Spring traditionally is a celebratory time in Gwinnett County Public Schools. Award nights, recognition programs, and “moving up ceremonies” take place in schools across the county as the end of the school year approaches. In 2014, we had a particularly exciting season of accomplishments and celebrations, and that”s saying a lot for a school district that continues to win accolades year after year.
Within a few weeks time the school district received word that one of its middle schools had scored highest in the state on the Georgia 8th Grade Writing Test, and one of our high schools was ranked number one in Georgia among The Washington Post”s “Most Challenging High Schools in America.” Several more GCPS schools also placed high on both those lists.
We then learned that Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year Hyunjin Son was named a finalist for “Georgia Teacher of the Year,” and three schools sent finalists to the state”s “STAR Student and Teacher” competition. Add to that the April Gwinnett County Board of Education meeting when over 175 individuals and a school were recognized for first- or second-place state or national awards.
Finally, exciting news came that Gwinnett County Public Schools is a finalist for the prestigious 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education! We were a finalist in 2009 and won the Broad Prize in 2010, making us ineligible for the award for three years. This year, our first time to be eligible again, we were selected as one of two finalists for this national prize that recognizes large, urban districts with the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement, while reducing achievement gaps among student groups. After a four-day on-site review by national researchers in May, the 2014 Broad Prize will be awarded on September 22 to either Gwinnett County Public Schools or Orange County Public Schools in Florida.
Congratulations to the many students, staff, and schools we celebrated this spring. Accomplishments such as these are the result of diligence and hard work by those honored, and rarely are they earned alone. In this spirit, everyone in GCPS and in Gwinnett County can share proudly in the outstanding news about the Broad Prize, an accomplishment that honors our entire community. We already are winners by virtue of being a finalist. What a gratifying way to end another outstanding year in this system of world-class schools!