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Like other states in the Southeast, Georgia’s public schools lag slightly behind compared to those in other regions of the country. However, public education in the state is steadily improving, with the state graduation rate regularly hitting all-time peaks, year after year. While this is good news for Georgia, the performance of the state’s best districts far puts them in an elite class of their own.

Buford City Schools is the best school district in Georgia. Comprising four schools in Gwinnett County, BCS has long been considered one of the highest performing districts in the state, both in academics and extracurriculars. Four Buford schools hold an “A” grade from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. 

Ranking 2nd is the City Schools of Decatur, a public charter school district of 10 schools in Dekalb County with a total enrollment of around 5,600 students. On standardized tests, students of the district outperform state and national averages in all grade levels, while Decatur High School was named a Georgia AP Challenge and AP Merit school. 

Georgia’s 3rd best school district is Jefferson City Schools, a small district of four schools based in Jackson County. JCS schools perform at a high level and have earned numerous awards and recognitions, including a 2018 Highest-Performing Title-I Reward School honor for Jefferson Academy. 

Harris County School District earns 4th place among Georgia public school districts. The accredited district consists of seven schools and a performance learning center based in Hamilton. HCSD’s graduation rate of 93% is over 10 points higher than the statewide rate. 

Closing out the list of Georgia’s five best school districts is Bremen City Schools, comprising three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in Haralson County. All of the district’s schools earned either an “A” or “B” grade from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. 

Top School Districts in Georgia, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Buford CityBuford
2City Schools Of DecaturDecatur
3Jefferson CityJefferson
4Harris CountyHamilton
5Bremen CityBremen
6Lee CountyLeesburg
7Habersham CountyClarkesville
8Dawson CountyDawsonville
9Calhoun CityCalhoun
10Gordon CountyCalhoun
11White CountyCleveland
12Union CountyBlairsville
13Pierce CountyBlackshear
14Cartersville CityCartersville
15Laurens CountyDublin
16Madison CountyDanielsville
17Murray CountyChatsworth
18Ware CountyWaycross
19Heard CountyFranklin
20Rome CityRome
21Carrollton CityCarrollton
22Monroe CountyForsyth
23Pickens CountyJasper
24Gilmer CountyEllijay
25Chickamauga CityChickamauga
26Fannin CountyBlue Ridge
27Hart CountyHartwell
28Rabun CountyClayton
29Morgan CountyMadison
30Lumpkin CountyDahlonega
31Trion CityTrion
32Bleckley CountyCochran
33Wayne CountyJesup
34Jones CountyGray
35Decatur CountyBainbridge
36Thomas CountyThomasville
37Social Circle CitySocial Circle
38Banks CountyHomer
39Burke CountyWaynesboro
40Stephens CountyToccoa
41Thomaston-Upson CountyThomaston
42Haralson CountyBuchanan
43Franklin CountyCarnesville
44Dodge CountyEastman
45Seminole CountyDonalsonville
46Berrien CountyNashville
47Baldwin CountyMilledgeville
48Brantley CountyNahunta
49Jeff Davis CountyHazlehurst
50Putnam CountyEatonton
51Pike CountyZebulon
52Commerce CityCommerce
53Candler CountyMetter
54Oglethorpe CountyLexington
55Appling CountyBaxley
56Towns CountyHiawassee
57Crisp CountyCordele
58Washington CountySandersville
59Vidalia CityVidalia
60Long CountyLudowici
61Schley CountyEllaville
62Dade CountyTrenton
63Wilcox CountyAbbeville
64Wilkinson CountyIrwinton
65Sumter CountyAmericus
66Lamar CountyBarnesville
67Butts CountyJackson
68Peach CountyFort Valley
69Tattnall CountyReidsville
70Elbert CountyElberton
71Chattooga CountySummerville
72Mitchell CountyCamilla
73Worth CountySylvester
74Cook CountyAdel
75Greene CountyGreensboro
76Grady CountyCairo
77Atkinson CountyPearson
78Bacon CountyAlma
79Montgomery CountyMt. Vernon
80Emanuel CountySwainsboro
81Meriwether CountyGreenville
82Telfair CountyMcrae
83Chattahoochee CountyCusseta
84Lincoln CountyLincolnton
85Toombs CountyLyons
86Johnson CountyWrightsville
87Echols CountyStatenville
88Marion CountyBuena Vista
89Early CountyBlakely
90Irwin CountyOcilla
91Thomasville CityThomasville
92Lanier CountyLakeland
93Terrell CountyDawson
94Clinch CountyHomerville
95Jefferson CountyLouisville
96Mcduffie CountyThomson
97Wilkes CountyWashington
98Pulaski CountyHawkinsville
99Glascock CountyGibson
100Dublin CityDublin

Methodology

The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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