Choosing a Private School in Atlanta
Nine questions to ask.
Selecting the right private school for your child can be challenging, but doing your research can help you make the best decision. And what is best for your family might look different from another family’s. Consider the educational goals that are most important to you. As you compare schools, here are some questions to explore.
What is the school's academic track record?
GAC students are 100% college bound and demonstrate the highest level of academic achievement. Of the 171 graduates in the class of 2019, 67% were honors graduates. Collectively the class had an AP pass rate of 86.5% in 29 AP courses. This surpasses the national average by 25% and is among the highest of all Atlanta independent schools. The class of 2019 also produced 65 AP Scholars (including 5 National Scholars) and 6 National Merit semi-finalists and finalist. Due to their scholastic achievements, students earned over $19 million in scholarships. GAC alumni include a 2009 Rhodes Scholar and three Fulbright Scholars.
What is the culture of the school?
You can hear it in the voices of the children playing on the Village green; the drama students rehearsing for their next performance after school; and teachers and students sharing in a lively discussion during a science class. GAC students have an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn and become the best version of themselves. Whether in the classroom, on the stage, or on the court, students demonstrate grit and passion, and their character shines through—a character that has been developed through challenging coursework, Biblical teaching, and devoted teachers who pour into their students on a daily basis.
To what universities do students apply and gain acceptance?
College acceptances and matriculations are as diverse as the students we serve. Each year our graduates are accepted to a wide variety of schools: state schools such as UGA and Georgia Tech, Ivy league schools such as Harvard and Penn, “southern Ivies” such as Duke and Emory, private Christian schools such as Lipscomb or Samford, and everything in between. Our three college counselors work individually with each student over the course of their high school career to help them find a best-fit school. The class of 2019 received over 700 acceptances, averaging six per student.
In what ways do teachers engage with students?
Student-teacher relationships are championed at GAC. Our community is rich with teachers investing in students’ lives through coaching, personal mentoring and spiritual guidance, traveling together on school retreats, class trips, learning excursions, study abroad opportunities, and serving together on mission trips and service projects. Small class sizes allow our teachers to get to know students’ needs on a level that is impossible at larger schools. Our teachers make themselves available for additional support before and after school if a student has a need or an interest in their subject area.
Is the school strongly committed to purposeful innovation?
GAC is dedicated to finding a better way. Students are given all of the tools they will need to be successful in the evolving workplace with technological advancements and teachers embracing new methodology and education tools. GAC has led the way in areas such as 1:1 technology integration, collaborative classroom, and blended teaching environments. GAC has been an Apple Distinguished School since 2010 and 100% of our teachers are Apple Distinguished Educators, meaning they are at the forefront of transforming learning. Recently, GAC began a partnership with Johns Hopkins University and will serve as a laboratory school for its School of Education, further deepening GAC’s research-based pedagogy.
How strong and stable is the leadership of the school?
GAC has been blessed to have consistent, trusted leadership since Jesse Long founded the school in 1968. Now, with only the third president in its history, GAC is led by Dr. Scott Harsh, a 23 year veteran of GAC who is invested in making the school a formative part of each student’s life through innovative teaching, depth and breadth of program, and highly-trained teachers who are experts in their field. GAC is also blessed to be led by an illustrious Board of Directors that is committed to making GAC a leader in Christian education.
How committed is the school to your child's holistic development?
Our mission emphasizes educating the whole child—mind, body, and spirit. GAC students have endless opportunities to develop their gifts and find their passion, whether it’s in academics, athletics, or the arts. GAC’s environment is one of experiential learning, real-life application, rigorous academics, and service, all nurturing and developing a student who will leave GAC guided by faith, courageous in character, empowered by strengths, and committed to action.
Is the school truly committed to diversity?
GAC is a true representation of the greater Atlanta area as a whole, with students from varying economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. GAC’s diversity reflects a commitment to creating an environment where students can learn to appreciate, celebrate, and engage with the world around them. GAC’s student body is 52% Caucasian, 25% African American, 12% Asian, 6% Multi-racial, and 5% Latino/Hispanic.
Is there a positive energy among the students?
Stop any student in the hallway and they’ll tell you, it’s hard to have a bad day at GAC. The reason has something to do with the experience of being among like-minded, passionate and purpose-driven classmates who know your name, your history, and accept you for who you are. Students support and encourage each other through the challenges and stress of school. They’re there, rooting at the playoff game, cheering at the drama performance, and serving together locally and globally. Students experience community and leave GAC with lifelong friends.