Volume 3, Issue 1

August 2005

Back to school by the numbers


Back to school for GCPS means more… of everything! More students, more classrooms, more staff, more buses, more meals.
Do the math when you
click here

New school addition
Duluth HS is one of several school communities enjoying
new additions, funded by the penny sales tax.

Share GCPS news with your friends, family, co-workers, and others in the community. They can click here to subscribe to e-News. Thanks for reading!

“…we will emphasize doing the ordinary extraordinarily well. We will not be distracted by trendy programs or faddish thinking. Instead, we will concentrate on doing what we know works best for students.”
Mr. WilbanksJ. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent

Click here to learn more about GCPS’ commitment to student success and the important part parents play on the teaching and learning team and here for tips on staying involved in your child’s education. Click here for the “Help Your Child” series, published by the U.S. Dept. of Education.

What’s new for 2005-06?
Poster with car keys
  • New state attendance lawWhen students aren’t in class, they can’t learn. That’s the driving force behind a new state law that defines truancy as five unexcused absences. Under the law, parents and students will be hearing more about attendance expectations, the importance of regular attendance, and consequences of excessive unexcused absences. The law also ties attendance to student driving privileges. Click here to learn more about attendance guidelines.
Poster with kid and desk
  • New leaders GCPS has just a handful of principals new to their schools this year: Ron Boyd of Benefield ES; Dr. Mary Hensien of Five Forks MS; Nancy Martin of Pinckneyville MS; and Jill Urich of T. Carl Buice School. New community school directors include Nick Williams (Central Gwinnett), DeRick Dunnigan (Dacula), Wayne Ford (Duluth), Dr. Claire Boyce (Meadowcreek), and Gail Robinson (Peachtree Ridge).

Curriculum and assessment update…
  • New state curriculum implementation begins This fall, Georgia students will learn new curriculum in language arts (K-12), 6th grade math, and 6th and 7th grade and high school science classes. With input from teachers, state and national experts, and citizens, the Georgia Department of Education overhauled the state’s curriculum in core areas last year. The strengthened curriculum, called the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), provides clear expectations for assessment, instruction, and student work. Gwinnett’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum aligns with and expands on the new state standards. Segments of the GPS will be implemented over time, with full implementation by 2008-09. Click here for frequently asked questions on the GPS and here to check out the AKS.
  • Gr. 8 CRCT now promotion requirement… New this year, Georgia 8th graders must pass the reading and math sections of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) to earn promotion to the 9th grade. Gwinnett students also must pass the 8th grade writing Gateway and earn passing grades. Click here for more on ES and MS promotion requirements.
Testing photo
  • Solid ACT performance puts GCPS above state, national average More Gwinnett students took the ACT college-entrance exam last year. GCPS’ composite score of 21.2 tops Georgia, U.S. averages. Click here for results. (The College Board, administrator of the SAT, will release test results in the coming weeks.)

State promotes SAT achievement,
provides services for college-bound Georgians
  • State DOE, Governor's Office unveil free SAT practice online… How do you get better at… well… anything? Practice, practice, practice. The state’s new online SAT prep class is free and available to Georgia public school students 24/7. Using a unique pass code, students access interactive lessons, full-length practice tests, and extra practice questions. Through personalized score reports, test-takers identify strengths and weaknesses, check their progress, even get pointers on improving their SAT essays. Teachers will be able to use the SAT course in the classroom, too. Learn more from your local school.

College 411 logo

  • Get info with GAcollege411.org… This one-stop site, sponsored by a number of state agencies and community partners, allows students to “plan, apply, and pay for college.” With a personal “411” account, a student can consider career options, explore colleges in Georgia , and check on financial aid. Coming soon, 411 accountholders can request HS transcripts and apply to Georgia colleges and universities. For 411, click here.

Land buys underway for 2007-12 building program

In a fast-developing county like Gwinnett, it pays to look down the road, buying land when it’s available. Already, GCPS has purchased sites for nine of the 32 to 35 schools planners anticipate needing in the 2007-12 building program. System leaders are developing the next building program to handle continued classroom needs and a growing enrollment. Click here to learn more about the land acquisitions.

BOE authorizes ISC sale to fund
new classrooms ahead of schedule

In December, GCPS will begin a two-phase move into the Instructional Support Center (ISC), which will house offices, expanded professional learning facilities, and Board of Education (BOE) meeting space. Recently, the BOE authorized a “sale leaseback” agreement for the ISC to finance more than 100 more new classrooms. Under the agreement, an investment partnership will buy the facility, complete renovations, and allow the school system to repurchase the property at a later date. In the interim, GCPS will enter into an operating lease with the partnership. Click here for details on the sale leaseback.

Students aren’t the only ‘new faces’ in Gwinnett schools

In 2005-06, GCPS will welcome 7,000 new students, but they’re not the only
“new faces” in our schools. The first day of school found some 1,400
teachers in a GCPS classroom for the first time— both new teachers and
veteran teachers new to Gwinnett. Click here to meet a few of Gwinnett's
new teachers and find out what drew them to GCPS.

Stay in the know on GCPS events, honors, and initiatives

You can keep in the loop on school system news by…

TV Remote

  • Tuning into GCPS TV. Click here for programming and cable channels for GCPS TV.
  • Watching the GCPS Web site. Click here for the home page.
  • Checking your email every other month for this electronic newsletter. Click here for the
    e-News archives.
  • Looking for fall and spring issues of Communiqué,GCPS’ community newsletter. Read the last issue when you click here.

GCPS honors don’t take a summer break

Kudos don’t take a vacation, it seems. This summer, we got word on these individual and team honors… 1st place finishes in the National Geography Challenge Exam and the National Science League’s Life Science competition, the 2004-05 Georgia Administration Career and Technical Educator of the Year, top JROTC instructors in the nation, 41 winning entries in the International Media Festival, a 3rd place finish in the Community Future Problem Solving world competition, Georgia’s 2005-06 representative on the National Youth Leadership Council, and staff members recognized at the state level by the Georgia School Counselors Association. Click here and here for more honors and awards.

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

Fall’s around the corner, and so are a number of education observances and staff recognitions, along with planned assessments. Click here for a list of GCPS dates in September. Need an extra school calendar for that open spot on the fridge? 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 GwinnettSchoolsE-News@gwinnett.k12.ga.us with your feedback and suggestions.


©2005 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 8/05

GCPS: 52 Gwinnett Dr., Lawrenceville, GA, 30045 (770) 963-8651
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2005 Gwinnett County Board of Education
Daniel D. Seckinger, Chairman; Dr. Robert McClure, Vice Chairman;
Carole Boyce; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; and Louise Radloff
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks