Each May, a rite of passage takes place that goes to the heart of the Gwinnett County Public School”s Mission Statement,"?to pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills? resulting in measured improvement against local, national, and world-class standards." Students from every high school in the county descend on the Gwinnett Center to take advanced placement (AP) exams administered by the National College Board. Students arrive on exam day with one goal in mind ? to leave with college credit. A record 9,944 AP courses were taken this year by GCPS students, many by a 2009 graduating class that earned $94 million in college scholarships with 89 percent advancing to post-secondary study, from homes in one of the most diverse districts in the nation.
But, there is a problem. The program is very expensive to administer for the district and for students, with many top students taking multiple exams in various subject areas. One organization stepped in and extended $34,000 to the high schools in the district to offset the fees paid by students to the College Board for the exam and to offset the cost of teacher training needed to prepare for upper level material. That organization was the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) (3) charitable organization under the guidance of Gwinnett County Public Schools, in conjunction with an external board of trustees led by current president David Seago, of Georgia Power. Established in 2006, the GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc. is dedicated to providing financial resources to enrich, enhance and sustain the world-class standards of Gwinnett County Public Schools.