Mr. Wilbanks' remarks from the 2008 Area Board Meetings









Mr. Wilbanks' remarks from the 2008 Area Board Meetings

GCPS' Theory of Action:
Sustaining a culture of success through action on achievement, school environment, partnerships
At the recent Area Board Meetings, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks spoke to citizens and staff about Gwinnett County Public Schools’ efforts to sustain a culture of success. GCPS has many accomplishments, however, we constantly work to develop strategies and implement actions in three key areas that will sustain our successes of the past and move us to higher levels of success in the future. These areas are student achievement, the school environment, and the strength of partnerships. eNews shares the following highlights from the superintendent’s message with readers.

Successful Schools Focus on Student Achievement -- A strong, stable governance team;
-- Clear direction for the school district; and
-- A “coherent organization” capable of carrying out the direction and sustaining improvements over time.
  • The Board’s Theory of Action was developed as part of the work with RGA. It…
-- Builds on past success, evolving from over 12 years of work in improving student achievement;
-- Drives ongoing improvement; and
-- Is connected to the Board’s “Beliefs and Commitments” and makes them operational in our schools.
  • The Theory of Action is based on the Board’s beliefs about how children learn, what drives adult behavior, and what conditions create organizational excellence. It describes the actions that the Board believes will lead to fulfillment of its beliefs and commitments.
  • Gwinnett’s Theory of Action is called Managed Performance/Empowerment. “At its heart is the Board’s belief that Gwinnett County Public Schools must manage for performance… within flexible parameters that balance accountability with empowerment, according to the needs and performance of individual schools.”

Successful Schools Ensure the Right Environment for Teaching and Learning
  • Ensuring that “right environment” is a priority for Gwinnett County Public Schools. In fact, it is addressed in the district’s strategic goals and in the Board’s beliefs and commitments.
  • The facts are clear:
-- Gwinnett schools are among the safest, most inviting places a child can be in our community.
-- The vast majority of students never need to be disciplined beyond the classroom level.
-- We deal with misbehavior in an appropriate manner to protect the well-being of students and the learning environment.
  • Our school system is committed to…
-- Providing safe and orderly schools for students and staff;
-- Protecting the school environment for the sake of students who value learning; and
-- Enforcing disciplinary processes firmly but fairly.

Successful Schools Have Strong Partnerships
  • An effective instructional program and improvement strategy, plus a school environment that supports teaching and learning, are further enhanced by the strength of GCPS’ community partnerships.
  • GCPS benefits immeasurably from the collaborative working relationship among county government, the business community, and the school district. What we have here is almost unheard of in large, urban communities.
  • Our most significant partnership, however, is between parents and the school their children attend. There is no doubt about the positive impact involved parents have on a child’s success in school.
  • Next fall, we will roll out a new parental involvement campaign called “Be There.” It focuses on encouraging parents to be involved with their children… connecting with them in simple, yet important ways. Our lives are busy… this isn’t a new program to implement, but rather a campaign to remind us and help us as a community to make the most of the time we spend with our children.
  • Be an advocate for public education, your school, and your school district for the sake of your children and the overall good of the community.