Williamson County Schools, Colleges Earn Reputation for Excellence
County's reputation for high-quality education extends from the cradle to college.
Williamson County's two school districts – Williamson County Schools and the Franklin Special School District – are often cited as a main reason families and businesses relocate to the area. The county's schools consistently earn high marks by the state, and its students historically score in the upper percentile on standardized tests and college entrance exams.
Williamson County Schools enrolls approximately 37,000 students in its 41 schools, six of which have achieved National Blue Ribbon status. In 2015, WCS students posted an ACT composite score of 23.8, the district's highest to date. For the past several years, Williamson County Schools have received top grades in all four major subject areas on the Tennessee Department of Education's State Report Card. Williamson County Schools' graduation rate is 94 percent, well above the state average, and 38 of its schools received a nine out of 10 or 10 out of 10 rating from GreatSchools.org. Williamson, Inc. partnered with WSS to establish the Williamson, Inc. Education Committee to bring workforce skills to the county's classrooms.
The Franklin Special School District enrolls some 3,850 students in grades pre-K-12. The FSSD consistently ranks among the top five school systems on the Tennessee Department of Education's State Report Card, and all but one of the district's schools received a nine out of 10 or 10 out of 10 rating from GreatSchools.org. More than 65 percent of the district's teacher's hold a master's degree or higher. In 2015, FSSD was one of 15 districts to earn a 1st Place Magna Award, sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal. The district received the award for its Storybus Plus community literacy outreach program. Also in 2015, the FSSD School Board earned the School Board of the Year honor from the Tennessee School Board Association.
Williamson County is also home to several top-rated private schools. Battle Ground Academy was established in 1889 as a boys' boarding school. Today, the co-ed institution enrolls students in grades K-12 and has a reputation for sending nearly all its graduating seniors to college.
Brentwood Academy, founded in 1969, is a Christian, independent, colelge preparatory school that serves students in grades six through 12. Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood enrolls students in grades K-12 and emphasizes its personalized education experience, including small class sizes and individualized learning plans for each student. New Hope Academy is a faith-based community school for students in pre-K-6th grades. The school has a diverse student population from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Franklin Classical School began as a homeschool supplement course and has blossomed into a faith-based institution for K-12 students, offering a classical education with emphasis on music, theater and technology. Montessori School of Franklin enrolls students as young as 18 months in its pre-K program. The school's elementary programs serve students ages 5-12, and focuses on hands-on education through work and play.
Other private schools include Franklin Road Academy, Grace Christian Academy, Montessori Academy (in Brentwood), St. Matthew Catholic School, Willow Hall Academy, Heritage Covenant School, Limestone Christian Learning Center, Benton Hall School, The Classical Academy of Franklin, Faith Apostolic Christian and Franklin Christian.
In addition to the four-year institutions in neighboring Davidson and Rutherford counties, Williamson County families have access to a growing number of higher education options right in their own backyard. The new Williamson Campus of Columbia State Community College serves more than 2,000 students. Both Belmont University and Lipscomb University have satellite campuses in Williamson County. Belmont's Cool Springs campus offers convenient classes for students enrolled in the university's Adult Degree Program. Lipscomb University's Williamson location offers courses in subjects such as business administration, educational leadership, and marriage and family counseling that can be applied toward a graduate degree.
O'More College of Design offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in fashion design, fashion merchandising, interior design, and graphic and interactive design. The Bristol, Tenn.-based King University offers both bachelor's and master's degrees in programs such as nursing, business administration, information technology and health care administration at its Franklin campus. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, based in Kentucky, offers graduate studies toward a master's or doctorate of divinity at its Franklin satellite campus, and Williamson College offers distance learning to students training for the ministry.
Established by Gov. Bill Haslam as part of his Drive to 55 Initiative to increase the educational attainment percentage of Tennesseans, online university Western Governors University-Tennessee offers more than 50 accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees.