Back to School! 3

Nearby Schools’ First Days and Fundraisers


Ashford Park Elementary

2968 Cravenridge Drive, Brookhaven
Grades: Pre-Kindergarten – 5th

Ashford Park Elementary School was established in 1955 and currently serves a diverse population of 575 students representing as many as 15 countries. Nestled in a charming Brookhaven community, Ashford Park has been recognized as a “Distinguished School” since 2005 and is the home of the first and only German Dual Immersion Program in the state. Ashford Park’s teachers are highly qualified and possess a wide variety of educational levels and experience but they all have the same goal: to provide a safe and positive learning experience that leads to well-rounded students. Over the past five years, the focus has been on expanding cognitive abilities, promoting social/emotional growth and developing physical skills. Fifty-eight percent of the teaching staff hold advanced degrees. They are home to the 2015 Regional winners of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl and two of their Odyssey of the Mind teams advanced to state level competition in Columbus, Georgia.  Finally, they are proud of the fact that they have a dedicated STEM lab, an outdoor amphitheater, and one of the largest after school programs in the DeKalb County School District.

First day: Prior to the first week of school, the PTA, Foundation and School Council come together to host an ice cream social for all new kindergarten families. They will also host an Open House event on August 5 for all new and returning students. Open House provides students and parents with an opportunity to meet the teacher, drop off school supplies, and meet new friends prior to the first day of School.  It is also important to note they have a Coffee and Kleenex social on the first day of school for all new parents.

Fundraising: Ashford Park is proud to have an active PTA and community support. Brookhaven Bolt is a 5K run sponsored by the community and, over the past three years, has raised more than $57,000 for the Ashford Park students and staff. Held in May, the Brookhaven Bolt has provided funds to purchase curriculum resources, materials, supplies, iPads for teachers, Smart Boards, and items to promote school safety. In addition the Ashford Park PTA provides each search with grants for educational and extracurricular activities.

Welcome: Jenna Schmidtt, Interrelated Special Education teacher; Kera Wilson, 1st grade teacher; Bettina Dorsch, German Teacher; Jordan Brezel – School Counselor

Atlanta Country Day School

8725 Dunwoody Place, Sandy Springs
Grades: 7th – 12th

Atlanta Country Day School targets grades 7-12 students who haven’t experienced academic success in traditional, highly structured learning environments. Group or individualized instruction is offered for students with average to extremely above average abilities. The school is known for its low student-teacher ratios, flexible and creative program scheduling, highly individualized academically rigorous instruction, and its strong fine arts program. The average student teaching ratio is 6:1 allowing for instructors to personally tailor academic plans for their students and to ensure academic success.  Day School classes meet Monday – Thursday, with a two-hour block assigned to each subject matter. Admission is on a rolling basis. ACDS also offers a night school for students who for a variety of reasons cannot attend traditional day school.

First day: The school holds a brief assembly in the morning welcoming students back to school and the headmaster speaks to the students about the importance of treating each other kindly and with respect. The school has a no bullying policy. Faculty are also introduced.

Welcome: Jan Cohen the founder and headmaster of the school will be retiring in November. Mr. Mark Cox will be the new headmaster.

Atlanta Girls’ School

3254 Northside Parkway, NW
Grades: 6th – 12th

Atlanta Girls’ School is built just for girls. In a world becoming exponentially more complex, girls will face challenges in college and beyond that will require curiosity, creativity, collaboration and confidence. At Atlanta Girls’ School, they teach girls in grades 6 through 12 to be world-class problem solvers. Their curriculum and culture emerge from a distinct vision of what girls must learn individually and collectively to become thoughtful and capable leaders. They achieve this by using proven and emerging educational techniques tailored to how girls learn, integrating big-picture thinking, high expectations and leading-edge technologies. More than any other school in Atlanta, AGS is purposefully built to provide the academic, social and environmental advantages girls need. They are Atlanta Girls’ School. They prepare girls for college. They help each girl develop a deeper sense of self, a firm command of her own voice, and the understanding that she is able and impelled to influence change in the world.

First Day: At AGS, they have an Opening Ceremony on the first day of school. During this celebration, each class processes into the assembly and is cheered on by faculty and staff and the student body. Head of School Ayanna Hill-Gill gives the convocation speech. The following two days (the first day is a Wednesday), each class participates in retreat-like activities, both on campus and off, which allow for the girls to reconnect after the summer months and prepare for the school year ahead. Both the 8th and 12th grades participate in overnight retreats.

Fundraising: AGS’s largest fundraising event is their annual Auction. This year’s Auction will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Last year’s auction raised more than $252,000 for AGS curriculum, programming and financial aid. Many guests raised their paddles high to contribute more than $63,000 towards the purchase of a new AGS bus and additional transportation needs.  This includes a need-based financial aid program that supports more than 30 percent of their students, an international travel initiative, technology, internships, arts, athletics and more. This event is open to all who would like to attend and participate.

Welcome: Dr. Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas, Assistant Head of School and Academic Dean

Atlanta International School

2890 North Fulton Dr
Grades: 3K – 12th

Atlanta International School (AIS) offers all three International Baccalaureate (IB) programs to 1,160 U.S. and international students from three-year-old kindergarten to grade 12. Rigorous academics are enriched by a world-class language acquisition program, which begins with a full-immersion preschool program in Spanish, French and German. The school offers STEM-and STEAM-endorsed and bilingual diplomas in addition to the prestigious IB diploma. Beyond the classroom, AIS students participate in award-winning performing and fine arts opportunities, competitive athletics and global experiential learning. The AIS community comprises over 90 nationalities. AIS is accredited by SAIS and the Council of International Schools.

First day: They have many wonderful traditions at AIS, including one for German track students who are starting their first formal day of Primary School. Parents give their children a decorated cone called a “Schultüte” (“school cone”) filled with school supplies (pencils, eraser, ruler etc.) and also some toys and treats to celebrate the first day of school for their child. This is a German school tradition dating back to the early 1800s.

Atlanta North School of Seventh-day Adventists

5123 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Grades: Pre-K – 8th

The Atlanta North School of Seventh-day Adventists has been serving the Dunwoody community and surrounding areas for 25 years.  Atlanta North School offers children from Pre-K through 8th Grade a safe place to learn and thrive academically, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  They provide exemplary Christian-based academics through empowered teaching in a personalized classroom setting. They take education seriously, but also believe in creating an exciting, engaging environment where children of all cultures and backgrounds can feel accepted, have fun, and be themselves. Atlanta North School is supported by their church, which allows them to provide families with a premium education without paying a premium price.

First day: A few days before school starts, there will be a special assembly for the parents and students, after which parents can complete their child’s registration, visit the classrooms and meet the teachers; this will be followed by an ice cream social and an opportunity for families and staff to visit with one another.

Fundraising:  Each fall, they choose a specific need, and send a letter to student families and friends, church families, and the community.  On this Red Letter Day, the students help address, sign, insert and seal these letters during a special assembly. Last year, they raised funds for student desks. This year, they plan to sell cookies and pecans during the holidays, and in the spring, they will have a “Move-a-thon” where the kids will be sponsored for their activities.

Welcome: Dr. Bev Amlaner, principal; and Jeremy Steinkraus

Atlanta Speech School

3160 Northside Pkwy
Grades: Birth to 6th

The Atlanta Speech School is the nation’s most comprehensive center for language and literacy with four schools, five clinics and a professional development center. While their schools serve different types of learners, each program gives students the strongest possible foundation for learning through language and literacy. Teachers customize the latest cutting-edge research to the needs of each child. Their schools include the Kenan Preschool, an early childhood education program that develops engaged learners that are exceptionally prepared for school; the Wardlaw School, an elementary school for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities; Stepping Stones, a preschool and transitional kindergarten for children with speech and/or language delays; and the Hamm Center, a listening, spoken language and literacy program for children ages birth to 6 who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families.

Welcome back: While each school has its own way to welcome students back, they host a Back to School Bash for all children, families and staff in all four school programs. The Bash includes food, games, inflatables, pony rides and musical performance.

Fundraising: Please join the school for the Language & Literacy Gala, hosted by the Atlanta Speech School Guild, on November 15 at the Capital City Country Club in Brookhaven. The Gala is the longest continually running holiday event in Atlanta. Gala proceeds directly support the Speech School’s financial aid program.

Buckhead Preparatory School

4300 Northside Drive

Grades:  Toddler – Kindergarten

Buckhead Prep is an award-winning, academic preschool with a unique rapid-learn phonetic reading, handwriting and math programs.  Following the proven Buckhead Prep individualized curriculum, their highly qualified educators engage with each child through individual, small group, and large group instruction leading to a solid academic foundation, confident social skills, and thorough preparation for a lifetime of learning. In addition to building solid reading, handwriting and math skills, the children learn a great deal about their world and enjoy art, music and outdoor play. Buckhead Prep offers Toddler, Primary and Kindergarten programs for children 18 months – 6 years.  The hours are 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Buckhead Prep opened in January of 2006.  Tammy Wingate is the founder of Buckhead Prep and is a lifelong educator.  She earned a master’s degree in education from New York University where she received the Peter L. Agnew award and honorarium. Since its opening, Buckhead Preparatory School has prepared hundreds of children to move on to top-tiered private and public elementary schools throughout the world with solid reading, handwriting and math skills.

The Davis Academy

8105 Roberts Drive
Grades: Mechina, Kindergarten, Prep – 8th

The Davis Academy serves students in Kindergarten Prep through Middle School at its two state-of-the-art campuses in the Sandy Springs/Dunwoody area.  Validated by triple accreditation, The Davis Academy provides an innovative curriculum that blends outstanding academics with Reform Jewish values and traditions. The program includes accelerated math, integrated technology, fine arts, athletics, world languages, music, drama, community service, student government, overnight trips and after-school programs.  Named a 2015 Top Workplace by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an honor received by survey feedback from the school’s own employees, Davis Academy’s excellence is a direct reflection of the commitment of its exceptional faculty, who are dedicated to nurturing the potential in every child.  The Davis Academy is a welcoming community that emphasizes family participation. Davis Academy graduates excel at Atlanta’s finest private and public high schools, and afterward are admitted to outstanding colleges and professional programs throughout the country and around the world.

First day: Davis faculty love to greet students on the first day of school. Their youngest students are escorted to their classrooms during the first week until they learn their way. On the Friday of the first week of school, a special all-school Kabbalat Shabbat service (Jewish service welcoming the Sabbath) will take place that will celebrate the return to school as an entire school community, including parents, with songs, blessings and skits and/or special guests.

Fundraising: The Davis Academy will launch an exciting capital campaign during the 2015 – ’16 school year that will raise funds for some important new expansions for the school, including an auditorium and a permanent cafeteria.  In past years, special initiatives have raised money for digital technology, science equipment, media center enhancements. At the end of last year, Davis opened a beautiful new nature sanctuary that serves as both an outdoor classroom and an inspirational reflective space.

The Epstein School

335 Colewood Way
Grades: 18 months – 8th

Renowned for its cutting edge technology and language immersion program, The Epstein School is one of the best private Jewish Day Schools in the nation, located in the Atlanta metro area in the City of Sandy Springs for children from 18 months through eighth grade. The Epstein School has a long and established history of national recognition for educational excellence and innovation. In 2005, the school was recognized by the U.S. Department Education as an Education Innovator. Epstein’s focus is on blended learning and language immersion taught by a talented, compassionate faculty and bolstered by cutting-edge technology. The school’s bilingual integrated approach to education has been recognized for its excellence on both the national and international level, and the renowned academic program prepares students to be successful in the finest high schools, colleges and beyond. To learn more visit website at

First day: At the beginning of each new school year, The Epstein School has a schoolwide assembly to welcome everyone back and introduce year’s new character education theme. Character education is an important part of an Epstein education.

Fundraising: Our first big fundraiser of the year is the Annual Fund.

Welcome: New Head of School Dr. David Abusch-Magder

The Galloway School

215 W Wieuca Rd NW
Grades: Preschool – 12th

Established by Elliott Galloway in 1969 as an independent day school, The Galloway School serves a diverse student body of approximately 750 students in preschool through 12th grade. Galloway has always had a unique approach to teaching and learning. Galloway encourages students to value themselves and to value learning. Students set and achieve goals based on the individual striving for excellence rather than in competition with others. Students at Galloway pursue a strong academic curriculum and are guided by teachers and staff to make decisions about their education. The value placed on the uniqueness of each child is reflected in the small classes that allow personal contact between students and teachers and flexibility in planning the best learning approach.

First day: New teachers participate in a weeklong orientation prior to the first day of school that culminates in a dinner that is personally prepared for them by our Head of School Suzanna Jemsby and orientation leaders. Students at levels have a variety of activities organized to make the transition to a new school year seamless. These include traditional orientation activities and grade specific bonding activities such as bowling parties and retreats. Middle Learning students participate in a scavenger hunt around the school that helps them become acquainted with new teachers and classrooms. In Upper Learning, students in each grade level put on a skit for the entire UL student body that must include every member of the class and must mention each member’s name. Their youngest students in Early Learning begin building classroom community with activities such as a Get to Know You Bingo.

Fundraiser: The Fall Fun Fest is the first major fundraiser of the year and is held on October 17. Everyone is invited.  Fall Fun Fest is sponsored and organized by the Parents Association and is full of fun and surprises. The event includes the sweet walk, jumpies, arts and crafts, bands, a haunted house, a petting zoo, dunk tank, caricature artist, their own artists’ market and much more. The funds are used to enhance the educational experience for students and support Galloway teachers’ wish lists for classrooms. Some items in the past have included special speakers, science equipment, Conference Day lunches for teachers and more.

Welcome:  Peggy Benseker, Peter Emmons

The Lovett School

4075 Paces Ferry Road, NW
Grades: K – 12th

The Lovett School, founded in 1926 by Eva Edwards Lovett, is an Atlanta independent school. Lovett seeks to develop young men and women of honor, faith, and wisdom with the character and intellect to thrive in college and in life. Lovett provides integrated experiences in academics, arts, athletics and service. Lovett reach extends beyond the Buckhead neighborhood – students come from 70 zip codes across Atlanta – and even into Central America, where Lovett maintains 825 acres of Ecuadoran cloudforest as a preserve and research center. Exclusive research partnerships with the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Botanical Garden give Lovett students authentic research and lab experiences in marine biology, botany and genetics. Lovett’s curriculum includes a required year of American studies, options for African and Asian studies, multivariable calculus and linear algebra, and organic and biochemistry. Lovett was one of the first schools in Georgia to offer AP Chinese, the culmination of a Chinese program that begins in the Lower School. Additionally, makerspace labs, which includes access to the school’s theater set workshop, modeling software, 3D printers, laser cutter, and a lathe, allow students to tackle real world problems.

First day:  Lovett’s Opening All School Chapel is one way they welcome students and faculty/staff back to school. In the opening procession, seniors are paired with kindergarten students and they walk in together. The first senior to walk in holds a sign stating his/her graduation year and the kindergarten student holds a sign stating his/her graduation year.

Fundraising: Lovett’s True Blue Annual Fund supports educational programs, faculty and staff salaries, professional development for faculty and staff, 21st century technology, art and athletic programs, service and sustainability initiatives, and financial aid. Parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the school contribute to True Blue each year

Welcome: Ashley Marshall, Lower School Principal;  Janie Coleman, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management

Marist School

3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE
Grades: 7th – 12th

Marist is an independent, Roman Catholic, college preparatory day school enrolling approximately 1,080 boys and girls in grades 7 through 12. It is owned and operated by the Society of Mary, more commonly known as the Marists, a religious congregation of priests and brothers founded in France in 1836. Marist was founded in downtown Atlanta in 1901 and is the oldest Catholic school in the Atlanta area. The school moved to its current site on Ashford Dunwoody Road in 1962. The mission of Marist School is to form the whole person in the image of Christ through instruction grounded in religious values, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the spirit of the Society of Mary. The mission is advanced through communal pursuit of excellence in academic, religious, extracurricular, leadership and service programs.

First day: The school year opens with an all-school assembly, during which new faculty and staff are introduced, as well as an Opening School Mass. All 9th graders join together for a full-day retreat so those students rising up from 8th grade can help welcome the 60 new 9th graders.

Fundraising: Marist School’s annual Holiday Traditions, a project of the Parents’ Club, is one of the largest juried arts and crafts shows in the Southeast. Produced through the hard work of over 400 volunteers, it is well-known for its quality and warm hospitality. All proceeds from this year’s show, October 24, will go directly to support Marist School programs. The entire community is invited to attend Marist School’s Holiday Traditions.

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School

471 Mt. Vernon Hwy & 510 Mt. Vernon Hwy Sandy Springs
Grades: Early Learning – 12th

Mount Vernon is a school of inquiry, innovation and impact. Grounded in Christian values, MVPS prepares all students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders. One powerful way Mount Vernon amplifies learning is through design thinking. As a partner of Stanford’s d.School, MVPS opened the Center for Design Thinking in 2010, engaging students in real-world, people-centered problem solving. The School also offers several other intriguing ways for students to experience the world, including a unique offering called Interim Term. Traveling through cultural arts trips, national college tours, mission trips, and participating in internships, students broaden their learning experiences beyond the classroom. Impacting the wider Atlanta area, Mount Vernon students perform more than 10,000 hours of community service each year. Additionally, opportunities on the playing field abound with 90 percent of students participating in one or more of the School’s 45 teams.

First day: Each student receives a Mustang spirit shirt—either blue or gold depending on their family team color. At the end of the first week of school, the entire student body comes together for a celebration called Convocation. Wearing blue/gold spirit wear, the school community gathers to hear inspiration from Head of School Dr. Brett Jacobsen and Upper School Head Prefect. The cheerleaders pump everyone up for the upcoming football season, the School’s Praise Band performs, and the School’s mascot, Renegade, brings greetings and takes photos with our younger students. In our Upper School, students attend a Welcome Back celebration the Sunday before school begins complete with a cookout, games, and bonding activities. In the Lower School on the first day of school students assemble in the courtyard for a large chapel celebration.

Fundraising: The largest fundraiser event is the Mustang Rally. Held each year on the last Friday in April, the entire school unites for a day of unity and fun featuring an all school parade, field races, a silent auction and carnival. The 2015 Mustang Rally raised nearly $140,000 to support technology advances and professional learning for faculty and staff. Through Mount Vernon’s Corporate Sponsorship program, local businesses receive maximum exposure to the 600+ families at Mount Vernon’s Mustang Rally.

Welcome: Blair Peterson, Angel Kytle, Brad Dehem, Matt Neylon, Wayne Dabbs-Varsity, Connie Cavanagh, Aaron Dobbins, Ben Hendry, Kim Holbrook, Joanna Kay, Elizabeth Lovejoy, Brian Mahabee, Melissa Megehee, Tammy Navarre, Sarah Scott, Margaret Sikes, Kathryn Spahr, Nathan Vigil, Kelli Williamson

Pace Academy

966 W. Paces Ferry Road NW
Grades: Pre-1st – 12th

Founded in 1958 in Atlanta, Georgia, Pace Academy serves 1,100 students in grades Pre-First through 12. The co-educational, college-preparatory day school strives to create prepared, confident citizens of the world through rigorous academic experiences, innovative global leadership programs, character education and close student-teacher relationships. Pace Academy’s student-teacher ratio is 9:1, and class sizes average 15 students. The school adheres to Judeo-Christian values and encourages students to THINK BIG.

First day:  Faculty and staff arrive early to welcome students in the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. Head of Lower School Syreeta Moseley assumes her position at the front door of the Randall House and greets each student by name with a handshake or a hug – a daily ritual that continues throughout the school year. Head of Middle School John Anderson and his team welcome students during a special assembly.  In the Upper School, members of the senior class assemble in the OK Café parking lot, decked out in class T-shirts and other themed attire. In cars adorned with spirited declarations, they caravan up W. Paces Ferry Road and onto the Pace campus in an enthusiastic parade before making a grand entrance into Pace Academy’s Fine Arts Center and taking the stage for the first time as seniors. These students then lead a raucous assembly, welcoming members of the Upper School community to the new academic year. More formal convocation ceremonies take place in each division later in the first week of school.

Fundraising: Each fall for the past 51 years, Pace Academy has invited the Atlanta community to the Parents Club’s Fall Fair. The 52nd annual Fall Fair will take place on Saturday, October 10. The Fall Fair benefits the Pace Academy Parents Club, which raises thousands of dollars each year to support Pace students, staff and programs. It provides items such as band instruments, facilities improvements, technology, need-based student financial aid, faculty professional development and support for global leadership programs.

Welcome: Pace has more than 20 individuals joining their faculty and staff including Troy Baker, Director of Athletics; Sean Bryan, Director of Upper School Theatre; Marla Read Capper, Director of Professional Development & Curriculum Studies.

Primrose Schools

3575 Durden Dr. NE
Grades: Infant – Kindergarten

Primrose Schools® provides excellence in education through the Balanced Learning® System. This proven teaching approach, which balances academics, play and character development, is based on national developmental learning standards and assures that children are nurtured academically, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively.  Primrose School of Brookhaven offers child care and preschool programs for children 6 weeks to 5 years old in Atlanta. Primrose provides a safe and nurturing environment where children thrive.

First day: Being a relatively new school they are starting their own traditions. They have a special curriculum for the first week of school entitled “Let’s get each other.”  This makes the first week fun and inviting for new children and parents.

Fundraising: Throughout the school year they have that support both local and national organizations. Primrose believes that it is fundamental to teach children to give without expecting something in return.

Sarah Smith Elementary School

370 Old Ivy Road, NE
4141 Wieuca Road
Grades: K – 5th

Founded in 1952, Sarah Rawson Smith Elementary prides itself as a neighborhood school with a strong tradition of academic excellence and student success. Their students’ test scores rank consistently among the top elementary schools in the state, and they have been honored as a Georgia School of Excellence and a National Blue Ribbon School.

First day: Students attend Celebration of Learning and grade level orientations and will get to meet their teachers and fellow classmates.

Fundraising: The annual Fall Festival in October kicks off the PTA’s fundraising efforts for the year. The festival and the annual Read-A-Thon are the two large fundraising event for the PTA. This year the PTA is making a large capital expenditure in the new turf/sport court at the Primary Campus Playground. They also fund International Traveler’s Week, Field Day, Mardi Gras, Scholarships for Field Trips, Taste of Sarah Smith, facilities maintenance, website, teacher appreciation and traffic and safety and much more. Sarah Smith Educational Foundation provides 65 percent of the budget that supports curriculum and academic programming. This includes everything from classroom iPads to teacher training programs and the IB program. The community can support Sarah Smith through direct donations to the foundation, attending the Fall Festival and corporate sponsorships including dining and retail participation.

Welcome: Donnovant D. Dahunsi, Assistant Principal, and teachers Ellie Boydston, Michael Rawls, Annie Cecil, Jeanne Peake

Sophia Academy

2880 Dresden Drive, Brookhaven
Grades: K-12

Sophia Academy is a Marist Catholic school for those with mild to moderate learning differences and traditional learners. They see each child as an individual with unlimited potential if given the opportunities and personalized instruction. With a highly motivated staff and a commitment to each child’s learning style, the Academy provides a premier college prep environment. Small class sizes, individual goals, and innovative multisensory instruction as guided by the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards produce results for all children. Their “Curriculum 21” approach integrates music, art, technology and religious education. Many sports and extracurriculars broaden students’ interests, promote leadership, develop talents and shape character. The Orton-Gillingham language learning approach, created for those with dyslexia, is a language instruction also ideal for all learners.

First day: The first week celebrations include college colors day and an opening mass.

Fundraising: Major fundraisers have included golf tournaments and auctions. Fundraisers have supported the gym, broadcast studio, robotics team and toward a bus. The community can help through auction donations and volunteering.

The Spanish Academy

Four locations nearby
Grades: 12 months – 10 years

Entering their15th year, The Spanish Academy welcomes back both new and former students to the four Atlanta area locations. They are committed more than ever to outstanding curriculum and atmosphere as children develop a lifelong love of learning and proficiency in Spanish. The Spanish Academy is a total immersion preschool where children, age 12 months to 10 years, can learn Spanish while having FUN! The classes introduce Spanish using the Total Immersion Method; a proven teaching method employed for many years by teachers and language experts.


5750 Long Island Dr, NW
Grades: 18 months – 14 Years (middle school)

At Springmont, lessons are experienced, not just taught. Springmont’s progressive approach balances individualized learning with challenge and expectation. Their engaging environment equips students with the communication, collaboration and leadership skills needed to be effective in the future. Celebrating more than 50 years, Springmont is the oldest Montessori school in the Southeast. Located on seven acres in Sandy Springs, the school is accredited by SAIS and SACS and serves children ages 1½ to 14. Springmont provides students with a foundation for learning that supports problem solving, develops collaborative skills, grows self-awareness and ignites imaginations.

St. Martin’s Episcopal School

3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Road
Grades: 3 year olds – 8th

Since 1959, St. Martin’s Episcopal School has provided quality education in a loving, Christian environment for children. Serving approximately 635 students, St. Martin’s offers programs in Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School education, as well as an extended-day program. The extensive extracurricular program includes interscholastic athletics, musical productions, vocal and instrumental music, academic competitions, student newspaper and yearbook, and other activities. Students enjoy small class sizes, a challenging curriculum and spiritual guidance throughout their academic progress. St. Martin’s develops skills for success to prepare students for challenging programs in secondary school.

First day: St. Martin’s holds an Orientation Day the day before the first day of classes. Families come to campus to see their classrooms, meet their teachers and sign up for various activities.  On the first day of school, all administrators are outside the front of the school to welcome students at drop-off. Younger students will be escorted to their classrooms if they need extra help. On the second day of school, students attend an opening assembly, where they learn the “theme” for the school year from the principals and the dean of students. It is a fun assembly with music and lots of cheering to open the new school year.

Trinity School

4301 Northside Pkwy
Grades: 3 year olds – 6th

Trinity School is an independent co-educational elementary serving ages three through sixth grade. Founded in 1951, the School is a non-profit, tax-exempt institution governed by an independent Board of Trustees. Since its founding, Trinity’s vision has been to provide a nurturing environment in which to challenge students. Approximately 600 students are enrolled each year. Trinity’s 43-acre campus is located in northwest Atlanta. Trinity students learn to become dynamic leaders in a school that offers a solid academic foundation coupled with programs in the arts, physical education, technology, world languages and extracurricular areas. In a society of different cultures, interests, perspectives, and talents, Trinity prepares students to grow into well-informed young adults who understand their responsibility to others and to the greater community.

First day: The first week of school is always exciting at Trinity.  Each year on the first day of school, our Sixth Grade Leadership Class meets off campus to decorate their parents’ cars in Trinity blue.  They then caravan to school honking in celebration of the beginning of their culminating year at Trinity.

Fundraiser: Trinity’s premier community event is Spotlight on Art, which is comprised of an Artists Market and Gala Event and Auction.  The Artists Market, which will run from February 1- 6,  is open to the public and features more than 350 selected artists.

Woodward Academy

Two campuses:

1662 Rugby Ave, College Park
Grades: Preschool – 12th

6565 Boles Road, Johns Creek
Grades: Preschool – 6th

Woodward Academy is celebrating its second century of fostering excellence, character and opportunity. With 2,695 on two campuses, Woodward offers a full range of college-preparatory instructional tracks including 20 AP courses in the Upper School (with 94 percent of students passing) and a Transition Program for students with mild learning challenges in grades 2 through 8.  The average class size is only 16, allowing for a personal and intimate learning experience.Woodward students come from 23 metro Atlanta counties, 100 zip codes, and a broad array of religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Woodward Academy offers hundreds of courses in traditional and innovative subjects as well as a curriculum geared to develop critical thinkers and ethical problem solvers. Woodward has recently launched the International and Global Connections Program to develop students’ knowledge of the world’s cultural diversity through international study programs, school partnerships and international exam certifications. Woodward has a wide range of clubs (86 student clubs) , arts opportunities (75 yearly performances), and athletic options (18 varsity sports).

First day: They have five school divisions, and each of them manages back-to-school in a way that is appropriate for the ages and interests of its students including. Primary School has community meetings every Friday, so they would welcome students back at that. Similarly, Woodward North (PK-6) has assemblies every Friday. Middle School and Upper School have orientations specifically to acclimate those who are rising up from the school below.

Welcome: Bryan Rutledge, Director of College Counseling; Connie White, Director of Learning Design and Innovation; Katie O’Dunne, Chaplain

The Westminster Schools

1424 West Paces Ferry Rd NW
Grades: Pre-1st – 12th

The Westminster Schools is a Christian, independent day school for boys and girls from pre-first through high school, and seeks to develop the whole person for college and for life through an excellent education. Westminster was founded in 1951, and since then has grown to be one of the premier independent schools in the nation, distinguishing itself as a leader among its peers. Graduates of the school go on to attend excellent colleges and universities and to live adult lives of personal accomplishment, service, and community and national leadership.

First day: The start of the school year at Westminster always brings great energy and positivity to campus as students return excited to begin a new school year. During the first week, each division hosts a “Welcome Back” assembly for students. In the Upper School, freshmen and new students participate in the annual “Blessing of the Backpacks.” Seniors also wear their senior T-shirts and have a special breakfast. Additionally, upperclassmen write welcome letters for incoming freshmen, and those notes are displayed in the hallway outside of the dining hall.

Welcome: Chelsea Bakalar, Tai Hart, Diane Dalbo, Haley Brown, Jennifer Speir-Hearn, Victoria Hurst, Jim Collis, Tom Pomeroy, Jacqueline Jeffcoat Schedtler, Jennifer Baker, Katie Campbell, Kaci Nalley Roberts, Jean Guilbert, Lauren Davis, Steve Frappier. Greg Hendrix, Michael Rondeau, Steven Stodghill, Barrington Edwards, John Lambert, John Terry, Pamela Martinez, Jesse Breite, Ben Merrill, Jennifer Altman, Sara Pangle, Henrik Malmberg, Mason Copeland, Carla Klepper, Curtis Goings, Sean O’Sullivan, Morgan DiOrio, Tim Downes, Michelle LaMarre-Waldie, Caroline Diaz, Anne Collier Wood

Please DO note that I take every opportunity to feature our local public schools but for this story, most school offices were closed when we were gathering information.