Each new school year brings a host of innovative programs, connecting GCPS students with potential careers, hands-on learning, and real-world opportunities. Here’s just a snapshot of what’s new for this school year. Watch for more about these and other programs throughout the fall as we visit Gwinnett schools to share an inside look at how teaching and learning in Gwinnett County Public Schools is preparing our students for their future.
#AwakenTheWonder with McClure Health Science HS, Gwinnett’s newest theme high school! Serving the Meadowcreek Cluster, McClure will combine required coursework with practical medical and health industry experiences to prepare students to pursue health science careers after graduation as well as postsecondary studies in related fields. With focus areas of Patient Care, Allied Health, Health Informatics, and Advanced Medicine, students will gain the foundation they need for a host of careers, including emergency responder, radiology tech, physician, medical billing clerk, researcher, nurse, and many more.
Partnerships between Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC) and other Gwinnett schools are expanding this year. At McConnell MS, a blended learning team is serving 7th grade students in a virtual classroom with their social studies teacher from GOC and a traditional classroom setting for other subjects. GOC and Dyer ES have used a similar blended model for 4th and 5th graders since 2017. And that elementary model expands to Alcova ES and Jenkins ES this school year. At the high school level, Online Centers powered by GOC allow students to take one or more online classes in a classroom designed specifically for virtual learning. Three new Online Centers will serve students at Collins Hill, Norcross, and Phoenix high schools, joining existing centers at Central Gwinnett, Dacula, Duluth, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett high schools.
Now in its second year, Paul Duke STEM HS will graduate its first class next May. And some of those students may be looking toward a career in the growing field of Cybersecurity. While all students at the STEM-focused theme school take Introduction to Digital Technology, students with a cybersecurity interest also can pursue dual-enrollment options with college credit from Gwinnett Technical College and Mercer University and a Senior Experience with the Atlanta field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Students in classes in Veterinary Science at Grayson HS Technical Education Program will have an exciting opportunity later this fall. Space at the school is being converted into a functioning veterinary operating room where veterinarians with Gwinnett Technical College will perform procedures with the assistance of Gwinnett Tech Vet Science students. Grayson students will gain valuable experience as they observe, keep records, and obtain vital signs for their four-legged patients.
GCPS’ Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program enters its sixth year with a cohort of 5th graders at the three pioneer elementary schools— Annistown and Bethesda (Spanish) and Trip (French)— who have learned in a foreign language their entire elementary school careers! All total, the district has DLI programs in nine elementaries, including our newest program at Parsons ES, the state’s first public school offering a Korean-English DLI program. In DLI programs, students learn mathematics, science, and language literacy in the new language, and language arts and social studies in English. Enrollment is voluntary, starting with incoming kindergartners and building by one grade level every year. The other DLI programs, all providing instruction in Spanish and English, include Baldwin, Camp Creek, and Ivy Creek (currently serving grades K-3) and Level Creek and Meadowcreek (now in grades K-1).
Grant funding from Bosch will help several schools pursue exciting learning experiences for students, including the STEMtastic Lab at Jackson ES, tech-supported learning through virtual reality at Osborne MS, some EPIC experiential learning in STEM at Mill Creek HS, the Drone and Cybersecurity League and other STEM-focused student organizations at Central Gwinnett HS, environmental studies as well as a collaboration between engineering and dance students at Paul Duke STEM HS, and computer coding at Jordan MS.
3DE, a Junior Achievement (JA) program that connects high school students to business leaders and entrepreneurs, expands to serve 9th and 10th graders at Parkview HS while Norcross HS will have its first class of seniors in the program. 3DE challenges students to think critically and engage in their learning as they prepare for a successful future. 3DE students gain real-world experience through visits to community businesses, mentoring, networking with professionals, tackling dynamic case studies, and more. Another JA partnership— JA Discovery Center at Gwinnett— provides hands-on experiences in financial literacy for about 55,000 Gwinnett 6th and 8th grade students each year. Volunteers are a key to the Center’s operations, now in its fifth year. Email VolunteerGwinnett@georgia.ja.org to learn more.
Nine Gwinnett schools and programs currently hold state STEM/STEAM certification as they focus student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. (STEAM integrates the arts into STEM instruction.) And, an additional 20 schools are pursuing the designation from the Georgia Department of Education. GCPS’ certified schools and programs include Coleman MS, the cSTEM Program at Collins HS; Gwinnett School of Science, Mathematics, and Technology (GSMST); the TWIST Program at Lanier MS; the CDAT Program at Lanier HS; Lovin ES; Mason ES; the SPIRE Program at Peachtree Ridge HS; and White Oak ES. Other STEM/STEAM initiatives include FIRST LEGO League robotics teams at every Gwinnett elementary; extracurricular competitions in STEM at the middle and high school levels; and STEM experiences— such as project-based learning, coding, robotics, and enhanced science, math, and career and technical education options— in classrooms across the county.
Through programs in GCPS’ seven college and career academies, students get a preview of potential careers as they learn core subjects through the lens of an academic or career theme. The academy model high schools— Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett— offer students a range of experiences, in and out of the classroom, such as job shadowing, internships, and opportunities to collaborate with peers through project-based learning. Our academy students gain knowledge and skills that ensure they are equipped for future success, with a focus on pathways to identified high-skill, high-wage, or high-need careers based on state labor forecasts.