Teaching Gwinnett Podcast

  • Megaphone with Teaching Gwinnett words and  GCPS flame logo "Teaching Gwinnett" is a Gwinnett County Public Schools podcast that tackles important, relevant, and timely topics that impact the school district's more than 200,000 students and staff.

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  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Crystal Baskerville

    April 13, 2023: They may not be firefighters or police officers, but they are often the first responders in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). We are talking about school social workers. School social workers are like Swiss army knives when it comes to helping students. They have just about every tool you need to advise, guide, listen to, and support each and every GCPS student, and that support often comes with a warm smile.

    On this episode of Teaching Gwinnett, GCPS School Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts joins the show and talks to the finalists for the 2023 GCPS School Social Worker of the Year award. We also hear from Crystal Baskerville, GCPS' Director of Health and Social Services, who talks about what school social workers do, why they are needed and how they impact learning and student lives. And we end the show with another edition of Pop Quiz.

    Duration: 40:31 

  •  Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Rebecca Carlisle, Lin Thornton, and Teresa Blackman

    September 23, 2022: 
    2020 Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Teacher of the Year Rebecca Carlisle returns to the show to guest host the "HR Takeover!- How to create teacher leaders." The fun energetic educator discusses her transition from high school teacher to Human Resources, where she is Assistant Director of Recruitment and Retention and whether she misses teaching. She goes on to interview Lin Thornton, Principal of Jones Middle and Teresa Blackman, 3rd grade teacher at Starling Elementary School. The two teacher leaders discuss their motivations, mentors and their journey to becoming leaders. They also share easy to understand strategies for becoming a teacher leader. Bernard Watson rejoins the show at the end to co-host another edition of "Pop Quiz."



    Duration: 33:23

  •  Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts

    February 11, 2022: 
    Dr. Calvin Watts, Gwinnett County Public Schools' new superintendent, and the first African-American to hold the position, drops by to discuss a variety of topics including, the district’s face mask mandate, social emotional learning, his relationship with the Gwinnett Board of Education and so much more.

    Episode Highlights:

    11:10- Concerning things he’s heard during his Look, Listen, and Learn Tour
    17:05- Response to children that say 'school feels like prison'
    22:41- Response to the increase in social media school threats targeting schools
    31:12- His stance on the Mask Mandate
    36:29- Disruptions at school board meetings and how they impact the work of the school board
    42:20- Social Emotional Learning; What is it and why it is needed in GCPS
    50:07- His relationship with the Gwinnett County Board of Education
    52:29- How he handles disagreements between himself and the Gwinnett County Board of Education
    58:41- His thoughts on hunting and butchering his own food, or going without it

    Duration: 100:32

  •  Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Rebecca Carlisle, and Katie Blum

    December 6, 2021: Two former Gwinnett County Public Schools Teachers of the Year (TOTY) stop by to discuss:

    02:08: What it is like being a TOTY during COVID. 06:47: How the TOTY selection process works; what candidates & judges have to do and go through. 09:08: Reaction to hearing the news that they won. 12:43: What TOTY finalists go through. 16:54: Funny stories from the night they were named winners/hardest thing and best thing about being TOTY. 25:50: How the final selection process works for TOTY. 29:37: Some 2022 TOTY candidates share some of their innovative teaching techniques. 42:42: Pop Quiz.

    Duration: 48:46

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Lenny Gregory, and Ed Shaddix

    Sept. 15, 2021  From the hunters to the hunted! Collins Hill High School’s varsity football coach Lenny Gregory drops by to discuss the 2021-22 season and the challenges of winning the 7A state title after coming up short in the title game last year. The district’s athletic director also makes an appearance to discuss the success of girls flag football, allowing fans to watch games in person and another edition to, Pop Quiz. 

    Duration: 29:41


  •  Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Shane Orr, and David DuBose

    Aug. 23, 2021  The new "School of the Arts" (SOTA) at Central Gwinnett High School is another example of Gwinnett County Public Schools' unwavering commitment to the fine arts. Shane Orr, the principal of Central Gwinnett High, stops by and explains why students obsessed with street dance or play an instrument, love recording or illustrate graphic novels, dream of art installations or write their own music, can pursue their artistic vision, explore their creativity, and learn from industry professionals at the SOTA. The district's director of fine arts explains how the SOTA came about and another edition of Pop Quiz.

    Duration: 23:50

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Carla Hart

    Aug. 6, 2021  Carla Hart, Transportation Manager with Gwinnett County Public Schools, joins the show to discuss transporting students during a pandemic, what the district is doing to keep students safe on the ride to and from school and what parents and students should know about taking the school bus this year. She also reflects on the COVID-19 related challenges the transportation department faced over the last 18 months, why Uber Eats and Door Dash could learn a thing or two from her department and her revealing reaction to “Pop Quiz”. 

    Duration: 23:30
  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Dr. Jon Valentine

    February 4, 2021 In this episode of Teaching Gwinnett, Dr. Jon Valentine, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Director of foreign language stops by to discuss the school district's ground breaking dual language immersion program, how COVID-19 is impacting teaching and learning and what's new in year 7 of the program.

    Duration: 26:42
  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Dr. Demetria Williams, and Joanna Key

    Nov 13, 2020 In this episode of Teaching Gwinnett, we talk to GCPS counselors about the challenges of helping students during the pandemic, how they ensure no one is left behind and what students and parents should be doing now to prepare for college. We end the show with another edition of "Did You Know". 

    Duration: 22:43



Gwinnett County Public Schools and COVID-19

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson, Dr. Audrey Arona, and Dr. Steve Flynt

    Oct 27, 2020 A candid and revealing conversation with the Director of the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Department, and Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Associate Superintendent of School Improvement and Operations. They discuss how COVID-19 is affecting the county and schools, address questions about the way GCPS shares information about positive cases with students and parents, and another edition of "Did You Know". 

    Duration: 32:36


An interesting and revealing conversation with GCPS Chief Equity Compliance Officer, Dr. Tommy Welch

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Dr. Tommy Welch

    Oct 12, 2020 Dr. Tommy Welch, former award winning Principal of Meadowcreek High School, is Gwinnett County Public Schools' first Chief Equity Compliance Officer. In this edition of Teaching Gwinnett, Dr. Welch discusses what equity is, why it's important and what his job entails. He also addresses questions from some about the way GCPS is going about ensuring equity is in place, and he talks about his exposure to inequities in public education at a young age.  We end the show with another addition of Did You Know.

    Duration: 29:23


A fun and interesting conversation with Rebecca Carlisle, GCPS 2020 Teacher of the Year

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Rebecca Carlisle                                                                

    Oct 05, 2020 The first episode of Teaching Gwinnett Season 2 (2020-21) features an interesting and revealing interview with Rebecca Carlisle, Gwinnett County Public Schools' 2020 Teacher of the year. The home grown Gwinnett County graduate is fun, engaging and passionate about teaching. Carlisle, who is a AP World History teacher North Gwinnett High School, discusses teaching during a pandemic, the challenges and rewards, what fuels her passion for teaching and how the pandemic has affected her time as the district's Teacher of the year. She also reveals who "boo'd" her the night she won the award and why, as well as why she passed on accepting a free, fast and good looking sports car! The episode ends with another addition of "Did You Know?"

    Duration: 25:52


The ins and outs of Digital Learning. What it is and how it works.

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Dr. Jonathan Patterson

    May 19, 2020 On this edition of Teaching Gwinnett, we tackle Digital Learning. Dr. Jonathan Patterson, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Support, stops by to discuss a number of topics including; eClass, what it is, how it works, and how the district’s online platform facilitates teaching and learning. He also breaks down what the school district is doing to ensures students not only have access to their school work, but complete it as well. And he answers the question, is digital learning the future of K-12 education? Then two GCPS educators join the show to discuss teaching during a pandemic. The creative ways they are using the district’s digital learning platform to educate and stay connected to students, and the challenges of virtual teaching. We end the show with another addition of “Did you know?”

    Duration: 56:22

Teaching and Learning Amid COVID-19

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Dr. Steve Flynt

    Apr 29, 2020 On this edition of Teaching Gwinnett, Dr. Steve Flynt, Gwinnett County Public Schools Associate Superintendent of School improvement and Operations, talks about the district's response to COVID-19. Dr. Flynt touches on a wide range of topics including, how GCPS' digital learning platform has allowed teaching and learning to continue; why the district is feeding students and how it's being done; the reason behind bringing more employees back to schools; and plans for graduation and summer school. We close the show with another addition of "Did You Know?" 

    Duration: 25:50

A conversation with the 2020 National Librarian of the Year

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Cicely Lewis

    Apr 23, 2020 On this special edition of Teaching Gwinnett, we talk to Meadowcreek High School's Cicely Lewis, the 2020 National Librarian. Mrs. Lewis, who is also Gwinnett County Public Schools Media Specialist of the Year and the Georgia Media Specialist of the year, talks about her award winning and world renown Read Woke program, it's origins, how it works and its impact on students. She also touches on her childhood in Mississippi, how her mother sparked her passion for books and reading and the benefits and challenges of digital learning. We close out the show with another addition of "Did You Know!"

    Duration: 19:59 

Not your parents' school lunch menu!

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson and Karen Hallford

    Mar 12, 2020 On this edition of Teaching Gwinnett, Karen Hallford, the Director of Gwinnett County Public Schools' award winning School Nutrition Program, drops by to talk about the district's breakfast and lunch menus. From locally sourced fruits and vegetables to offering healthy low fat and reduced calorie menu options, this is not your parents' school lunch menu. Mrs. Hallford discusses the importance of having a professional chef on staff, creating health and delicious menu options and pop up restaurants. We end the show with another addition of "Did You Know."

    Duration: 24:06

Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson, James Rayford, Janice Warren and Nury Crawford

    Jan 16, 2020 On this edition of Teaching Gwinnett, James Rayford, Janice Warren and Nury Crawford stop by to discuss Gwinnett County Public Schools Community Based Mentoring Program. Mr. Rayford kicks off the conversation detailing the history of the program, how it's impacted the lives of African American boys and what it takes to be a mentor. Ms. Warren discusses the girls priority, growing the program, success stories and her biggest challenge. Ms. Crawford touches on the Hispanic priority, bridging the cultural divide to build the program and plans for the future. We finish the show with another edition of "Did You Know?"

    Duration: 25:55

Weather Related School Closings

  • Participant(s): Bernard Watson

    Dec 17, 2019 In this episode of Teaching Gwinnett, we explore how the decision is made on whether to close schools because of inclement weather. Who makes the call, when is the decision made, and what factors are considered in the decision making process.

    Duration: 06:48