Pursuing “World-Class” to Meet the Demands of the 21st Century

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Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) takes seriously the concept of “world-class schools.”# It is not a clich## but rather the ideal state we work toward every day throughout the school district. In fact, we have identified a number of characteristics that are found in a world-class school, which is what we want each of our schools to be.

Several current initiatives are moving us toward our vision of becoming “a system of world-class schools.”# For example, two characteristics call for “high academic standards for all”# and “a comprehensive, challenging, and relevant curriculum.”# The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a natural fit with our rigorous Academic Knowledge and Skills curriculum. Together they provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers.

Another trait of a world-class school is the use of effective and engaging instructional strategies. Our eCLASS initiative will help us more fully engage students and make their learning more real and relevant. Through eCLASS we will build on existing information technology systems to provide students and teachers the instructional resources they need to be successful. Add to that our work to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) offerings in grades K”12, helping students gain the knowledge, skills, and expertise they will need to succeed in college, work, and life in the 21st century.

Each of these initiatives depends on having “high-performing and inspiring employees”# who are committed to their students and their profession, another characteristic of world-class schools. Our work with the state to pilot a new evaluation system for teachers and leaders will help make Gwinnett”s very good teachers even better.

Consistent with our culture of continuous quality improvement and our focus on world-class, GCPS seeks to build on what is best about the district today to ensure we are even better in the future. All of the characteristics of world-class schools are important, but another one of particular significance to us is the “productive community and parental partnerships”# we enjoy. Working together, we can keep moving in the same direction – toward realizing our vision of becoming a system of world-class schools!