Student Services



Child Find 
In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), the Emanuel County School system seeks to ensure that all children with disabilities (birth through age 21) residing in our jurisdiction and who are in need of special education and related services or early intervention services are identified, located, and evaluated. This also includes those attending private school and home school.  Final identification of students with disabilities and programming for such students occurs only after an appropriate evaluation and a determination by a Multidisciplinary Placement Team.

If the “child find” process indicates that the child/student may require special education and/or supportive services in order to participate in and benefit from the general education environment and curriculum, the student shall be referred to the Multidisciplinary Team to determine the student’s eligibility for special education services.

If you suspect that a student has a disability and has not been identified and is not being served, please contact:

Dr. Susan Rutherford
Director of Student Services
Emanuel County Schools
201 North Main Street
Swainsboro, Georgia 30401
(478) 237-6674


State defined Alternate Diploma (students who enter 9th grade during 2020-2021 year)
Only students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take the GAA are eligible to receive the Alternate Diploma.  The Alternate Diploma is the document awarded to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who were assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards. While this diploma is standards-based and aligned with the state requirements for the Regular High School Diploma, it is not a Regular High School Diploma.  For postsecondary and transition opportunities, many of those institutions will still allow it for transition opportunities and, like with the Regular Diploma, there would be admissions criteria for postsecondary institutions.  The Alternate Diploma option will be available for students who entered ninth grade during the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who were in high school prior to the 2020-2021 school year who take the GAA and complete other requirements will still receive the Regular Diploma.

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (School Choice)
Senate Bill 10 allows parents to exercise public and private school choice for their child/children who receive special education services.  Parents may choose to transfer their child/children to another public school or private school in Georgia. To qualify for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program, a student must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • Student Eligibility Criteria 1- A student must have a parent/guardian who currently lives in Georgia and has been a resident for at least one calendar year.
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 2- A student was enrolled and completed a school year in a Georgia public school in a grade (Kindergarten through twelfth grade).
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 3- A student was reported as attending a Georgia public school by a school district(s) during mandatory student counts conducted annually in October and March.
  • Student Eligibility Criteria 4 - A student does not need to have an Individualized Education Plan  for the entire school year to qualify for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program.
    • A student must have received special education services at some point during the school year through an individualized education plan.
    • A student must be reported by a school district(s) in either an October or March full-time equivalent student count or in a final student record as a student who received special education services by the end of the previous school year.

Public School Choice Options:
Option 1:  A parent/guardian can request a transfer to another public school within his/her school system as long as available space exists at the school, and the school has a program with the services agreed to in the student’s existing individualized education program.  If the parent chooses this option, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation to the school.

Option 2:  The parent/guardian may request a transfer to a school in another school system if there is available space, and the system and school has a program with the services agreed to in the student’s existing individualized education program.  A school system must agree to accept the student; however, if the parent chooses this option and the school system accepts the child, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation to a school in that system.

Option 3:  The parent/guardian may also request a transfer to one of the state schools for the deaf and/or blind operated by the State Board of Education.  Acceptance into a state school will depend if that setting is appropriate for the student’s needs.  If the parent chooses this option, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation to the state school.  Please contact the Georgia Department of Education for more information about transferring to a state school.

Private School Choice Option:
If you are interested in transferring your child to a private school in Georgia, you may be able to take advantage of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship.  These scholarships provide funding that can be used to offset tuition costs at participating private schools in the state of Georgia. 

For more information on the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship and the parent application process, please contact the Georgia Department of Education at 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30334; Telephone (404) 656-2800; Toll Free Telephone: (800) 311-3627 (GA); Fax: (404) 651-8737; or Email.


For questions related to these school choice options, please contact Emanuel County Schools' Student Services Department at 478-237-6674.

The window for requesting school choice/transfer through this process occurs for a two-week period each May.  Requests for school choice must be submitted in writing.  You may send requests via email or United States Postal Service to the contact information listed on this website. Approval or denial of requests will be sent to your home address by July. 


Service Animals
The Emanuel County School System acknowledges its responsibility to permit individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by a “service animal” in its school buildings, in classrooms, and at school functions, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, 28 CFR Part 35.  Please contact the Department of Student Services should you require more information regarding Emanuel County Schools' procedures/guidelines for service animals.