Gaitway High School

Fieldstone Farm’s Gaitway High School is a public high school for students with a history of poor attendance and poor academic performance. Since 2006, the partnership between Fieldstone Farm and Geauga Educational Service Center (Geauga ESC) has combined a learning opportunity with hands-on experiential learning opportunities with horses and the farm environment. The program has been extremely successful as these students have managed to find success, personally and academically, through the magic of the horses. They are attending school, earning better grades and subsequently, moving on to post-secondary education or career opportunities. It has been life-changing! A building addition to house Gaitway High School was completed in 2008 and up to 24 students can be served in this alternative setting.

Gaitway Job Training Program

In keeping with the standard of individualized educational programming, each student’s plan while in the Job Training Program, will be tailored to their needs and interests. Initially, students receive pre-vocational training to develop general work skills, work related social skills and exposure to the equine and ground maintenance vocations.

Depending on student progress with individual goals, participants will be given new responsibilities, possibly making other opportunities available:

  • Auburn Career Center
  • Work Study Program
  • Post-Secondary Option
  • JTC site of interest to the student. All opportunities contribute to the student’s vocational and overall secondary school success.

Plain Dealer article on Gaitway High School

The horses do much of the teaching at Gaitway High School.

Sure, humans instruct the math and English classes, but once those morning lessons are complete, students head for the barn to groom, feed and interact with the 35 horses housed there….read more

WKYC covers Gaitway High School… read more

Gaitway School Mission:

Gaitway School exists for high school students who thrive best in a non-traditional environment with support from caring, experienced professionals. Gaitway School offers connection to the natural environment, the opportunity to experience a relationship with horses and the setting to allow experiential application of classroom theory. Gaitway School is devoted to each student’s personal success.

Gaitway School Vision:
Find and develop strength in every child.

Gaitway School Tenets:
We believe that every child is worthy of an education.
We believe that every child benefits from positive relationships with adults.
We believe that every child deserves community support.
We believe that a connection to nature nurtures growth.
We believe that all children are ‘good’ children.


The Gaitway School has proven to be an asset to the community based on the following:

  • 100% of eligible students have graduated
  • 100% have been promoted to the next grade level on time
  • 100% have improved grades and test scores
  • Students have decreased the number of absent days by as much as 94%

Eligibility and Enrollment

Placement is determined by each student’s IEP team, referred by student’s home school district and approved by the Geauga ESC Program Administrator.

For enrollment information, district placement officials can call Lindsay Baar at 440.708.0013, ext. 152 or 440.823.4582.

Regularly scheduled progress meetings by the IEP team continue to re-evaluate each student’s placement. Students are expected to demonstrate academic and/or behavioral progress.

Basic Criteria for students who are eligible for enrollment include, but are not limited to:

  • Students in 9th – 12th grade and under 22 years of age.
  • Students who have failed or are currently failing at least one core course at their home institution.
  • Student whose disability has gotten in the way of his or her success in the public school environment.
  • Students who have diagnosed mental health issues excluding bullying/conduct disorder issues.
  • Students who are able to manage an open-campus setting.
  • Students have completed current psychiatric, psychological and educational evaluations as well as an IEP if necessary.

Students who are ineligible:

  • Students who display severely assaultive behaviors.
  • Students who have serious animal abuse histories.
  • Students who are fire-setters or are a high risk for fire-setting.