To provide excellent educational opportunities to students in order to meet their needs and to provide a skilled workforce to meet the needs of the local business and industry is a collaborative effort of business and educational leaders in the Greater Dalton Community. That is true today and has been historically true in this community. Through different forums, business and education leaders have worked together for several decades to increase the high school graduation rate. In an effort for Dalton/Whitfield County to become Georgia Work Ready Certified, the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce called on leaders from business, education and government sectors to assist with accomplishing this certification. In January 2011, Whitfield County was named a Certified Work Ready County.
Two public school systems, Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools are located in the Greater Dalton area. The Mission Statements of both systems focus on providing a quality education for all students in order to prepare them for the next step of their life, whether that is postsecondary education or the workforce. The combined enrollment for the two systems is about 21,000 students. Both school systems are working diligently with business and industry through the Archway Partnership to enhance the educational opportunities for residents.
The eight public high schools in the area offer comprehensive high school curriculums as well as unique educational experiences. Dalton High School offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma and Certificate Programs. The opportunity for Advanced Placement Course Work includes 16 areas of study. Coahulla Creek High School is a project based high school with the latest technology replacing textbooks. The Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy, a Georgia Charter High School, offers students career choice educational options. Within the high schools, there are five world languages taught at different schools with one school offering Mandarin Chinese. Army JROTC is offered at one high school. Two high schools offer an alternative curriculum for students whose educational needs are not consistent with a comprehensive high school. Both school systems are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCASI) and have partnered with the Schlechty Center for Educational Excellence to further develop educational leaders within the Greater Dalton Community.
Christian Heritage School is a private K-12 school in the Greater Dalton area. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCASI) and the Association of Christian Schools Incorporated (ASCI).
There are 23 Georgia Lottery funded Pre-K programs in Greater Dalton. There are also many private and church- based programs available in the Greater Dalton Community, however Early Childhood Education continues to be an area of concern in the community until all children have the opportunity for pre-K education.
Within the postsecondary field of education, Dalton State College has approximately 6,000 students. Along with offering 20 bachelor degrees, DSC offers many associate degrees and certificate level degrees. It also meets the educational needs of many traditional and non-traditional students in Northwest Georgia.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College has opened a Whitfield/Murray Campus and is working with the business and industry leaders to provide Programs of Work that will prepare students for the positions available in industry. This is another example of business and industry working with education to meet the needs of the employer and the employee. The
There are 25 other colleges, universities and technical colleges within a 70 mile radius of Dalton. With interstate travel, many residents use these institutions of higher learning for post graduate studies.
Collaboration is the key word for education in the Greater Dalton Community. This collaboration is among the two public school districts, postsecondary institutions and the business community and provides for great educational opportunities for the community.