When kids are connected to their learning, they come to school, achievement increases, behavior improves, and, most importantly, students graduate ready for college or the workplace. Those learning connections are at the heart of innovative theme schools and unique programs transforming a GCPS education. Just as the new Paul Duke STEM HS gives students in the Norcross Cluster the option of a STEM-focused high school experience, a new theme school planned for the Meadowcreek Cluster will give students the chance to get a jump start on a future in the health sciences.
In late fall of 2018, Meadowcreek HS students and current 8th graders at Lilburn MS and Radloff MS will select the school they will attend in 2019–20— either Meadowcreek or the still-to-be-named Health Science HS, opening in August.
The new theme school will provide a rigorous, college-prep curriculum through the lens of health science, combining coursework with practical experiences in the broad areas of Medical Research, Clinical Practice, and Health Management. (Health Science Academy programs from Meadowcreek will relocate to the new school.) All students will progress through a four-year program that begins with seminar courses and culminates with capstone projects and internships.
“Our graduates will definitely have an advantage as they continue their advanced studies after high school or enter the workplace” says Principal Nicole Mosley. “Their coursework, internships, hands-on learning, certification opportunities, and more will give students a high school resume that sets them apart from other college and job applicants.”
Students graduating from the health science-focused school will be certified in medical basics, but also will have options for more advanced, position-specific certification and licensing programs, even associate’s degrees in a health science field through dual enrollment. The new school will offer four primary health science areas to focus students’ studies— Patient Care, Allied Health, Health Informatics, and Advanced Medicine. Focus areas will give students the foundation to pursue a host of careers, such as emergency responder, radiology tech, physician, medical billing clerk, medical researcher, and nurse.
“Service projects, guest lectures, internships, and other opportunities will help our students develop connections with the medical community here in Gwinnett County,” says Ms. Mosley. “Exposure to a range of careers in health science will prepare our students for whatever their future holds, from the operating room to the business office of a medical practice.”
The new school will use school design and flexibility to connect students with hands-on learning and off-campus experiences supported by community, business, and postsecondary partners. Learning hubs, collaboration suites, and additional science labs will support research and investigation, with studio and performance space for the fine arts. Opportunities to accelerate learning may allow some students to graduate early, and dual-language classes will prepare students to provide language support in a healthcare setting.
The school’s first priority is to serve students in the Meadowcreek Cluster, offering much-needed relief to Meadowcreek HS. Because the theme school is part of the cluster, there’s no need to redraw boundary lines or change feeder patterns for elementary and middle schools. Transportation will be provided for students living in the cluster. However, if the school has slots available after its initial registration period, it will accept permissive transfers from students who attend other Gwinnett high schools. Note that transportation is not provided for students on a permissive transfer.