The United States educational system has a long way to go overall. It’s been shown that of developing countries, the U.S. is one of the lowest scoring in terms of educational success. Why is this, though? Many feel the lag has to do with student activity and engagement.
There’s no denying that children do better in schools if they have activities that encourage and engage them. Statistically, there is a higher chance of a child doing better in school if they are happier. Students who are happy and involved in enriching activities associate the feeling with purposefulness. Having a sense of purpose has been shown to foster perseverance, which is a better indication of lifelong academic success than the I.Q. test. This theory is backed by research – a recent study surveyed students, and 94% of the students surveyed did better if they reported higher levels of happiness.
Gwinnett County Public High Schools are well-known as a system that supports their students’ happiness levels through support. Recently, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology was listed as the best school in Georgia and the 13th best school in the United States. They attribute their success to the support it receives from its teachers and staff, as well as the resources it has been provided – resources that likely would not be available without the help of The Gwinnett County Public School Foundation.
Extracurricular activities at Gwinnett County Public Schools, like sports, are structured to translate to students’ life experiences. Their sports participation rewards students; however, their involvement also is dependent upon their grades. The system sets up the students for success while supporting them, the opportunity to form strong bonds between their teammates, and providing them with structured extracurricular activity.
Why Keeping Gwinnett County Students Happy is Important
Gwinnett County is in a unique situation where the student population is so diverse that without outside support, it is unlikely that each student would receive the help they needed at school. As an Atlanta metro area location, students from all types of backgrounds are present in the school systems – including wealthy families as well as families from lower-income brackets. Training and employing good teachers is only one of the factors in the equation of success at Gwinnett County Public Schools, but more goes into success than just committed teachers. Without support outside of the school situation, it is unlikely that all students will do well in school, which translates over to their long-term success.
Studies have shown that access to school supplies, proper meals, and engaging educational content have all been key to the success of students. With Gwinnett County having welcomed over 180,000 students in the 2018-2019 academic year, it was essential that each student receives the same educational quality, regardless of their economic background. The Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, with the support of senior executive director Aaron Lupuloff, has been critical in assuring that 1 in 10 of Georgia’s students gets the education they deserve and the curricular experience they need to be successful throughout their lives.
Ways Gwinnett County Has Helped Improve the Quality of Education
Aaron Lupuloff is particularly invested in keeping money in the Gwinnett County Public Schools. In a recent interview, he said: “It is very easy for me to passionately tell the story because I have five graduates of Gwinnett County Public Schools.” Although he acknowledged his role as well as his wife’s role in raising their children as part of their success, he mentioned that their success is primarily due to the arts, athletic programs, and academics at the schools they attended.
Their support while their children were in school was not focused solely on their children’s success, but also on the success of the school district. Both Lupuloffs understood that for their children to honestly do well, the success of the school district was critical. With this passion, an academically-oriented community was built up by locals to support their public schools. As Lupuloff said, “The secret sauce is that great schools build great communities. If individuals embrace this message, they will embrace helping others”.
Aaron Lupuloff’s assertion is corroborated by looking at the efforts of the local communities to provide supportive school environments. Fundraising at Gwinnet County Public Schools isn’t due solely to efforts by parents, teachers, and students. It also derives help from the community and businesses within the county and across the state. Last year, 12Stone church organized a supply drive that collected book bags, school supplies, calculators, and other necessary items for children in the area who might not have access to those items. Of the drive, Aaron Lupuloff said, “This is the second year that 12Stone members have conducted this drive and they increased the number of items donated over the prior year by three hundred percent!”
Local churches, businesses, and wealthy community members have not been the only ones to help with school educational efforts, either. The Atlanta Falcons contributed to the first-ever girl’s flag football team at Gwinnett County Public School districts. The goal of this experiment was not only to provide a structured afterschool option for girls at North Gwinnett but to take this to a statewide level. The Falcons, GCPS Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Community Foundation are passionate about girls across the state having an outlet for safe and constructive physical activity, as well as team playing benefits that will last their lifetime.
While the goal of the GCPS Foundation will always be to serve the public schools in the county, they thoroughly believe that their actions can spur the next generation of education and support widespread educational reforms across the United States. The system set up at Gwinnett County Public Schools works, and it is only possible with support from the community and organizations. If more communities can start educational models like this, the United States will see the quality of their education expand, and future generations will reap the benefits.
Learn more about Aaron Lupuloff here:
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