Board's beliefs, commitments are foundation for school improvement

Board's beliefs, commitments are foundation for school improvement

The new school year is under way and with it came new schools, new students, and new programs that will benefit Gwinnett County Public Schools. However, we also are continuing many of the good things that have helped to make this school system a success. For example, our focus continues to be on teaching and learning, with an emphasis on learning. Another continuing initiative is the Gwinnett County Board of Education’s participation in the Reform Governance in Action (RGA) program-- a program that I believe will have a longlasting positive impact on our school system and community. GCPS was selected to take part, and is now entering its second year of a two-year program focused on improving the governance of public schools. RGA is built on the belief that school systems, not individual schools, are the entity that can best reform education to ensure that all students achieve.

RGA teaches that a reform-minded Board must set forth in policy what it believes about public education (its Core Beliefs and Commitments) and the strategic direction it believes is best for the community’s schools (its Theory of Action for Change). Our Board formally adopted its beliefs and commitments in December, but in reality they are fundamental principles that have guided the Board’s decisions and actions for the last 11 years.

I hope you have already become familiar with the Core Beliefs and Commitments, as we have been sharing them internally and externally for five months. A video that highlights them was shown during the Area Board Meetings this spring, and continues to air on GCPS TV. We also have featured them in a system publication on GCPS’ strategic direction and on the web site.

The beliefs and commitments are the foundation for the development of the Board’s “theory of action for change,” or in other words, its approach to improving its schools. The Board adopted its Theory of Action for Student Achievement policy in July. You will hear and learn much more about the theory of action as the new school year begins because it will be important for everyone— employees as well as education partners at home and in the community— to know the philosophy underlying the Board’s governance decisions.

In the coming months we will continue to share the Board’s core beliefs and commitments with employees, parents, and the greater Gwinnett community. After all, when it comes right down to it, it will take all of us working together, embracing the Board’s core beliefs to make the theory of action happen for Gwinnett students. What connects all we’ve done and achieved in the past with what we intend to do and achieve in the future is our staunch commitment to student learning. That commitment provides the bedrock for our continued effectiveness.

J. Alvin Wilbanks,