No Change in Cognia Status for Gwinnett County Schools Cognia Special Review

On Monday, September 13, Superintendent Calvin J. Watts shared Cognia’s final report and that the accreditation agency had made no change to the school district’s accreditation status- GCPS remains a fully accredited school district.

We are excited to see that the recommendations Cognia suggested are initiatives our Board is already working on. We look forward to growing and learning together as a Board governance team with our new superintendent.” Everton Blair

GCPS was first contacted by Cognia on March 1, 2021, notifying the district that it had received complaints regarding the school system after the changing of the board demographically with newcomers, Karen Watkins and Dr. Tarece Johnson- both Democrats. The letter, which was submitted by members of the community focused on the Gwinnett County School upholding its duties as a governing body. This came after the majority of the board voted to not renew former Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks who led GCPS for 25 years.

Cognia conducted its Special Review of Gwinnett County Public Schools from June 13-16, 2021. The review included interviews with a wide range of community members, including School Board members, the superintendent, teachers, administrators, students, parents, and other community members. In addition, the district provided Cognia with information to demonstrate its adherence to Cognia’s Performance Standards for School Systems. In issuing its findings, the Special Review Team and Cognia determined it would continue the accreditation of GCPS with the status of Accredited.

The special review focused on six of Cognia’s Performance Standards for School Systems, which GCPS met three of the standards and exceeded expectations for another. The review team noted  two improvement priorities. Cognia issued directives to the district for them to address before May of 2022.

“As a Board governance team and as a school district, we are accountable to our students, families, staff, and community,” explains Dr. Watts. “In Gwinnett County Public Schools, we believe accountability is a good thing. It shares with our stakeholders the progress we make toward fulfilling our responsibilities and meeting goals that we have set. We will use Cognia’s findings and recommendations to improve. We know that this commitment and work toward improvement will benefit the school district, which ultimately benefits our students, schools, and community.”

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