Friday, October 24, 2008

Gwinnett Tech's Hudgens Early Education Center Honored for Best Practices

The D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center on the campus of Gwinnett Technical College has been chosen to showcase its facility, programs and practices to statewide leaders from education and industry as part of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) 16th Annual Bus Trip Across Georgia. The bus tour will visit the Hudgens Center on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 8 – 10 am.

The Hudgens Center is one of only 13 schools in the state – at all grade levels – to be selected for the tour and was chosen from a pool of 100. The bus tour began in 1993 and has been a fixture in state education circles ever since.

The tour showcases achieving public schools, innovative learning techniques and shares best practices with educators, business, government and community leaders from around the state. Schools selected as stops have a proven track record of academic excellence, educational innovation and sustained performance.

Sharon J. Bartels, president of Gwinnett Technical College, says, "It's a great honor for The Hudgens Center to be recognized by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in just our second year of operation. It's also great to see the role of early education highlighted. Quality early education is vital for success in all levels of education and improving early education directly and positively improves our communities."

The Hudgens Center provides childcare and preschool to the community, offering infant and toddler care, preschool, Montessori, Georgia Pre-K classes and before- and after-school care, serving children six weeks to 8 years old. The Hudgens Center is also a model teaching center for Gwinnett Tech's early childhood care and education program.

Participants on the bus tour include administrators, teachers and counselors from school systems throughout Georgia; college administrators; executives from business and industry; and representatives from the state Department of Education, the Georgia PTA, The Georgia Association of Educators, Teach for America, Junior Achievement, the Woodruff Foundation, and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

"As a lab school for Gwinnett Tech's early education program, our sole purpose is to model the best practices in the field and to provide an education at the highest level of quality in a nurturing environment to our children," says Becky Olson, Hudgens Center director. "It's gratifying to know that we're hitting the mark."

Opened in August 2006, the Hudgens Center is a 26,000-square-foot, two-story facility located on the Gwinnett Tech campus. Built with state-of-the-art communications and security features, the Center offers low teacher-to-student ratios and high teacher-education requirements, while also following the accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Dr. Stephen Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, says, "The Hudgens Center is a prime example of what can be done when it comes to providing a strong learning foundation for children." He explains the school represents a true partnership between the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning – Bright from the Start – and the Technical College System of Georgia that brings together quality early learning and teacher training.

Dolinger adds that the Hudgens Center visit, as well as the other 2008 bus trip schools, represents what is right in Georgia's public education system. "In the case of this stop, our bus trip participants will see a dynamic program that will pay long-lasting dividends as these children progress through their learning careers."

The event is conducted in two three-day increments. The first leg of the trip will visit seven north Georgia schools Oct. 28 – 30, followed by another six schools on a southern swing, Nov. 18 - 20. More than 200 riders and local site visitors are expected to participate over the entire schedule.

For more information about the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr., Early Education Center, call 678.226.6510. For more information about Gwinnett Tech and the college's more than 45 program options, including early childhood education, call 770-962-7580 or visit www.gwinnetttech.edu.
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