For those moving to a new location, it’s important to know what educational options are available. This chapter outlines the public schools system in Augusta-Richmond and Columbia counties, along with information about local libraries and higher education. There are private schools, charter schools and home schooling available to children in both counties as well.
To be enrolled in a Georgia school, a child must be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1 of the school year. Those wishing to register their child in school should bring the following to the school office: a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s age, the child’s previous school records and immunizations records. Check with the school for additional requirements. For more details on Georgia’s minimum vaccine requirements for students in grades K-12, visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website at www.gadoe.org.
In 2010, Georgia, along with 42 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Education Activity, adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students, regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. For more information, visit www.corestandards.org.
Choosing a School
Choosing the right school is very important, so be sure to research each one before deciding. Contact the school by phone or by visiting its website, which is a valuable source for school district statistics and curriculum. Talk to people in the area, especially friends and colleagues who already live there.
If the school shows promise, schedule a visit and bring a list of written questions about student-teacher ratios, computer availability, extracurricular activities, sports programs, music programs, gifted programs and grading standards.
Discuss the potential school with your child: what they like and what they don’t like. Your family’s ability to readily adapt to a move and to find happiness in your new home may depend, in part, on how happy your children are in their new school.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that are tuition-free, serve all students and have open enrollment. For more information or a listing of charter schools in Georgia, visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website at www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Charter-Schools.
For an introduction to home schooling in Georgia, visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website at www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Pages/Home-Schools.aspx. Here you will find information on home-school rules and regulations, testing information, home-school curriculum providers and more.
Georgia Home Education Alliance
P.O. Box 229
Snellville, GA 300784 770-461-3657
The Georgia Home Education Association website has a number of resources for families who wish to home-school in Georgia.
Augusta-area Home Education Network
P.O. Box 15963
Augusta, GA 30919 706-868-5666
The nonprofit group of home educators provides support and networking to families who home educate their children and advocates at state and national levels. Its activities also include theme-based potlucks, field trips, newsletters and more.
To search for local private schools in Georgia, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website and use the private school search tool at www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/privateschoolsearch. Users may search by location, religious affiliation, school type and more.
Richmond County School System
864 Broad St.
Augusta, GA 30901 706-826-1000
The Richmond County School System has 35 elementary schools, 12 middle schools and eight high schools, as well as four specialty schools and four magnet schools highlighting science and engineering, fine arts and technical careers. The district has an enrollment of more than 32,000 students. Several RCSS schools are on the National Register of Historic places. Although steeped in history, the district strives to move education forward and to provide students with opportunities to succeed.
Columbia County School District
4781 Hereford Farm Road
Evans, GA 30809 706-541-0650
Columbia County School District has 18 elementary schools, eight middle schools, five high schools and one alternative school. The district has an enrollment of nearly 26,000 with 4,273 students from military families.
McDuffie County School District
716 North Lee St.
Thomson, GA 30824 706-986-4000
Columbia County School District has four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one achievement center. The district has an enrollment of about 4,300.