Gaston County Schools Facts and Figures
Gaston County Schools is fully accredited by AdvancED (now Cognia) as a quality school system. In 2018, each school earned full accreditation and the "quality school" distinction for a period of five years.
■ Among the ten largest school districts in North Carolina with approximately 30,000 students (pre-kindergarten through high school)
■ Provides a comprehensive educational program with outstanding opportunities for students in academics, athletics, fine arts, career and technical education, and extracurricular activities
■ Second largest employer in Gaston County with more than 3,800 full-time and part-time employees, including 1,950 classroom teachers
■ Number of Schools
Elementary/Primary Schools – 29
Intermediate School – 1
Middle Schools – 11
High Schools – 12
Special Needs School – 1
Alternative School – 1
Virtual School (Grades K-12) - 1
TOTAL – 56
■ Student Enrollment for 2022-2023
Grades K-5 – 12,974
Grades 6-8 – 7,211
Grades 9-13 – 9,751
Total (K-13) – 29,936
Pre-Kindergarten – 342
TOTAL (Pre-Kindergarten - High School) – 30,278
■ Student Ethnic Distribution for 2022-2023
24.5 % – African American
0.2 % – American Indian
1.6 % – Asian
48.7 % – Caucasian
19.1 % – Hispanic
5.8 % – Multiracial
0.1 % – Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
■ High School Graduation Rate
The graduation rate for the Class of 2021 is 86.5 percent. Six schools have a graduation rate that exceeds 90 percent, and three schools have a perfect graduation rate of 100 percent. When the state first calculated the graduation rate in 2006, Gaston County was at a mere 68.1 percent.2021 – GCS Graduation Rate – 86.52020 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.0
2019 – GCS Graduation Rate – 84.82018 – GCS Graduation Rate – 85.62017 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.3
2016 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.02015 – GCS Graduation Rate – 86.32014 – GCS Graduation Rate – 83.52013 – GCS Graduation Rate – 81.2
2012 – GCS Graduation Rate – 77.8
2011 – GCS Graduation Rate – 75.4
2010 – GCS Graduation Rate – 72.0
2009 – GCS Graduation Rate – 70.0
2008 – GCS Graduation Rate – 72.3
2007 – GCS Graduation Rate – 71.2
2006 – GCS Graduation Rate – 68.1Click here for more information about the graduation rate.■ High School Graduates – Class of 2021▪ Number of graduates: 2,167
▪ Scholarship money offered to graduates: More than $27 million▪ Approximately 900 academic, athletic, and merit scholarships were offered to our graduates, including scholarships to attend prestigious Ivy League schools
▪ Number of colleges/universities presenting scholarships to seniors: 284
▪ Number of scholarships valued at $100,000 or greater: 93Click here for the Class of 2021 valedictorians and salutatorians and seniors who achieved perfect attendance.
Click here to watch the Class of 2021 graduation videos.■ High School Dropout RateOver the past nine years, the number of high school dropouts in Gaston County has decreased from 450 in 2010-2011 to 258 in 2018-2019.Gaston Rate State Rate2018-2019 2.62 2.012017-2018 2.62 2.18
2016-2017 2.21 2.312015-2016 2.29 2.292014-2015 2.02 2.392013-2014 1.84 2.282012-2013 1.61 2.452011-2012 3.43 3.012010-2011 4.46 3.432009-2010 4.43 3.752008-2009 5.60 4.272007-2008 5.69 4.972006-2007 6.29 5.24■ Student Achievement
For 2018-2019, our overall student proficiency rate increased slightly when compared to the previous year. Since the state implemented new testing standards in 2013-2014, Gaston's rate has gone up 6.2 points, increasing from 50.2 to 56.4.
▪ 39 schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations. At the middle school and high school levels, 87 percent of schools met or exceeded growth.
▪ Middle schools made the most significant gains on student proficiency with nine of 11 schools seeing an increase.
▪ The most significant improvement in a grade level subject area was math for middle schools – each grade level (6-8) posted gains in overall math proficiency. Other areas for improvement were fifth grade science, high school English II, eighth grade science, and high school biology.
Click here for more information about student achievement.
*Because of the coronavirus pandemic, state tests were not given at the end of the 2019-2020 school year; therefore, student achievement data is not available.
■ Career and Technical Education
Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are offered at all high schools and middle schools. These outstanding programs prepare students for success in college and the workforce. Through CTE, our students gain knowledge, skills, hands-on experience, and credentials – all of this gives them an advantage when going on to college and/or embarking on a career path.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, Gaston County Schools leads the state in the number of CTE pathway credentials earned by students.
▪ 6,065 – the number of CTE credentials earned by students (highest number in the state)■ School Safety
Outstanding school safety record for Gaston County Schools – Of the ten largest school districts in the state, we once again have the lowest school crime rate.▪ Lower incidents of crime than the state average▪ Gaston County Schools average – 1.530 incidents of crime per 1,000 students for 2019-2020▪ State average – 4.69 incidents of crime per 1,000 students for 2019-2020▪ Gaston's school crime rate has been significantly lower than the state rate for the past 11 years.▪ School resource officers serve all schools.▪ Schools are equipped with camera, visitor check-in, and buzz-in entry systems to enhance safety.■ Students receiving Special Services
Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) – 2,820
Special Needs Children – 4,290
■ Computers and Technology
▪ More than 61,000 computing devices (desktop and laptop computers, Chromebooks, and tablets) are in use in Gaston County Schools.
▪ Number of SMART Boards, SMART Panels, and LCD Displays in our classrooms – 2,265
▪ Student-to-computer ratio – 1 student to 1 mobile device – All students are assigned a Chromebook computer for use at school and home.
▪ All schools have wireless Internet access.
▪ Outdoor access points are available at all schools so students and employees can access the district's WiFi network from the parking lot.
■ Bus Transportation
Gaston County Schools operates one of the safest bus transportation fleets in the state.Total Number of Students Transported Daily – 15,000
Miles Traveled Daily – 12,000
Number of School Buses – 211
Number of Activity Buses – 47
Gallons of fuel used per week - 15,000
■ School Nutrition
The Gaston County Schools nutrition program serves healthy, well-balanced breakfast and lunch meals each day in our 54 school cafeterias. Our cafeterias take pride in serving delicious and nutritious meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables grown at home in North Carolina. All cafeterias maintain a grade A sanitation rating.
Breakfasts Served Daily – 9,000
Breakfasts Served Annually – 1.6 million
Lunches Served Daily – 19,000
Lunches Served Annually – 3.4 million
During the 2021-22 school year, all students can receive breakfast and lunch at no cost.
■ English as a Second Language (ESL) ProgramThe Gaston County Schools International Center located at the former Forest Heights Elementary School in Gastonia assists linguistically diverse students and their families.▪ Number of students identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) – 2,256▪ Number of students identified as Immigrant Students (Students born in another country and who have lived in the United States three years or less) – 446
▪ Different languages spoken by students in Gaston County Schools – 59▪ Number of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers – 30■ School Choice/Magnet School Programs
Gaston County Schools is proud to offer 21 school choice/magnet school programs. Prior to 2016, there were only two magnet programs – Highland School of Technology and Gaston Early College High School. New Academy programs were introduced during the 2019-2020 year in six areas: Career, Collegiate Prep, Health Sciences, Leadership, Public Service, and Technology and Industrial Engineering. Click here to learn more about our school choice options.
For more information about Gaston County Schools, please contact the Communications/Public Information Department, (704) 866-6117.
* We are in the process of updating our Facts and Figures for the 2022-2023 academic year.