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The Ratings Are In! Decatur Schools Top the List

Monday, November 7, 2016
City of Decatur

Decatur schools ranked in second place overall on the list of the 2016 Best School Districts in the Atlanta Metro area, according to Niche, a content startup that runs a ranking and review site of schools and neighborhoods.

The list and corresponding rankings provide a comprehensive assessment of the overall excellence of a school district, which includes academics, quality of teachers, school resources, student life, and more. Ranking factors take into account state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, as well as student and parent reviews.

The rankings and grades of the 2016 Best School Districts were computed through a series of steps that are in place to ensure Niche’s rankings are statistically sound and offer the most amount of guidance to those looking to make a school choice. By providing reviews and insight from everyday experts, Niche makes choosing a neighborhood or school a more transparent process.

About Decatur Schools

Decatur is served by the Decatur City School District, also known as City Schools of Decatur. An independent public school district, City Schools of Decatur operates a total of nine schools: one Early Childhood Learning Center, five K-3 primary schools, one 4th/5th grade Academy, one middle school, and one high school.

Approximately 4,200 students are enrolled in the Decatur City School District. The primary schools are small schools and are nestled within residential neighborhoods throughout the 4-square mile area of Decatur.

Students of the Decatur City School District perform above the state and national averages on standardized tests at all grade levels, and each year the district has ranked in the top ten districts in Georgia for SAT performance.

Elementary Schools

The Clairemont, Glennwood, Oakhurst, Westchester, and Winnona Park elementary schools comprise the district’s five K-3 primary schools, and all of them have 5-star community ratings on GreatSchools.net.

These five schools also adopt the Expeditionary Learning system, a school reform model developed through the collaborative efforts of Outward Bound and the Harvard Graduate School of Education that is built on the following ten design principles:

  • the primacy of self-discovery
  • the having of wonderful ideas
  • the responsibility for learning
  • empathy and caring
  • success and failure
  • collaboration and competition
  • diversity and inclusion
  • the natural world
  • solitude and reflection
  • service and compassion

The system makes full use of expeditions, which are interdisciplinary studies that contain elements such as: guiding questions, kickoff experiences, case studies, projects, multi-disciplinary lessons, fieldwork, field experts, service learning, and a culminating event that features high-quality student work.

International Baccalaureate Schools

The remaining schools, which are The 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue, Renfroe Middle School, and Decatur High School, are all International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools, which aim to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

The 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue, which is also known as Fifth Avenue Elementary, adopts the IB Primary Years Programme for younger students. Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School use the IB Middle Years Programme that was designed for students aged 11 to 16.

Renfroe, which is also known as the Carl G. Renfroe Middle School, received the highest ranking of all schools in Georgia according to Niche, and Fifth Avenue Elementary bagged the top 2 spot. Decatur High School has also been named an AP Challenge and AP Merit school in Georgia.