The Dalton Difference

What makes Dalton Public Schools different?

Dr. Jim Hawkins, superintendent

Superintendent Jim Hawkins

First and foremost, our priority is providing meaningful and engaging work that results in profound learning for each student. To do that, we operate our school district as a learning organization where continuous innovation and collaboration among staff is driven by improving the experiences and opportunities for students.

This means our teachers are trained to focus on actively involving students while making the experiences relevant and interesting. Students aren’t just learners, but also become designers, leaders and teachers as they inspire their fellow students.

The Dalton Difference was embedded into our charter when the city leaders agreed to form an separate school district that would provide a unique educational experience for their children. These leaders wanted something different than what was offered at that time and agreed to a tax rate to fund the district.

Since 1886, DPS has been committed to meeting the individual needs of students and providing the experiences and opportunities that have resulted in a long tradition of excellence.

Two elementary students coloring

Over the years, our student enrollment has changed as our city has grown. Not only has our enrollment increased every year, but it also reflects the growing diversity and downward economic shift in our community. Today, 76 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, come from 42 countries and represent 22 native languages. At the same time, we have a district ranked eighth in Georgia by Niche.com, a nationally recognized high school by US News & World Report and the first Georgia Department of Education STEM Certified school north of metro Atlanta. While the shift in demographics can’t be ignored, our focus has remained on helping all students achieve their highest potential.

Many of our differences have grown out of a commitment to best serve all of our students regardless of what opportunities or challenges they bring to the classroom as well as a commitment to stay the course to give innovations time to work. Our board, administration and staff have remained focused on providing frameworks, structures, programs and processes that ensure we do the right things for students for the right reasons so our students become contributing citizens of the world.

Examples of the Dalton Difference can be found throughout this publication. The best way to learn about the Dalton Difference is to experience it firsthand. Time and time again, individuals and groups who visit our classrooms comment that our students and teachers are actively engaged in learning and that our schools are clearly places where students feel safe, valued, creative and proud.

Our principals and staff welcome the community to come see how your investment in education is creating our leaders of tomorrow. I invite you to see and experience the Dalton Difference.

Watch our video here: