02/14/2008









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for February 14, 2008

The following are highlights of the February 14, 2008, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board salutes community members for their support of schools
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education honored Eron and Robbie Moore, president and co-president of the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett, for their support of and involvement in Gwinnett schools. Mr. and Mrs. Moore founded the society in 1985 with the goal of getting people involved in all aspects of Gwinnett County. An example of their involvement is the United Ebony Society's sponsorship of an Annual Teacher Appreciation Reception for all new and returning Gwinnett teachers. Under Mr. and Mrs. Moore's leadership and direction, the society also sponsors the annual countywide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, which features student essay readers from Gwinnett County Public Schools.
-- School Board members saluted Holly Melton and Angela Monetta, 2008 co-presidents of the Gwinnett Council of PTAs, for their outstanding service to Gwinnett County Public Schools. Each February, the Gwinnett County Board of Education recognizes the anniversary of the National PTA's founding. In conjunction with this year's recognition, the Board also acknowledges the leadership of the current co-presidents of the Gwinnett Council of PTAs. Ms. Melton and Ms. Monetta were recognized for outstanding service in support of the system's local PTA units, for initiating improvements in the council that will strengthen its effectiveness and responsiveness, and for their assistance on critical issues affecting Gwinnett's children, including the recent general obligation bond referendum. In addition to honoring Ms. Melton and Ms. Monetta, the Board of Education, in observance of the National PTA’s founding 111 years, proclaimed February 17, 2008, as PTA Day in Gwinnett County Public Schools, acknowledging the PTA as a valued partner in GCPS' quest to become a system of world-class schools.

GCPS continues to study a wide variety of educational programming choices
Associate Superintendent Dr. Cindy Loe shared with School Board members the school system's continuing efforts to investigate a variety of educational programming choices for students in a variety of settings. Programming under consideration includes:
- Expansion of the International Baccalaureate and/or international-focus programs at elementary, middle, and high school levels that could include year-long foreign language instruction, citizenship curriculum, and preparation for international economic and cultural opportunities.
- A performing arts middle school that would offer intensive dance, drama, theater, choral, and instrumental programs.
- A performing and technical arts high school with a supporting performance arts center that would include technical arts, such as production design, stagecraft, recording, etc., as well as focus on performing arts programs in areas, such as dance, drama, theater, and choral and instrumental music.
- Academic challenge programs at elementary, middle, and high school levels that would allow for acceleration of curriculum based on students' specialized talents and needs. These types of programs also would provide problem-solving and real-world application focus, with community and business mentoring partnerships.
- Gender-specialized schools (school-within-a-school) at the middle school level that would focus on nurturing high expectations and achievement. This type of program would offer programs for girls, boys, as well as a co-ed program at the school.
GCPS is reviewing these options with various schools within the system that have expressed interest in implementing various educational programs. As discussion continues on what can be done to continue to challenge all students, the school system will look at a variety of options, including charter and conversion charter schools, as well as expansion of program offerings.

Board takes action on redistricting measures
The Gwinnett County Board of Education took action on two redistricting items:
- The first redistricting decision affects the area in the City of Lilburn, bordered by U.S. 29 on the north, Main Street on the west, Killian Hill on the east, and the railroad tracks on the south. Board members approved a redistricting change that would send 14 students in this area, who currently attend school in the Meadowcreek Cluster, to schools in the Parkview Cluster. This change was possible due to additional space available at schools in the Parkview Cluster with the opening of the new Trickum facility and the expansion of the high school campus.
- In another redistricting decision, School Board members reviewed a previous decision affecting middle school lines in the Brookwood Cluster. A 2005 redistricting called for a number of students from Five Forks MS to transfer to Crews MS in the fall of 2008. Subsequent enrollment patterns and projections indicate that, should the redistricting go forward in the fall of 2008, it would result in significant overcrowding of Alton C. Crews MS as well as under-enrollment at Five Forks MS. In light of this information, the superintendent recommended that the School Board retain the current split feeder pattern, reversing the decision to move these students from Five Forks MS to Crews MS. Board members approved the superintendent's recommendation.

School Board continues its policy work
School Board members tabled the following policies to allow for further input:
Policy IB- Academic Knowledge and Skills Curriculum-- The title of this policy has been changed from “Instructional Goals and Objectives.” Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy IDBA- Comprehensive School Health and PE Program Plan-- The descriptor code has been changed from IDB. Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy IDCA-- Summer School-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy IEA-- Grouping for Instruction-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy IKD-- Ceremonies and Observances-- Minor changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy JAA-- Equal Educational Opportunities-- Minor changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy IED-- Hardship Waivers-- This new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes.
Policy JBCB-- Acceptance of Transfer Credits-- Staff is recommending this proposed new policy be placed on the table for review until the March 13, 2008, Monthly Business Meeting.
The following policies have been tabled and are recommended to be rescinded:
Policy IFA-- Instructional Material (Copyright)-- The contents of this policy are already addressed in Procedure P.IFAA “Instructional Materials Selection.”
Policy IKB-- Controversial Issues-- The contents of this policy have been incorporated into the new Procedure P.IKB “Classroom Discussions of Controversial Issues.”

Citizens and groups addressing the Board
- Martin Weingarten
- Mark Franke
- Christy Banfield
- Sharon Capers, Jennifer Falk, William Roston, Benetta Standley, Marlyn Tillman, and Torin Togut-- Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline