09/10/2009









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for September 10, 2009

The following are highlights of the September 10, 2009, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Vice Chair Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board honors award-winning students
-- The Board saluted the Shiloh HS Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) unit on its selection as an Air Force Junior ROTC Distinguished Unit for FY2009 by the U.S. Department of the Air Force. This award honors AFJROTC units that perform above and beyond normal expectations and have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the AFJROTC mission of producing better citizens for America. The Shiloh HS AFJROTC unit is one of 393 units nationwide to receive this award. The objectives of the AFJROTC program are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, promote community service, instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline through character education, and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals. Dr. Gwen Tatum, Shiloh HS principal, accompanied the students. The unit's instructors are Mjr. Lourdes Trujillo and Sgt. Demetris Cook.
-- Board members honored Stuart Hench of Duluth HS on his first place finish in the National Geography Challenge. The National Geography Challenge is a multiple choice, question-based contest. The grades 7-9 contest and the grades 10-12 contest each require 35 minutes and contain 50 questions. The contests reflect the main themes of Geography, and are appropriate to each grade level. Stephen scored the highest score in the country on this test among 9th grade participants. Accompanying the honoree were Principal Jason Lane and Geri Flanary, social studies department chair at Duluth HS, as well as his teacher, Jacquelyn Anderson.
-- Several Gwinnett students were recognized by the School Board as National History Day state winners. In Georgia, this history education event is sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council. In conjunction with a national theme, MS and HS students research topics and present their findings in papers, performances, exhibits, or documentaries. Students may work individually or in teams (in all categories except historical paper). Students may collaborate in teams of two to five students. National History Day gets students out of the textbook and into primary sources, such as buildings, artifacts, records, interviews, or archaeological sites. Students can research any topic they would like, but they also must remember to look at available primary sources on their topic. Those who place first or second at state are eligible to participate at nationals. The 2009 national contest took place June 14-18 in Maryland. Gwinnett's winning students include:
  • Katie Fosse, 1st Place in Senior Individual Exhibits, Collins Hill HS
  • Brittany Partridge, Aisha Ellis, Kevin Lee, Trent Keatley, and O-Mayra Rimpel, 1st Place in Senior Group Exhibits, Collins Hill HS
  • Aniqa Alam, Divya Desai, Jumana Bambot, and Sonali Shah, 2nd Place in Senior Group Exhibits, Collins Hill HS
  • Christopher Willis, Christian King, Alexandria Smith, and Kyungmin Kim, 1st Place in Senior Websites, Collins Hill HS
  • Bailee Kitchens and Julie Tremblay, 1st Place in Senior Group Performance, Norcross HS

    Board approves legal action contesting the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission
    The Gwinnett County Board of Education voted today to move forward with legal action to contest the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks stated that the Gwinnett County Board of Education firmly believes that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission is unconstitutional. He indicated that with this action, the Board is not taking a stand against the creation of charter schools, but against the establishment of a state commission that usurps the jurisdiction and resources of a duly elected local board of education. Key concerns of the Board leading to this decision were:
    1) The district does not believe the Charter Schools Commission has standing under the state Constitution to manage and control local schools.
    2) The district does not believe the Commission has the constitutional authority to establish a statewide independent school district.
    3) The district does not believe the Commission has the constitutional authority to direct local dollars to the operation of Commission-approved charter schools.

    Board approves Capital Outlay Application, including projects funded by federal stimulus funds
    The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the Capital Outlay Application for FY2011 in the amount of $7,708,994. These multi-year accumulated Regular and Growth Funds will be used in conjunction with local funds to construct the addition to Norcross ES, lighting replacement at five schools, roof replacement at three schools, and HVAC upgrades at four schools. Additionally, the funding for construction of the new Moore MS, South Gwinnett HS addition and Sugar Hill ES addition are to be removed from the previously submitted Capital Outlay Application for FY2011. These three projects will be constructed using Federal Stimulus Funds.

    Proposed FY2011 budget development calendar under review
    The Board of Education reviewed the proposed calendar of activities and dates associated with adoption of the FY2011 budget. The budget development calendar will be presented for approval at the October 8, 2009, Monthly Business Meeting. Click here to review the proposed calendar.

    Board update addresses SACS CASI recommendations
    Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Dale Robbins provided the Board with an update on the school system's accreditation. In February, 2007, a Quality Assurance Review Team visited GCPS as part of the SACS CASI (AdvancED) accreditation process to evaluate adherence to quality standards and assess the effectiveness of the school system's improvement efforts. GCPS is required to submit a progress report two years after the team visit to describe district actions to address the team's recommendations. The recommendations were to: 1) continue to close the achievement gap at all levels; 2) recruit and retain high-quality staff, with a particular emphasis on increasing the percentage who reflect the diversity of students served; and 3) continue to study the long-range impact of increased student growth upon the system, with a particular emphasis on system organization, systemwide services, and system funding. The district submitted a progress report to AdvancED in May of 2009.

    School Board continues its policy work
    As part of its ongoing policy work, the School Board approved the following policy changes that were tabled at last month's meeting to allow for public input:
    Policy EBA- Race and Ethnicity Reporting-- This new policy was created to reflect improvements in system processes and mandates in state and/or federal law.
    Policy JBCD- Student Transfers and Withdrawals-- Changes were made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes as well as with mandates in state and/or federal law.

    As part of its ongoing policy work, the School Board tabled the following proposed policy changes until next month's meeting to allow for public input:
    Policy AE- School Year-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes as well as with mandates in state and/or federal law.