Gwinnett County Schools
Gwinnett County Public Schools operates its gifted programs using a pull-out model. This means that gifted students are offered separate classes with their gifted peers, taught by a teacher with gifted certification.
The elementary school program is called FOCUS. These classes extend the curriculum with advanced topics such as chemistry and Shakespearean drama. Of note: the GCPS web site says that because of the extra workload of FOCUS classes, elementary students in the gifted program are usually excused from the daily homework of mainstream classes.
At the middle-school level, the program is known as PROBE. Unlike the elementary program that goes outside the general curriculum, PROBE offers advanced sections of math, science, social studies and language arts classes.
The QUEST program for high-school students offers gifted sections of math, science, social studies, language arts and foreign language classes. Other options available to high-school gifted students are:
- Advanced placement – classes with work similar to a college-level class
- Directed studies – an elective class that gives the student time for independent research
- Internship – working in a field of interest with a mentor (juniors and seniors only)
- Joint enrollment or early admission – transition to college in junior or senior year
Detailed information about the county’s gifted programs is available on the Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education web page.
Identification of gifted students
Gifted assessment begins with a referral from teachers, parents or peers, or when a child surpasses a certain score threshold on standardized tests. More testing follows, and an evaluation committee at the school reviews that evaluation to decide whether the student will be placed in the gifted program.
(This comes from the web page of one Gwinnett County school; still looking for a document from the county office.) “Students will be considered for acceleration on a case-by-case basis. The student being considered should be demonstrating high achievement on or above the grade level curriculum in the grade being considered for acceleration. The expectation is students will be achieving at the same level in their new grade as in their old one. Extremely high achievement should be evident in the student’s work, classroom assessments, curriculum-based assessments and normative-based assessments. Social and emotional factors, as well as placement of older siblings, will be considered.”
International Baccalaureate (IB) schools
International Baccalaureate (IB) is a well-known, rigorous curriculum with a global perspective. The IB Primary Years Programme is taught at Peachtree Elementary School; the Middle Years Programme is used at Pinckneyville Middle School and Summerour Middle School.
Norcross High School offers the IB Diploma Programme. Students can earn an IB certificate or diploma. Many colleges will grant sophomore status to incoming students who hold an IB diploma.
Charter school for math and science
The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is a charter school in Lawrenceville, established in 2007 and previously housed on the campus of Duluth High School. GSMST has three primary areas of study: bioscience, engineering and emerging technology. Even arts and humanities classes are tied in as much as possible with science and technology.
Students from anywhere in Gwinnett County can apply to GSMST, but only during their 8th grade year (applying to enroll in 9th grade). Check the web site in the fall for the registration packet.
At the county office
Julia Osborne is the director of Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education. You can reach her office at (678) 301-7020. The gifted program is part of the county’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, but as of August 2013, there is no director over that department. Until that position is filled, the gifted office is being directly overseen by Dr. Gale Hey, associate superintendent for the Division of Teaching and Learning. Her phone number is (678) 301-7030.
The county superintendent and CEO, J. Alvin Wilbanks, can be reached at (678) 301-6010.
Gwinnett County Public Schools are managed by a five-member Board of Education. The board meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee.
The Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education (GAGE) is an active chapter of the Georgia Association for Gifted Children. GAGE offers seminars and workshops for parents and teachers.
A special note for Buford residents
Residents within the Buford city limits are served by Buford City Schools.
Links on this page were verified 8/8/2013.