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Education: A Community of Learning

gainesville florida schoolsAlachua County Public Schools
The full scope of education is available in Alachua County. With more than 60 percent of the instructional staff holding advanced degrees, the visionary leadership and innovative educational programs and services of the Alachua County School District maintain the status of the school district as one of the most highly regarded public school systems in Florida. The strength of Gainesville’s higher-education community tends to carry over to the elementary and secondary education, resulting in some of the best public and private schools in the state.

The Alachua County public school system includes 25 elementary schools (including 10 centers), nine middle schools, nine high schools, 14 Charter schools and an alternative middle/high school center. More than 30,000 students are enrolled. In addition, there are 14 private schools in the county: nine elementary, four K through 12 and one high school.

For the last several years, the district has received the “What Parents Want” Award from SchoolMatch, the nation’s largest school selection consulting firm. Alachua County can also boast that three schools have met the rigorous criteria to be designated a “Five Star School.” These schools are recognized for having exemplary programs that produce higher achievement through the integration Business Partnerships, family involvement, Volunteers, Student Community Services and School Advisory Councils.

alachua county schoolTest Scores The Gainesville area boasts the highest percentage of gifted students in Florida. Standardized test scores show that student achievement is above national and state standards in all subject areas. Local scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) are above state averages and continue to show improvement at all grade levels. The state grades its public schools, and for the current school year, Alachua County boast 24 schools that scored an “A” or “B” and zero low performance or failing scores. Eighty percent of high school graduates go on to some form of higher education.

Programs The school system gives full vent to their energies through a variety of programs for the academically talented. Innovative enrichment and magnet programs are available at the elementary and middle school levels for both gifted and talented students. High School magnet programs provide real-world experience in a variety of careers such as health, business, culinary arts, technology and criminal justice. Career-oriented high school students can take advantage of dual enrollment programs offered by Santa Fe Community College.

North central florida schoolArea Career and Technical Education programs have been recognized as one of the top Tech Prep programs in the nation. This program is a cooperative effort of the School Board, Santa Fe Community College and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and integrates academic and technical curricula, to enable students to meet graduation requirements while gaining technical skills in a career field of their choice.

The Alachua County school district leads the way in preparing students for a high-tech future. The nation’s first mobile technology lab was developed in Alachua County. The school district has earned international recognition for its use of technology in the classroom. In addition, Alachua County’s early education program is recognized as a national model. Each elementary school offers an extensive preschool program.

School Report
Whether you are interested in school information to select the best education for your children or because good schools can affect the sale price of a new home...

To register children for school, call the School Board of Alachua County Zoning Office to identify the school, and then schedule an appointment. Proof of residency is needed, such as sales, rental or lease agreement, utility bill or a property tax bill. In addition, the child's birth certificate and health and school records are required.

Where to Call:
School Board of Alachua County - (352) 955-7300
Zoning Office - (352) 955-7700

Private Schools:
Martha Manson Academy - (352) 332-1452
Oak Hall - (352) 332-3609

Universities & Colleges

University of Florida
Education has been one of the chief businesses in Gainesville since the Buckman Act of 1905 created the University of Florida in Gainesville. The University of Florida traces its origin to 1853, when the state-funded East Florida Seminary acquired the Kingbury Academy in Ocala. Today, UF is a major public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university. On its Gainesville campus are more than 47,000 students, approximately 4,000 faculty and 18,000 staff. UF is the state’s oldest and largest university and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the prestigious higher education organization comprised of the top 63 public and private institutions in North America. A land-grant university with a distinguished record of developing Florida agriculture through research and extension services, Florida is among the nation's 88 leading research universities as categorized by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. The university attracts more than $200 million in research support each year, with the largest portion going to UF's Health Science Center.

Florida offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 200 graduate programs and five major professional programs. In addition to more than 100 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes, the university has 21 colleges and schools. UF is among the five largest universities in the nation.

Santa Fe Community College
Gainesville is also home to Santa Fe Community College, a student-centered college accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Florida State Department of Education. SFCC also holds membership in the American Association of Community Colleges and the League for Innovation in the Community College, a consortium of academically renowned colleges in the United States. Economic development and career opportunity are the central missions of Santa Fe Community College. SFCC opened in 1965 and currently operates six campuses across North Central Florida with enrollment of more than 30,000 students annually at its centers.

Santa Fe offers both credit and non-credit programs that enable students of all ages to begin their college educations, train for careers, upgrade job skills or develop new hobbies.

The Associate of Arts degree program prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges or universities. More than 60 Technology and Applied Sciences programs prepare students for careers. The Community Education Program offers classes in subjects as diverse as art, business, building construction, graphic design, health sciences, zoo animal technology, computers, natural history and sports. Santa Fe works closely with area businesses to design specialized employee training and work force development programs. More than 90 percent of graduates from these programs find employment in the field of their choice or continue their educations.

Unique to the college are the annual SFCC Spring Arts Festival, the largest arts event in North Central Florida and the SFCC Teaching Zoo, the only one of its kind at a community college.

Santa Fe's theater, dance and music students perform regularly. The Santa Fe Gallery provides educational programs and a showcase for area artists.

Santa Fe's athletic programs include men's and women's basketball, men's baseball, women's fast-pitch softball and a variety of intramural sports.

Private Colleges

City College
City College, a private ,non-profit junior college is located in Gainesville. The college has campuses located in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. The college has experienced steady growth, not only in the area of traditional education, but also in customized training programs for business and government. City College’s primary specializations are in the medical, business and legal fields. Each area has various concentrations that lead to an associate of science degree in the respective discipline. City College offers various programs such as the “Corporate Partnership Program” and “Information Technology Program,” through which business people, government workers and the general public can access a number of services, including seminars, workshops and computer training. City College offers 5 Associate Degree programs and 4 Diploma programs in Business, Law and Medical Studies, along with Contract Training programs for the private Business sectors as well as government agencies. The College offers small class sizes, day and evening classes and quality instruction for the college-bound student.

Webster University
Webster University is an independent, accredited, non-profit university offering graduate programs in business administration, management and leadership, human resources, counseling, and several online programs. In partnership with Santa Fe Community College’s University Center, Webster University offers the Master of Arts in Counseling at SFCC Main Campus. The University plans to further expand its programs to other sites in the Gainesville area over the next year.

Founded in St. Louis, Mo. in 1915, the University is dedicated to academic excellence and innovation to meet the needs of students, businesses, and working adults. Webster University currently serves more than 22,000 students through a network of more than 100 campuses worldwide and online. Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

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