Gainesville High will open a Student Success Center on campus during the 2019-20 academic year to support the city school system’s ongoing “wraparound” services initiative.
Deputy Superintendent Sarah Bell made the announcement at a Gainesville City Schools board of education meeting on Monday, March 18.
“We have been studying other districts,” including Marietta High School, which launched a similar endeavor several years ago, she said.
The center will connect students with academic mentors; behavioral and mental health support; college and career activities; and assist with providing basic needs through additions like a food pantry and clothing closet.
“We feel that the all-around well-being of the student directly contributes to their success in the classroom,” said board member Andy Stewart, a GHS graduate. “And any distraction or outside issue that might affect their ability to focus and learn … if we can eliminate that or lessen the effects, they’ll be more effective learners. (The student center) will be a great hub for us to do this.”
The center, which will be made available to students from both Gainesville and Hall County school districts, as well as their families and the community at large, will also include a clinic and wellness facility, as well as suites for local nonprofits to provide onsite services.
It will also be open after traditional school hours to support the needs of the community.
According to Bell, maintenance work will begin this summer, with construction scheduled for this fall.
The Medical Center Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Northeast Georgia Health System based in Gainesville, will help fund the student center through proceeds from its annual charity golf tournament.
GHS Principal Jamie Green described the student center as an “equity incubator,” providing opportunities for those in need to receive support services and additional mentoring so they, too, have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
“I think what it does is it puts all of the good intentions and good deeds that are happening throughout this community in one place that (people) trust and know,” Green said.
Green said centralizing support systems, from food pantries to nonprofit mental health care, on site at the GHS campus will improve access to resources and “help (students) overcome the barriers they face.”