Greater Gainesville boasts public and private schools within a high-ranking and award-winning school district, meeting the needs of its diverse student population. The various programs and accommodations for students of all backgrounds reflects the growing culture and diversity that the area has to offer. With competitive test scores and a community willing to put students first, our area is a premier destination for students seeking bright futures.
Our area is home to one of the most prestigious public universities in the southern U.S., the University of Florida. It also has the 2015 No. 1 community college in the nation, Santa Fe College. Alachua County͛s primary and secondary education is held in equal esteem thanks to its dedicated educators and focus on student well-being.
Alachua County Public Schools
The Alachua County Public Schools system contains 22 elementary schools, seven middle schools and seven high schools. Through award-winning approaches, the district has dedicated its effort to creating an inclusive and nurturing environment for students, faculty and parents.
In 2016, ACPS won the prestigious͞What Parents Want͟Award from SchoolMatch, one of the nation’s top school consulting firms. It is awarded to only 16 percent of the nation’s school districts, given to schools for meeting both parent and student needs including small class size, access to library resources and instructional expenditures.
In 2017, the school district became one of eight districts to win the Florida Healthy School Gold Award for the 2017-2019 period. The award honors school districts that promote a healthy learning environment. Alachua was recognized for its expansive food and nutrition programs, health and physical education and its system of care for children and families in crisis.
The public school system has also been lauded for constantly challenging its students. Two of its public high schools, Eastside High School and Buchholz High School, have been ranked in Newsweek’s Top Public High Schools in the Nation. Eastside earned a spot in the top 10 two years in a row. Through rigorous programs, various high schools have been able to send students to competitions nationwide. Announced in 2017, the district will send students to the USA Mathematical Olympiad and the National HOSA Competition. Students in GreaterGainesville have been accepted to elite universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Cornell, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins.
Private Schools and Special Centers
There are 23 private schools in Gainesville, several of which have religious affiliations. Most notable, however, are its special education programs. The Sidney Lanier Center is a school specifically for students with special needs. Boasting a community of teachers and doctors, the center functions to serve students with cognitive disabilities and provide them with a learning environment that accommodates their needs. The center, which offers elementary, secondary and transition programs, provides students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) made to suit the needs of the student. Sidney Lanier has been lauded by parents for providing education that they need and deserve.
With a rich historical background and a penchant for helping students in need, the A. Quinn Jones Exceptional Student Center has been helping students with socio-emotional learning for several years. Originally Lincoln High School, the center began as a segregated high school for black students. Principal A. Quinn Jones advocated for the progression of black students into higher education, and in 1970, the center was the site of a boycott protesting the segregation of schools in Florida. Today, Lincoln High School has been renamed the A. Quinn Jones Center, and Jones’s home was turned into a museum to honor the principal. The center serves students with social or behavioral issues and integrates a curriculum on social and emotional healing, as well as focusing on mediation and conflict resolution. The center has also seen a spike in family participation in recent years, being awarded for its proactive volunteer programs and community service.
Through rigorous programs and ever-expanding resources, Alachua County Public Schools has positioned itself as a national leader in test scores. In 2015, the average SAT score ranked higher than both the national and state averages. Florida’s average score in 2015 was 1434, while the national average was 1490. Compared to Alachua County’s 1620 average, the schools in our district are well on their way to becoming top performers. Students with high test scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Award, in which these students are awarded college scholarships. Only a little over 1 percent of test-takers receive this award nationally. In 2017, 23 Alachua County students were recognized with the award for both their test scores and high-achieving academic status in their respective schools.
A variety of Advanced Placement courses are available to high school students. These courses are designed to increase the student’s understanding of the subject matter while also earning college credit. Alachua County’s passing rate of 63 percent puts it well above the nation’s 56 percent passing rate in 2016. One of the three students in the entire United States who received a perfect score on the AP Statistics exam in 2016 was an Alachua County Public Schools student.
Magnet, ESOL and ESE Programs
There are many special programs in the district designed to aid, enhance and develop students’ skills and abilities. Three schools offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, where nonnative English speakers can learn and practice the language through oral communication in small classrooms and integration with other students.
The Exceptional Student Education department ensures that students with special needs are accommodated. The department has a variety of teachers, specialists and supervisors who work with parents to accommodate the needs of students, who range in age from 3 to 22.
Other notable programs include the district’s various academic magnet programs, designed to provide a curriculum of challenging courses for gifted and advanced students. These programs are often specialized in several subjects ranging from fine arts to STEM education. Eastside High School hosts the district’s only International Baccalaureate (IB) program, where high school students can earn an IB diploma in addition to their high school diploma, earning college credit similar to AP courses. Other programs include Gainesville High School’s Cambridge Program, adult education and GED classes and various early childhood education programs for younger children.
Gainesville’s prominent leader in higher education is the accredited University of Florida, home of the Florida Gators. The university offers various high ranking research programs and the nation’s most dominant athletics program. Ranked No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s best public universities, UF is also home to the prominent teaching hospital, UF Health Shands Hospital. With 16 academic colleges and over 150 centers for research, UF has placed itself among the most prestigious public universities in the nation.
Gainesville is also home to Santa Fe College, which was named the winner of the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by the Aspen Institute. SF was named No. 1 of over 1,000 institutions nationwide and has been in the top 10 of U.S. community colleges since 2012. With over 50 accredited programs, SF also offers eight bachelor’s degrees in various subjects.
A-Graded Public Schools
2016-2017 School Year
Buchholz High School5510
NW 27th Ave.Gainesville, FL
Duval Early Learning Academy
2106 NE 8th Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32641
Newberry Elementary School
25705 SW 15th Ave.
Newberry, FL 32669
Talbot Elementary School
5701 NW 43rd St.
Gainesville, FL 32653
Wiles Elementary School
4601 SW 75th St.
Gainesville, FL 32608
2015 SAT Score Averages
In 2015, the average SAT score in Alachua County was 130 points above the national score average and 186 points above the state score average.
Alachua County: 1620