Carrollton City Schools

August 30, 2023
Carrollton City Schools

Carrollton City Schools

onward and upward!


Much progress for Atlanta-area school system

For the Carrollton City Schools, things are sweet as a Georgia peach. This unique school system serves the city of Carrollton, located in Carroll County, 45 miles out of Atlanta. Business View recently spoke with its superintendent, Dr. Mark Albertus, Carrollton Mayor Betty Cason and Greg Schulenburg, the executive vice president and chief administrative and information officer of the Carrollton-based Tanner Health System and a member of the Carrollton City Schools Board of Education. They told us more about what makes Carrollton and its homegrown school system so marvellous.

“It’s a great location,” said Albertus. “We have about 25,000 to 30,000 people in our city. But then, during the day, this is a hub of activity. People come here to work and go to school.”

He added that the University of West Georgia is also located within the Carrollton city limits, causing the municipality to swell to about 65,000 in the daytime.

“It’s a really good situation,” the superintendent said.

Albertus also explained an important distinction: that Carrollton’s is its own separate school system, while Carroll County’s system, also good, is quite another. Whilst of course consolidation was a hallmark of the education reforms of the 1960’s and ’70’s, some places do retain a multipartite approach to systematic arrangements. It’s not uncommon for some larger American counties to have as many as half a dozen school systems within a single county.

“You’ll find our system is unique on several fronts,” Albertus said. “Our 130-acre campus is home to all four of our schools: an approach that allows our students to belong to a school family as Trojans, from pre-K all the way through high school. As a state-recognized charter school system, the Carrollton City Schools have the ability to make many decisions at the local level––where our children are. With school governance teams at each school, parents, teachers and administrators collaborate to bring the very best educational opportunities to our students and families through innovative and efficient decision-making. From our Early Learning Center and academies at Carrollton Elementary School all the way to our international baccalaureate program at Carrollton High School, students in the Carrollton City Schools are encouraged to pursue academic, artistic and athletic excellence at every level.”

The superintendent encouraged the public to check out the difference.

“Please stop by and visit with us,” he said. “You’ll quickly see why the Carrollton City Schools are the gold standard.”

Albertus emphasized that the system, serving some 5,600 students, has much to offer.

“We pride ourselves on having something for everyone,” he said.

About the system’s mascot––the Trojan: they were famed warriors from the ancient Greek city of Troy. The Trojans were described by Homer in The Iliad.

Student engagement is critical, Albertus observed. If students discover what they’re best at, be it a given academic subject or the extracurricular activities of band, athletics and so on, and they enjoy this, they’ll likewise enjoy their overall school experience all the more.

“When you feel as if you’re a part of something, and you look forward to that activity, you’re going to do better academically as well,” Albertus remarked, citing the system’s many academies that start in elementary school. “We’re really just trying to expose all of our young Trojans to these different academies.”

The academies at Carrollton Elementary include STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the performing arts, dual language and citizenship. These academies expose students to a variety of paths that segue into a multitude of electives and more than a dozen career pathway options offered at Carrollton High, including film production, business/entrepreneurship, health care, the culinary arts, computer science and STEM. Criminal justice is slated to be included during the 2023-24 school year. As well, there are related spin-off clubs and activities (more than 100!) for these subjects and so much more, from all of which students also benefit.

Albertus continued that he and his colleagues are big believers in the notion that great schools are reflective of a great community, and likewise great communities are indicative of great schools. There’s an interdependent partnership between the public and private sectors, benefitting the entire community.

The superintendent also noted that his system serves students inside the city of Carrollton and about 30 percent of the students that live outside of the district and choose or pay to attend as non-resident students. It’s a public charter system that offers flexibility for the district to respond to the needs of community.

At this time of year, graduation is on the minds of many. Students in the Carrollton City Schools have benefitted from some $95 million in scholarship monies over the past six years.

Carrollton City Schools


Customized learning

Creating a customized approach to learning––the better to serve the students, their families, their schedules, the classes and the teachers who lead them––is what the Carrollton City Schools are all about, as Albertus noted. There is the Performance Learning Center for students who need a non-traditional high school option. The charter approach offers private-school options in a public-school environment. There are academic support programs, field trips and, in the summer, swimming lessons available.

The Carrollton City Schools boast a state-of-the-art high school, completed just four years ago. It includes career labs, versatile classroom spaces, a modern media center and a large cafeteria, all designed with growth in mind. Its student activity center was built for a multitude of activities for district students, whilst also providing a space for community partners to use for various events and activities.

Albertus cited the system’s literacy and instructional coaches. Literacy is the single most important subject schools can teach, he agreed, as it is the gateway to all the other subjects.

“Literacy is the cornerstone,” he said. “And our school board has made that a number-one priority, as far as making sure all of our kids are able to read and comprehend by the third grade and beyond that.”

Albertus said his teachers are implementing the very latest instructional strategies to make sure all students are reading on grade level. Students in pre-kindergarten through the third grade are learning to read, he observed.

“And from the third grade on, you’re reading to learn,” he added.

Can’t read? You’re at a severe statistical disadvantage. Albertus cited studies that conclusively prove that illiterates and subliterates are entirely likelier to have financial difficulties later in their adult lives, to commit crimes and so on. Literacy is your ticket out and a priceless connection with life in the real world.

Cason shared Albertus’s assessment. She cited the importance of parents reading to their children from the earliest possible age, thus instilling in them the desire to become readers themselves as soon as they are able. This also helps them become better, faster learners, and engrains in them lifelong habits. Small children who are read to on a regular basis grow up to be smarter and to do better on tests. When adults, they become readers of news periodicals, histories, biographies, poetry and novels.

A sad reality of modern schools––be they public or private––is violence. Bullying, drugs, bomb threats and gunplay have all become unfortunate parts of modern school life.

However, Albertus emphasized that at Carrollton City Schools, “We don’t play around when it comes to violence.”

To this end, the job of the school resource officer (or SRO) has been created to combat the aforesaid problems in America’s schools.

“We have four SRO’s employed––one at each school––through the partnership with the City of Carrollton,” said Albertus. “Our SRO’s are city police officers who serve and protect our students, staffers and community. They do a phenomenal job building relationships with students, while helping promote an atmosphere of safety and trust.”

Relatedly, Meredith Browning is responsible for the City of Carrollton Youth Council––a high school youth leadership program that develops future leaders, creates awareness of city government among local youth and solicits suggestions to enhance youth programs.

Another phenomenon of modern life is the brain drain that occurs when kids are graduated from high school, earn their collegiate degrees and then take high-paying corporate jobs in faraway big cities, never to return save for the occasional birthday or holiday. Most such graduates move away and never come back.

But Albertus wants to change this. He cited the importance of Carrollton’s graduates returning home to improve things, and he cited Schulenburg as just one example of this. A graduate of Carrollton High School, Schulenburg is also an alumnus of the University of Georgia at Athens. His mother, brother and children were all Carrollton High grads.

“Carrollton and the Carrollton City Schools––the Trojan Nation––have always been a part of my life,” Mr. Schulenburg observed, adding he worked in the corporate worlds of Atlanta, Charlotte and New York City before coming home to create his own business: a major employer. “That was always my goal: to get back to Carrollton.”

Carrollton City Schools

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Carrollton City Schools


The Carrollton City Schools

What: dynamic and engaging school district putting community and students first

Where: Carrollton, Georgia



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August 2023

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