Recent News

eSTEAM Academy to give Pinckneyville, Summerour students options for high school


If the plan comes together as district officials have laid out, when the holidays arrive eighth-graders in the Norcross cluster will have a slew of options for the future.

Pinckneyville and Summerour middle schools this month are introducing new curriculum that is designed to focus on project-based learning and science, technology, engineering, arts and math as students prepare for the new Duke STEM High School, which is set to open next August. School and district leaders said the goal is to offer a type of learning that will better align with experiences expected in high school, college and the workplace.

For the first time, students from these schools will have the option of which high school they attend. Among the choices are the Junior Achievement Academy at Norcross High, the International Baccalaureate Program at Norcross High or the STEM focus available at the Duke STEM High School.

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Racial Equity Leadership Network participants include GCPS leader


Even in retirement, Frances Davis is looking to gain leadership development.

The former head of human resources for Gwinnett County Public Schools, who remains in an associate superintendent role for district performance and community engagement, announced plans to retire in September. This week, she was named to the first group of the executive leadership development program for the Southern Education Foundation, the Racial Equity Leadership Network.

Despite her retirement, Davis remains active in GCPS, and worked on the recently released teacher performance compensation system. She has said she would continue to work on special projects. When her retirement was announced, Davis was in her 38th year in public education, 24th year in Gwinnett and 15th year in her HR position.

The Racial Equity Leadership Network is an initiative that it said is crafted for individuals who exhibit a readiness to champion equity-centered solutions to addressing historic racial disparities in schooling.

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With inspirational messages, GCPS welcomes 1,200 new teachers


Jamie Lynn McFarland told herself she wouldn’t cry, but those who know her, like Nikki Mouton, said she could set a timer to it.

McFarland, the reigning Teacher of the Year in Gwinnett County Public Schools, gave an emotional speech on Tuesday at the Infinite Energy Center at an orientation event to more than 1,200 teachers who are new to the district or brand-new to education.

McFarland teaches special education students who have severe and profound intellectual disabilities at Rock Springs Elementary. Mouton, as executive director of curriculum and instruction with GCPS, has heard McFarland’s message before, and expected the emotional and passionate message.

“I believe that as educators, it is absolutely imperative that we do a better job of intentionally teaching our general education students how to interact with, build relationships with and value their peers with special needs,” McFarland said.

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Brookwood, Mill Creek students receive Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful scholarships


Two Gwinnett high school students have received $1,000 scholarships based on their commitment to protecting Gwinnett’s resources and inspiring others to get involved in community initiatives that improve the environment.

Meyer Anne Hudson from Mill Creek High School and Dan Diener of Brookwood High School were each awarded a Youth Advisory Council scholarship from Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. GCB established the Green Youth Advisory Council in 2014 to serve as a youth leadership group of rising environmental stewards. High school students throughout Gwinnett County Public Schools are nominated by their teachers to serve on the council for one year.

GCB’s Green and Healthy Schools Coordinator, Brenda McDaniel, said in a press release that the two students stepped into leadership roles immediately as co-presidents of the 2016-2017 Green Youth Advisory Council.

“They both assisted with educating and engaging high school students from across Gwinnett County in hands-on environmental programs that impacted local and global environmental challenges,” McDaniel said. “They also collaborated with other youth and county leaders to promote suitability and civic engagement.”

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Norcross High School Foundation receives $22,500 in grants


The Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence recently received two grants that it will use to support an after school program.

Overall, the grants are worth $22,500, and they come from the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia, which gave $10,000, and the Waffle House Foundation, which gave $12,500.

The money will be used for the After School Matters program, which targets academically at-risk ninth- and 10th-grade students with limited family economic resources. The mission of the program is to raise the graduation rate and prepare students for a career or college path. The vision of the program is to increase a student’s engagement with school, cultivate talent, lift self-confidence and decrease the likelihood of risky behaviors.

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Teachers, students learn side-by-side at math institute


Paul Brinkley has taught at Lawrenceville Elementary for five years, and each summer he spends several days learning some new perspectives on how to teach math.

“Sometimes teaching gets old,” he said. “This kind of puts a spice into what we teach.”

Brinkley spoke on Thursday outside a classroom at Jenkins Elementary, where he worked with fifth-graders at the 14th math institute hosted each summer by Gwinnett County Public Schools. The eight-day professional learning program that ended Thursday offered new tips and strategies for teachers, some 700 of them, and about 1,500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade at 15 schools.

Last week, the district trained master trainers and cluster trainers on research-based instructional practices, and this week, they took what they learned and brought it to other teachers and modeled instruction, with students coaching teacher participants along the way.

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