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Advanced Studies and Talent Development

Authorities, parents, and educators have long recognized that intellectually gifted students require specialized educational experiences that promote the development and expression of their potential.

If gifted individuals—as children, youths and adults—are to experience fulfilling lives and if society is to derive optimal benefits from gifted individuals’ uncommon potentials, an educational program must be structured to develop more fully their exceptional and varied abilities, interests and talents.

The Fulton County gifted program is a response to the need to address the unique learning characteristics, interests, personal needs and capabilities of gifted children. The program emphasizes the gifted students’ need for interaction with intellectual peers. Emphasis on the individual highlights the fact that there are differences among gifted students and a need for specialized educational experiences to meet these differences.

Basic to the philosophy of this program is the idea that no one teacher, resource, or instructional method can meet the needs of gifted students. Education for the gifted is viewed as a cooperative endeavor characterized, facilitated, and realized by the efforts of numerous individuals in the schools and community.

These goals are accomplished in Fulton County schools by providing the basic curriculum to identified gifted students in the regular classroom, adjusting the rate and depth of their learning and using a variety of appropriate teaching methods. Further differentiation beyond that in the regular classroom is accomplished through seminars, individual projects, advanced placement courses, directed studies, internships and joint enrollment. These are designed to intensify and extend their particular interests and aptitudes. Educational experiences for gifted students provide the additional variety and flexibility necessary to adjust and extend the Fulton County curriculum to meet these individuals’ needs.

Talented and Gifted (TAG)      

The Talented and Gifted (TAG) program in the Fulton County School System provides enriching learning experiences for the intellectually advanced and exceptionally creative student. Gifted services are available in all Fulton County schools for students in kindergarten through grade 12.


The program meets all requirements of the Georgia Department of Education and provides diverse, high-quality opportunities for the student. All TAG teachers in Fulton County hold an endorsement in Gifted Education from the Professional Standards Commission.


These specially-trained educators guide the gifted student in ways that maximize the child’s unique learning characteristics, interests, personal needs, and capabilities.


In accordance with the Georgia Board of Education Rule 160-4-2-.09, Fulton County Schools  accepts nominations for the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP). Students in grades 10 and 11 who attend a Fulton County high school or home school in Fulton County may be nominated by a subject-area teacher.


Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a College Readiness System that transforms leadership, instruction, and culture to focus on the academic and social skills needed in higher education and beyond. Schools implementing AVID operate with a guiding principle: hold students to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge. The AVID system extends from elementary to post-secondary and is founded on research-based curriculum and strategies to develop critical thinking, literacy, and math skills across all content areas.

At the elementary level, AVID schools have a philosophy grounded in a growth mindset that AVID students succeed in following their dreams and fulfilling their aspirations. AVID elementary schools take a systemic approach of using writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading as well as an explicit focus on high expectations, rigor, and developing a college readiness culture. AVID elementary is designed to be embedded into daily instruction in all classrooms. 

AVID describes the components of AVID elementary as the following: 

  • Student Success Skills – communication skills, self-advocacy skills, note-taking strategies, critical thinking, and study skills.
  • Organizational Skills - a focus on both mental and physical; organizational tools, and time management practices
  • WICOR lessons – emphasize the instruction on writing to learn, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading to learn in all content areas.
  • Partnerships – among students, classrooms, grade levels, schools, feeder patterns, families, and communities.

Elementary Schools participating in the AVID program are Esther Jackson, Feldwood, Hillside, Liberty Point, Northwood, Renaissance, and River Eves.

At the middle and high school levels, AVID builds a college-going culture by bringing best practices and methodologies to middle and high school students. The goal is to close the achievement gap by preparing students for, and supporting them in, the toughest courses schools offers. That goal starts with the AVID elective class and grows schoolwide. The AVID elective class provides explicit instruction in writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading (WICOR) strategies so that students have the skills necessary to meet the expectations of rigorous academic courses.  College and career exploration become a strong focus including organized college campus visits and completion of college applications. AVID supports students in rigorous courses by building a community of peer support, providing academic help from tutors, and participating in motivational activities to help students achieve their dreams. At the high school level, the AVID elective class continues to grow and support student success in rigorous courses extending to honors and Advanced Placement (AP). Middle and high school students not in the AVID elective class are supported by AVID educators who integrate strategies and best practices into content area classes. 

Middle Schools offering the AVID program are Bear Creek, Camp Creek, Elkins Pointe, Haynes Bridge, Holcomb Bridge, McNair, Paul D. West, Renaissance, Ridgeview Charter, Sandy Springs Charter, and Woodland.

High Schools offering the AVID program are Banneker, Centennial, Creekside, Langston Hughes, North Springs, Riverwood, Roswell, and TriCities.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program of college-level courses taught in the high school setting by high school teachers. All AP courses have been approved by College Board, and provide students with the opportunity to seek advanced coursework leading to advanced placement and/or college credits through successful completion of a College Board AP examinations. All students taking and passing AP courses are expected to take the AP examination unless they follow the opt-out process.  The purposes for taking an AP course are to learn a subject in greater depth, to develop analytical reasoning skills, and to develop disciplined study habits appropriate for continued success at the college level.  Compared with regular high school courses, AP courses are more demanding, requiring more time and work outside of the school day, including the summer prior to the start of a course. Research shows, students that complete AP classes are better prepared for the demands of college.

Schools determine which Advanced Placement courses will be offered based on the needs of their students. Advanced Placement courses and examinations are available in the following areas:


Art History 

Studio: Drawing Portfolio 

Studio: 2D Design 

Studio: 3D Design 




Environmental Science 

Physics 1 

Physics 2 

Physics C Electricity and Magnetism 

Physics C Mechanics 

World Language 





Computer Science 

Computer Science A 

Computer Science AB 

Social Studies 

Economics (Macro/Micro) 

European History 

US Government and Politics 

Comparative Government and Politics 

Human Geography 


US History 

World History 

Language Arts 

Language and Composition 

Literature and Composition 


Calculus (AB/BC) 



Music Theory 



* Statistics Music * Music Theory

All AP exams (except Studio Art and Music Theory) contain both multiple choice and free response questions that require essay writing, problem-solving and other skills.  In Studio Art, students submit portfolios of their work instead of taking an examination.  In Music Theory, a competency examination in music theory is given. 

 Fulton County high schools students interested in concentrated studies in Mathematics, Science, Visual or Performing Arts, or International Studies are encouraged to enroll in one of four magnet programs.
  • International Studies - Riverwood High School
  • Mathematics and Science - Westlake High School
  • Visual and Performing Arts - Tri-Cities High School
  • Arts and Sciences - North Springs High School

International Baccalaureate (IB) schools aim to go beyond traditional curriculum by developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people motivated to succeed. IB offers a continuum of programs from elementary through high school. The programs encourage both personal and academic achievement, challenging students in their studies and personal development.



At the elementary level, IB offers the Primary Years Program (PYP).  PYP prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child with emphasis on how students learn, how educators teach, and the principles and practices of effective assessment of learning. 

Currently, the three elementary schools in the Riverwood High School feeder pattern are completing the process to become PYP schools. The three schools are Heards Ferry, High Point, and Lake Forest.



The Middle Years Program (MYP), for students in grades 6-10, is a challenging, inclusive framework of eight subject areas where students make connections between their coursework and the real world. The MYP curriculum focuses on teaching and learning in context. MYP uses concepts, or big ideas, as springboards to inquiry into issues and ideas of personal, local, and global significance. The MYP approach to learning develops independent learning and encourages application of knowledge in unfamiliar contexts. Service and action are key values in the IB community. MYP students complete projects through school or personal explorations of inquiry, action, and reflection.

Ridgeview Charter Middle School, in the Riverwood High School feeder pattern, is an authorized IB World School offering the MYP program. Riverwood High School is an authorized IB World School with the MYP Program for grades 9 and 10, and the Diploma Program for grades 11 and 12.

IB MYP Individuals and Societies GuideIB MYP Sciences Guide
IB MYP Physical and Health Education Guide​IB MYP Mathematics Guide
​IB MYP Design Guide​IB MYP Arts Guide
​IB MYP Language Acquisition GuideIB MYP Language A Guide



The oldest and most widely known IB program is the Diploma Program (DP). The Diploma Program focuses on the breadth and depth of knowledge though rigorous coursework and personal action. Students in the DP Program excel in traditional academic subjects, and seek to broaden their high school experience. The DP curriculum is composed of the DP core and six subject groups. The DP Core includes the exploration of the nature of learning through a unique course called the Theory of Knowledge (TOK); an independent, extended essay based on self-directed research; and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) project. The six subject groups include Studies in Language and Literature, Language acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and the arts. IB assesses mastery of advanced academic skills through internal assessments and IB course exams.  

Riverwood High School is an authorized IB World School offering the Middle Years (MYP) Program for grades 9 and 10 and the Diploma Program for grades 11 and 12. At this time, Westlake High School is working through the IB authorization process to be an IB Diploma School with the goal of offering the first IB Diploma courses for juniors in the fall of 2016. Alpharetta and Centennial High Schools will begin the authorization process to become IB Diploma Schools in the spring of 2016 with the goal of offering IB Diploma courses to juniors in the fall of 2018.



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