Education

System accreditation is tribute to community

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Alvin Wilbanks
CEO/Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools

  • Our core business is teaching and learning.
  • All children can learn at or above grade level.
  • All children should reach their learning potential.
  • The school effect is important and has a profound impact on every child”s life.
  • A quality instructional program requires a rigorous curriculum, effective teaching and ongoing assessment.
  • All children should be taught in a safe and secure learning environment.

These simple, straightforward statements convey powerful messages about quality and effective education in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS).

The six statements are the "Core Beliefs of the Gwinnett County Board of Education," which were adopted in 2006.

They are accompanied by six parallel commitments:

  • Gwinnett County Public Schools will give its core business, teaching and learning, priority over all other functions of the organization.
  • All GCPS students will learn at or above grade level.
  • All GCPS students will reach their learning potential.
  • The school effect is important and Gwinnett County Public Schools will have a positive impact on every child”s life.
  • GCPS will have a quality instructional program that includes a rigorous curriculum, effective teaching and ongoing assessment.
  • All GCPS students will be taught in a safe and secure learning environment.

These core beliefs and commitments reflect the fundamental principles that have guided the Board of Education”s decisions and actions for the past 11 years. Putting the Board”s beliefs about education, children and public schools in writing in 2006 emanated from our involvement in a prestigious program called Reform Governance in Action (RGA).

GCPS and three other large, urban districts were selected for the two-year program, which focuses on improving the governance of public schools. It is conducted by the Center for Reform of School Systems and funded by The Broad Foundation. We were honored to be invited to participate.

RGA is built on the belief that school systems, not individual schools, are the best entity to reform education so all students will achieve. RGA contends that a school system governed by an effective, reform-minded board-superintendent team can improve its schools in significant ways.

That governance team must do substantial work, however, to lay the proper foundation. That work is the focus of RGA.

How the Board will go about reforming its schools is expressed in the Board”s "theory of action." The first step in its development is adoption of the Board”s beliefs and commitments-the foundation for all that follows in the reform process. A concerted effort is underway to familiarize citizens with the core beliefs and commitments.

Since their adoption we have been sharing them widely- in our publications, on our web site, at each month”s School Board meeting, and through a video broadcast on our educational cable channel.

It is important that citizens and our employees be aware of the core beliefs and commitments. As we continue in RGA, the Board will be approving its theory of action for student achievement and additional "reform policies" to codify its work in the name of school improvement. Each of these elements will tie back to the fundamental beliefs and commitments of the school board.

I will use this column again to update our progress in RGA. Meanwhile, this Gw