Gwinnett County Public Schools | Education - Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 5

Summer 2006

Mill Creek HS students ‘fly high’ with low-flying hovercraft

The fully functional hovercraft (pictured at right) was constructed by technology and engineering students at Mill Creek HS and works both on land and water. Click here to learn more about the students’ project.

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Mr. WilbanksJ. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent

GCPS shares ‘The Plan’ for meeting classroom, technology needs

In the decade since Gwinnett taxpayers first approved collection of the penny tax, the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax—better known as SPLOST—has raised money to provide 3,000-plus classrooms and upgrade technology for teaching and learning. However, GCPS’ quality schools continue to draw families and businesses to Gwinnett, and system planners expect enrollment to climb. In fact, our schools will serve more than 200,000 students by 2017. In an effort to bring housing needs in check by 2014, the school system has developed a three-phase building program. In July, the School Board took the first step in funding Phase 1 of The Plan, calling for a November ballot measure on the question of a sales tax extension. Click here for more about the SPLOST vote, here for a project list for The Plan, and here for a SPLOST fact sheet.

State announces AYP status for Gwinnett schools

The vast majority— 83%— of Gwinnett County public schools met the state’s accountability goals under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Of 101 Gwinnett schools subject to NCLB guidelines, 84 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2005-06. This is particularly noteworthy as the state’s bar for achievement (percentage of students at each school required to be on grade level) went up for Georgia high schools. In addition, at the elementary and middle levels, the state raised expectations on selected subtests that are based on the state’s strengthened curriculum. Click here for a report on how Gwinnett schools are making progress in student achievement and school improvement.

First day just weeks away

The back-to-school countdown has begun: target date… the first day of school on Aug. 14. Parents can check with local schools for back-to-school activities, generally held the week before school starts. That’s when families can meet teachers, get supply lists, tour the school, check bus routes, and prepay lunches. Click here for a 2006-07 fridge calendar and here for more back-to-school details.

Transitions: Class of 2006 is going places

The Class of 2006 is moving on… summer jobs, internships, and vacations are giving way to college orientation, the workplace, or military service. Nearly 7,500 seniors participated in graduation exercises in May. From National Merit Scholarships and college awards to locally funded scholarships from Atlanta Toyota, Gwinnett Federal Credit Union, the Gwinnett Clinic, Snellville Commerce Club, and others to appointments to military academies, the Class of 2006 was offered nearly $51 million in academic, athletic, and military scholarships. So Click here to learn more about the Class of 2006 and what the future holds for recent grads and here to meet the 2006 valedictorians and see where they’re headed.

Transitions: More than 235 GCPS staffers retire

Speaking of transitions… just as the Class of 2006 has moved on, so have more than 235 educators and support staff who retired in 2005-06! In total, these retirees contributed a collective 6,402 years to education, and a total of 4,814 years to Gwinnett schoolchildren. In fact, 35% of our retirees worked their entire careers in this school system. Well over half of these veterans, 138 retirees, had more than 30 years of service in education, with six working 40-plus years. Our retirees included GCPS’ first accountant, 13 principals, and a teacher who spent her 30-year career in the same school she attended as a teen. Best wishes to our retirees as they enter the next chapter of their lives.

BOE OKs FY2007 budget, millage rate unchanged

In May, the Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted its FY2007 budget. The nearly $1.42 billion budget is down 4.9% compared to the FY2006 budget (which was 17.9% smaller than the FY2005 budget). Despite unfunded and underfunded legislative mandates, another year of austerity cuts, and continued growth, the school system continues to focus resources on teaching and learning, including instructional initiatives that are having a positive impact on student achievement, such as free K–8 summer school, reading specialists at all levels, and additional, targeted support for struggling students. In June, the Board also adopted a millage rate of 20.55 mills, which reflects no increase in the tax rate. Click here for the budget summary.

Lean Budget

Students continue to do well on tests, even with tougher standards

  • Sustained gains on GHSGT for 05-06 juniors… Gwinnett juniors topped state results on the 2006 administration of the Georgia HS Graduation Test (GHSGT), posting the system’s best-yet passing rate in social studies (95%) and tying the highest-ever passing rate in English/language arts (99%) and mathematics (98%). On the science portion, 86% of first-time test-takers passed, up four percentage points from the previous year. Click here for results and here for more from the state Department of Education.
  • Gateway passing rates remain high… The vast majority of Gwinnett 4th and 7th graders required to pass grade-level Gateway tests in language arts and math for promotion were successful on the first try, surpassing predicted passing rates for the April 2006 test administration. On the state writing assessments, also a Gateway test for promotion, Gwinnett 5th and 8th graders posted passing rates of 96.9% and 90.1% respectively. More than half of the 5th and 8th grade writers scored in the highest two ranges— “effective” and “excellent”— on the writing tests. Click here for Gateway results.
  • More than 86% of 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders pass CRCT promotion criteria… Results from the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) show that Gwinnett’s 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders are meeting and exceeding the state’s expectations on subtests required for promotion. Click here for details.

What’s in a name? Board adopts names for three new schools

A longtime educator, a teacher-turned firefighter, and a community inspired the names for three new elementary schools opening in August 2007. Click here to learn more.

Board goes paperless with meetings

If you’ve got Internet access, you’re a click away from the School Board’s monthly meeting agendas. With its June meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education went “paperless” with the Web-based agenda-sharing program. You can click here to check out agendas and minutes from recent Board meetings and here for meeting summaries. The agenda for the Aug. 10 Board meeting will be posted online the Monday before the meeting.

Summer wrap-up of GCPS honors

A DECA Award of Excellence in international competition; a National PTA Parent Involvement School of Excellence; one of the country’s Teams that Make a Difference with middle schoolers; eight schools in Newsweek’s list of top U.S. high schools; a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction; a Telly Award-winning video; state and national Reflections winners; 110 entries advancing to the International Media Festival; six state-recognized “High Performance Principals;” a Stock Market Game winner; Georgia Cultural Educator of the Year; Georgia Special Olympics Coach of the Season; 21 Georgia Scholars; perfect Latin papers; high honors for thespians; AJC Nursing Excellence Award winner; Georgia PTA awards, including school winners for community outreach and advocacy, two outstanding principals, and top elementary nurse; recognition for character education “on wheels;” four Atlanta Braves/BellSouth Excellence In Education honorees and 13 Wal-Mart Teachers of the Year; scholarships and grants for both students and staff.

Above: The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) recently honored several GCPS students including (from left) Prepared Speech Winner (Honors) Ameenay Khan of Mill Creek HS, Berkmar HS’ Academic Decathlon state championship team, and Prepared Speech Winner (Varsity) Chris Parsons of Berkmar HS. Photos courtesy of PAGE

Let’s stay in touch…
  • Tune into GCPS TV. Click here for programming and cable channels for GCPS TV.
  • Visit the GCPS Web site. Click here for the home page.
  • Check your email every other month for this electronic newsletter. Click here for the e-News archives.
  • Look for Communiqué, GCPS’ community newsletter. Read the spring issue when you click here.

We would like to hear your suggestions for topics to cover in future issues of this publication, or ways we can keep in touch if you do not wish to receive this e-mail publication. Thank you for your continued support of public education and of Gwinnett County Public Schools' efforts to become a system of world-class schools. Please e-mail with your feedback and suggestions.


©2006 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 5/06

GCPS: 437 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee, GA 30024-2978 (678) 301-6000
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2006 Gwinnett County Board of Education
Dr. Robert McClure, Chairman; Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman;
Carole Boyce; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; and Daniel D. Seckinger,
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks