12/09/1999









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for December 9, 1999

          Board Recognizes Students, Staff, and Citizens
          • The Board honored Claude Blair, a senior at Collins Hill High School, who participated in the Special Olympics World Games held this summer. Claude won a total of seven medals in gymnastics: four gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze medal. Assistant Principal Allison Mardis said Claude is an "outstanding leader" among students at Collins Hill High as well as an accomplished athlete. "We are proud of Claude's athletic achievements, but equally proud of the young man he shows himself to be day in and day out," said Ms. Mardis.
          • Board members recognized Dr. William L. Sheals, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, and Joan Johnson, assistant principal of Nesbit Elementary, for their work in providing children with additional opportunities to learn the Gwinnett County curriculum. Hopewell Church has sponsored Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) intervention classes which support student learning of the AKS and preparation for AKS-based assessments, including the Gateway tests. Certified teachers are teaching more than 350 students from around Gwinnett County on Sunday afternoons at the church. Ms. Johnson shared a presentation that focused on the purpose and the potential of Hopewell Church's "Gateway Sunday School."
          • Dacula Cluster parent Teresa Cantrell addressed the Board regarding a fueling station that is planned for property adjacent to Dacula Elementary School. Ms. Cantrell expressed concerns about traffic congestion, safety, and the negative aesthetic impact on the surrounding neighborhood. She suggested several changes to the plan to make the station less objectionable in the event it cannot be located elsewhere.

            Bill Tinkler Named Principal of Snellville Middle
            In approving the monthly Personnel Report, the Board approved the appointment of Dr. Bill Tinkler, assistant principal at Parkview High, as principal of Snellville Middle. Mr. Tinkler will succeed Dr. Mike Moody, who will open the new Grayson High School. His appointment is effective January 3, 2000.
            Other leadership appointments approved by the Board included:
            • Luthenya Wright, mathematics teacher at Meadowcreek High, appointed as an administrative assistant at Norcross High.
            • Emily Thomas, administrative assistant at Stripling Elementary, named as the school's new assistant principal.
            • Christopher Ray, local school technology coordinator at Knight Elementary, named administrative assistant at Stripling Elementary.
            • The School Board approved the following appointments for the 2000 summer school coordinator positions:
              - Barbara Ergle, assistant principal at Meadowcreek Elementary-- Elementary Coordinator
              - Joyce Callahan, assistant principal at Summerour Middle-- Middle School Coordinator
              - Donna Powers, assistant principal at North Gwinnett High-- High School Coordinator

              Board Provides Additional ESOL Funding
              Since last school year, the number of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students needing services has grown by 2,241 students. In order to serve the needs of Gwinnett's rising ESOL population, the School Board approved funding for an additional 20 ESOL teachers for the remainder of this school year. The October 1999 FTE count pointed out the need for 18.5 additional ESOL teachers. An additional 1.5 would help meet unexpected growth needs through the end of the school year. The financial impact of this decision is approximately $564,000.

              Board Members Adopt Reimbursement Resolution
              The Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted a resolution that will allow the Board to use the General Fund, if necessary, to retire the 99 notes that we issue in December with SPLOST proceeds. The resolution, which is required by Internal Revenue Service regulations, will allow the Board to use the General Fund to bridge any shortfall until the 2000 notes can be issued. Once the 2000 notes are issued, the General Fund will be reimbursed from those proceeds. Although it is unlikely that any General Funds will be required, the Board adopted the resolution as a precautionary measure. If General Funds are required to supplement sales tax receipts, the amount would not exceed $10 million.

              Vendor Selected for Online Pilot Course
              In January of 2000, Gwinnett County Public Schools plans to launch an on-line pilot course. The school system is seeking web-based products and services to support on-line instruction for high school courses. These courses would offer alternative instructional delivery methods to meet students' needs. eCollege.com was selected as the vendor that will provide services for this pilot. This company was the only vendor from those submitting bids able to provide the necessary components (support for course development, division of labor for services, student activity monitoring, technical support, and a history with similar projects) and the only vendor who could provide all services within the company.

              Board Of Education Approves Appointments to Gwinnett Retirement Plan Administrative Committee
              The Board appointed Alex McDugald, director of business services, and IV Bray, a teacher at Berkmar High, to serve on the Gwinnett Retirement System Plan Administrative Committee. The Plan Administrative Committee is responsible for managing assets in excess of $472 million currently held for beneficiaries of the Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS) and ensuring that the GRS is properly managed.
              Mr. Bray's appointment is for a seven-year term. He replaces Ms. Geri Bender, a recent retiree from Parkview High, who is rotating off the committee. Mr. McDugald will fill the four-year unexpired term of Mr. Dannie Reed, GCPS' former transportation director.

              School Nutrition Program Provides Report to School Board
              Three times a year, GCPS' School Nutrition Program provides a report to the Board to inform them of participation and the financial status at each school. The December report reflects that the School Nutrition Program is in a sound financial position. In Gwinnett elementary schools, 75 percent of students participate in the program. Middle school participation in the school nutrition program rose to 59 percent from the previous year's 56 percent, while high school participation remained stable at 38 percent. Systemwide, 66 percent of students eat lunch provided by the School Nutrition Program.

              Board Approves Proposed Policy Changes
              The School Board approved changes to a policy that had been tabled at the November meeting to allow for public input. Policy DCI (Budget Amendment) was revised to reflect recent organizational changes and to increase the dollar amounts for amendments that require Board approval. The policy also calls for Board approval of amendments to capital projects in excess of $50,000.
              The Board tabled proposed changes to Policy DCD, (Student Conduct Behavior) until its meeting on January 13. The proposed policy meets the requirements outlined in House Bill 605.

              Gwinnett County Board of Education's Improvement Efforts Honored by State Board of Education
              Superintendent Wilbanks presented the members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education with a resolution that the Georgia Board of Education approved at its November 18 meeting. The Georgia Board of Education commended the Gwinnett County Board of Education for its "visionary leadership in setting and implementing exemplary content and performance standards, and for establishing appropriate school and student accountability systems that assure improved academic achievement for each of Gwinnett's students." Specifically, the resolution praises the Academic Knowledge and Skills, the Gateway Assessment Program, and Gwinnett County Public Schools' Results-Based Evaluation System.

              Board Recognizes Dr. Mary Kay Murphy for Service as 1999 Board Chair
              Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks praised Dr. Murphy for her leadership as Board Chairman for 1999. Calling her "an impeccably gracious lady" who led the Board during an eventful year, Mr. Wilbanks went on to thank her for her unselfish service and dedication as chairman of the Board of Education. In an emotional response, Dr. Murphy said, "I can't believe my good fortune of having the opportunity to serve on the Gwinnett County Board of Education and as its chairman this year. I also want to thank the citizens of District 3 for allowing me to represent the schools that are so important to me." The Board presented Dr. Murphy a plaque in recognition of her year as chairman.

              Superintendent Wilbanks Salutes Retiring Martha Brady
              The December Board meeting ended with the Board and the audience giving a standing ovation to Martha Brady, executive director of the Center for Educational Programs. This was Ms. Brady's last School Board meeting as she is retiring after 30 years in education. Ms. Brady, who has been employed by GCPS since 1972, was the first elementary assistant principal named in the county. In addition, she served as principal of Knight Elementary before joining the Central Office staff as an elementary school director. Mr. Wilbanks expressed the system's appreciation for Ms. Brady's many years of service to Gwinnett's children.