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Gwinnett County Board of Education Approves New Five-Year Strategic plan for Gwinnett County Public Schools

July 29, 2022

     At its regular meeting on July 21, 2022, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the district’s new five-year strategic plan: Our Blueprint for the Future: Building the Bridge from Empathy to Excellence. The Blueprint is the result of collaborative work that began in 2021 when Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts gathered feedback from the Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) community during his Look, Listen and Learn Tour. To sustain the legacy of the past, GCPS developed this plan that defines the transformational work of the next five years, incorporating feedback from the community, the Transition and Planning Team, and the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council gathered since Dr. Watts arrived. This strategic plan also incorporates feedback from the Teacher Advisory Council, Business Advisory Council, Local School Councils, Local School Administrators Association, Advocacy Groups, and school and district leaders.

     The “north star” of the strategic plan is the Portrait of a Graduate. The Portrait includes the skills, competencies, and attitudes our community believes are vital for students to possess when they graduate from GCPS. Over 160 individuals from across the county came together to create our Portrait of a Graduate Design Team. The team met virtually over four months to complete the work. Team members collectively identified the hopes, aspirations, and dreams that our community has for its young people and the skills and mindsets that our children need for success in this rapidly changing and complex world. The team has developed six core competencies that articulate our community’s aspirations for all of our students in GCPS. These core competencies serve as a north star, driving our strategic plan.

     The Blueprint is designed to ensure our Portrait of a Graduate becomes a reality. Our Blueprint for the Future defines our strategic priorities in four areas: empathyequityeffectiveness, and excellence. We know that empathy is key to our understanding of others and to creating a powerful sense of belonging in our GCPS culture. Empathy is a gateway to equity – ensuring that each and every child has what they need to reach their full potential. Effectiveness is our ability to achieve the results we desire. Equity and effectiveness form the bridge from empathy to excellence. Our district will demonstrate excellence in our work, that notable standard to which we should all aspire, behaviorally, academically, and operationally. This summer, GCPS students shared their thoughts on the importance of these strategic priorities, including what it means to them to feel that sense of belonging in our schools, in this GCPS video: https://vimeo.com/726124260.

     One of the ways that Superintendent Dr. Watts is supporting the new strategic plan, is through the reorganization of the GCPS leadership and teams that support schools and teachers in the GCPS. “It is important that as we implement Our Blueprint for the Future, our divisions and departments that support our schools and teachers are aligned to our strategic priorities and goals to maximize the desired outcomes for each and every student in GCPS.” Dr. Watts began sharing his operational plans for leadership changes with the board and public last spring through board work sessions and has continued to partner with the board through the development and adoption of the Blueprint to ensure there is alignment between vision and operational implementation.      

     These strategic priorities, goals, and objectives will be the basis of departments’ and divisions’ operational management plans (OMP). The Blueprint defines the “what” in terms of high-level goals and objectives. The OMPs will detail the “how,” including specific initiatives and action steps that align with this strategic plan.  The final plan adopted by the Board in July 2022 includes available baseline data and annual targets for the approved set of KPIs associated with each goal. District administration will provide regular updates during Board work sessions, sharing the operational progress of individual departments or divisions towards the strategic plan priorities, goals, and objectives.