Most schools in metro Atlanta are dominated by one demographic. They’re poor, affluent, white, black, or Hispanic. Their classrooms are filled with fourth-generation Georgians—or refugees who arrived in Atlanta last month. Maybe the hallways swarm with hordes of well-off parents who fund booster clubs, cheer at games, and micromanage their kids’ Advanced Placement schedules—or maybe the PTA can’t even raise a couple hundred bucks because parents work two jobs just to keep the lights on. Some schools steadily churn out HOPE Scholarship–qualifying, SAT-acing, college-bound graduates every May; others are dubbed dropout factories.
Then there’s Norcross High School. Within this 413,000-square-foot complex on Spalding Drive, there is such a diverse mix of kids from such a range of socioeconomic strata that no single demographic dominates. This is really six or eight or a dozen schools in one. It’s a microcosm of public education, with a student body that reflects Atlanta’s population forecasts—and academic successes and struggles that replicate school scorecards across the region.
>> Read the story by Rebecca Burns and Candice Dyer