GCPS Board Meeting Summary for February 18, 2010

The following are highlights of the February 18, 2010, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice Chairman Dr. Robert McClure, Carole Boyce, Louise Radloff, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board honors award-winning students and staff
  • The Board saluted Robert Andrews, the district's director of Fine Arts, on his recent recognition by the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA). Mr. Andrews received the group's Administrative Leadership Award, which is given in recognition of significant leadership by a system or school level administrator in support of music education. Ongoing encouragement and support of music education for all students merits an individual's consideration for this award. In selecting Mr. Andrews for this honor, the president of GMEA noted that the success of the new Georgia Performance Standards for Music is directly tied to Mr. Andrews' efforts. In accepting the recognition from the Board, Mr. Andrews humbly shared his success with the music educators in the audience and throughout the school system. He also thanked the School Board for its continued support of arts education.
  • Board members congratulated the Legomatics Robotics Team from Lilburn ES on the 2nd place Teamwork Award that the students earned at the FIRST LEGO League Robotics State Competition held at Georgia Tech in January. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League is an international program that couples hands-on robotics activities with a competition-like environment. The Teamwork Award is presented to the team whose members best demonstrate extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit, exceptional partnership, the utmost respect for their own teammates, and support and encouragement of fellow teams. They demonstrate confidence, strong problem-solving skills, and great group dynamics. Accompanying the honorees were Principal Wandy Taylor, Science Specialist Simone Dreifuss, Local School Technology Coordinator Jane Evans, Science Paraprofessional Beverly Allen, FOCUS Teacher Laura Flaherty, and Math Specialist Cody Nolan.

Gwinnett Board recognizes contributions of PTA
In observance of the National PTA's founding 113 years ago, the Gwinnett County Board of Education issued a proclamation acknowledging the PTA as a valued partner in the school district's quest to become a system of world-class schools. In saluting the PTA, Board members acknowledged that PTAs play an instrumental role in helping local schools establish and maintain goals that focus on meeting the needs of all students. In a proclamation, Board members also noted that Gwinnett's PTAs have distinguished themselves as respected advocates for children, families, and public education in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County Public Schools is served by three PTA Councils. The Area I Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by President Nancy Turner and includes local PTA units in the Brookwood, Meadowcreek, Parkview, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett clusters. The Area II Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by President Mari Beth Cameron and includes local PTA units in the Collins Hill, Duluth, Mountain View, Norcross, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge clusters. The Area III Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by Co-Presidents Rhonda Rice and Terry Santerfeit and includes local PTA units in the Archer, Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Dacula, Grayson, and Mill Creek clusters. Carol Ranft, 12th District Director for Georgia PTA, accompanied the Council presidents.

Gwinnett County Public Schools demonstrates it is a 'good corporate citizen'
Board members received a report on the district's successful 2009 United Way Campaign. As a whole, Gwinnett County Public Schools raised $490,874. A number of schools met or exceeded their goals. Of note are Minor ES and Lilburn ES, which ranked first and second in school donations, having raised $14,564 and $11,815, respectively. Demetrius D. Jordan, Gwinnett United Way Area Director, and Leng Leng Chancey, Gwinnett United Way Associate Director, were present for this report.

Community-based mentoring program benefits students and community
In 2008-09, the Department of Academic Support developed a community-based mentoring program to serve at-risk students. The mission of this program is to provide community-based mentoring to identified at-risk students to help with their social and academic development. Addressing the Board were Walter Hudson, a student at Snellville MS; his mother, Sharonda Yancy; and Darren Providence, a mentor, all of whom have participated in and reaped benefits from this program. Program directors James Rayford and Andrew Toney briefed School Board members at an afternoon worksession on the success of the program and the positive impact it is having on the young men in the program and the community mentors who share their time and talents with students.

Calendar for 2010-11 school year finalized
Dr. Steve Flynt, chief academic officer, shared the district's 2010-11 school year calendar with the Board and those in attendance. Dr. Flynt indicated that the district, in developing the calendar, sought to provide a calendar that would meet the instructional needs of students while finishing first semester before winter break. He said, "Overall, next year's calendar is much like this year's, with just a few changes that we feel will benefit students and address some of the challenges we face as a district." The calendar calls for the school year to begin on Monday, August 9, 2010, and end on Wednesday, May 25. It includes three planned furlough days-- similar to those designated in the fall of 2009-- along with an extended Thanksgiving Break. Click here to view Gwinnett County Public Schools' 2010-11 Calendar.

Policies tabled for review
As part of its ongoing policy work, the School Board tabled the following policy change to allow for public input prior to next month's meeting:
Policy DFL- Investment Earnings- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy GBRI- Personal Leave- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.

Citizens Addressing the Board
- Mark Reiswig, East Metro Health District
- Patricia Swilley
- Stephanie Henderson