Three Atlanta Schools to Watch
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently published a list of the top 50 zip codes with the largest growth in white population share from 2000 to 2010. Atlanta’s 30317 (Kirkwood, Edgewood, East Lake) ranked 7th in the nation. From 2000 to 2010, the share of white residents in the zip code grew from 10% to 37%. Other zip codes covering East Atlanta and the Old Fourth Ward also made the list.
Over the past few years, demographic shifts have also begun to show up in the Atlanta Public Schools, which are starting to look more like the city as a whole.
Historically, whites in the city of Atlanta have been underrepresented in the school system. In the year 2000, non-hispanic whites represented 31% of the city’s population. However, only 7% of students were white.
Recently, that has started to change. Over the past 10 years, growth in white student share outpaced growth in white population share by 4 to 1, with white student share growing 71% from 2000 to 2010. This appears to be the result of 3 concurrent trends.
- North and East Atlanta neighborhoods, which are majority white, have experienced a baby boom with kindergarten enrollment in elementary schools increasing significantly.
- Parents are choosing to stay in the public school system for middle school. APS middle schools Inman and Sutton have seen steady increases in the number of white students attending the schools.
- In southeast Atlanta, and west Midtown/Buckhead, white parents are choosing to enroll their children in local elementary schools.
Three elementary schools have undergone particularly large demographic changes in the past few years. They are: Toomer Elementary, Bolton Academy, and Parkside Elementary.
Just five years ago each of these schools was over 80% economically disadvantaged. However, by 2011 the schools were more economically diverse as shown below.
Toomer saw the biggest drop in economic disadvantage, falling from 88% to 60% in just five years.
The changing demographics are even more pronounced when we focus on younger grades. Take a look at the 2007 and 2011 white population share for each school’s K-2 cohorts.
Again, Toomer underwent the most dramatic shift with the percent of white students rising from 0% to 23%. Bolton Academy was not far behind with the percent of white students rising from 5% to 19%.
In my 2011 Metro Atlanta Elementary Rankings, each of these three schools received a B or a C. However, I expect to see the schools’ rankings rise in coming years as all of their students benefit from more diversity.
I have included below maps of the areas zoned for these three schools. Keep an eye out for increasing school performance and real estate prices.
Toomer Elementary 2012-2013 Zone:
Bolton Academy 2012 - 2013 Zone:
Parkside Elementary 2012 - 2013 Zone: