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GGC teacher program OK'd for development

Special Photo. Seven of GGC's first 12 student teachers pause for a photo following the announcement that GGC's teacher education programs have been approved for implementation. These students are obtaining classroom experience through Gwinnett County Public Schools. Shown are: Assistant Professor Marilyn Dolven, Heather Kulp, Emily Valentino, Ann Marie Miller, School of Education Dean Cathy Moore, Katie Burrows, Erica Wagoner, Stephanie Heinrich and Nicole Olano.

Special Photo. Seven of GGC's first 12 student teachers pause for a photo following the announcement that GGC's teacher education programs have been approved for implementation. These students are obtaining classroom experience through Gwinnett County Public Schools. Shown are: Assistant Professor Marilyn Dolven, Heather Kulp, Emily Valentino, Ann Marie Miller, School of Education Dean Cathy Moore, Katie Burrows, Erica Wagoner, Stephanie Heinrich and Nicole Olano.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Georgia Gwinnett College has received the green light from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to implement its teaching unit and teacher education programs.

The commission’s decision to award the college a developmental approval was based on an on-site evaluation and enables GGC to pursue national accreditation for the academic programs in the new School of Education, the college announced Wednesday.

The college’s teacher education programs include early childhood education, special education and teacher certification programs for majors in biology, English, history, mathematics and political science.

“We are delighted and proud that GGC achieved all of the standards for the unit and the programs with no areas for improvement cited by the review team,” GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said. “This speaks to the outstanding quality of our programs, the dedicated work of our faculty and staff and the strength of our innovative partnership with Gwinnett County Public Schools. Our student teachers are fortunate to work in a world-class school district, honored as the 2010 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education.”

Kaufman said that before the college had its name, he involved GCPS in the planning of a signature teacher education program that would serve Gwinnett County and areas beyond.

“We congratulate Georgia Gwinnett College on its latest achievement,” said Jorge Quintana, spokesman for Gwinnett County Public Schools. “This partnership benefits not only the college but the overall community as these students will become tomorrow’s teachers.”

A recent report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning included a call for revamping curricula, incentives and staffing of teacher education programs. The panel also cited the need for strengthening teacher candidate’s field placements, acknowledging the critical role of partnerships between teacher education programs and school districts. The report was commissioned by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and expresses guiding principles used in the development of the GGC programs.

“We believe that the recently approved teacher education programs at GGC have a curricular design that reflects best practice and the needs of Gwinnett County Public Schools,” said Cathy Moore, dean of the School of Education. “The school district played an integral role in the design of the curriculum and field experiences and continues to participate in the refinement of all of the teacher education programs.”

Individuals from classroom teachers to school administrators to district level curriculum coordinators participated in the development process over a three-year period. This strong partnership continues as the school district works collaboratively with the college to make placement decisions for all teacher education candidates, Moore said.