Atlanta's Specialized Schools
By Katie Brown
Atlanta has many great things to offer families, including a multitude of innovative, award-winning schools. If you’re moving to Atlanta with a family, or about to start a family, you’ll be glad to know your children’s education will be in good hands. Along with the public and private schools, Atlanta has many diverse schools to fit your child’s every need. From boarding schools to charters and schools focused on children with special needs, here are a few non-traditional schools that are a cut above the rest. Your child will be well on their way to possibly attend their dream college or technical school, be ready and succeed in the work force, or even pursue an MBA. Whatever they choose these schools will give the children the right steps to succeed.
Atlanta Girls’ School
Atlanta Girls’ School is a middle and high school for girls that emphasizes the ability to learn and adapt academically. The school also believes that girls-only education is an important way for young women to learn in today’s world. With a strong college prep curriculum, the students at Atlanta Girls’ School are in an environment designed to foster the potential of each student and enable her to contribute to society. Atlanta Girls’ School boasts its use of technology as part of the learning process, including a one-to-one program in which all students have an Apple MacBook laptop to access curriculum resources, software and more.
Atlanta Girls’ School is located in intown Atlanta. For more information, visit atlantagirlsschool.org or call (404) 845-0900.
Atlanta International School
Atlanta International School, or AIS, is a school based on international education and is one of only 10 schools in the country to offer the full continuum of the International Baccalaureate curriculum for grades K-4 through 12. The school’s mission is to give students the intellectual and cultural confidence to succeed in a globally connected world. AIS also has award-winning theater and robotics programs as well as a new cross-curricular arts, sciences and design building.
AIS is a kindergarten through 12th grade school for both American and international students. Current enrollment is approximately 1,000 students, with 50 percent being American and 50 percent international. At graduation, students take a test to receive a prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma.
Atlanta International School is located in the heart of Buckhead. For more information on AIS, visit aischool.org or call (404) 841-3840.
The Cottage School
From humble beginnings—one teacher and a one-room office with a lone set of table and chairs—The Cottage School has grown into a dynamic school community on a 23-acre campus with five cottage-style classrooms. The Cottage School began as one teacher’s dream to help academically-frustrated students. The school planted its roots as a tutorial after-school program, but quickly parents requested full-time education. Soon, The Cottage School evolved into a fully accredited middle and high school with a curriculum designed for hard-working students with learning differences. Many of the school’s students had become discouraged in traditional academic settings—The Cottage School finds that these students often flourish within its cottage-style classrooms and its specialized curriculum.
The Cottage School philosophy teaches students basic work skills that they can implement as confident and productive adults. The curriculum is also designed to uncover each student’s individual talents, helping each one develop a path for success beyond graduation. In addition to its specialized curriculum, The Cottage School offers a diverse athletic program, arts education, career and post-secondary preparation, tutoring and much more.
The Cottage School is located in Roswell. For more information, visit cottageschool.org or call (770) 641-8688.
High Meadows School
Established in 1973, High Meadows School’s innovative integrated curriculum emphasizes a love of learning, creativity, meaningful connections, environmental responsibility and excellence. High Meadows School has 400 students in preschool through eighth grade.
The goal is for students to become “confident, creative problem solvers, accomplished speakers, experienced team players, critical thinkers, life-long learners and self-advocates who connect with their teachers and peers.”
Co-curricular programs include debate and public speaking, visual arts, theatre, music, environmental studies, foreign language, physical education and media and technology.
High Meadows School is located in Alpharetta. For more information, visit highmeadows.org or call (770) 993-2940.
The Howard School
The Howard School is a K through 12 independent school for children with learning differences and language learning disabilities. Howard offers integrated programs including the use of technology with an assistive technology program, a full-time math lab specialist, art and music, physical education and athletics.
Enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year was made up of 235 students age 5 through 12th grade. The school has 52 teachers, including seven speech-language pathologists, five literary specialists and 31 faculty members with advanced degrees. In 2011, The Howard School’s eight graduates were accepted to 14 post-secondary institutions.
The Howard School is located in Atlanta. For more information, visit howardschool.org or call (404) 377-7436.
Mill Springs Academy
The traditional classroom with a blackboard at the front of the room, desks in rows and one teacher to deliver instruction just doesn’t work for every student. Mill Springs Academy offers an environment designed to nurture students who haven’t realized their full potential in a typical school setting. The academy, located in Alpharetta, welcomes students in first through 12th grades.
Learning strategies are developed for each student through information collected from psycho-educational evaluations, previous school records, diagnostic skills assessment and observations and communication with the student’s current and previous education professionals. Students take part in a structured curriculum that includes the academy’s Community Levels System, daily values groups and Life Space Interview techniques.
Mill Springs Academy takes a total-child approach to providing an atmosphere where students can thrive academically, socially and physically.
Mill Springs is located in Alpharetta. For more information, visit millsprings.org or call (770) 360-1336.
Riverside Military Academy
For more than 105 years, Riverside Military Academy has produced young men of purpose, integrity and character. With more than 400 cadets from 17 countries, the school offers a traditional, American-style education where personal values, honor and love of country still matter.
Upon graduation, a Riverside cadet has experienced the challenges of the military model of education and is completely prepared for the rigors of college, and he is poised, polite and confident in any social environment. Cadets benefit from a small class size and a 14:1 student teacher ratio, and Riverside’s College Center assists cadets in preparing their college applications each year. The class of 2011 consisted of 54 cadets who were admitted to more than 90 universities, including three cadets who were appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Riverside Military Academy is located in Gainesville. For more information, visit riversidemilitary.com or call (770) 538-2938.
The Waldorf School of Atlanta
Celebrating 25 years of educating students in metro Atlanta, The Waldorf School of Atlanta provides education for the whole child—head, heart and hands. Located in Decatur, the school offers a preschool through middle school curriculum for 250 students. The Waldorf curriculum—rich in every branch of academics and enlivened with the arts and practical skills—honors children at each stage, nurturing their current capacities and preparing them for new learning to come.
Waldorf teachers stay with their class through several grades, guiding their students to develop skills for reasoning, creativity, empathy and action. The school’s experiential approach to learning integrates movement, choral and instrumental music, painting, sculpture, knitting, sewing and Spanish for all grade school students. The Waldorf School of Atlanta shares the same philosophy and educational approach with more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide.
The Waldorf School of Atlanta is located in Decatur. For more information, visit waldorfatlanta.org or call (404) 377-1315.