GCPS Board Meeting Summary for March 8, 2001

          The following are highlights of the March 8, 2001, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
          The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

          Board Recognizes Students, Teachers, and Community Members
          • Parkview HS football team-- 8AAAAA State Football Champions. Coach Cecil Flowe, many of the team's players, and principal Dr. Bob Clark were on hand for the recognition.
          • Susan Turner, a teacher at Creekland MS, was honored as the recipient of the Robert Meyers Outstanding Geography Teacher Award.
          • Outgoing members of the Community Health Education Advisory Committee received the Board's thanks for their service on the committee. Georgia law requires each local board of education to convene a committee for the purpose of periodically reviewing sex/AIDS education instructional materials. Members honored were Linda Carsten, Bill Flowers (past chairman), Carolyn Hill, Pete Hunt, Gloria Morrell, and Jean Roets.

            Citizens Address the Board
            • Stella Anglin, co-president of the United School Employees Association (USEA), addressed the Board as a follow-up to the organization's presentation at the February meeting. In February, USEA expressed its concern that employees who participate in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) are adversely affected in regard to their Social Security benefits due to the school system's withdrawal from Social Security in favor of its own Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS). USEA asked the Board to consider allowing these employees to withdraw from the GRS and go back into Social Security. At the March meeting, USEA again asked to be allowed to withdraw from GRS in favor of other options, such as participation in a 403B plan, for retirement benefits. School system staff will continue working with bus drivers and other employees, as well as with the Georgia General Assembly, to address the retirement concerns of employees who are PSERS members.

              School Board Approves Membership for the 2000-01 Community Health Education Advisory Committee
              School Board members approved the membership for the 2000-01 Community Health Education Advisory Committee (CHEAC). This committee periodically reviews sex/AIDS education instructional materials and makes recommendations concerning the appropriate age or grade level for their use. All recommendations by the committee are approved by the Board of Education before implementation. The committee membership is composed primarily of non-teaching parents who have children enrolled in local public schools and who represent the diversity of the student body. Other members include students, educators, health professionals, and community representatives. The 2000-01 CHEAC membership appointees include: Angie Andrews; Janet Adkins; Lou Bryant; Joyce Callahan; Holly Connor; Melinda Crean; Lisa Creedon; Irene Daunno; Paula Deweese; Mary Goldsack, RN; Vanessa Hartline; Connie Hoyle; Amy Horn; Edward Kelly, DDS; Susan Litt; Dana McGraw; Maria Melvin; Pat O'Buck; Ari Russell; Pat Salter; Dr. Allan Severt; Laura Shipp; Brenda Stoll; Jenny Thompson; Cathy Volk; Judy Wilson, and Bob Wilson.

              Board of Education Meets 2001 GMA Lease Pool Annual Appropriation Requirement
              The Board adopted a resolution authorizing the appropriation of $851,503 to the pooled lease program sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association. This amount represents the payment for the advance bus purchase loan authorized by the School Board at its December meeting. The school district's current share of the program is $6,508,043, which is available for future capital lease purchases as requested.

              College Preparation Cross-Functional Action Team (XFAT) Presents Report to Board Members
              The cross-functional action team studying Gwinnett students' preparation for college reported its findings and recommendations to the School Board. The team's study focused on ways to raise student achievement in order to decrease the number of students graduating from high school with a college prep diploma who need remedial courses in college. Their recommendations include: conduct an annual review of GCPS graduates identified by the Georgia Board of Regents as taking remedial courses in college; revise several GCPS procedures; establish a Faculty Advisement Program at each high school; convene a K-12 committee to analyze "truth-in-grading" issues; implement additional staff development for teachers on best assessment practices; make the final comprehensive exam for high school courses count 20 percent of the final grade; allocate reading and math specialists to each school based on enrollment; expand intervention offerings for students; and provide stipend dollars to pay teachers to work extended hours in order to have a planning period when they must substitute for absent teachers during their daily planning time.

              Tabled Policies Approved by School Board
              The Board of Education approved the following policies which had been tabled at the February meeting to allow for public input:
              • Pre-Enrollment of Two Year Olds, Policy JGCB-- The policy complies with new state law that says all parents of two-year-old children will be invited in the spring of each year to voluntarily pre-enroll their children in school.
              • Student Support Team, Policy IEIA-- Policy allows school personnel and parents/guardians to determine that there is reasonable cause to bypass the Student Support Team process for a student being considered for special education or other support services.
              • Consequences for Offenses, Policy JDD-- This policy complies with changes in state law. It outlines the purpose of the alternative education program.
              • Personnel Separation, Policy GBN-- This policy deals with the non-renewal of contracts for certificated personnel and complies with state requirements.
              • Electronic Pagers, Policy JCDBA-- The policy, which complies with new state requirements, prohibits a student from having a pager or electronic communication device during school hours except for health or other unusual reasons approved by the Board. It also states that a violation of this rule may result in placement in an alternative education program.
              • Financial Reports, Policy DIB-- This revised policy reflects the school system's current practice.

                Instructional Materials Adopted in Mathematics, Technical Education, and Health
                The Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted instructional materials for Mathematics, grades 8-12; Technical Education, grades 9-12, and supplemental materials for Health Education, grades 4-12. The process for selecting materials for the programs included a public review period, correlation to the school system's Academic Knowledge and Skills, piloting of the materials by Gwinnett teachers and students, and final selection. The Health materials also were reviewed by the Community Health Education Advisory Committee. This process ensures that the school system acquires the best instructional materials for regular classroom use as well as for the interventions and extensions necessary to support student achievement. The financial impact of the instructional materials adoption-- including the cost of the core instructional materials and staff development for teachers-- is $5,174,249. Funding to implement the adopted materials will be considered by the School Board as part of its budget-adoption process for FY2002.