GGC School of Education receives national award for excellence

Georgia Gwinnett College’s (GGC) School of Education (SOE) has been recognized as an outstanding Educational Preparation Provider by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) with the 2023 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement.

“The Frank Murray Leadership Award recognizes GGC and the School of Education as a teacher education preparation program leader,” said Dr. Pamela Smith, GGC coordinator of assessment and accreditation and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction. “This distinction demonstrates our strong alignment with the GGC mission for student success and innovative learning experiences.”

The CAEP gives the award to education preparation providers that demonstrate evidence and data trends to achieve CAEP accreditation with no stipulations or areas for improvement noted. Institutions selected for the recognition also advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through the purposeful use of self-study procedures and evidence-based reporting that assure quality and support continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 learning.

Smith said Georgia Gwinnett’s SOE was honored because its graduates receive a modern and insightful educational experience. Students participate in multiple field placements and a year-long student teaching experience. They are paired with mentors, supervisors and instructors who support their growth and development in and outside the classroom. This results in teacher candidates who are incredibly well-versed in research-based instruction, instructional technology, and utilizing data to drive classroom instruction.

“Our SOE programs ensure that all candidates can fully engage in all aspects of a classroom before being a first-year teacher,” she said.

Smith said the award also confirms GGC’s strong partnership with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS).

“The partnership allows us to collaborate with strong mentor teachers who dedicate their time and talents to build tomorrow's teachers and leaders,” she said. “Moreover, GCPS leaders and administrators work with the SOE leadership to advise and propose strategies for continuous improvement. Together, we take on the task of building effective teachers for Georgia.”

The college’s SOE currently has three grants - two from the U.S. Department of Education and one foundation grant - that support collaboration with GCPS. Funds from the grants provide students with unique field opportunities in addition to their required program hours. 

“Our students would not be as prepared if they did not have robust clinical field placements,” said Smith.

Collaborating with GCPS is a win-win, said Smith. All GGC education students spend two years with mentor teachers, and during their last semester, they are in the classroom five days a week and take complete control of the classroom for several weeks. In addition, the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant benefits GCPS by creating candidates for hard-to-staff program areas such as special education, math, and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) by providing a diverse pool of teacher candidates. 

The award means a great deal to the leadership, faculty, and staff in the School of Education, who have always gone above and beyond to meet student’s academic and personal needs, said Smith.

“It validates the excellence we strive for in all of our programs of study and the strong level of commitment and unity demonstrated to ensure all teacher candidates are successful.”

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