GGC School of Education earns national accreditation

Georgia Gwinnett College School of Education student Nadia Najih  interacts in the classroom at Lovin Elementary School.

Georgia Gwinnett College School of Education student Nadia Najih interacts in the classroom at Lovin Elementary School.  

The Georgia Gwinnett College School of Education (SOE), in only its fourth year, has received national accreditation under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.  
Coupled with the college’s partnership with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), this distinction positions SOE to be one of the state’s most prominent education programs.  
“We are very pleased to have achieved national accreditation so early in the school’s existence,” said Dr. Cathy Moore, dean of the School of Education. “It is the standard of excellence in educator preparation.” 
“This national accreditation further validates GGC’s innovative model for higher education,” said Stas Preczewski, president. “Our access model together with a strong focus on providing high-demand bachelor degrees ensures we are meeting the educational needs of Gwinnett County and the surrounding region.” 
NCATE Seeking national accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is the mechanism through which colleges demonstrate a commitment to high-quality educator preparation with the end goal of improving P-12 student achievement.
“Only a little more than half of the nation’s education programs are accredited,” said Dr. Lois Richardson, interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost.  “The reputation of educator preparation at Georgia Gwinnett has contributed to the program’s rapid growth over the past four years. More than 300 students have graduated from the SOE, with another 150 expected to graduate by the end of the 2015 spring semester.”
National accreditation involves a voluntary peer review process that evaluates every facet of a college that is responsible for educator preparation. The review is based on research-based national standards developed by all sectors of the teaching profession.
The SOE offers Bachelor of Science in education degrees in both early childhood education and special education. In addition, GGC has a teacher certification track for students majoring in biology, English, history, mathematics and political science. These programs are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
The school has a uniquely close working relationship with the Gwinnett County school system, ensuring local student teacher placements. GGC students are placed exclusively in GCPS schools for all of their field and clinical experiences.
“We are very fortunate that we are located in the same community with a high-quality, award-winning local school system,” Moore said. “GCPS educators and administrators have been integrally involved in the development of our educator preparation programs. As a result, our students have extensive opportunities to develop their teaching expertise in outstanding educational environments. With rich diversity and world-class schools, Gwinnett County is a great place to learn to be a 21st century educator.”
Moore also said she is proud that the SOE team has created a talent pipeline through which GCPS high school graduates can attend Georgia Gwinnett for educator preparation. Many GGC education majors have become employed by the county school system.
“Through our program, our students come to truly understand the school district’s approach to education,” she said. “Our graduates are ready for the first year of teaching, and because they have completed experiences in a variety of GCPS schools, they are comfortable teaching in any location.”
More than half of GGC’s education graduates are currently employed in Gwinnett County schools. With the continuing growth of the county, GCPS hires a substantial number of teachers each year, thus resulting in excellent job placement for the college’s graduates.
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