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Gwinnett County Public Schools

January 2024 - Collaborative Leadership in the Parkview Cluster

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This January, we examine Collaborative Leadership in our Parkview Cluster.

Through Collaborative Leadership— Team GCPS students, families, and staff intentionally seek and engage opportunities to work with others toward a common purpose, building relationships together through trust, compassion, and principled behaviors. Our school communities encourage a win-win mindset as they seek and maximize opportunities to actively listen and elicit diverse perspectives and contributions from others, consistently seeking collective commitment. Each and every student and staff member take risks and know how to develop, organize, and manage new technologies, initiatives, and ventures to positively impact the world, crafting inspiring visions and action in the process.

In the Parkview Cluster, Collaborative Leadership means compromise, responsibility, healthy discussions, and consideration of diverse viewpoints. Through understanding and dedication to partnership, students and staff learn how to set and meet expectations for success, together.

Parkview students working on their mural

Grab your art supplies, you’ll need some string, scissors, and tape when you join Marissa Yurko’s 2D Visual Arts class to create murals at Parkview High. This project is a lesson on linear perspective— a type of perspective used by artists in which the relative size, shape, and position of objects are determined by drawn or imagined lines converging at a point on the horizon— AND teamwork.

Each student created a thumbnail sketch for a mural design, then in groups of three or four, students chose a piece to create and a location for display. For each design, converging lines are measured with a string secured to the vanishing point, with one student holding the string out while another student placed the tape next to it.

Parkview HS student Mural

“Students had to learn to play a role in the team, how to compromise on their vision, and to express themselves and delegate responsibilities,” Ms. Yurko says.

With the size of these murals and all the cutting, tearing, measuring, and sticking, it was necessary for everyone to find some part to work on simultaneously. In the end, students filled out a peer elevation form to assess individual contributions and attitudes.

Mountain Park Student Council Meeting

At Mountain Park Elementary, the Student Council serves as a tight-knit community of students dedicated to making their school a better place to learn and grow. Together, with the direction of an advisor, they discuss PBIS behavior goals, school-wide improvements, and support in school activities. Student Council significantly develops students' leadership skills, self and community advocacy, and responsibility. Mountain Park’s team of Student Council members recognize that with great power comes great responsibility, and they meet twice a month as a full team and in small groups. Students say they enjoy being able to share their thoughts with each other, helping people, and planning.  

Camp Creek ES Kindergarten Teacher Planning session

Meet Camp Creek Elementary’s Collaborative Learning Team (CLT)! CLT was created to build shared ownership and understanding. Together, teachers, administrators, and aligned support staff members (ESOL, EIP, etc.) work to analyze data and adjust instructional practices to improve learning by leaning on each other for feedback or suggestions. Trickling down from the CLT, students are able to fulfill the collaborative goals set by working together on meaningful projects that incorporate good habits, character, and listening skills.  

Principal Valerie Robinett says “Collaboration builds confidence and capacity, resulting in leaders being produced in our classrooms. We focus on discussion norms that resonate through all learning opportunities and create shared ownership of teaching and learning.”

Trickum students at JA BizTown

Lace up your sneakers, it’s time to gear up for a school-wide color run, or perhaps you’d rather press your suit jacket and try your hand in business or government at JA BizTown. At Trickum Middle, Collaborative Leadership equals success when students and staff work and explore together, engage in discussion, and create a healthy environment to ensure learning for all. When it comes to promoting the school fundraiser, journalism students and their teacher work with the PTA and create a variety of promotional materials that appeal to the student body to build excitement for the event.

During PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) class, students partner in small groups to create a list of expectations they want to see to facilitate their own learning. A class discussion leads to highlighting recurring themes to create a master list of student-derived classroom expectations. When visiting JA BizTown, students interact within a simulated economy and collaboratively explore the synergy of the social sciences.

Trickums students working on laptops

In their Collaborative Learning Teams (CLTs), Trickum Middle School teachers use the Plan Do Check Act Model (PDCA) to analyze and discuss classroom lessons and assessments. The PDCA model promotes continuous quality improvement which facilitates CLTs working toward the common purpose of ensuring high levels of learning. With this common purpose, all students receive the same high-level quality of instruction with an emphasis on Collaborative Leadership, regardless of instructional setting.

Have you ever wondered what makes a great leader? At the start of each new school year, Arcado Elementary students fill out applications for various leadership opportunities and evaluate how they can impact their school environment.

Arcado’s newest leadership opportunity this year provides a monthly forum where students can share their opinions and ideas with Principal Paula Thompson. The Principal Advisory Committee consists of students ranging from 2nd to 5th grade, and helps students gain valuable experience in responsibilitypatience, and planning.

Arcado teacher speaking to a class

“I’m so proud and excited to have a space where the real-world, in the moment concerns [of our students] can be addressed,” says Principal Thompson.

During the Principal Advisory Committee meetings, students discuss their ideas about school improvements and how to support their fellow students. Together, Principal Thompson and the committee determine how they can accomplish their long-term and short-term goals, what is feasible, and the impact these solutions will have on the entire student body.

One recent positive solution produced by the committee is the expansion of teacher office hours during Digital Learning Days (DLDs). Students wanted more flexibility in connecting with their teachers, and now they have opportunities to do so in the morning and afternoon during DLDs.

Arcado ES students engaging in a STEM activity

One of the most significant aspects of Arcado Elementary, and a favorite for the students who attend, is the incredible diversity. As the 4th most diverse school in the state of Georgia, with families from more than 25 countries, and 37 different languages spoken, the knowledge of various traditions and cultures is a special interest for the entire student body. Members of the Principal Advisory Committee have launched a series of 60-second segments for their morning announcements to inform and educate viewers about the diverse customs of their fellow Arcado Elementary peers.

“I’m impressed by the level of thoughtfulness these students bring to our meetings, and how they think about the space we all spend our days in and how they can impact the school experience,” adds Principal Thompson.

Throughout the Parkview Cluster, understanding the importance of Collaborative Leadership leads to success. When students and staff have opportunities for self-expression and leadership growth, the result is the development of respect, responsibility, and trust for each and every individual.

About the Parkview Cluster

Parkview HS Logo

The Parkview Cluster includes the following schools: