing for any type of situation so much easier. If you have no idea why you’re making the decisions you’re making, you are going to struggle no matter the class. My philosophy is teaching students how to think.”

Mr. Beasley has a specialist degree in curriculum and instruction and he’s created an entire curriculum with a cumulative approach to pre-calculus and calculus that has paid dividends with his students. He has been selected as a STAR teacher twice and nominated for Teacher of the Year numerous times. But his biggest accomplishment in 21 years? Watching the transformation in his students, year after year, knowing they are becoming the best version of themselves.

Read More about Meet Terry Beasley: High School Math Teacher & Department Chair
Meet Dr. Sarah Grant: Second Grade Teacher

"All the teachers have very high efficacy at GAC. This is in part because they know they can make a difference. You can walk into every single teacher’s classroom and hear them praising or thanking a student. That is not something I had witnessed as a collective front elsewhere.”

Think back to when you were a student. Who was your favorite teacher? Was it the one who stood at the front of the classroom and read from their notes? Or maybe it was one who was passionate about their subject matter, making it apparent through their body language and tone and the way they related to the students? More than likely you loved the latter one. But being that teacher can be difficult, especially after years of being in the classroom with 30 students at a time (currently the cap in public schools is 33). That was Sarah Grant’s reality before she joined GAC as a second-grade teacher. “Saddened, I would ask myself at the end of the day, did I even interact with that one student? Did we even cross paths?” 

Sarah spent nearly 10 years teaching in the public school system before coming to GAC. Her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia gave her the knowledge she needed, but the drive to be in the education field has always been there. She has taken every opportunity to teach, beginning as a pre-professional teacher at the end of her sophomore year in college and working her way up to a 4th and 5th-grade teacher in a public charter school in Decatur upon graduation. Learning didn’t stop for Sarah. She went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees from Mercer University, starting the program the day after she graduated with her bachelor’s. Because of her early exposure to the teaching field, she knew that she had found her calling and couldn’t wait to continue investing time and effort into becoming a better teacher.

Teaching has always been a puzzle that Sarah has tried to better understand. In her doctoral program at Mercer, she studied teacher longevity. The question she asked herself is, what motivates teachers to stay in the classroom for 10, 20, or 30 years? Statistics show that 60% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. She hopes to uncover the secret for why they stay, but part of it she feels she understands just from being a teacher at GAC, where the teacher retention rate is much higher than in public schools. “All the teachers have very high efficacy at GAC. This is in part because they know they can make a difference. You can walk into every single teacher’s classroom and hear them praising or thanking a student. That is not something I had witnessed as a collective front elsewhere.”

Sarah is a “yes teacher”, making her the kind of teacher you wish you had. She is always willing to try new things, especially if it means her students can benefit. While the students might get the same mini-lesson in a math class one day, the lesson application will look a little different depending on which group the student is in. Because of the placement testing Sarah regularly conducts, she is able to tailor each activity, getting each student the exposure they need based on their strengths and weaknesses. “Testing and data are important, but they are just one measure. The mission of GAC gets at the whole child, not just test scores. That is so unique here.” Also unique is the way in which academic rigor and moral development are enmeshed. “One of the most meaningful aspects about teaching at GAC is watching the students apply the moral development skills we learn during Bible throughout the school day. You are able to see students working in their math center and collaborating with their peers and showing respect. That is equally important and as rewarding as seeing them grow academically.”

Sarah’s teaching range is remarkable, as she has worked with students who were at risk of not meeting state standards; special education students; gifted students in the International Baccalaureate program; and students in the lower and upper elementary grades. “I have loved all of the experiences I’ve been given. While I think the classroom is where I will make the most impact, a very long-term goal would be writing curricula and helping teachers write and implement curriculum to their advantage. Lots of teachers are given curriculum and they don’t know how to adapt it to meet their needs or their students' needs.” Sarah has extensive experience with curriculum integration and even has a Project WILD certification. This is a program produced by UGA that helps teachers learn how to incorporate STEM and STEAM activities into everyday learning experiences.

Service outside the classroom has been a big part of Sarah’s life. “As a student, I volunteered with the YMCA as an office assistant. I worked for Graceway Recovery Residence, a women’s crisis center. I probably volunteered for 200 hours while also being in school.” Sarah has continued to volunteer long after her college days; she and her husband have served for years in the infant to Pre-K program at Buckhead Church and as small group leaders for newly married couples. Service will always be a part of her life, and whether it’s at her church or in the classroom, Sarah knows she’s found a place where she can be her true self.

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Mark Your Calendar

We are a Community

Dr. Betty Morris

“GAC is greater because of the attention to detail that our faculty and staff take to ensure each student has individualized academic preparedness based on their unique needs. We are very proud of our impressive and successful graduates. But we know that the same academic opportunities that worked for them may not work for your kids. We are always changing, always innovating, and always applying new methods based on the students we have in the classroom.”

Director of Academics and Teacher Growth