Specialized Programs and Services (K-12)
The school system provides a variety of specialized programs and services to support the needs of each and every child, including Title I, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Special Education, Gifted Education, and alternative education programs. Counseling, social work, social emotional learning support, and psychological services provide for students’ social, emotional, and physical needs, along with limited clinic services for all students and specialized nursing support for children who are medically fragile. The School Nutrition Program operates cafeterias in every GCPS school. Some programs and services have eligibility requirements and require testing for admission. On this page, learn more about some of these programs and services.
The GCPS Gifted Education program provides academic challenges for children who are intellectually advanced. The gifted program is called FOCUS at the elementary school level, PROBE at the middle school level, and is referred to as gifted education and QUEST in high school. The program offers valuable learning opportunities that are advanced in content. Gifted education classes offer experiences that extend GCPS’ AKS standards, and develop students’ thinking strategies and processes. Classes are taught by teachers with gifted certification. Students served through the Gifted Education program meet eligibility requirements set by the state. Both student performance and results on national assessments are used to determine a child’s participation in the program.
Special Education and Psychological Services
GCPS’ Department of Special Education and Psychological Services focuses on meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities, beginning at age 3. They must meet the eligibility requirements set by the Georgia Department of Education. GCPS provides comprehensive special education programs and services, including assessment and interventions.
English to Speakers of Other Languages
Students whose primary home language is not English and who are not yet proficient in English are provided with support services through the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program until they attain English proficiency. ESOL instruction develops skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in social and instructional language as well as in the academic language of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Students learning English are taught by highly qualified teachers who are fully certified experts in their field.
The school system supports a mandate from the Georgia General Assembly requiring all schools to teach character education. Society and culture are tied together through common threads that guide the way we live, work, and learn. These common beliefs are taught at home and reinforced by the community, schools, religious institutions, and youth service groups. These basic tenets guide the way Gwinnett County teachers teach and the way the school system conducts the business of teaching and learning. Character education is thoroughly embedded in the AKS standards. Traits emphasized in the standards include:
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Including Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the learning equation helps children succeed in school and life. Social and emotional skills are embedded in the AKS standards. For example, the AKS require students to master complex text and use critical-thinking skills. In order to be successful in each subject, students need to have the corresponding SEL skills such as the ability to:
- Recognize and accurately label simple emotions (Self-Awareness);
- Describe the steps of setting and working toward goals (Self-Management);
- Identify verbal, physical, and situational cues indicating how others feel (Social Awareness);
- Describe approaches to making and keeping friends (Relationship Skills); and
- Identify a range of decisions they make at school (Responsible Decision Making).
Social emotional learning competencies are vital foundational skills for students to be successful in meeting the academic standards. SEL competencies can be taught as stand-alone lessons and integrated with academic instruction through modeling and providing feedback.
Through a collaborative partnership with administrators, teachers, and families, school counselors design and deliver a comprehensive, data-driven, and developmentally appropriate program that promotes a positive learning environment for students. Counseling activities and interventions support all students in the areas of academic achievement, career development, and social-emotional development. Through core lessons in the classroom, small-group counseling, and individual counseling, school counselors build strong relationships with their students.
Technology/Information and Media Literacy
The school media program contributes to your student’s academic achievement and provides the tools necessary to successfully navigate our information-rich society. All GCPS media centers are staffed with a full-time, state-certified media specialist who supports instruction and promotes reading as a foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment. Media collections contain current, high-quality materials in multiple formats that are relevant to the community they serve. Students learn the importance of digital citizenship and are provided with home and school access to online resources aligned with GCPS standards. Media center spaces are designed for flexibility to accommodate large-group instruction, small-group collaboration, and individual exploration and discovery.