CEO/Superintendent’s Message:

J. Alvin Wilbanks
Doing ordinary extraordinarily well benefits students

Welcome to the 2005-06 school year—a year in which more than 142,000 students will come to us in pursuit of a quality and effective education. We in Gwinnett County Public Schools intend to deliver that for every student.
A lot of activity took place over the summer to ensure we are ready for students on the first day of school. Professional learning, an important part of our continuous improvement efforts, involved thousands of teachers and staff members in honing their knowledge and skills. That commitment to ongoing education is expected of professionals in the learning business… and it makes a difference for students-- in our classrooms, lunchrooms, offices, and all support areas. Qualified teachers in every classroom, supported by quality staff in every support role… that is the key to academic achievement, and why we are so proud of Gwinnett County Public Schools’ workforce.

It also has been a busy summer for school construction. Despite opening 18 new schools in the last two years, we still have pressing classroom needs. We are making a dent in them this fall with the opening of 447 new classrooms in 17 school additions. That means the number of portable classrooms will go down for the third year in a row. We have been working steadily to address our need for more schools and classrooms, and are proud to share this positive news. Although no new schools are coming on line this year, we are opening several large classroom additions. Some of them, in fact, rival the size of many schools in other areas of Georgia.

Another exciting development this year will be the opening of the school system’s new Instructional Support Center (ISC) in December. The ISC will provide classrooms for teacher development and staff training, offices for system-level staff who support the schools, and larger, more functional meetings space for the Board of Education. We look forward to bringing under one roof most of the school system’s operational and instructional teams for the first time in decades. Then we can immediately begin work on turning existing office space over to use by students, further helping with our need for classrooms.

As we welcome the students and teachers back to school, I urge parents to become more involved than ever before in their child’s academic life. Research shows that when parents are involved in their children’s education, students do better in school, have better self-esteem, and are more likely to graduate. Parental involvement contributes in monumental ways to a child’s academic success. We welcome the participation of parents in the work of the school. Our teaching and learning team is not complete without them.

In 2005-06, as it has been in the past, our focus in Gwinnett County Public Schools will be on our core business, teaching and learning, and meeting the highest standards possible. Another way to say it is… 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.

We will build on the actions and strategies that made us successful to this point, knowing that past accomplishments encourage the behavior and can-do attitudes that characterize winning, world-class schools. Then we will welcome and involve everyone—the home, the school, and the community-- in the important work of teaching and learning. In so doing, our commitment to providing students a quality, effective education will remain constant—for 2005-06 and beyond.


J. Alvin Wilbanks