Special Programs

Special Programs

English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is the state-funded language instruction educational program for eligible English learners (ELs) in grades K-12.  ESOL language instruction is focused on developing EL students’ academic English proficiency in each content area of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE). Differentiated instructional practices, both in ESOL and general education classes, ensure that the language development needs of Georgia’s EL students are met. The goal of the ESOL language instruction educational program for EL students is to increase both English language proficiency (ELP) and academic language proficiency in content-area subject matter.  Successful ESOL language programs focus on collaboration and shared accountability for the success of all EL students. There are two ESOL coaches at the elementary level serving multiple schools along with a designated administrator for ESOL at secondary levels. For more information regarding ESOL programs, please contact Shea Ray. 

The Gainesville City School System is committed to providing its highly talented and gifted students with an education that both fosters and promotes potentials and abilities.  Gifted education provides for a differentiated curriculum through which the content, instructional strategies, and expectations of mastery are appropriate for the student.  The Gainesville City School System recognizes that highly talented and gifted students may be identified among all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and is committed to the use of multiple criteria for early identification. The Gainesville City Schools Gifted Program seeks to enrich students’ mastery of the GSE by providing instruction incorporating advanced research and communication skills, social and emotional support, and creative and critical thinking.  Specific standards for gifted students have been established that align to the regular classroom curriculum. For more information on gifted programs, please contact Dr. Leigh Sears.

Special Education
All eligible students with disabilities must have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) emphasizing special education and related services to meet unique need and prepare for further education, employment, and independent living.  As educators, we have an obligation to educate students with disabilities to the best of our ability in compliance with the Individualized Educational Program (IEP).  Our students deserve the opportunity to reach their maximum potential, and it is our responsibility to help them get there.  We must provide students with experiences that will translate into success.  A primary objective is to promote excellence in teaching and to provide guidance in developing plans for students that will create paths leading to preferred post-secondary outcomes. Our students deserve the best that educators can give them.  In GCSS, there is a special education lead teacher in each school along with assistance from an assigned special education coordinator serving one or more schools.  For more information regarding special education, please contact Beth Skarda.

Sarah Bell
   Sarah Bell
Deputy Superintendent
Shea Ray   Shea Ray
Director of Federal Programs 

Dr. Paula Rufus   Dr. Paula Rufus
Director of Research and Evaluation
Leith Sears
  Leigh Sears
Director of Elementary Schools
renee boatright
  Renee Boatright
Principal, Gainesville Exploration Academy
Beth Skarda
  Beth Skarda
Director of Special Education
mike enright   Mike Enright
Middle School Special Education Coordinator
dayna kiley
  Dayna Kiley
K-5 Special Education Coordinator
Suzanne Thomas
  Suzanne Thomas
K-5 Special Education Coordinator
karen borders   Karen Borders
Special Education Coordinator
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