Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher, and the learning they do together doesn’t stop when children head off to school.
With the start of the new school year, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is launching a new initiative to strengthen the home-school relationship and provide families with the knowledge and skills they need to support learning, whether students are learning at home or at school.
District staff members from the departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Federal Programs are working together to develop Parent Learning Modules to support learning of key skills in the core subjects of language arts and mathematics. New modules will roll out each nine weeks, starting with kindergarten and expanding to other grades. The modules will focus on the skills that children need to master in order to be successful at upper grades.
“We’re starting this initiative with foundational skills in language arts and mathematics for our youngest learners since they are new to the school experience, knowing that these basic skills are the foundation for future school success,” says Dr. Clay Hunter, assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Support. “These tools will give their families a window into the classroom and an opportunity to get involved and reinforce what their children are learning.”
The new Parent Learning Modules will including live Zoom sessions to model at-home AKS activities, recordings of the virtual sessions, and tipsheets.
Families will be able to use the modules to reinforce the key skills that children are learning with their classroom teacher. For instance in kindergarten, the sessions will focus on key skills like recognizing the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, and learning to count objects in sequence using numbers names.
The sessions will be hosted by parent instructional coordinators and parent outreach liaisons who staff Parent Centers in the district’s Title I schools. (Title I schools receive federal funds to support services based on a higher percentage of students who have economic disadvantages.)
The Federal Programs team is looking forward to expanding the offerings beyond kindergarten, building tools to support foundational skills at other grade levels. Over time, the learning modules will be available across grade levels and posted on the GCPS website so that all families will have access.
About the AKS
Gwinnett’s curriculum for grades K–12 is called the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). The AKS includes all of the state’s standards, including the state-adopted Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) in the areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, career and technical education, and fine arts for all grades (K–12). The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are in place for foreign language and health and physical education for the 2020–21 school year. Gwinnett’s AKS is a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for college and 21st century careers in a globally competitive future.
The AKS for each grade level spells out the essential concepts students are expected to know and skills they should acquire in that grade or subject. The AKS offers a solid base on which teachers build rich learning experiences. Teachers use curriculum guides, technology, and instructional resources to teach the AKS and to make sure every student is learning to his or her potential.
The AKS curriculum was developed by our teachers, with input from our parents and community. It is continually refreshed with an annual review by a committee of staff members, parents, and community members.