Oakland Meadow School
590 Old Snellville Highway; Lawrenceville, GA 30045
Years Principal The following have served as director of Oakland Center: 1977–1978 Dr. Lowell Ensey 1978–Present Michael D. Weinroth The following have served as principals of Oakland Center: 1993–2002 Mike Weinroth 2002–2007 Carol Quinn The following have served as principals of Oakland Meadow School: 2007–2008 Carol Quinn 2008–2011 David Ashton 2011–Present Sara Clifford
School Colors: Black and Gold
School Mascot: Black Knight
For more than 40 years, Oakland Meadow School— formerly called Oakland Center— has served Gwinnett County Public Schools’ students with special needs.
The original Oakland Center located at 950 McElvaney Lane in Lawrenceville was built in 1977 and opened its doors in January of 1978. It opened approximately one-half mile from the original site of Oakland School, the school after which the new school gleaned its name. (The original Oakland School was referred to in a 1923 history of the school system as a two-room building that had three teachers who served 107 students in seven grades.) The opening of this facility was met with great enthusiasm by parents and staff serving Gwinnett County children with moderate to severe disabilities.
Oakland Center originally served as a diagnostic placement center for students with disabilities (serving students who had been served at the Hi-Hope Training Center) and also functioned as the office site for all GCPS itinerant personnel. Carol Quinn, lead teacher for the moderate/severe/profoundly mentally handicapped program who would later become the school’s principal, was one of the four original teachers at Hi-Hope who moved to Oakland Center. She remembered that at the urging of parents, the Board of Education voted to hold a bond referendum to build the center. The parents and teachers enlisted support from the business community and held money-making projects to print flyers for the public to learn of the need for the school. At that time, Gwinnett County Public Schools was the only local school district to approve a bond issue for the construction of a special education facility in Georgia.
In the fall of 1977, the special education classes and itinerant personnel moved to Bethesda Elementary School until the special education center facility was completed. They moved to the new building in January of 1978.
After the building was completed, Mr. Weinroth was invited to Oakland Center’s dedication ceremony, which was held in the spring of 1978. Little did he know that four months later he would be named as Oakland Center’s second director.
In 1982, Gwinnett County Public Schools built a new elementary school which it named Benefield Elementary School. This school was built and attached to Oakland Center so that the two schools shared a campus. A unique feature of the campus was that all students attending both schools used the cafeteria located in Oakland.
Another interesting postscript relating to Oakland Center’s unique history involved a study in 1983 by the Center for Social Policy, a Washington, D.C. based agency. They were contracted by the U.S. Congress to identify exemplary special education practices throughout the country and report these back to the President, Congress, and all 50 state departments of education. Agency personnel were directed to Gwinnett County to observe various programs. During their visit, they were informed of the unique relationship between Oakland Center and Benefield Elementary. When personnel from the Center for Social Policy made their final report to Congress, they highlighted the fact that nowhere, to their knowledge, had a school been built onto an existing special education center. While special facilities are routinely built onto existing regular schools, the opposite had never occurred.
Oakland Center served as a model program for the state. It housed 40 students, five classes, two North Metro Psychoeducational classes, 18 itinerant teachers, 38 tele-class teachers, 33 support personnel and countywide administrative and supervisory personnel in the Special Education Department.
During the 1982 school year, the Oakland PTA chose ‘Oakland Angels’ as the mascot. (This mascot would later change when the school relocated and joined the Central Gwinnett Cluster.)
In June of 2002, Mike Weinroth retired from GCPS. Carol Quinn, one of Oakland’s original teachers and a long-time Lead Teacher, was named principal. David Ashton, who had been an Itinerant teacher of the Orthopedically Impaired program at Oakland prior to becoming an assistant principal at Sweetwater and Berkmar middle schools, returned to Oakland as the assistant principal.
In 2006, Ms. Quinn and the faculty of Oakland Center prepared for a move to a new facility, located at 590 Old Snellville Highway in Lawrenceville. In preparation for the move, a new school name was proposed and approved by the Gwinnett County Board of Education. The new name, Oakland Meadow School, paid tribute to the history associated with the schools that formerly held the “Oakland” name as well as the meadow where the new school was being built.
Oakland Meadow School opened in August 2007 in a new state-of-the-art facility. At this time, the new facility also became the site for the North Metro GNETS (Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Supports) program. This program supports the needs of students (K–5) with social, emotional and/or behavioral challenges. Like its former facility, the new school shares a campus with an elementary school, Winn Holt Elementary School, allowing Oakland Meadow students in the North Metro GNETS program the opportunity to benefit from interactions with students in general education.
Oakland Meadow School continues to serve students from across GCPS and Buford City Schools who are significantly medically fragile and meet eligibility for the SID/PID Program. Students served in the SID/PID classrooms at Oakland Meadow School have medical needs that are more complex and require a higher level of care than SID/PID students who are served through the local school. The school has a registered nurse on staff at all times who continually trains and supports staff involved in student care.
Oakland Meadow School also houses several itinerant departments and programs that provide both site-based and outreach services to meet the unique instructional needs of GCPS students served in special education from ages 3 through 22. An overview of the programs and services offered at Oakland Meadow School includes:
Programs Serving Students Daily at Oakland Meadow School:
- Medically Fragile Program (Pre-K–22)
- North Metro Program (K–5)
- Transition Program for students in the SID/PID Program (post high school)
- Programs/Services at Oakland Meadow School
- Audiology Department (Supporting and testing students across the district)
- Pre-K ARENA Assessment Team (Assessing 3 and 4-year-old students)
Itinerant Programs Serving Students Across Gwinnett County:
- Adapted Physical Education (APE)
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH)
- Homebased Program (HB)
- Hospital Homebound Program (HHB)
- Orthopedically Impairment Program (OI)
- Special Olympics
- Teleclass Program
- Vision/Hearing Technicians (Vision/hearing screenings/3rd grade mass screening)
- Vision Impairment & Orientation and Mobility (VI and O&M)
The vision of Oakland Meadow School is to be exceptional at providing all students with an individualized education and the necessary supports to be successful in college, career, and life. The school’s mission is to provide research- based, innovative, and individualized learning opportunities for all students to acquire the knowledge and skills to be successful in life.
Oakland Meadow School is a part of the Central Gwinnett Cluster and its students and staff are proud to be Black Knights. Oakland Meadow provides its students in the SID/PID program with sensory-rich learning experiences that utilize the latest technology in order to provide access to the general education curriculum. Our students and staff presume competency at all times and utilize a variety of augmentative and alternative communication to allow students to express their wants, needs, and ideas. All of the students at Oakland Meadow School participate in project-based learning opportunities, as well as in school field trips. Students also have the opportunity to participate in clubs on a monthly basis that are led and supported by numerous staff members.
The staff at Oakland Meadow School also are committed to building relationships with the families of the students they serve. The school hosts numerous events throughout the school year such as Bingo Night, Movie Night, the Family Valentine’s Day Dance, the Storybook Parade, Muffins with Moms, and Donuts with Dad.
Oakland Meadow School also connects with community members by hosting an annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast, inviting stakeholders to events such as its Art Walk Night and opening its doors for community members to view projects created by Oakland Meadow students that showcase their learning across content areas.
Oakland Meadow School is committed to its students, their families, and its staff members. As a special entity school, Oakland Meadow is able to support and serve students with special needs throughout Gwinnett County.