GHSA sets new classes: Blessed Trinity, Greater Atlanta Christian, St. Pius, Woodward Academy get bumped

Metro Atlanta private schools Blessed Trinity, Greater Atlanta Christian, St. Pius and Woodward Academy are moving up in classification next year under the Georgia High School Association’s tentative reclassification plan released Tuesday morning. So are city schools Buford, Calhoun and Carrollton.

Notable private schools that won’t be forced up are Marist, Lovett, Pace Academy, Westminster and Benedictine. Some city schools not slated to move up are Bremen, Decatur, Dublin, Social Circle, Thomasville and Vidalia.

Meanwhile, schools in Savannah and Albany appear to be unintended victims of the GHSA’s new 2.0 multiplier that was designed to address perceived competitive advantages of private schools and schools from city school systems. Johnson, Groves, Beach and Islands of Savannah are moving up along with Westover, Monroe and Dougherty of Albany, although the GHSA’s new reclassification rule wasn’t intended for them.

The GHSA has seven classifications based on school enrollment. For this reclassification, the GHSA adopted a 2.0 multiplier that applies to out-of-zone students and is designed to promote schools believed to have competitive advantages into higher classes.

The 2.0 multiplier produced mixed results.

Each of the seven private schools and city schools that are moving up finished in the top six of their classifications’ all-sports standings for 2018-19. St. Pius, which is facing a two-class jump to AAAAAA, is the reigning all-sports champion in AAAA. Blessed Trinity, slated to move up one to AAAAA, finished second to St. Pius. Buford, which is moving up one to AAAAAA, finished second in the AAAAA all-sports standings.

City schools Cartersville, Jefferson and Rome are other top-10 all-sports finishers that are moving up, but they likely would’ve gone up anyway because of enrollment increases from the most previous reclassification four years ago. 

The new rules don’t apply to everybody. Schools with 550 or fewer students automatically are classified in Class A and are not affected by the multiplier, so smaller private and city schools such as Wesleyan, Holy Innocents’ and Pelham are not subject to being moved.

The private and city schools that were targeted — but unaffected — were those with AAA and AA enrollments. Among the privates, those included perennial AAA all-sports champion Westminster, No. 3 Lovett and No. 4 Pace Academy. Those Buckhead private schools get only about 35-50 percent of their students from outside their attendance zones. Lovett, in fact, was moved down to AA, and Pace Academy is eligible for Class A.

By contrast, St. Pius, GAC, Woodward Academy and Blessed Trinity get more than 75 percent of their students out of zone, and that factored in their promotion.

Among city schools not affected were defending AA all-sports champion Bremen, No. 4 Vidalia and No. 9 Thomasville. Dublin, a football powerhouse that was No. 45 in the AA all-sports standings, was moved down to Class A.

This reclassification remains tentative as schools can appeal the raw enrollment data and request to play in higher classes this month. Pace Academy and Marist, for example, are schools that chose to play up for the current reclass cycle. After appeals, the GHSA will place schools into regions, probably around Dec. 1. 

Below are some facts and figures from Tuesday’s GHSA announcement.

Moving up

AAAAAAA - Alpharetta, Dacula, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Harrison, Richmond Hill
AAAAAA - Buford, Carrollton, Chamblee, Denmark, East Paulding, North Springs, Northside (Columbus), Paulding County, Riverwood, Rome, South Effingham, St. Pius
AAAAA - Blessed Trinity, Calhoun, Cartersville, Chapel Hill, Druid Hills, Eastside, Westover, Woodward Academy
AAAA - Beach, Central (Macon), East Hall, Greater Atlanta Christian, Islands, Jackson County, Jefferson, Jenkins, KIPP Atlanta, Monroe, North Hall, Southeast Bulloch, Stone Mountain
AAA - Douglass, Hapeville Charter, Harlem, Hephzibah, Jordan, Rockmart, Spencer, Westside (Augusta)
AA – Riverside Military
Note: Denmark, Northside (Columbus), St. Pius, Calhoun and KIPP Academy are making two-class jumps from their current classifications.

Moving down

AAAAAA - Central Gwinnett, Kennesaw Mountain, Lakeside (Atlanta), Lassiter, Rockdale County, Westlake, Wheeler
AAAAA - Apalachee, Coffee, Creekside, Drew, Forest Park, Greenbrier, M.L. King, Mount Zion (Jonesboro), Mundy’s Mill, New Manchester, Northgate, Northview, Tri-Cities
AAAA - Arabia Mountain, Bainbridge, Cedar Shoals, Fayette County, Lithonia, Mays, Miller Grove, New Hampstead, Riverdale, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson, Thomas County Central
AAA - Americus-Sumter, Carver (Atlanta), Carver (Columbus), Cross Creek, LaFayette, Mary Persons, McDonough, Oconee County, Salem, Sandy Creek, Stephens County, Thomson, West Hall
AA - Columbia, Cook, Fannin County, Haralson County, Kendrick, Lovett, Savannah, Towers, Worth County
A - Armuchee, B.E.S.T Academy, Brooks County, Dublin, Metter, Pace Academy

Private schools with the highest percentage of out-of-zone students: St. Pius (99%), Greater Atlanta Christian (98%), Savannah Christian (97%), Woodward Academy (95%), St. Francis (95%), Providence Christian (92%), Savannah Country Day (87%), Walker (86%), North Cobb Christian (85%), Whitefield Academy (84%), Calvary Day (82%), Mount de Sales (79%), Darlington (78%), Eagle's Landing Christian (77%), Mount Vernon Presbyterian (77%), Mount Paran Christian (77%), Marist (77%), KIPP Atlanta (76%), Athens Academy (75%), Blessed Trinity (75%)

Private schools with the lowest percentage of out-of-zone students: Landmark Christian (10%), Pacelli (12%), Stratford Academy (17%), Deerfield-Windsor (22%), Strong Rock Christian (26%), Lakeview Academy (36%), Lovett (37%), Mount Pisgah Christian (40%), Benedictine (41%), First Presbyterian (43%), Westminster (44%), Pace Academy (46%), Riverside Military (47%), Fellowship Christian (50%), Heritage (Newnan) (53%), Brookstone (55%), King’s Ridge (61%), Trinity Christian (62%), Tattnall Square Academy (63%), Pinecrest Academy (63%)

Public schools with the highest percentage of out-of-zone students: Trion (69%), Gordon Lee (61%), Pelham (55%), ACE Charter (54%), Jenkins (35%), Groves (35%), Carrollton (34%), Commerce (32%), Chamblee (31%), Central (Macon) (31%), Johnson (Savannah) (31%), Islands (30%), Bremen (30%), Georgia Military College (26%), Carver (Columbus) (25%), Laney (25%), Beach (25%), Schley County (25%), Bradwell Institute (24%), Jordan (23%)

Public schools with no reported of out-of-zone students: Berkmar, Richmond Hill, Habersham Central, Lee County, Clarke Central, Grady, Baldwin, Banks County, Southwest, Elbert County, McNair, Bryan County, Lakeside (Atlanta), Northgate, Arabia Mountain, Mary Persons, Telfair County, Manchester, McIntosh County Academy, Washington-Wilkes, Wilkinson County, Terrell County, Macon County, Turner County, Jenkins County, Towns County, Greenville, Hancock Central, Twiggs County, Randolph-Clay, Pataula Charter, Warren County, Glascock County, Central (Talbotton), Stewart County

Tentative realignment:

Class AAAAAAA

Alpharetta (+1)

Archer

Berkmar

Brookwood

Camden County

Campbell

Cherokee

Collins Hill

Colquitt County

Dacula (+1)

Discovery

Duluth

Dunwoody (+1)

East Coweta

Etowah

Forsyth Central

Gainesville (+1)

Grayson

Harrison (+1)

Hillgrove

Lambert

Lowndes

Marietta

McEachern

Meadowcreek

Mill Creek

Milton

Mountain View

Newnan

Newton

Norcross

North Cobb

North Forsyth

North Gwinnett

North Paulding

Parkview

Peachtree Ridge

Pebblebrook

Richmond Hill (+1)

Roswell

Shiloh

South Forsyth

South Gwinnett

Tift County

Walton

West Forsyth

Woodstock

Class AAAAAA

Alcovy

Alexander

Allatoona

Bradwell Institute

Brunswick

Buford (+1)

Cambridge

Carrollton (+1)

Centennial

Central Gwinnett (-1)

Chamblee (+1)

Chattahoochee

Creekview

Dalton

Denmark (+2)

Douglas County

East Paulding (+1)

Effingham County

Evans

Glynn Academy

Grovetown

Habersham Central

Heritage (Conyers)

Houston County

Hughes

Johns Creek

Kennesaw Mountain (-1)

Lakeside (Atlanta) (-1)

Lakeside (Evans)

Lanier

Lassiter (-1)

Lee County

Lovejoy

Morrow

North Atlanta

North Springs (+1)

Northside (Columbus) (+2)

Northside (Warner Robins)

Osborne

Paulding County (+1)

Pope

River Ridge

Riverwood (+1)

Rockdale County (-1)

Rome (+1)

Sequoyah

South Cobb

South Effingham (+1)

South Paulding

Sprayberry

St. Pius (+2)

Tucker

Valdosta

Westlake (-1)

Wheeler (-1)

Winder-Barrow

Class AAAAA

Apalachee (-1)

Banneker

Blessed Trinity (+1)

Calhoun (+2)

Cartersville (+1)

Cass

Chapel Hill (+1)

Clarke Central

Clarkston

Coffee (-1)

Creekside (-1)

Cross Keys

Decatur

Drew (-1)

Druid Hills (+1)

Dutchtown

Eagle’s Landing

Eastside (+1)

Forest Park (-1)

Grady

Greenbrier (-1)

Griffin

Harris County

Hiram

Johnson (Gainesville)

Jones County

Jonesboro

Kell

Lithia Springs

Locust Grove

Loganville

M.L. King (-1)

Maynard Jackson

McIntosh

Mount Zion (Jonesboro) (-1)

Mundy’s Mill (-1)

New Manchester (-1)

Northgate (-1)

Northview (-1)

Ola

Starrs Mill

Statesboro

Stockbridge

Tri Cities (-1)

Union Grove

Veterans

Villa Rica

Walnut Grove

Ware County

Warner Robins

Wayne County

Westover (+1)

Whitewater

Woodland (Cartersville)

Woodland (Stockbridge)

Woodward Academy (+1)

Class AAAA

Arabia Mountain (-1)

Bainbridge (-1)

Baldwin

Beach (+1)

Burke County

Cairo

Cedar Shoals (-1)

Cedartown

Central (Carrollton)

Central (Macon) (+1)

Chestatee

Columbus

Dougherty

East Hall (+1)

Fayette County (-1)

Flowery Branch

Gilmer

Greater Atlanta Christian (+1)

Hampton

Hardaway

Heritage (Ringgold)

Howard

Islands (+1)

Jackson County (+1)

Jefferson (+1)

Jenkins (+1)

KIPP Atlanta (+2)

LaGrange

Lithonia (-1)

Luella

Madison County

Marist

Mays (-2)

Miller Grove (-1)

Monroe (+1)

New Hampstead (-1)

North Clayton

North Hall (+1)

North Oconee

Northwest Whitfield

Perry

Pickens

Richmond Academy

Ridgeland

Riverdale (-1)

Shaw

Southeast Bulloch (+1)

Southeast Whitfield

Southwest DeKalb (-1)

Spalding

Stephenson (-2)

Stone Mountain (+1)

Thomas County Central (-1)

Troup

Upson-Lee

West Laurens

White County

Class AAA

Adairsville

Americus-Sumter (-1)

Appling County

Benedictine

Brantley County

Carver (Atlanta) (-2)

Carver (Columbus) (-1)

Cedar Grove

Cherokee Bluff

Coahulla Creek

Crisp County

Cross Creek (-1)

Dawson County

Douglass (+1)

East Jackson

Franklin County

Groves

Hapeville Charter (+1)

Harlem (+1)

Hart County

Hephzibah (+1)

Jackson

Johnson (Savannah)

Jordan (+1)

LaFayette (-1)

Lakeview-Ft. Oglethrope

Liberty County

Long County

Lumpkin County

Mary Persons (-1)

McDonough (-1)

Monroe Area

Morgan County

Murray County

North Murray

Oconee County (-1)

Peach County

Pierce County

Pike County

Redan

Ringgold

Rockmart (+1)

Rutland

Salem (-1)

Sandy Creek (-1)

Sonoraville

Spencer (+1)

Stephens County (-1)

Tattnall County

Thomson (-1)

West Hall (-1)

Westminister

Westside (Augusta) (+1)

Westside (Macon)

Windsor Forest

Class AA

Bacon County

Banks County

Berrien

Bleckley County

Bremen

Bryan County

Butler

Callaway

Chattooga

Columbia (-3)

Cook (-1)

Coosa

Dade County

Dodge County

Early County

East Laurens

Elbert County

Fannin County (-1)

Fitzgerald

Glenn Hills

Gordon Central

Haralson County (-1)

Heard County

Jeff Davis

Jefferson County

Josey

Kendrick (-1)

Lamar County

Laney

Lovett (-1)

McNair

Model

Monticello

Northeast

Oglethorpe County

Pepperell

Putnam County

Rabun County

Riverside Military (+1)

Savannah (-1)

Screven County

Social Circle

South Atlanta

Southwest

Swainsboro

Temple

Therrell

Thomasville

Toombs County

Towers (-1)

Union County

Vidalia

Washington

Washington County

Worth County (-1)

Class A Private

Aquinas

Athens Academy

Athens Christian

Brookstone

Calvary Day

Christian Heritage

Darlington

Deerfield-Windsor (-2)

Eagle's Landing Christian

Fellowship Christian

First Presbyterian

George Walton Academy

Hebron Christian

Heritage (Newnan)

Holy Innocents

King’s Ridge

Lakeview Academy

Landmark Christian

Loganville Christian

Mount de Sales

Mount Paran Christian

Mount Pisgah Christian

Mount Vernon Presbyterian

North Cobb Christian

Our Lady of Mercy

Pace Academy (-2)

Pacelli

Pinecrest Academy

Prince Avenue Christian

Providence Christian

Savannah Christian

Savannah Country Day

St. Francis

Stratford Academy

Strong Rock Christian

Tattnall Square Academy

Trinity Christian

Walker

Wesleyan

Whitefield Academy

Class A Public

ACE Charter

Armuchee (-1)

Atkinson County

B.E.S.T Academy (-1)

Baconton Charter

Bowdon

Brooks County (-1)

Calhoun County

Central (Talbotton)

Charlton County

Chattahoochee County

Claxton

Clinch County

Commerce

Crawford County

Dooly County

Dublin (-1)

Emanuel County Institute

Georgia Military College

Glascock County

Gordon Lee

Greene County

Greenville

Hancock Central

Hawkinsville

Irwin County

Jenkins County

Johnson County

Lanier County

Lincoln County

Macon County

Manchester

Marion County

McIntosh County Academy

Metter (-1)

Miller County

Mitchell County

Montgomery County

Mount Zion (Carroll)

Pataula Charter

Pelham

Portal

Randolph-Clay

Schley County

Seminole County

Stewart County

Taylor County

Telfair County

Terrell County

Towns County

Treutlen

Trion

Turner County

Twiggs County

Warren County

Washington-Wilkes

Wheeler County

Wilcox County

Wilkinson County

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