Connect with us

A ‘Promising’ New School Year

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

As Gwinnett County Public Schools prepares to welcome over 180,000 students and close to 12,000 teachers on August 6th, we also reflect with pride on the highlights of the past year. Here are but a few examples.

We began 2017-2018 on an interesting note as two hurricanes and a total solar eclipse provided rich “teachable moments” for students. We also made history after losing all three planned “snow” make-up days — in September! When snow arrived in January, we were compelled to try the first-ever “Digital Learning Days” we had been studying for some time. The initial effort went very well and we plan to continue the digital approach to ensuring students have 180 instructional days, regardless of Mother Nature’s whims.

A major development last year was the launch of our Performance-Based Teacher Compensation System. A new salary schedule was introduced that allows a teacher to advance one “performance step” each year based on a Proficient or better evaluation. This and other improvements in the salary schedule were well-received by our teachers. In 2018-2019 we implement phase 2 – Performance-Based Awards for the top 30 percent of our teachers, districtwide and at every school. We believe the new compensation system will help us recruit and retain the best teachers for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

In May, the Class of 2018 graduated as our largest ever with more than 12,600 graduates. The class included almost 3,400 Honor Graduates, and earned over $207 million in scholarships, not including HOPE. Twenty seniors earned appointments to our nation’s military academies. About 84 percent of the graduates are continuing their education, over 1,000 moved right into the workforce, and 435 joined the armed services. Our graduates make us proud!

Looking ahead to the 2018-2019 school year, preparations are in full swing. Among the exciting things on tap are the opening of the new Paul Duke STEM HS in the Norcross Cluster, two more Dual Language Immersion programs, a new JROTC unit at Central Gwinnett HS, a JA Academy at Parkview HS, and a Phoenix HS program housed at Sugarloaf Mills. At these schools and across the district, our staff will be focused on student achievement and operational excellence. That’s what makes Gwinnett so “promising,” and why we approach the new year with optimism about what it will bring!