GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 14, 1999

          Board Recognizes Hull Middle Student
          The Board honored Hull Middle School student Sophia Fisher who is a recent sixth-grade state winner in the Georgia Young Author's Competition.

          Citizens Address the Board
          • Officer Michael Olds made a request that the Board of Education consider naming a school after Gwinnett County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Wimberly, who was killed in the line of duty on September 22, 1998. Deputy Wimberly was described as a hero, a "gentle giant" who always had a smile on hi s face, an outstanding officer who could wrestle a rowdy drunk out of a car or soothe a hurt child with equal effectiveness. Mr. Olds urged the Board to name a future school after Deputy Wimberly as a tribute to his heroism and service to Gwinnett County citizens.

            Eight citizens addressed the Board regarding the Gateway Assessment Program. Both support and opposition for the high-stakes test was expressed. Concerns expressed by speakers focused primarily on the use of the Gateway test as the sole determiner for promotion or graduation for Gwinnett's students at Gateway grade levels. Support was expressed for the use of standards of performance that clearly indicate how well students are learning the AKS curriculum, which ultimately means they will be better prepared for the future. A large crowd gathered for the meeting, requiring the use of the Grayson Room to hold overflow audience from the Board Meeting Room.

            Board Of Education Hears AKS/Gateway Update
            Following the citizens' comments to the Board, Dr. Cindy Loe, associate superintendent for Organizational Advancement, presented an update to the Board of Education on progress to date on the school system's Academic Knowledge and Skills and Gateway Assessment Program. Highlights of the update included a review of the development of the AKS; past opportunities for parent, teacher, administrator, and community input; development of the actual Gateway tests; the field test held in 1997; pilot tests in 1998 and 1999; the review of each Gateway test item by teachers, parents, and community members for bias, sensitivity, and correlation to the AKS; the involvement of teachers in the scoring process; and staff development offered to all teachers and administrators.
            In February 1999, teachers recommended proposed cut scores for each level of performance on the Gateway tests. During late October and early November, school system officials will review the teacher-recommended cut scores along with data from the 1998 and 1999 pilot tests in order to recommend actual cut scores for Board consideration at the November 11 School Board meeting. At that time, anticipated impact data will be provided indicating the approximate percent of students who could be predicted to fall in each of the four categories of performance: excellent, effective, minimal but passing, or below minimal.
            After Dr. Loe's formal presentation, the Board accepted questions from the audience regarding the Gateway tests. The question-and-answer session concluded at 9:30 p.m. Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks encouraged parents who still have questions to talk to their teacher or local school principal.

            Leadership Appointments Approved by the Board
            • Dr. Gwen Tatum, currently an assistant principal at Norcross High, will become the principal of Hull Middle. She succeeds Wanda Yeargin, who was tapped at last month's School Board meeting as the system's new Director of Middle and High School Staffing. This appointment is effective immediately.
            • Donna Robertson, currently an assistant principal at Stripling Elementary, will be the principal of Meadowcreek Elementary effective January 3, 2000. She succeeds Connie Hoyle, who will join the central office as Executive Director of the Center for Educational Programs.
            • Ronald Grant Reppert, currently Director of Operations and Distribution for Kaufman Supply, was appointed Director of Transportation. He fills the position vacated by Dannie Reed who accepted a position with DeKalb County Schools.
            • Kari McIntyre, an administrative assistant at Dacula High, was tapped to become an assistant principal at the school.
            • William Kruskamp, an administrative assistant at Shiloh High, was appointed assistant principal at Shiloh High.
            • Cheryl Cutchin, currently a media specialist at Duluth High, will be the system's new coordinator of media and instructional technology.

              School Board Awards Contracts for School Additions
              The Board of Education awarded contracts to the low bidders on two school addition/renovation projects. Nix-Fowler Construction Co., Inc. of Mableton, Georgia, submitted the low bid of $4,689,000 for an addition at Rebecca Minor Elementary. ABCO Builders Inc. of Lithonia, Georgia, submitted the low bid of $5,377,000 for the addition/renovation at McKendree Elementary.

              Board Members Approve State Capital Outlay Application
              Annually, the Gwinnett County Board of Education submits an application to the state for partial funding of certain capital projects. This year, the School Board approved the Capital Outlay Application for the Hull Middle addition, the McKendree Elementary addition, the Mason Elementary addition, and the Riverside Elementary addition. These projects are in the school system's approved State Department of Education required Five-Year Local Facilities Plan.

              Records Management Resolution Approved
              The Board adopted a resolution authorizing Gwinnett County Public Schools to establish its records retention schedule based on the "Common Records Retention Schedules for School Systems" as maintained by the office of Secretary of State.

              Board Attends to New Business
              - The School Board tabled two proposed policy changes for 30 days to allow for public input. Proposed changes to Policy DJE (Centralized Purchasing) include title and wording changes to reflect organizational changes and current practice. Proposed changes to Policy AEA (School Calendar) will align the policy with current practice.
              - The Board approved a resolution providing support to the City of Suwanee in its efforts to be designated as a Better Hometown Program town.