Here at America Succeeds, we’re constantly on the lookout for schools that serve as innovative examples of Durable Skills in action. It’s always incredible to see the varying approaches to skills-based learning that schools use to prepare learners for their journey’s post-high school and the impact they’re making along the way, which is why we recently teamed up with NewSchools Venture Fund to highlight a school in their portfolio that is changing the life trajectory of the students they serve.
Seckinger High School is part of Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school system in Georgia, and was opened as part of a multi-year effort to open new schools with a focus on innovation. Serving ~2,800 students at full growth, Seckinger was developed in response to the forecasts and data regarding the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence. Seckinger serves students who are most underrepresented in the technology industry. Gwinnett’s students come from more than 180 countries, about a third are Black, and another third are Hispanic or Latino. Through rigorous coursework, the school is preparing students to be competitive in an evolving and technology-rich world. How cool is that!
But what does that actually mean in practice? To start, students at Seckinger choose to pursue one of four schools of study: Advanced Science & Technology, Business & Leadership, Arts & Design, or a Personalized Course of Study. Within each school of study, there are pathways for additional specialization like Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Marketing & Management, and Digital Arts to name a few. No matter which concentration is chosen, students are exposed to artificial intelligence and technology themes in the core curriculum. Across all concentrations, students gain coding skills, exposure to data science, mathematical reasoning, creative problem solving, ethical decision making, and authentic engagement with real world applications.
The artificial intelligence pilot isn’t just about math and programming. It’s also about creative problem solving, thinking deeply and collaborating with individuals around you to solve the things that matter in your communities”– Babak Mostaghimi, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Seckinger is the first school in the country dedicated to teaching AI as part of its curriculum, not just as an elective class.The first-of-its-kind school prepares students with the more technical aspects they’ll use in their future careers, but also with the Durable Skills needed to become lifelong learners and become active problem solvers in their communities. Importantly, the AI focus will lead to more than preparation for a trendy corner of the job market. Through exposure to AI and machine learning, students are helping answer pressing questions about the ethics of artificial intelligence and how to interrupt biases that “intelligent” machinery can perpetuate.