GCPS Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts Addresses Business Community
Wednesday, September 15th, 2021
Since being unanimously hired by the school board in July, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) CEO/Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts made his first public address to the business community at the Gwinnett Chamber’s On Topic luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 8. With just over two months into his new role, Dr. Watts updated the audience on the state of the public school system in its third school year impacted by the pandemic.
Despite the rising cases of covid, GCPS began the year with 97% of its students enrolled in face-to-face learning. While prioritizing safety, Dr. Watts also stressed the importance of upholding the academic standard of excellence. Having returned to GCPS after six years, Dr. Watts recognized the need for equipping our students with 21st century skills through career-connected learning. Highlighted below are some of the ways in which GCPS has grown to meet those needs:
-School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School offers college-prep curriculum and expanded fine arts classes, internships, and work experiences.
-GCPS’s Computer Science for All initiative focuses on improving equity and access to high-quality computer science education for its students by providing extracurricular opportunities in robotics, cybersecurity and E-sports.
-Berkmar High School’s Film and Digital Arts Program features state-of-the art soundstage, equipment, editing labs, and writers rooms to help prepare students for careers in the state’s booming film industry. This also strengthens partnerships with the Georgia Film Academy and Gwinnett Film.
-GCPS AgSTEM Programs in Archer, Brookwood, and Grayson high schools give students experience in the advancements in agriculture technology.
–Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program is in its 8th year and offers Spanish, French and Korean in nine elementary schools and three middle schools.
-While no new schools will debut this academic year, several facility improvements are underway throughout GCPS, including additions at Grayson High and Benefield Elementary, Academy High Schools, high school lab projects, new STEM/Engineering labs, and track resurfacings. These capital program improvements are funded by the county education special purpose local option sales tax (E-SPLOST). Last year, the Gwinnett Chamber supported the E-SPLOST which passed with over 76% support from voters.
-Dr. Watts launched Look, Listen, and Learn Tour to hear from stakeholders in the community and gather input to strengthen the partnership between GCPS and its stakeholders. You can fill out the survey here.
Dr. Watts thanked the business community for being partners and supporters to assure that our students thrive beyond the school day and beyond the classroom. Every year, the Chamber partners with our public schools through Principal for a Day program to give business leaders a firsthand look at the day-to-day operations of a school principal. The Gwinnett Chamber gives our full support for Dr. Watts and the school board as they lead our world-class schools to even greater heights this school year.
-GCPS is the county’s largest employer with over 23,000 employees
-Nearly 180,000 students enrolled this school year
-100 different languages and dialects spoken in households
-Student population represents more than 180 countries across the county