Paul Duke STEM High School

Dedicated to excellence in education

Meet the Principal

  • Principal Dr. Wetherington

    Dr. Jonathon Wetherington

    As a passionate educator, I am extremely honored and excited to lead Paul Duke STEM High School.  The vision of Gwinnett County Public Schools is to become a system of world-class schools where students acquire the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and careers.  As we continue to transform teaching and learning in support of this vision in all of our schools, we are committed to providing students with engaging and differentiated learning environments. Paul Duke STEM High School was created to provide a non-traditional, STEM-themed high school choice for the Norcross cluster. Joining the Norcross cluster, as well as the Norcross and Peachtree Corners communities, inspires me to continue the tradition of excellence that has embodied these communities as we launch in August 2018.

    Paul Duke STEM High School has been described as “a small school full of big ideas!” I believe this is an excellent summary of our vision. While there are a growing number of STEM schools in the region, Paul Duke STEM High School will offer its students a STEM-themed learning experience unlike any other that emphasizes both technology and the application of knowledge to prepare students for a high-tech and high-skilled future. Our technology-infused STEM curriculum has been developed with students and their future in mind and emphasizes students learning with and through technology.

    The “T” is bigger in our name because it’s a big deal at our school.  Technology is a large part of our students’ world and it will impact every career opportunity in their future from self-driving cars to robotics to managing our natural resources. Therefore, our goal is to empower our students’ learning in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics through the effective use of Technology.  While we have a technology-infused STEM approach, the big “T” in our name also refers to our school environment that will emphasize Talent, Trust, Thinking, Tinkering, Teamwork, as well as Technology.  These six words describe and inspire the culture that we will create for our students.

    As we embark on this incredible journey, I hope you will join with us because I believe that the vision for Paul Duke STEM High School is one that many students, parents, and community members are looking for.  Please feel free to contact me with any ideas you may have on how we support the students in our community.

    Let’s build a foundation that allows innovation for excellence!

Principal's Blog

  • The Power of Choice

    Posted by Dr. Jonathon Wetherington, Principal on 2/9/2018 11:35:00 AM
    As the principal of Paul Duke STEM High School, the most frequently asked question I hear is “Why would a student want to attend Paul Duke STEM High School?” This is such an interesting question because it is often asked by the parent of a student or a student carefully considering our school. Their question comes from a genuine desire to select the best educational experience for a particular student, and they are considering both their present and future options. Their question is driven by past experiences, social interactions, friendships, personal interests, and future aspirations. This question represents their desire to select the best option from several high-quality options. 
     
    While I am able to answer their question with a description of our comprehensive multi-year STEM experience focused on learning through and with technology within a small school environment, I am most excited about the question itself because the question represents an opportunity for students and their families to “unlock their future.” The opportunity to consider the strengths of a student and match it with the strengths of a school is an exciting opportunity for students in the Norcross cluster. This opportunity to consider and select from either Norcross High School or Paul Duke STEM High School is an exciting opportunity for students and their parents to explore, inquire, and ultimately exercise their power of choice. In the Norcross cluster, choice is key that allows students to unlock options. 
     
    Every day for the last two months, I have had the pleasure to see how this power of choice empowers students and helps them think about school in a different way. President Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” With this in mind, I encourage students to exercise their power of choice as they think about their high school for next year.
     
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  • Digital Learning Days

    Posted by Dr. Jonathon Wetherington on 1/16/2018

    Monday, January 8, 2018, was an historic day in Gwinnett County Public Schools. This marks our first districtwide Digital Learning Day due to an inclement weather scenario.  The use of digital learning days are an exciting opportunity for both students and teachers as we look to the future of teaching and learning. Digital learning allows teachers to deliver lessons specific to the needs of individual students in the form of different learning experiences, such as videos, reading assignments, etc.) as well as different assignments that students turn in. The key to effective digital learning just like traditional learning is in the design and delivery of the lesson. If done well, digital learning days give our students a unique way to learn, and it provides teachers the opportunity to personalize teaching and learning. At Paul Duke STEM, we are excited to unlock the potential of digital learning days once a week beginning in August 2018.

     Students at Paul Duke STEM High School will have extensive opportunities to learn with and through technology. Technology continues to shape the world around us, and our students will learn to apply technology throughout their lives and learning. I know that devices and digital learning cannot replace the dynamic classroom interaction between teachers and students. However, it can provide students with multiple practice opportunities, unique multimedia experiences, and real-world experiences. Thus, our approach to the use of technology in STEM education is highly focused. We believe that technology is one of many tools available to teachers to engage students to take ownership of their learning experience. As educators, we will use technology to address the needs of our students and to ensure that our decisions are driven by data. In our modern academic, professional, and personal lives, all students need to develop technological proficiency with industry-standard resources to be prepared for college and careers.

    As the career opportunities of the future are constantly changing due to various economic drivers, students need to be prepared to lead and serve in a variety of different work environments. We believe that digital lessons done right can be more individualized and more powerful through this individualized nature. As Paul Duke STEM High looks to incorporate digital learning days on a weekly basis, we are excited to see how teachers can provide students with great learning opportunities online and still allow students to come into school for one-on-one instruction and designated time to work collaboratively with their peers on projects. I am looking forward to how digital learning and flexible days on Fridays will help our students unlock their future.

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  • Building a New School

    Posted by Dr. Jonathon Wetherington on 12/8/2017 9:15:00 AM
    Welcome to my first blog post about Paul Duke STEM High School. Things are really hopping here at Paul Duke STEM HS. Norcross HS Principal Will Bishop and myself have been making the rounds to our cluster middle schools ensuring that students and parents have a good understanding of their options when it comes to high school. We also have been meeting with current Norcross students. As a result, interest in our new school has ramped up and we are fielding lots of questions as we also have been collected letters of intent from prospective students. And don't forget that now that our website... be sure to check back often for school updates and important dates.

    Another key event that recently took place involves our Advisory Team... a group that has been guiding the school district's work in developing this school. I was so proud to take this group on a tour of the new school on December 6. Although it is still under construction, I wanted to be able to share a preview of all that we will offer to students with some of the community and business leaders who have taken such an active role in our new school. This group includes the mayors of both Norcross and Peachtree Corners, as well as business and community leaders who have a vested interest in Norcross and in the technology field. Working together we are creating a curriculum and culture for Paul Duke STEM HS that will benefit students for years to come. Below are pictures from the tour that will give you a sneak peak at this world-class facility. I can't wait until the keys are handed over and we can hold an open house for our community!
     
     
    Advisory Team on tour of PDS HS

     

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