Gwinnett County's newest school opens doors

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It's back to class for the largest school system in Georgia.

The school buses will be rolling through Gwinnett County Monday morning.

Dropping off students at a brand new, innovative high school in Norcross: The Paul Duke STEM High School. It's the county's 140th school.

Teachers and officials at the school described the education students will receive at the school as "hands-on," creating things instead of just reading about them in a text book.

"Learning how to code websites, create a movie, build apps – our students are going to learn real life skills as well as traditional curriculum," Principal Dr. Jonathon Wetherington said.

The paint was still being rolled on the walls when FOX 5 previewed the campus to see the finishing touches of the $37.7 million project.

The classrooms at the Norcross school – described as a "mini campus" – aren't typical learning spaces. 

"Around every corner of this school, there's a surprise," teacher Philip Peavy said.  

Teachers also won't have traditional lesson plans, with the possibility of several subjects consolidated into one work session.

"As we bring teachers together and have them collaborate as they teach ... they can provide students relevance of their curriculum all over the place," Wetherington said.

The school's focus is on engineering and robotics as well as communication, art, and design. 

Only grades nine through 11 will exist the first year.

And with an eventual 1,400 students, it will be one of Gwinnett's smallest schools.

Students will attend classes Monday through Thursday and participate in digital learning days on Fridays. They can learn in labs at school or at home. It's a chance to offer tutoring, clubs and activities.

Administrators say the school will have a big impact.

"It's not for everybody, but there's an opportunity here for any one," Wetherington said.