Promoting Ingenuity in the Classroom

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J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public SchoolsBy J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent
Gwinnett County Public Schools

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is committed to ensuring that its students graduate ready for college, careers and citizenship. That means students will need to be prepared by our schools with 21st Century knowledge and skills in order to be successful in post-secondary education, the workplace and life.

Educators and non-educators alike may debate exactly what content and experiences students should be offered, but most Americans agree that every student needs a quality and effective education, and it must be a priority for every community in this great nation.

That is why it is imperative that Gwinnett County Public Schools infuses more creativity and innovation into its educational offerings for students. Simultaneously, the district must expand its emphasis on entrepreneurship, which has contributed immeasurably to the nation”s success in the past and will be essential for the United States to continue to hold a position of prominence on the global stage.

Toward that end, the school district is starting a new collaborative venture within which innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial ideas can be generated, vetted, piloted, evaluated and ultimately implemented at selected schools and/or district wide. The venture has a name – the Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team, or CIET. It has two separate but integrated components: an internal team comprised of GCPS staff, and an external team made up of members representing the community, particularly the business community. Both teams will work directly with me on cultivating ideas, developing strategies, and making recommendations that will promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship within our classrooms, schools and the district at large.

One of CIET”s first charges is the development of a process for both encouraging instructional innovation in the district and capitalizing on the good things already happening in a number of schools. Having such a process will ensure this initiative has the necessary momentum and structure to be effective. This piece is being handled primarily by the internal team. Members of the external team are at work primarily on expanding the existing entrepreneurship program, developing an entrepreneurship career pathway for interested students, and initiating entrepreneurship-related opportunities for students outside of school hours.

You will hear a lot more about CIET as the school year progresses. I think you will be as excited as we are about what the future holds for the creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial young people we have in abundance in Gwinnett County!




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