Top Georgia high school gets new leader

Logan Malm, the new principal of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Lawrenceville, poses for a portrait in her office on Thursday, July 21, 2022.  (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Logan Malm, the new principal of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Lawrenceville, poses for a portrait in her office on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Gwinnett principal promotes real-world applications of STEM

Georgia’s top high school will begin the school year Wednesday with its first new leader in nearly a decade.

Logan Malm took over as principal of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in June after IV Bray stepped down to become principal at Providence Christian Academy.

GSMST in Lawrenceville has about 1,200 students and has consistently been rated one of the best high schools in the country and the best in Georgia by U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings and other publications.

Malm didn’t fixate on keeping up GSMST’s ranking, but she said she’s committed to maintaining high academic standards and also supporting staff and students.

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Malm is new to GSMST but she’s served in several roles in the district, always with a focus on science.

“STEM at its core is getting students to solve real-world problems, relevant problems that are taking place here in the community or here in the state using math and science,” she said in an interview.

Malm said she’s not coming in with radical new ideas. “I think this first year is just going to be a year in which I get to know the students, the teachers, the families and really get to hear what they want to see for the future of GSMST,” she said.

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Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is often ranked the best high school in Georgia by U.S. News & World Report. (AJC file photo)

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is often ranked the best high school in Georgia by U.S. News & World Report. (AJC file photo)

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Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is often ranked the best high school in Georgia by U.S. News & World Report. (AJC file photo)

Five things to know about Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

What makes this school’s approach different from others?

In their first year, students begin an accelerated math and science track that includes an engineering and physics introductory class. The class emphasizes learning through projects and practical problem solving, Malm said. The school brings in professors and STEM professionals to discuss their work and expose students to different pathways they may follow.

Juniors participate in fellowships, internships or projects that allow them to get a hands-on introduction to a field of interest. Seniors all complete a capstone experience that requires in-depth exploration of a topic through research and creation of a portfolio, product or project.

Why is this school so highly ranked?

GSMST scored a near-perfect 99.95 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings. The most important metric in its ranking system is college readiness, which it uses Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test results to measure. Ninety-nine percent of its students passed at least one Advanced Placement exam last year. Its graduation rate for the class of 2021 was 99.6%, according to Georgia Department of Education data.

How do you gain admission?

Students are selected through a lottery with 375 slots in each freshman class.

There are two pathways to qualify for the lottery. Eighth graders in accelerated algebra or higher must pass the class and its accompanying Milestones assessment, if there is one. Eighth graders in Algebra I qualify if they have a grade of 90 or higher in the first semester and do at least one of the following: score distinguished in the Milestones in May or score 550 or higher on the math component of the SAT or PSAT.

What are the demographics?

GSMST’s student body has been about 45% Asian, 22% Black, 10% Hispanic, 18% white and 4% multiethnic. Across the district, students are 11% Asian, 32% Black, 33% Hispanic, 20% white and 4% multiethnic. About 55% of students are males and 45% are females.

Is it just STEM?

While the school’s name lists mathematics, science and technology, students participate in a full curriculum of language arts, physical education and social studies classes. There are also fine arts and language courses similar to other high schools in the district.

The school offers a variety of clubs and extracurricular activities, but it does not have sports teams.