Gwinnett County Public Schools | Education - Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue 1

October 2006

Grayson High Technical Education Program:

Oct. 14 Open House highlights
facility, faculty, available classes

You're invited to an Open House for the Grayson High Technical Education Program on Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors may tour the building, meet the instructors, and check out classes offered through the program. Visitors can participate in a range of activities that will “show off” hands-on class activities— from creating a keepsake DNA necklace in Biotechnology to getting a bite to eat from the Culinary Arts kitchen. Gwinnettians with green thumbs will want to check out the Horticulture students’ plant sale. For more information, call Kristie Martin, assistant

Open House ... In photos above (clockwise from right), students in the Grayson High Technical Education Program get hands-on experience in instructional areas such as biotechnology, commercial photography, music technology, and culinary arts.

principal, at 770-554-7082. Click here to learn more about the event and here for more about the program.

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“Experts agree there will continue to be rapid growth in Gwinnett for the foreseeable future. So we must continue to build schools in the most efficient and cost-effective way if we want to maintain the quality educational program our parents and communities expect and deserve.”

Click here for a message from CEO/Superintendent Wilbanks on GCPS’ classroom and technology needs.

Mr. Wilbanks

J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent

GCPS plans ahead to ensure quick, efficient opening
of new schools under ‘The Plan’

Although construction of schools in Phase I of "The Plan" is contingent on voter approval of the sales tax extension Nov. 7, work is already underway to ensure new schools open as quickly and efficiently as possible. As a result, some of the preliminary work in the Lanier Cluster will involve students and families in the North Gwinnett area before the new Lanier Cluster is established. Click here for an update on the proposed Lanier Cluster and here for an overview of The Plan for bringing building and technology needs in check by 2014.

Safe schools a priority for Gwinnett

Public awareness regarding school safety is high due to a series of incidents around the nation. Safe and secure schools and the well being of students and staff are a priority in Gwinnett County Public Schools. However, it’s important to realize that, in an open society like ours, schools are one of the safest places in the community. Click here to learn more about school safety plans and other safe-schools initiatives that are in place in Gwinnett.

First months of school generate some impressive numbers

With a couple of months in the classroom under our belts, the staff and students of Gwinnett County Schools (GCPS) have a great start on the 2006–07 school year. Click here for a look at the school start by the numbers…

Kids in a Crowd

School system names Teacher of the Year finalists

Congratulations to the six finalists who will vie for 2007 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year! The six educators are Cindy Apley Rose of Shiloh Middle, Tiffany English of Sugar Hill Elementary, Dana Griffith of Berkmar Middle, Charles J. Kachmar of Grayson High, Sarah Skinner of Peachtree Ridge High, and Matthew M. Winking of Phoenix High. In September, the pool of 105 local honorees was narrowed to a list of 20 semifinalists before the six finalists were selected by a review panel. As the only finalist from the elementary level, Ms. English becomes GCPS’ Elementary School Teacher of the Year. At a Nov. 2 banquet, the middle and high school level winners and the 2007 Gwinnett Teacher of the Year will be announced. Click here to meet the finalists and here for more on the school system’s semifinalists and a list of local school winners.

Gwinnett test-takers fare well on assessments,
measured by state, national, and world-class standards

Here are highlights reported earlier this fall:

  • SAT highlights… Gwinnett’s SAT average of 1541 is 23 points above the national average and 64 points above the Georgia average, the largest-ever margin between GCPS’ average and national and state averages. The math subtest score of 532 is a system record. GCPS’ average score of 501 on the new writing test was well above state and national averages. 82% of GCPS seniors took the SAT, compared to 48% in the nation. Click here for details.
  • ACT highlights… GCPS’ average composite of 21.6 tied the system’s highest-ever composite and topped state (20.2) and national (21.1) averages. Students saw improvement in all subtests, which include English, math, reading, and science reasoning. On the optional writing test, GCPS test-takers averaged 21.6, markedly higher than the state average of 20.8. Click here for more information.
  • Advanced Placement (AP)… The number of AP exams taken by Gwinnett students has tripled since 1999, with 66.4% of GCPS students earning a 3 or higher on tests taken, compared to 55.8% in the state and 59.6% globally. Many colleges grant credit for these top scores. Click here for results.

System hosts visitors for ‘best practices’ in professional learning

GCPS recently played host to two groups eager to learn a lesson or two about the school system’s professional learning programs.

  • In a world-class professional learning exchange, a group of educators from Japan traveled to Georgia to meet with Gwinnett educators to share best practices in educating and developing leaders. The National Staff Development Council selected GCPS as the host site based on the district’s strong reputation for providing ongoing, high-quality professional learning for all educators. Click here for details.
  • The American Productivity Quality Center brought a team of educators and corporate leaders to Gwinnett in September to learn about Gwinnett’s work in creating collaborative, team environments and tying professional learning to student achievement. Click here to learn more.

Japanese Visitors

Visitors from Japan and Gwinnett educators share best practices for professional learning.

GCPS joins Partnership Gwinnett

GCPS leaders also hit the road last month, joining county and chamber leaders in Virginia as part of the Partnership Gwinnett initiative. Through Partnership Gwinnett, local leaders will visit and learn from several benchmark communities, including Plano, Tex.; Fairfax, Va.; and neighboring Cobb County. The study of these communities will focus on transportation issues, education, and economic development. Click here to learn more.

State curriculum phase-in continues in 2006–07

Grade by grade and subject by subject, Gwinnett and the state’s other school systems are phasing in the revised, more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). Gwinnett’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum includes and goes beyond these state-required learning concepts, ensuring that students are well prepared for the next grade level. Click here to learn more about the curriculum phase-in and related state testing changes.

GCPS seeks input on instructional materials

Proposed social studies materials are available for review this month. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction invites interested parents, employees, and citizens to review and to provide input on proposed instructional materials for grades 6–12 social studies. The review runs through Oct. 31. All materials are available for review at the Instructional Support Center and the Grayson High Technical Education Program Building. Click here for dates, times, and more about the instructional materials review process.

Annual review of AKS curriculum under way

The school system also invites input on Gwinnett’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum through an annual review. Employees and community members have until Nov. 3, to submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS. Suggestions will be considered for recommendation to the Board. Adopted AKS changes would be implemented for 2007-08. Click here for a review form and more information.

Pass the word ... GCPS seeks high-quality teachers

Certified teachers, student teachers, and December graduates are invited to GCPS’ Certified Teacher Job Fair, hosted by Peachtree Ridge High (located at 1555 Old Peachtree Rd. in Suwanee). The Nov. 4 fair requires no reservation. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to noon. Click here to download an application or call the Application Line at 678-301-6073.

Japanese Visitors

Gwinnett administrators speak to a candidate at a past job fair.

Food For Thought...

GCPS has immediate openings for school cafeteria food assistants

  • Pay starts at $9.17 per hour.
  • Most jobs are 4 to 5 fast-paced hours and qualify for benefits.
  • Uniforms and paid training are provided.
Call 678-301-6000 for an application or click here to apply online

Speaking of nutrition...

Nutri-Café serves up online nutrition education


Each day in Gwinnett schools, the professionals in the School Nutrition Program (SNP) work to make nutrition a priority— both by providing nutritious meals and by educating students about the importance of making healthy choices. And thanks to an innovative online tool, helping students to choose foods wisely just got a little easier. Click here to go through the "serving line" at the Nutri-Café, GCPS’ virtual cafeteria. Online, parents and students can choose from the food items available at their school, assess the nutritional value of their choices, and print breakfast or lunch plans in just a few minutes.

World-class GCPS schools, staff, students earn honors

With a vision of becoming a system of world-class schools, GCPS defines a "world class" organization as one that is acknowledged, accepted, admired, and emulated by customers, stakeholders, professional peers, and competitors alike. Recent honors continue to underscore the system’s progress toward that world-class vision. Consider the following… 50 winners in the International Media Festival with 17 entries earning the Judge’s Favorite award; two JROTC Distinguished Unit Award winners; perfect scores on college tests; a 2006 Intel and Scholastic School of Distinction Award winner; a bronze Telly Award for a GCPS TV video; the 2006 Silver Award for Best Practice in Distance Learning Programming; two National Champions in the 2006 KC3 Citizenship in Motion Awards; state and national finishers in Web and programming competitions; two state winners and four regional awards from the Georgia School Counselors Association; the state’s top new educator in technical education; 25 teachers certified by the state as Master Teachers; 26 schools recognized by the state for gains in student achievement or high levels of student achievement; three schools among the "Top 25" Georgia high schools for highest average SAT scores for 2006; Outstanding Educational Support Staff Award winner; NAACP Gwinnett Image

Governor's Cup

On Oct. 11, Gov. Sonny Perdue (center with cup) awarded the Governor's Cup for Class AAAAA to Dr. Steve Flynt (left), Peachtree Ridge High principal. The Governor's Cup recognizes Georgia's Class AAAAA school making the largest gains in SAT scores over a three-year period. Peachtree Ridge received a $2,000 grant. As a region winner, Grayson High received a $1,000 grant.

Education Award recipient; presenters at state and national conferences; staff and student scholarship winners and grant recipients; top-ranked sports teams. And that’s just since the last issue. Click here and here to keep up with honors. Award lists are updated periodically as schools, staff members, and students are honored at the state and national levels. During the school year, "News You Can Use" is a weekly collection of honors and upcoming events submitted by local schools.

Looking ahead at the GCPS calendar

The fall calendar is full of education observances and staff recognitions, along with planned assessments. Click here for a list of GCPS dates in October and November. Need an extra school calendar for that open spot on the fridge? Click here.

Let’s stay in touch…
GCPS Television
  • Tune into GCPS TV. Click here for programming and cable channels for GCPS TV.
  • Visit the GCPS Web site. Click here for the home page.
  • Check your email every other month for this electronic newsletter. Click here for the e-News archives.
  • Look for Communiqué, GCPS’ community newsletter. Read the spring issue when you click here.

We would like to hear your suggestions for topics to cover in future issues of this publication, or ways we can keep in touch if you do not wish to receive this e-mail publication. Thank you for your continued support of public education and of Gwinnett County Public Schools' efforts to become a system of world-class schools. Please e-mail with your feedback and suggestions.


©2006 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 10/06

GCPS: 437 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee, GA 30024-2978 (678) 301-6000
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2006 Gwinnett County Board of Education
Dr. Robert McClure, Chairman; Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman;
Carole Boyce; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; and Daniel D. Seckinger,
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks