GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 9, 2008

The following are highlights of the October 9, 2008, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Carole Boyce, Vice Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Students and staff members earn Board recognition
-- The efforts of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) to meet the state’s academic standards have earned 22 schools the “Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools” honor. The Georgia Department of Education recognizes Title I schools that excel in meeting achievement standards. A Title I school earns the title “Distinguished” for making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for three or more consecutive years. This year, Gwinnett’s number of Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools increased from 17 to 22. The honored schools include:
Seven consecutive years of making AYP: Annistown Elementary, G.H. Hopkins Elementary, and Kanoheda Elementary
Six consecutive years of making AYP: Bethesda Elementary, W.C. Britt Elementary, Cedar Hill Elementary, Lilburn Elementary, Nesbit Elementary, Norcross Elementary, R.L. Norton Elementary, Henry Partee Elementary, and Peachtree Elementary
Five consecutive years of making AYP: J.A. Alford Elementary, Corley Elementary, Meadowcreek Elementary, Rebecca Minor Elementary, and Rockbridge Elementary
Four consecutive years of making AYP: Beaver Ridge Elementary, Charles Brant Chesney Elementary, Centerville Elementary, and Margaret Winn Holt Elementary
Three consecutive years of making AYP: Simonton Elementary
-- Board members saluted teams from Brookwood HS and Duluth HS on their finish as 2008 Georgia Science Olympiad Champions and Georgia Science Olympiad State Runner-up, respectively. Science Olympiad is a competition in which a team of 15 students competes in 23 events covering the major branches of science and engineering. Many of the events require students to complete a college-level laboratory analysis while using the same techniques as practicing professionals. Other events require devices to be built prior to the competition to exacting specifications. All events require students to work as a team in order to successfully complete the challenging tasks. Brookwood team members include Matthew Brown, Phillip Cheng, Mark Dunn, Megan Huddleston, Richard Lam, Jenny Kim, Sangbeom Kim, Matt McCarty, Jay Underwood, and Linjue Zhu. In addition to finishing first in the state as a team, the following individuals placed first in specific categories of competition: Matthew Brown - Experimental Design, Linjue Zhu - Disease Detectives, and Sangbeom Kim - Physics Lab. Accompanying the Brookwood honorees at the Board meeting were Principal Debra Dees and Science Olympiad Coaches Joe Cox, Jorge Diaz, Josephine Farmer, Deanna Morrison, and Michelle Woodard. Duluth's team members are Scott Cummins, Rick Daneke, Komal Khan, Alice Li, Silki Modi, Khanh Nguyen, Scott Nguyen, and Serena Zhang. Accompanying the Duluth honorees were Principal Jason Lane and Science Olympiad Coaches John Edgar, Scott Luther, and Terry Nicholson.
-- Nine Gwinnett County schools-- Simpson ES; Alton C. Crews MS; Glenn C. Jones MS; Frank N. Osborne MS; Brookwood HS; Gwinnett County Online Campus; Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; GIVE Center East; and GIVE Center West-- earned recognition by Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox as schools that lead the state in student achievement and improvement. The Superintendent's Distinguished Achievement Awards are based on the performance of students on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) and End of Course Tests (EOCTs). The schools were recognized in one of two different categories. Schools honored for improvement (GIVE East and West) are among the 10 schools in the state in each honored subject area and grade with the greatest improvement in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards. Schools recognized for achievement are those Georgia schools in each honored subject area and grade with the highest percentage of students scoring in the exceeds category.

FY2009 budget development calendar tabled for review
The Board of Education approved the calendar of activities and dates associated with the adoption of the FY2010 budget. Key dates in the budget calendar are December 22, 2008 - February 2, 2009– Prepare program budget requests; February 2, 2009– Central Office budget managers submit completed proposed budget requests to Budget Office; March 6, 2009– Superintendent’s recommendations due to Budget Office; March 9-25, 2009– Preparation and printing of Superintendent's recommended budget; April 18, 2009– Board budget work session (Saturday); April 21, 2009– Board budget work session and adoption of tentative budget (Area Board Meeting); April 27, 2009– Copies of Superintendent’s recommended budget available for public; May 3 and May 7, 2009– Publish budget advertisement in newspaper; May 11, 2009– First public hearing on budget; May 14, 2009– Second public budget hearing, final budget adoption, and adoption of tentative millage rate; and June 2009– Final adoption of millage rate.

Draft of Legislative Program presented for review
Board members reviewed a draft of the 2009 Legislative Program they are expected to adopt at the November 13, 2008, meeting. Each year, the Gwinnett County Board of Education takes the opportunity to communicate with the Gwinnett Delegation to the General Assembly those issues of critical importance to the funding and effective operation of Gwinnett County Public Schools. The legislative program under consideration summarizes the continuing positions and state funding improvement requests that the Board wishes to bring to the delegation for consideration in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Charter for New Life Academy of Excellence renewed
The New Life Academy of Excellence was approved by the Gwinnett County Board of Education and the Georgia Board of Education as a charter school in 2006, with a three-year charter beginning fall of 2006. The school opened its doors to students in fall of 2007 and ended the 2007-08 school year with 206 students in grades K-3. It currently serves 289 students enrolled in grades K-4. The school's current charter expires in June of 2009. The governing board of New Life Academy of Excellence has requested a renewal of their charter for three years, 2009-2010 through 2011-2012. Based on a review of the school's application, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the renewal of the New Life Academy of Excellence charter through 2011-2012. The school's renewal application now will be submitted to the Georgia Board of Education for approval.

Key Performance Indicators approved
In accordance with Policy BAB "District Key Performance Indicators," the Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted Key Performance Indicators that will be used semiannually, in October and April, to update Board members on performance in the areas of student achievement, district operations, and stakeholder satisfaction. The approved indicators are:

Staff Development program takes spotlight
Per GCPS Policy GAD, Executive Director for Staff Development Nikki Mouton shared with the Board the goals and objectives of the comprehensive staff development plan and the focus of staff development for the current year. The district's staff development function covers three critical components: leadership development, teacher development, and support staff development. In addition to reviewing efforts from the past year, Ms. Mouton shared the district's 2008-09 initiatives which will provide more than 1,700 leadership development opportunities; more than 1,200 teacher development opportunities (specifically targeting new teachers and paraprofessionals); and support staff development opportunities that include online, hybrid, and face-to-face professional skill sessions. In addition, there are a number of staff development opportunities offered at the local school level, providing teachers just-in-time, job-embedded opportunities from a wide variety of experts.

School Board continues its policy work
School Board members approved the following policies that were tabled last month allow for further input:
Policy BHA- Board Member Conflict of Interest-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy GBRI- Personal Leave-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy KJ- Advertising in Schools-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
The following proposed policies have been tabled until next month to allow for public input:
Policy DFL- Investment Earnings-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy IA- Academic Accountability-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.