has gone through a number of changes and renovations this summer for the upcoming school year's look and education.
During a presentation at a PDC meeting in Norcross last Wednesday, Curriculum and Instruction Assistant Principal Sarah Skinner explained that the school received new paint and floors, and SPLOST money has gone toward an air-conditioning unit at the school's new gym.
Bus lanes also have been added to the school for the first time.
"It's really pretty remarkable that looks like a brand new facility," said Skinner.
And with the new pair of shoes and wardrobe, the school has been improving its curriculum, too. Meadowcreek High has brought in new teachers and assistant principals to help expand its leadership team in August.
"Our professional learning will really be increasing this year because we really want our teachers to know the latest and greatest strategies and techniques," said Skinner. "What we want to do is challenge our students as much as we possibly can so they can be successful as much as they possibly can."
Skinner added that the school is concentrating more on its vocabulary and reading and writing skills, and it's also building its STEM programs within the school.
STEM programs focus on more training and opportunities for students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are the fields that jobs are growing in. Skinner said Meadowcreek recently received a $5 million grant specifically for STEM.
One example that STEM is working is a summer-long intensive science program at Georgia Tech that four Meadowcreek students attended. The rising seniors and juniors recently made a presentation on gold nanoparticles, their main course of study at the college.
The researcher whom the students worked with even has invited them to continue working with him, said Skinner.
While the school is undergoing a huge facelift, there are still some issues in the Meadowcreek cluster, including its elementary and middle schools.
During the PDC discussion, Board of Education District V Chairwoman Louise Radloff confirmed that Meadowcreek High has one of the lowest graduation rates in Gwinnett County, but it's for various reasons. The Meadowcreek cluster is the most diverse district in the entire state of Georgia, and there are more than 100 languages spoken there, according to Radloff and Skinner. Because of this, many families have illiteracy issues, which make it hard for students to succeed if they need help with homework.
There's also a mobility issue where students simply don't attend school, many times because of parents.
"In an elementary school, it's not unusual for a parent to come an hour, an hour and a half late," said Radloff. "They just don't get up to put the kid on the bus."
Radloff added that the cluster has a high poverty rate. Homes aren't stable, causing students to constantly switch schools.
"Most kids start Aug. 6. By December, 50 percent of them will be gone, and another 50 percent will move in," explained Radloff.
While GCPS is working on different programs to help resolve these issues, it can be hard since many of the problems are "out of the box," said Radloff. She added that she's seeing if juvenile court can help with sending notifications to parents.
One way Meadowcreek is dealing with the situation is by appointing one assistant principal whose sole job is to deal with attendance in the school.
Even with these issues, Meadowcreek High anticipates 2,900 students to start off the first day of school Aug. 6 with its new renovations, faculty leaders and curriculum programs. Nine hundred of those students will come as freshmen.