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Find this year's schools on our National Blue Ribbon Schools award winners list

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The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology GSMST

GSMST NBRS 2016

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology [GSMST] (Lawrenceville, GA). GSMST’s signature educational practice is our required 4-year internship experience. In the ninth grade, students attend quarterly Speaker Series events where they participate in the most rigorous and informative career day possible. We bring 20-30 working professionals each nine weeks from our partner organizations to school for 90 minute presentations about STEM careers and the college and education required to get there. Students sign up for the speaker of their choice, such as an engineer, doctor, FBI agent, computer programmer, or lab scientist. These events expose our freshmen to the reality of these STEM jobs and how they might get there one day. Our tenth graders experience two events: In the fall, they take part in a Job Readiness Workshop where they learn to write a resume, dress for and carry out an interview, respond to impromptu questions, and more; in the spring, they make site visits to work locations of some of our partners. We load the entire tenth grade class on buses and take them for 3-hour, behind-the-scenes tours of our partners’ work facilities so our students can see who works in teams, who works in a cubicle, how the site of an electrical engineer differs from a chemical engineer, etc. Our juniors complete a semester-long internship, JFE, in which they spend 5-10 hours a week for 14 weeks working with a site mentor and a faculty advisor, taking on actual job assignments and producing output for the host organization. JFE students present their work in a 10-minute Symposium presentation in April. Our seniors complete a year-long internship, SCE, in which they spend 5-10 hours a week for 28 weeks working in a fashion similar to what they did in JFE. Each student writes his or her senior thesis about the SCE experience, maintains a complete ePortfolio, and presents his or her work in a 20-minute Capstone presentation in April. While completing our internship program, some students clearly identify the career field that is right for them, while others begin to eliminate ones that are not right for them. There is great value (and perhaps great financial savings by not paying for the wrong college degree) in both outcomes. By successfully completing our internship experiences, students are prepared at the highest levels for college, career, and the kind of competition they will face in scholarship interview panels, co-op auditions, and that very first job interview. Our students are prepared and they are able to represent themselves and their learning with clear and precise language and skill.