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Accountability and flexibility are hallmarks of Gwinnett County Public Schools' success. Key to that success is ensuring that each school community understands the progress being made by its schools, as well as what plans will drive improvement. Each school creates a collaborative Local School Plan for Improvement (LSPI) to increase student achievement results, with targeted goals based on the four strategic priorities within the district’s Blueprint for the Future: Empathy, Equity, Effectiveness, and Excellence. All schools across the district will focus on goals 2A- Multi-tiered Systems of Support and 2B- Opportunity and Access. Additionally, schools are required to select one goal from each of the other strategic priorities. LSPI goals are dynamic, like our schools, and are updated to reflect changes that occur in schools. Multiple data points are used to determine areas needing improvement and to identify specific, measurable, annual objectives. Schools then determine how to use research-based strategies to achieve these goals, using flexibility as needed. The LSPI development process involves teachers, parents, students, and community members, so the entire school community has the opportunity to be involved in conversations about school improvement.


2023 - 2024 Local School Plan for Improvement (LSPI)

School: PAUL DUKE STEM HIGH SCHOOL           Principal: Jonathon Wetherington

District Strategic Priorities/Goals Rationale Action Steps
(Implementation Design)
How will you measure growth?
Growth Factors (Baseline & Targets)
Empathy 1.B - Staff and Student Well Being

Paul Duke STEM is focused on promoting student wellbeing, belonging, and engagement through positive relationships and a supportive learning environment. Therefore, based on 2022 data from our student Educational Effectiveness Survey (EES), we recognized seven questions in the Supportive Learning Environment (SLE) and Belonging and Engagement (BE) as opportunities for improvement in support of students’ well being, belonging, and engagement.


  1. Improve and optimize our Advisement Experience
    • We have aligned our Advisement, SEL, and PBIS programs to maximize the effectiveness of the program for the next couple of years.
    • Our Advisement classes meets twice a week. Advisement teachers are assigned the same 25 students for all four years of their high school experience, which gives teachers and students the opportunity to develop a sense of community.
    • Advisement teachers are conferencing individually with students and communicating with parents. We will develop a schedule and script to help teachers to  conference with their advisement students during Advisement and Intervention Blocks.
    • We will continue to provide on-going training to Faculty and Staff to support our Advisement program through professional learning sessions and training for advisement leaders. 
  2. Implement our Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) to improve behavior outcomes 
    • This year will be our second year of PBIS, and we will begin implementing our PBIS this fall.
    • As a part of our PBIS roll-out, we will have quarterly training sessions for staff, students are being grouped into "HOUSES" for belonging and positive competitions
    • We have added a PBIS Coordinator to our faculty. 
    • We are implementing our PBIS system using an easy to use software, which the teachers and PBIS leadership team helped identify. 
    • We will continue to provide on-going training to Faculty and Staff to support our PBIS implementation through professional learning sessions and training for PBIS leaders. 
  3. Engage students with co-curricular and extracurricular clubs and activities 
    • Host a club and Activity Fair in August to expose students to multiple opportunities to engage in our school community (August)
    • We will host after school and summer learning experiences (ELT) around Computer Science, Robotics, Drones, and Design to promote engagement, belonging, and student learning
  4. Actively support Student and Staff Student Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
    • Warm Welcome and Optimistic Closing will be modeled in every meeting starting in pre-planning. These lessons and practices are incorporated into meetings and professional learning. 
    • Teachers received a digital copy of “SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook” during Pre-planning
    • Teachers will incorporate SEL practices within daily classroom lessons such as warm welcomes, optimistic closures, and engaging strategies.
    • Teachers will receive professional learning and resources to support SEL implementation.
    • Meetings and professional learning opportunities will model SEL practices for teachers. 
    • We are making a focused effort to assess and support our teachers growth and confidence with SEL. 
  5. Demonstrate relevance of the AKS through Project-Based Learning (PBL) 
    • All teachers incorporate at least two project-based or problem-based learning experiences
    • Teachers will be provided additional planning time to develop PBL learning experiences that connect learning of the AKS with future opportunities.
    • Professional learning and collaborative planning around productive group work and relevancy to support and increase student engagement
  6. Expand and support students leadership capacity
    • GSLT student leadership team will meet monthly with club presidents to develop leadership capacity and create a space for providing suggestions for solving problems in the school.
    • Student Council and GSLT/PDSLT are partnering to enhance student voice and role in the development of the school.

Paul Duke STEM is focusing on the following seven questions on the Student version of the Educational Effectiveness Survey over the next four years (SY2022-2023 through SY2025-2026).

1. I enjoy coming to this school

2022: 52% 


2023: 56% (target)

55% (actual)

2024: 60%

2025: 64%

2026: 68%

2. Adults in this school help me plan and set goals for my future (BE)

2022: 53%


2023: 56% (target)

62% (actual)

2024: 59%

2025: 62%

2026: 65%

3. My teacher(s) often tell me how I am doing in their class (BE)

2022: 65%


2023: 68% (target)

65% (actual)

2024: 71%

2025: 74%

2026: 77%

4. Students are involved in solving problems in this school (BE)

2022: 72%


2023: 75% (target)

73% (actual)

2024: 78%

2025: 81%

2026: 84%

5. This school has effective equity practices for all (BE)

2022: 71%


2023: 74% (target)

77% (actual)

2024: 77%

2025: 80%

2026: 83%

6. What we do in school will help me succeed in life (BE)

2022: 51% (actual)

2023: 54% (target)

60% (actual)

2024: 57%

2025: 60%

2026: 63%

7. Work I do in this school is useful and interesting to me (SLE)

2022: 42%


2023: 44% (target)

47% (actual)

2024: 48%

2025: 52%

2026: 56%


Equity 2.A - Multi-tiered System of Supports

Paul Duke STEM will implement an effective Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), in order to decrease the number of student scoring at the Beginning level on the Georgia Milestones End of Course Assessments. 

Over the next four years, we will decrease the percentage of students scoring at the Beginning Level on GA Milestones assessments in all student subgroups. During the SY2021-2022, Paul Duke STEM students had the following percentage of students score at the Beginning level: 

  • Biology 13%
  • Algebra 22%
  • US History 18% 
  • American Literature 12%
  1. Build capacity of faculty and staff to design and implement effective student interventions 
    • MTSS Leadership Team meets weekly to lead and support students interventions
    • Instructional Leadership Team works together to support effective practices to support and lead exceptional Collaborative Learning Teams (CLT) and effective Tier 1 instruction
  2. Develop our Supportive Community Processes and Structures
    • Our MTSS leadership team meets weekly to develop, implement, monitor, and improve our Multi-Tiered System of Supports.
    • We will continue to leverage digital Kid Talks via Teams to help collect information on students while minimizing in-person meetings. Digital Kid Talks have been a game-changer with accurate and efficient data collection as well as with the speed of MTSS and RTI processes
    • Attendance interventions will be leveraged to support students’ attendance.
    • We will offer After School Tutoring & Peer Tutoring to support students
    • We continue to use our Flexible Intervention Time to maximize student supports and interventions during the day.
  3. Improving MTSS Processes, Supports, and Procedures
    • We are working to provide a supportive community through a focused approach to student discipline, particularly tardies, AWOLs, and absences. 
    • We are implementing PBIS school-wide, and our initial team has been trained and is working to train the entire faculty and staff. 
    • Grade level teams will meet regularly to have “Kid Talks” to discuss student supports, interventions, and remediation
    • Credit Recovery will be offered to support learning of AKS not mastered in Semester 1 or Prerequisite classes. We will offer three credit recovery sessions throughout the year.
  4. Leveraging Academic Press
    • Our school will continue to optimize our Flex Intervention time to more effectively support Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.
    • Course teams in EOC courses and prerequisite courses will develop and administer AKS aligned assessments and lessons to support engagement, learning, and success.
      • Teachers will administer both common assessments and required district assessments to monitor student progress.
      • The MAP Universal Screener will be used to identify students for remediation and acceleration. 
    • Course Teams and teachers will leverage digital resources such as DeltaMath, IXL Math, and other digital resources
    • Teachers will leverage small group instructional focus on core skills and concepts

Our goal is to reduce the number of students scoring at the Beginning level on Milestones over the next four years.

% Beginning on Algebra I Milestones (ALL students)

2022: 22% (Actual)

2023: 20% Target) 38% Actual

2024: 18%

2025: 15%

2026: 12%

% Beginning on Biology Milestones (ALL students)

2022: 13% (Actual)

2023: 12% (Target) 14% (Actual)

2024: 11%

2025: 10%

2026: 9%

% Beginning on American Lit & Comp Milestones (ALL students)

2022: 12% (Actual)

2023: 11%m Target) 14% (Actual)

2024: 10%

2025: 9%

2026: 8%

% Beginning on US History Milestones (ALL students)

2022: 18% (Actual)

2023: 16% (Target) 12% (Actual)

2024: 14%

2025: 11%

2026: 9%


Equity 2.B - Opportunity and Access

Paul Duke STEM aspires to prepare all students for opportunities in both college and careers. In order to expand student opportunities to complete advanced coursework and earn postsecondary credit, we will intentionally expand opportunities for Black and Latino students to complete Advanced Coursework through AP and Dual Enrollment. 

  1. Expand Advanced Coursework Options and Opportunities
    • Expand AP Access with AP Precalculus
    • Expand AP Lang participation (Leverage assessment data to support enrollment and recruitment)
    • Expand Dual Enrollment Partnerships and course offerings
    • Support teachers with Professional Learning
    • Offer students the opportunity to attend Maxwell
    • Offer a Fall and Spring Parent Expo
  2. We will expand student supports and the effectiveness of our MTSS for each and every student in advanced courses by offering the following:
    • We will offer specific AP Advisement Lessons
    • We will offer Peer Mentoring & Tutoring during our Flex and Intervention 
    • College Fair and Visits
    • Improving Tier 1 Student Academic Supports in AP
    • Progressing students from below grade level to at grade to beyond grade level between grades 9-11
  3. Expand parent supports for each and every student group
    • Parent Meetings and Mentoring
    • Improved Counseling Support
    • College and Career Counselor
    • Parent Outreach Liaison (POL)

In order to expand student opportunities to complete advanced coursework and earn postsecondary credit, we will intentionally expand opportunities for Black and Latino students to complete Advanced Coursework through AP and Dual Enrollment.  

Below is our AP Exam Data for SY2021-2022 - SY 2025-2026

  SY2021-2022 SY2022-2023 SY2023-2024 SY2024-2025 SY2025-2026
Number of students taking an AP test 367 (Actual) 560 (Actual) 600 (Target) 625 (Target) 650 (Target)
Percentage of seniors scoring 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam  30.6% (Actual) 51.8% (Actual) 53% (Target) 55% (Target) 60% (Target)
Percentage of All Students Scoring 3 or higher   74% (Actual) 73% (Actual) 76% (Target) 78% (Target) 80% (Target)
Percentage of Black and Hispanic Students Scoring 3 or higher 54.2% (Actual) 60.6% (Actual) 63% (Target) 66% (Target) 70% (Target)
Effectiveness 3.B - Talent Management

Paul Duke STEM values all employees at all levels, and we seek to elevate their voices in decision-making, recognize and celebrate their success, and prioritize their professional growth. 

On the employee EES Survey, our lowest performing strand was Focused Professional Development, which returned 71% positive responses in 2022 and 61% positive responses in 2023. Therefore, we are focused on improving professional learning and support for teachers around the shifts outlined in the Blueprint for the Future, specifically professional learning that supports social emotional learning, belonging, and the success of each and every student.

  1. Improve and increase the Professional Development for Teachers around Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  2. Incorporate Social Emotional Learning practices in all meetings
  3. Encourage peer coaching and completion of the coach endorsement
  4. Launching PBIS in SY2023-2024 to improve behavior outcomes
  5. Launch "PDS Teacher Leadership Cohort" Professional Development for 25 teachers
  6. Engage all teachers in Peer Observation and Feedback as a tool to improve instruction

In 2022, our staff expressed a 71% positive response rate, and we experienced a drop to 61% positive response with the Focused Professional Development in SY2022-2023. This was our lowest scoring area on the Staff EES survey for both years, and we saw a decrease in all 5 questions within the Focused Professional Development strand in SY2022-2023. Therefore, we are focused on improving professional learning and support for teachers around the shifts outlined in the GCPS Blueprint for the Future.

Positive Faculty and Staff Responses to EES Focused Professional Development Characteristic (2022 Baseline was 71%)

2022: 71%

2023: 61%

2024: 75%

2025: 80%

2026: 85%

Excellence 4.B - Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

Paul Duke STEM High School supports each and every student through a well-rounded educational experience that promotes both college and career readiness, and includes a wide variety of academic, arts and athletic programs, including co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Our goal is to consistently graduate 90%-95% of our students within 4 years and have all graduates complete an advanced academic, CTAE, Fine Arts, or World Language Pathway. Over the last three years, our 4-year graduation rate has been:. 

  • 2020 4 year graduation rate - 84.1%
  • 2021 4 year graduation rate - 92.5%
  • 2022 4 year graduation rate - 88.1%
  • 2023 4 year graduation rate - 92.6% (estimated)

Our Action Plan to improve 4-year graduation rate is as follows:

  1. Improve our Student Supports through MTSS (See Goal 2A)
    • Deliver instruction through effective Tier I Strategies for students within the classroom each and every day
    • Our instructional coach will complete walk-throughs in classrooms and provide professional learning to staff regarding Tier I instructional strategies.
    • Our RTI coordinator is working with a team of teachers to provide interventions based on data collected through Kid Talks.
  2. Improve professional learning and support for teachers around the shifts outlined in the Blueprint for the Future (See Goal 3B)
  3. Provide ELT and Credit Recovery opportunities for students to enhance, expand, and recover mastery of the AKS
  4. Improve communication and collaboration between counselors and administrators to better monitor and support students who are off-track
  5. Support students preparation for college and career readiness through assessment, instruction, counseling, and experiences

We will monitor the following:

  • The rate that students successfully complete their courses.
  • Advanced Academic, CTAE, Fine Arts, or World Language Pathway Completion rates
  • 4-year Graduation Rate- 90% of students graduating on time based on the year they entered 9th grade

4 Year Graduation Rate at Paul Duke STEM

2022: 88% (actual)

2023: 90% (target)

92.6% (actual)

2024: 92%(target)

2025: 94%(target)

2026: 95%(target)

Graduate Pathway Completion

2022: 83.1% (actual)

2023: 87.8%(target)

2024: 90%(target)

2025: 95%(target)

2026: 100%(target)

Excellence 4.C - World-Class Communication and Engagement

We will build our parents' capacity to support their children's academic achievement by implementing the activities identified in The Plan/The Promise.

  1. We will host multiple Parent Expos, which are events intended to engage our parents and equip them to support their students. 
    • The Fall Parent Expo will focus on helping parents understand what their students are learning in each class and what supports our school provides
    • The Spring Parent Expo will focus on helping students and parents prepare for graduation and register for courses in the 2024-2024 school year. The 
  2. We will host grade level specific seminars to help parents understand how to support their students and prepare for the future.
  3. We will work to leverage our school website, social media, and Parent Square to communicate information effectively to parents. 
  4. We will use our Parent Outreach Liaison (POL) and instructional support staff to intentional engage our families. We aspire to provide exception customer service and support for parents.
  5. We will work to add additional staff in our counseling office to support parent engagement and support for both students and families. 
  6. We are working with our PTSA and local CARE team to provide basic resources for families. 

We will measure growth in Parent Engagement through the number of Parent Surveys completed each year. Over the course of the next few year, we aim to improve our parent participation in the annual Parent Survey and the percentage of parents responding favorably.

Year SY2021-2022 SY2022-2023 SY2023-2024 SY2024-2025 SY2025-2026
Number of Responses 251 (Actual) 112 (Actual) 300 (Target) 350 (Target) 400 (Target)
Percentage of Parents responding positively to the following question, "I feel welcome at this school." 90% (Actual) 91% (Actual) 92% (Target) 93% (Target) 94% (Target)