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Effectiveness in the Mill Creek Cluster


Welcome to Effectiveness in the Mill Creek Cluster! 

The 2023-24 school year began on August 2, with laughter, fun, and all the festivities of joyful learning. As we journey further into the school year to explore our Blueprint in Action, during August, we focus on Effectiveness in our Mill Creek and North Gwinnett Clusters.

With Effectiveness the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success we ensure that Team GCPS students, families, and staff have access to a sustained legacy of excellent performance while having their diverse needs met. Our school communities receive support for improvement and student growth through redefining the inputs, behaviors, and outcomes that determine the standards of success. And each and every student and staff member receives the support needed to achieve desired results and collectively impact district goals.

Traverse the busy halls, readjust your backpack, and turn the corner into class to grab your seat; the 8:50 a.m. start bell has chimed.Duncan Creek Spheros programming STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education projects are on the schedule today at Duncan Creek Elementary. You’re given a table with the width of two different beaches in two different years. You begin to drift as you feel the sand between your toes, listen to the waves as they gently crash against the shore, and notice the warmth of the sun and the breeze through your hair… wait, here’s the lesson– can you calculate the amount of land lost? Maybe you’d like to join a group of student leaders on the carpet to code a Sphero Robot, and you’ll work together to redefine your commands and guide your robot to follow the paths you draw on your tablet. Perhaps you’d like to develop your skills by experimenting with programming and writing your own JavaScript. 

No matter where you journey through the Mill Creek Cluster, Effectiveness is evident. You still have so much joyful learning to absorb; there’s a bright, cheerful vibe in the garden at Fort Daniel Elementary. Flowers and plants colorfully sprawl throughout, and you can’t help but smile as a butterfly flutters by peacefully on the breeze. These pollinators are a welcome and captivating Fort Daniel Butterfly Garden sight. It was in March that the Fort Daniel Garden Club partnered with Quail Hollow Nurseries Inc. to plant butterfly-attracting flowers in the school's Butterfly Garden, followed by a butterfly release during Brooke Busbee’s 2nd grade science exploration.

Joyful learning marked the start of each morning in Ms. Busbee’s class when students were able to watch and observe the different stages of the butterfly life cycle, engaging in conversations and asking questions about all they could see. Students became experts in Effectiveness as they studied life cycles in science and followed the caterpillar to chrysalis, on to the butterfly, and then ultimately to life in the Butterfly Garden.

Get ready, and grab your personal protective equipment (PPE); we’re in for a wild ride at Osborne Middle, where we’re building a roller coaster. Scratch that... math, science, and design come first in the Foundations of Engineering class, where students use Effectiveness to redefine inputs, recalculate, and make use of various tools to successfully build roller coaster frames with wood after following the directions of designing a coaster with the slowest exit speed possible.

Or perhaps you’d like to stop by “Introduction to Digital Technology,” and design your own “Technology Smart Home". You’ll need to catch up, as students have been working through weeks of research and effort to create models of homes that would be desired by potential tech-savvy home buyers of today and the future. Making an intentional connection to emerging technologies, the Internet of Things, and the impact of these on our livesOsborne MS students with Smart House projects gave relevance to the project. Each day, students are tasked with contemplating how technology trends are changing our world. When it comes to technology, will these changes be a reality in our lifetime? Will technology make our lives easier? What will the future look like?

“Students are challenged each day to understand, communicate, and adapt to a digital world,” says teacher Kathy Krohnert. “Our charge is to empower them with the exposure and use of technology in a variety of ways.” 

Effective teaching and learning are enhanced when teaching purposefully considers building connections to a student’s field of experience. This, along with lessons featuring a variety of modalities during project assignments, are keys to success.

When it comes to success, Ms. Krohnert adds that collaboration is one of the most powerful employability skills she teaches. Ms. Krohnert demonstrates Effectiveness and collaboration through co-teaching with Instructional Technology and Innovation coach, Jessica Adams. Together, they expose students to additional technology tools like Adobe Creative Cloud Express and Google tools to enhance their vision. Students generate portfolios as they engage with the curriculum so they can creatively reflect and show off what they have learned throughout the semester. This project-based learning curriculum prepares students for real-life job assignments, and the design process provides them with a framework to take on potential career or life problem-solving skills.

In the Mill Creek Cluster, success means students who are empowered with the skills needed to support their educational journey, skillset, and desired career path.