(City of) Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools, a system of schools serving the City of Atlanta, calls its gifted services program the Challenge Program.
At the elementary school level, how gifted services are delivered at any given school depends on the number of gifted students enrolled at that school. Elementary schools with “large gifted populations” have full-time certified gifted teachers, and students receive five segments of gifted instruction each week. According to APS information, fewer than 10 elementary schools fall into this category.
The majority of elementary schools participate in a cluster program that transports gifted students for one school day per week to Campbell Elementary School, where they all receive gifted instruction together from a team of teachers.
At the middle- and high-school levels, gifted students can enroll in advanced classes including pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Pacesetter classes.
More information is available at APS’s gifted services page.
Identification of gifted students
APS encourages parents to meet with their classroom teachers and local school administrators to suggest having their child assessed for the gifted program. Your school’s principal should be able to tell you the schedule for assessment testing. Decisions are made at the local school level by the school’s gifted eligibility team. The APS web site offers compete information on the assessment process.
Atlanta Public Schools is moving away from a magnet model, opting instead to have several small schools or “learning communities” at each of its high schools. The themes of these small schools aim to appeal to students’ varying interests, and their smaller size is intended to provide more personal attention from administrators than they would get in a traditional high-school model. Incoming freshmen choose which track they will follow during high school.
APS allows students to request transfers to attend a school outside their district, so long as there is room at the school they want to attend. The schools also are open to students from outside the City of Atlanta, although tuition is required of these families. More information is available on the school system’s student transfers page.
One APS learning community is open only to children who have been identified as gifted: the Gifted Academy at Brown Middle School.
Other programs at APS high schools include:
B.E.S.T. Academy High School: Business & Entrepreneurship; Engineering, Science & Technology
Douglass High School: Business & Entrepreneurship; Engineering & Applied Technology; Communications & Journalism; Hospitality, Tourism & Marketing
Grady High School: Biomedical Science & Engineering; Business & Entrepreneurship; Communications & Journalism; Public Policy & Justice
Jackson High School: Engineering Early College; Fine Arts & Media Communications; Information Technology
North Atlanta High School: International Studies; Arts; Business & Marketing; Broadcast Journalism
To find out more about the structure of APS high schools, contact Kelly Walton, program administrator for the High School Transformation Initiative, at (404) 802-5876.
International Baccalaureate Schools
International Baccalaureate (IB) is a rigorous, demanding curriculum with a global perspective. It is offered at eight APS schools. The IB Primary Years Programme is used at Deerwood Academy, Morris Brandon Elementary, Garden Hills Elementary, Warren T. Jackson Elementary, E. Rivers Elementary, Sarah Smith Elementary and Beecher Hills Elementary. Sutton Middle School uses the IB Middle Years Programme, and North Atlanta High School offers the IB Diploma Programme, which culminates in an IB diploma that can earn course credit at many colleges.
At the county office
Gyimah Whitaker is the coordinator for Gifted and Talented Education Services. She can be reached at (404) 802-7585. Gifted programs are part of the Department for Learning Excellence, which is under the supervision of executive director Crystal Lottig. You can reach her at (404) 802-2622.
In June 2011, Erroll Davis began a one-year term as interim superintendent of APS. The school board is searching for a permanent superintendent.
The Atlanta Public Schools system is governed by a nine-member Board of Education.
The board’s usual schedule is to have two meetings each month: a community board meeting on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m., and a legislative board meeting on the second Monday of the month. Meetings are held at the Center for Learning and Leadership Auditorium at 130 Trinity Avenue SW in Atlanta. Legislative meetings are televised on PBA30.
* Links on this page were last updated on Oct. 20, 2011