• Gaston County Schools Facts and Figures

    Gaston County Schools is fully accredited by AdvancED 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 – 11
    Special Needs School – 1
    Alternative School – 1

    Virtual School (Grades K-12) - 1

    TOTAL – 55 

    Student Enrollment for 2020-2021
    Grades K-5 – 12,782
    Grades 6-8 – 7,286
    Grades 9-13 – 9,421
    Total (K-13) – 29,489
    Pre-Kindergarten – 290
    TOTAL (Pre-Kindergarten - High School) – 29,779

    Student Ethnic Distribution for 2020-2021
    23.2 % – African American
    0.2 % – American Indian
    1.5 % – Asian
    53.8 % – Caucasian
    15.8 % – Hispanic
    5.4 % – Multiracial
    0.1 % – Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

    ■ High School Graduation Rate
    The graduation rate for the Class of 2020 is 88.0 percent.  All schools have a graduation rate that exceeds 80 percent.  Seven schools have a graduation rate that exceeds 90 percent, and two 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.     

          2020 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.0
          2019 – GCS Graduation Rate – 84.8
          2018 – GCS Graduation Rate – 85.6
          2017 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.3
          2016 – GCS Graduation Rate – 88.0 
          2015 – GCS Graduation Rate – 86.3 
          2014 – GCS Graduation Rate – 83.5
          2013 – 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 – 68.1
    Click here for more information about the graduation rate.  
    ■ High School Graduates – Class of 2020
    ▪ Number of graduates: 2,246 
    ▪ Scholarship money offered to graduates: More than $37.6 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: 93
    Click here for the Class of 2020 valedictorians and salutatorians and seniors who achieved perfect attendance.
    Click here to watch the Class of 2020 graduation videos.
    High School Dropout Rate
    Over 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 Rate 
          2018-2019            2.62                     2.01
          2017-2018            2.62                     2.18
          2016-2017            2.21                     2.31
          2015-2016            2.29                     2.29
          2014-2015            2.02                     2.39
          2013-2014            1.84                     2.28
          2012-2013            1.61                     2.45
          2011-2012            3.43                     3.01
          2010-2011            4.46                     3.43
          2009-2010            4.43                     3.75
          2008-2009            5.60                     4.27
          2007-2008            5.69                     4.97
          2006-2007            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 2019-2020 academic year, Gaston County Schools leads the state in the number of CTE credentials earned by students and the percentage of students earning more than one credential in a particular CTE area.
    ▪ 14,986 – the number of CTE credentials earned by students (highest number in the state)
    ▪ 219 – the percentage of students earning more than one credential in a particular career area (highest percentage in the state)

    Four of our high schools rank in the top 15 among schools statewide for the number of CTE credentials earned by students.  Hunter Huss ranks second in the state; Ashbrook ranks fifth; Forestview ranks 13th; and Stuart W. Cramer ranks 14th.

    Click here for more information about student achievement in Career and Technical Education. 
    ■ 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 – 2.074 incidents of crime per 1,000 students
          ▪ State average – 6.29 incidents of crime per 1,000 students
          ▪ Gaston's school crime rate has been significantly lower than the state rate for the past 10 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) – 2,479
    Special Needs Children – 4,571

    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 – 16,500
               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 – 8,000
          Breakfasts Served Annually – 1.4 million
          Lunches Served Daily – 18,000
          Lunches Served Annually – 3.2 million
          Percent of students who receive meals at no cost or a reduced price – more than 65%

    English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
    The 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) – 1,901
    ▪ Number of students identified as Immigrant Students (Students born in another country and who have lived in the United States three years or less) – 278
    ▪ Different languages spoken by students in Gaston County Schools – 52
    ▪ Number of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers – 27
    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.

    Information updated as of December 22, 2020