Gaston County Schools Facts and Figures
Gaston County Schools is fully accredited by AdvancED (now Cognia) as a quality school system. Each school earned full accreditation and the "quality school" distinction.
■ 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 2023-2024
Grades K-5 – 13,028
Grades 6-8 – 7,088
Grades 9-13 – 9,821
Total (K-13) – 29,937
Pre-Kindergarten – 362
TOTAL (Pre-Kindergarten - High School) – 30,299
■ Student Ethnic Distribution for 2023-2024
24.4 % – African American
0.2 % – American Indian
1.7 % – Asian
47.0 % – Caucasian
20.5 % – Hispanic
6.1 % – Multiracial
0.1 % – Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
■ High School Graduation Rate
The graduation rate for the Class of 2023 is 85.3 percent. Six schools have a graduation rate that exceeds 90 percent. When the state first calculated the graduation rate in 2006, Gaston County was at a mere 68.1 percent.2023 – GCS Graduation Rate – 85.3
2022 – GCS Graduation Rate – 85.2
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 – 68.1■ High School Graduates – Class of 2023
Click here for the Class of 2023 valedictorians and salutatorians and seniors who achieved perfect attendance.■ High School Dropout RateGaston Rate State Rate2021-2022 3.26 2.252020-2021 2.60 1.942018-2019 2.62 2.012017-2018 2.62 2.18
- Number of graduates: 2,129
- Scholarship money offered to graduates: More than $40 million
- Approximately 934 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: 101
- Number of scholarships valued at $100,000 or greater: 107
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
- In a comparison of the 2022-2023 year to the 2020-2021 year, when students returned to school following the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020, the percentage of students in Gaston County Schools scoring at or above grade level (achieving proficiency) on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests is higher in all tested areas except for eighth grade science (the decrease in eighth grade science is less than three points). The most notable improvements coming out of the pandemic are in elementary school math and science, middle school reading, and high school math and biology.
- Gaston’s overall proficiency rate for 2022-2023 is 50.2 percent, which is 1.8 points higher than last year’s rate of 48.4. The state rate is 53.6 percent.
- 37 of 51 schools met or exceeded academic growth expectations. At the elementary school level, Carr, Catawba Heights, Lowell, North Belmont, Pinewood, and Rankin exceeded overall academic growth expectations. Bessemer City, Chavis, Cramerton, Southwest, Stanley, and York Chester exceeded overall expectations among the middle schools. At the high school level, Gaston Early College, Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences, Highland, and South Point exceeded overall expectations.
- For the 2022-2023 school year, Gaston County had nearly two-thirds of its schools (32 of 51) to earn an A, B, or C grade – three schools received an A grade, eight schools received a B grade, and 21 schools received a C grade. Gaston Early College High School, Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences, and Highland School of Technology are the schools with an A grade. Twelve schools are within three or fewer points of achieving a higher school performance grade: Beam Intermediate, W.A. Bess, Cramerton, East Gaston, Grier, Holbrook, Hunter Huss, Lingerfeldt, Rankin, Robinson, South Point, and Woodhill. South Point High School is three points away and Cramerton Middle School is two points away from having an A school performance grade, which is a status that is difficult to achieve.
Click here for more information about student achievement.
■ 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)
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
■ Students receiving Special Services
- Gaston County Schools average – 3.86 incidents of crime per 1,000 students for 2021-2022
- State average – 7.510 incidents of crime per 1,000 students for 2021-2022
- Gaston's school crime rate has been significantly lower than the state rate for more than 10 years.
- School resource officers serve all schools.
- Schools are equipped with camera, visitor check-in, and buzz-in entry systems to enhance safety.
Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) – 2,905
Special Needs Children – 4,586
■ 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.
■ School Nutrition
- Total Number of Students Transported Daily – 15,000
- Miles Traveled Daily – 12,000
- Number of School Buses – 202
- Number of Activity Buses – 47
- Gallons of fuel used per week - 15,000
The Gaston County Schools nutrition program serves healthy, well-balanced breakfast and lunch meals each day in our 55 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 – 10,500
- Breakfasts Served Annually – 1.9 million
- Lunches Served Daily – 19,000
- Lunches Served Annually – 3.4 million
Click here for more information on school nutrition for the 2023-2024 school year.
■ 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) – 3,003
- Number of students identified as Immigrant Students (Students born in another country and who have lived in the United States three years or less) – 862
- Different languages spoken by students in Gaston County Schools – 59 language families
- Number of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers – 42
Gaston County Schools is proud to offer 22 school choice/magnet school programs. Prior to 2016, there were only two magnet programs – Highland School of Technology and Gaston Early College High School. Our school choice options include Academy programs that are related to seven themed areas: Careers, Collegiate Prep, Health Sciences, Leadership, Performing Arts, 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) 866-6100.
* We are in the process of updating our Facts and Figures for the 2023-2024 academic year.