Volume 2, Issue 4

February 2005

GCPS superintendent in top 4 in U.S.

Since December, CEO/Superintendent
J. Alvin Wilbanks has earned a number of prestigious honors. He’s been:

  • Named 2005 Georgia Superintendent of the Year,
  • Selected as one of the four finalists for 2005 National Superintendent of the Year,
  • Honored as Gwinnett County Citizen of the Year by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and
  • Recognized as "Educational Celebrity" by Georgia's Leadership Institute for School Improvement.

J. Alvin Wilbanks
CEO/Superintendent J.
Alvin Wilbanks

Everyone in Gwinnett County Public Schools can be proud of his tremendous achievements, which Mr. Wilbanks credits to the great work being done in the school system every day. Click here to read more about Mr. Wilbanks’ accomplishments and leadership philosophy.

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!

Parents help their child— and the school— by making reading a priority at home,” says J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/superintendent. “Reading matters to our students’ success, and so does your encouragement and example. So pick up a book today… and read!”

Click here for more about the
March 2 literacy celebration, Read Across America Day.

2004 a banner year for GCPS, staff, students

Just a few weeks into 2005 and GCPS staff and students already are racking up the honors and awards (see the stories below), but let’s not let the 2004 calendar year get away from us without reflecting on some GCPS highlights. Click here to learn more about…

  • How GCPS’ commitment to teaching and learning is helping students achieve at high levels and helping schools close the achievement gap;
  • How responsible stewardship supports teaching and learning;
  • How aggressive building and staffing practices prepare us for the future; and
  • How GCPS students, staff, and schools are leaders among their peers at the state, national, and world-class levels.

Recent GCPS honors
  • IV Bray of Berkmar HS is one of 18 U.S. teachers honored with the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement (AP) for Excellence in Science and Mathematics.
  • Recognized as a “consistent top performer,” Riverside ES is the 2005 Georgia School of Excellence (SOE) in Student Achievement for U.S. Congressional District 7. Click here for details.
  • In the past few months, Level Creek ES Visual Art Teacher Debi West has been showered with accolades, including 2005 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year (TOTY) and 2005 National Elementary Art Educator of the Year. Watch for a gathering “storm” of attention: Ms. West is one of 10 finalists for 2006 State TOTY. The 2006 Georgia TOTY will be named March 18. Click here for more on this honor and here for a Q & A with this dynamic educator.
  • Top students selected their most influential teachers for the STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Recognition) Awards. Six GCPS students and teachers will represent the system at regional competition. Click here to learn more.
  • Counselors play a vital role in supporting teaching and learning in our schools. During recent National Counseling Week celebrations, four counselors and an administrator were honored by GCPS. Click here for short bios on county counseling winners.

Debi West
Gwinnett Teacher of the Year Debi West engages children in active learning in her art classroom.

  • 2005 Media Specialist of the Year Anne Newhouse of Susan Stripling ES stands out as a creative innovator and tech-savvy educator. Click here for details.

Click here for more honors and awards. This list is updated periodically to include additional news releases as schools, staff members, and students are honored at the state and national levels.

GCPS staff, students pledge more than $517,000 to United Way

Staff and students broke the half-million dollar mark in the 2004 United Way campaign, pledging more than $517,000— far above the school system’s goal of $450,000. “Schools are the heart of any community, so it’s fitting that the staff and students of our schools would give so generously to support this community initiative,” says Jean Walker, who co-chaired the GCPS United Way campaign with Kelly Herndon.

Click here to learn about United Way in metro Atlanta.

System opens new classrooms in new year

On the first day back from Winter Break, students in four Gwinnett schools were finding their way to new classrooms. New additions came online for G. H. Hopkins ES, Dacula MS, and J. E. Richards MS.

In addition, new classrooms were made student-ready in a previously unfinished section of Grayson HS.

The construction projects, part of the school system’s 2002 building program, increased capacity at the schools and added specialized instructional areas. Click here to check out remaining projects in the building program.

Teacher Fair set for Feb. 28

Between continued growth and teacher retirements, the school system will hire more than 1,200 highly qualified educators for the 2005-06 school year. One way to find those cream-of-the-crop teachers is through interviews at the GCPS Certified Teacher Employment Fair, set for February 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gwinnett Center. Appointments are required for interviews. Click here for an application and here for contact information.

State education news
  • Gold Dome update: Georgia Learns— Gov. Perdue’s legislative agenda for K–12 education— includes a master teacher program, Georgia Virtual HS, local flexibility, and more money for education. Capitol watchers say school districts shouldn’t expect reimbursement for two straight years of education budget cuts, but the proposed education budget of $6.4 billion is an increase of 8% over the previous year. Now it’s all up to the General Assembly. Click here to keep up with the status of education-related bills as they bounce around the Gold Dome.
  • Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2): What is excellence in education? How do we measure progress toward educational excellence? State School Superintendent Kathy Cox and Gov. Sonny Perdue explored those questions in a televised Community Conversation on Jan. 27, facilitated at sites around the state, including Peachtree Ridge HS. The Governor’s Education Finance Task Force will consider input from this event and other planned “community conversations” in determining the future funding formula. Click here for more about the Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2) initiative.
  • AP Increases: A recent College Board report says more Georgia students are taking rigorous, college-level Advanced Placement (AP) classes and more are earning credit for college classes by scoring well on the AP exams. Click here to review Georgia stats and here to learn about AP classes and exams in a range of subjects. Contact your HS to learn how your student can participate in this challenging coursework.
  • Education. Go Get It!: Statewide, about 64% of students graduate from HS and less than a third enroll in college. “Education. Go Get It!” is a new statewide partnership— uniting education, business, community, and government— to motivate all students to stay in school and reach their potential through education. Click here for details from the Georgia Department of Education.

Education. Go Get It.

  • GHSGT science practice: A new online tool can help the state’s juniors improve their performance on the science portion of the Georgia HS Graduation Test. With a password, students access the Web-based question bank at school, testing themselves on questions similar to those used on the actual test. The test bank is open until the test is administered March 30. Click here for more information.

Click here
for GCPS TV Programming.

Check out upcoming GCPS calendar dates

The coming weeks are full of education celebrations, some important assessments, and a handful of holidays. Click here for a list of upcoming GCPS dates. If you need next year’s calendar, 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. 2/05

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