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Lanier Cluster named a 21st Century Learning Exemplar, a national recognition of educational excellence

Lanier Cluster achieves national honor

Lanier Cluster named a 21st Century Learning Exemplar, a national recognition of educational excellence

November 8, 2017

Image of Lanier High Academy students

     For over a decade the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), has advocated for 21st century readiness for everyone. P21 brings together business, government, and education leaders and is focused on advancing evidence-based education policy and practice and making innovative teaching and learning a reality for all. Through the P21 Exemplar Program, the group seeks to identify, document, promote, and celebrate examples of 21st century learning initiatives that successfully prepare students for college, career, and life. The Lanier Cluster (which includes Lanier High School, Lanier Middle School, Sugar Hill Elementary School, Sycamore Elementary School, and White Oak Elementary School) is one of this year’s P21 honorees, earning the designation of “Exemplar.”

     The P21 Exemplar evaluation process is thorough and designed to lift up examples of successful nationwide practices and structures that yield 21st century learning outcomes. P21 uses a rubric to evaluate each application with top applicants selected for a site visit by the P21 team. The evaluation tool looks for:

1. Evidence of commitment to college, career, and life readiness
2. Educational support systems and sustainable design
3. Engaged learning approaches
4. Equitable student access to 21st century learning
5. Evidence of student acquisition of 21st century knowledge and skills
6. Partnerships for sustainable success

     Dr. Steve Flynt, associate superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, feels that the Exemplar designation is quite an achievement for the Lanier Cluster. He explains, “It speaks to the best practices and the patterns of innovation that are found within schools throughout the cluster. In fact, the Lanier Cluster was one of our district’s inaugural winners of its Innovation & Transformation Award. It was selected for its long-standing work focused on transforming the classroom through its Project-Based Learning (PBL) initiative. The use of PBL is pervasive in the Lanier schools, anchored by Lanier High School’s Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) Program and found in schools throughout the cluster. We are proud of the Lanier schools and the work they are doing and it is gratifying to know that others around the country recognize their efforts.”

     Dr. Reuben Gresham, former Lanier High School Principal who now serves as an assistant superintendent for high schools, is proud of the cluster’s latest accomplishment and the people who made it happen. He says, “Some of the best educators in the nation are found within the cluster and their commitment to students is unparalleled. They truly are making a difference as they stretch our concept of school to ensure we really are preparing students not just for the next grade level, but for life.”

     Dr. Christopher Martin, the new principal of Lanier High School, is pleased with what the Exemplar designation means for his school and the other schools in the cluster. “As a newcomer to the cluster, I am amazed at the great teaching and learning that is taking place in grades K-12. This cluster is a model for transforming the classroom and it is exciting to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to show others from around the country what innovation in the classroom can look like and how it engages students and has an impact on student achievement.”

     Dr. Kyle Jones, Lanier High School’s academy coach, echoes his principal’s praise for the cluster’s work and is excited about the future. He explains “We are excited to partner with P21 and other exemplar schools to share best practices and continue to empower our students and teachers. As the only cluster of schools in Georgia to have both K-12 STEM certification and P21 Exemplar status, we believe our entire cluster is aligned to truly prepare our students for life after their K-12 experience and enter an ever changing economy and workforce.”


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