Atlanta is a city of around 500,000 people. It is also one of the fastest growing, with a 20% growth in population in the last 10 years. It is an up-and-coming city with a lot of culture. When you visit this beautiful city, you’ll want to visit the Georgia Aquarium and the Botanical Garden. And along with all of that, Atlanta has some great public schools!
Are Atlanta Schools an Option?
Parents moving to the Atlanta area with a family will undoubtedly question if the schools in the City of Atlanta are really an option for their children. If you rely solely on traditional school ranking sites, they’ll push your family to the suburbs, saddling you with longer commutes, more expensive real estate, and less diversity. That’s because school rankings websites like GreatSchools show low scores for many of the public elementary schools in Atlanta. But are those scores actually reliable?
At SchoolSparrow, we gathered the raw data for public schools across the city and found that many Atlanta public schools are actually exceeding expectations, especially when it comes to standardized test scores.
Our Equitable School Rankings
SchoolSparrow rankings are normalized for parent income, so schools are ranked based on how they perform against their expected test scores at each school’s income profile. This helps eliminate the inherent bias towards schools in affluent areas that plagues other ranking systems, such as GreatSchools.
You can read more about how other school rankings sites are misleading parents here.
Our system identifies schools that are overlooked by the established ranking sites out there. These schools are often located in less expensive areas, closer to the urban core with lower commute times (leading to more time for you to spend with your family) and more diverse educational environments.
For reference, the average list price for homes in Atlanta is $235 per square foot.
SchoolSparrow’s 5 of the Best Public Schools in Atlanta
We have compiled a list of “hidden gems”– schools that score high on SchoolSparrow but have low scores on established school ranking websites due to their biases. These schools are all located in the Atlanta city limits and within affordable zip codes. These schools offer diverse learning environments and are located close to the central business district, leading to shorter commute times for families. These are truly some of the best schools in Atlanta.
1. Beecher Hills Elementary – Atlanta, GA (17 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
Our first hidden gem in Atlanta is Beecher Hills Elementary, located on the westside of Atlanta. This school has an A+ overall grade on SchoolSparrow. Grades 3 and 5 also have an A+ grade.
We call this school a “hidden gem” because it is underrated by GreatSchools, with a 6/10 rating. Obviously, with an A+ rating, the score for Beecher Hills Elementary should be a 10/10.
Beecher Hills is also located in an affordable zip code. The list price per square foot of a home is $140 in 30311, and the average sale price of a home is $151,600. This is below average for Atlanta, and the lowest average sale price on the list. Consider this listing, a 3BD/2BA home for sale in the attendance boundaries of Beecher Hills Elementary for only $99,000!
The thing that makes Beecher Hills so impressive are the test scores. At SchoolSparrow, we normalize test score expectations for every school based on the parent income profile at that school. After this normalization, the expected average score on the reading/language arts portion of standardized MAP tests is 24.
Beecher Hills students average an incredible 76% better than that, with an average score of 42. This is tied for the highest performance above expectations on the entire list.
The evidence is in the data, and Beecher Hills Elementary is one of the very best elementary schools in Atlanta. Any family moving to or within Atlanta should give serious consideration to moving within the boundaries for Beecher Hills Elementary.
Address: 2257 Bollingbrook Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30311
2. West Manor Elementary – Atlanta, GA (17 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
West Manor Elementary is another hidden gem that is more than worthy of recognition. This school has an A+ overall grade on SchoolSparrow, along with an A+ score for 4th and 5th grade.
Located in Western Atlanta, West Manor Elementary has a diversity score of 10 out of a possible 40.
This is a true hidden gem, because it has a 6/10 on GreatSchools, when in reality, it should have a 10/10.
After normalization for parent income, the expected average score on the reading/language arts portion of standardized MAP tests is 23.81. Beecher Hills students average 76% better than that, with an average score of 42. This is tied for the highest performance above expectations on the entire list!
West Manor is also located in an affordable zip code. The list price per square foot of a home is $140/sf in 30311, and the average sale price of a home is $151,600. This is below average for Atlanta, and the lowest average sale price on the list. Within the West Manor Elementary attendance boundaries, this listing is a 3BD/3BA home currently on the market for $179,900. With 53 saves on Zillow and only 13 days of market time, this listing could go quickly!
Much like Beecher Hills Elementary, West Manor Elementary is a school that might be overlooked due to its score on GreatSchools. Don’t be fooled by this GreatSchools score: as the data shows, West Manor Elementary is one of the best schools in Atlanta and could very well be the right fit for your family.
Address: 570 Lynhurst Dr SW Atlanta, GA 30311
3. Dunwoody Springs Elementary – Atlanta, GA (21 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
SchoolSparrow’s third hidden gem, located in North Atlanta, is Dunwoody Springs Elementary. Dunwoody Springs has an A- grade overall, with an A at the 4th grade level.
Dunwoody Springs is a diverse school, with a SchoolSparrow diversity score of 20 out of a possible 40.
Don’t let the 6/10 score on GreatSchools deter you from giving Dunwoody Springs a serious look. That score should be closer to a 9/10.
This school is also located in an affordable zip code, with a list price per square foot of a home of $170. This is below the Atlanta average of $235.
This listing is an example of a listing you can find within school boundaries. It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom for $129,000!
The test scores tell the story here, as Dunwoody Springs students exceed expectations by 17%. The expected score from these students, when adjusted for parent income, is 38.46, but the actual average score that students achieve is 45. This score of 45 is the highest on the list.
There is no doubt that Dunwoody Springs is a top school in Atlanta, and the public perception should reflect that. Parents, Dunwoody Springs might be the best fit for your child, so if you are looking to move to this area of Atlanta, give it serious consideration.
Address: 8100 Roberts Dr Atlanta, GA 30350
4. Garden Hills Elementary – Atlanta, GA (17 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
Garden Hills Elementary is the most diverse school on the list. SchoolSparrow gives Garden Hills a diversity score of 30 out of a possible 40.
This school has a B+ grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A- for grade 3. GreatSchools scores Garden Hills Elementary a 5/10, which is not an accurate representation of the school. Based on the data, Garden Hills Elementary should be rated 8/10!
This is another school that exceeds test score expectations. Based on parent income, the expected reading/language arts score of Garden Hills students is 40. Garden Hills students actually score 10% better than this expectation, with a score of 44!
The price per square foot of a home in the 30305 zip code is $306. Here’s an example listing of a condo available within these school boundaries.
Garden Hills Elementary is a diverse school that should be on the school search shortlist of every parent moving to or within Atlanta.
Address: 285 Sheridan Dr, Atlanta, GA 30305
5. Parkside Elementary – Atlanta, GA (11 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
The next school on the list is Parkside Elementary, located next to Grant Park. Out of all of the schools on the list, Parkside Elementary is the closest to the central business district.
This school has a diversity score of 10 out of a possible 40. Parkside Elementary has a B+ grade on SchoolSparrow, with an A- grade for grade 5.
GreatSchools gives Parkside a score of 5/10. But a closer look at the raw data for this school reveals this score should be closer to an 8/10!
The price per square foot of a home in the 30312 zip code is close to average for Atlanta, at $272. Here’s an example listing for a 3 bedroom home you can find within Parkside Elementary boundaries.
Much like all of the other schools on the list, Parkside finds itself here because students exceed expectations on the reading/language arts portion of standardized MAP tests. When adjusted for parent income, the expected test score from Parkside students is 23.81. The actual average score from these students is 28, an excellent 18% better than expectations!
Parkside is a school that might get overlooked because of its GreatSchools score, but it is a great educational option in the city of Atlanta.
Address: 685 Mercer Street, SE Atlanta, GA 30312
1. Deerwood Academy – Atlanta, GA (20 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
Deerwood Elementary is a school that was too good to leave off the list. This school is located in the southwest part of Atlanta.
Deerwood Elementary is located in the most affordable zip code on the list, with a price per square foot of a home of $110. The average sale price of a home is $169,600. This listing is an example of a 3 bedroom home you can find within the Deerwood Academy boundaries, for $152,000!
SchoolSparrow gives Deerwood Elementary a B, with a B+ at the 4th grade level. Although GreatSchools gives this school a 4/10, this score doesn’t tell the whole story. GreatSchools has an inherent bias to schools in affluent neighborhoods, and we think Deerwood deserves at least a 7/10.
Deerwood wouldn’t be on this list if students didn’t exceed expectations. The parent income adjusted expected score is 23.91. Deerwood Elementary families can boast that their students, on average, achieve 9% better than those expectations with a score of 26.
You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at GreatSchools, but Deerwood Elementary is one of the very best schools in Atlanta.
Address: 3070 Fairburn Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30331
2. Fickett Elementary – Atlanta, GA (18 minute drive from Georgia Aquarium)
Another school that couldn’t be left off a list of Atlanta hidden gems is Fickett Elementary. This school is located in the Ben Hill Neighborhood.
Based on test score performance, Fickett scores at B- level on SchoolSparrow, with a B+ for grade 3.
Fickett Elementary is located in the most affordable zip code on the list, with a price per square foot of a home of $110. The average sale price of a home is $169,600. This listing is a 3 bedroom within Fickett boundaries, for $165,000.
Fickett Elementary has a 4/10 score on GreatSchools. This is too low, especially since Fickett students meet or exceed expectations on standardized tests. The B- SchoolSparrow grade suggests that Fickett should at least have a score of 6/10– which indicates a school is performing at least as good or even better than expected.
The parent income adjusted score expectation for Fickett was an average of 23.81. Fickett Elementary students score just above this, with an average score of 24. A school like this that exceeds expectations should definitely have a higher rating than a 4/10!
Fickett Elementary is a good school in Atlanta, and parents should give it a close look for their children.
Address: 3935 Rux Rd SW Atlanta, GA 30331