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4. External Scan

a. External Scan (separate section or integrated)(Optional)

Guidelines / Requirements for compliance in this section (from the Peer-Response Rubric):

A review of external sources such as educational research, emerging technologies, educational technology in schools, and community/business is provided and serves to inform the System’s visioning and planning process.


Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) continuously scans and identifies new instructional technology opportunities, emerging technologies, and opportunities in the community that are components of our system mission and vision planning process.

Educational research

GCPS maintains a professional learning library as well as a number of professional and graduate-level research resources. While many of these research tools are online and available to every GCPS staff member, such as the Education Research Information Clearinghouse (ERIC), a large number of periodicals are also routed regularly throughout the school district. Some examples of these periodicals are specific to instructional technology:

GCPS is also closely affiliated with the University of Georgia and its Educational Technology Training Center (ETTC), which provides a large number of technology training sessions for staff members at all levels. As noted in the charts below, for the last two years the ETTC has provided technology training for GCPS technical staff and teachers. The Information Management Division (IMD) works with the ETTC to support Local School Technology Coordinators (LSTCs), Technology Support Technicians (TSTs), and Media Specialists and Clerks.

Unit Hour
Total Hour
TST Windows XP, Novell, 2-day
TST Windows 9x
TST Quality Customer Service
Grand Total


Unit Hour
Total Hour
TST Quality Customer Service
Media Media Café Plan
Grand Total

Community / Business

GCPS has partnered with business leader IBM for a number of years now to promote systemic and continuous improvement of our technology standards. IBM's consulting resources ensure a solid augmentation of our technical staff as well as providing valuable assistance in the development and maintenance of equipment. Through the partnership, GCPS is informed of new world-class technology solutions for our business and educational processes. Since 1997, Gwinnett County Public Schools and IBM have been working as partners to design and deploy standard technology solutions across the school district. From the inception of the partnership, IBM has been an integrated part of the GCPS team that has and continues to provide services to design, deploy, and support technology integration in the GCPS environment. As a strategic partner, IBM has defined and utilized standards-based, best practice driven technology processes to deploy standard hardware models across the enterprise as a key part of the overall technology strategy. By implementing a standard, best-practices framework, GCPS can accurately forecast and plan technology for new schools/additions, systems needs, and old technology replacement for years to come.

As a qualified partner serving as a system integrator, IBM provides project design and planning services as well as deployment resources to support large scale technology rollouts across the school system. In addition, IBM also helps IMD design, manage and support GCPS’s complex network, which is the largest network in Georgia. After nearly a decade of partnership, IBM has helped GCPS develop technology strategies and plans that span multiple years. GCPS utilizes a "use and release" strategy for accessing critical IBM technical resources that gives GCPS timely access to key technical expertise when they need it but without locking GCPS into retaining resources they no longer need once a project is complete. These resources used on an as-needed basis (architects, consultants, security experts, and other "hot skills") have added significant value at GCPS during major technology implementations allowing GCPS to move forward when GCPS technology staff resources were not available or did not have the required expertise.

The Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce is also closely affiliated with GCPS, and provides another source of innovation and input to our technology and business processes. In fact, a recent program entitled "Principal for a Day" invited 48 business leaders to share school leadership activities and foster collaboration between businesses and schools. Held annually during American Education Week, the 2005-2006 program invited leaders from the following businesses:

  • 1818 Club
  • AJC Gwinnett News
  • Anderson Insurance Company
  • Atlanta Real Estate Specialists
  • Atlanta Special Events, Inc.
  • BellSouth
  • Bravura Ventures
  • Brock Design Group
  • CEO Business Center
  • Community Foundation for NE Georgia
  • Cotter Properties
  • Cypress Care
  • E2E Resources, Inc.
  • Emory Eastside Medical Ctr.
  • EMS Technologies, Inc.Garrard Construction Group
  • Georgia Power Co.
  • Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
  • Gwinnett Community Bank
  • Homestead Bank
  • Jackson EMC
  • Jim Cowart Residential, LLC
  • Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • MA&O, Inc.
  • McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
  • Merial
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Morsberger Group
  • Peoples Bank and Trust
  • Pond & Company
  • Precision Planning, Inc.
  • RBC Centura Bank
  • Richardson Housing Group
  • Russell Landscape Group, Inc.
  • SunTrust Bank
  • The Survis Group
  • Synergy America, Inc.
  • Target Market Trends
  • UGA, Lawrenceville
  • Wal-Mart (Suwanee)
  • Winfield Realty Group, Inc.
  • Winmark Homes


Comments from business leaders ranged from,"what a great opportunity to see first-hand the role of principal," to "very informative, encouraging and humbling... It gave me great insight on how our educators are continually having to reinvent their job to meet the needs of students." Principals also responded positively saying what a great opportunity this was to share their programs with influential leaders and how much they enjoyed discussing the similarities between their jobs.

Emerging technology

Gartner Research is also a key information resource for maintaining world-class technology. Through various conferences, collaborative events, and research articles, the Division of Information Management can make strategic decisions about the best choices for the GCPS network and computing environment.

GCPS also participates in the Georgia Educational Technology Conference (GA ETC), which provides sharing and learning opportunities for school- and central-office-based personnel. Focused exclusively on instructional technology, the GA ETC provides cross-district collaboration as well, since each district in attendance has tried applications and solutions that may be useful for GCPS.

Copyright 2006 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All Rights Reserved.
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