GCPS Board Meeting Summary for April 16, 2009

The following are highlights of the April 16, 2009, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Students, staff, and community members earn Board recognition
-- Every year, thousands of Gwinnett high school students participate in extracurricular athletic activities through their schools. In addition to coaches and school staff, a number of community members contribute to the well-being of student-athletes. Team doctors and team trainers are examples of such groups. Thirteen physicians and 13 trainers share their time and talents with Gwinnett County Public Schools, dedicating countless hours to support the student-athletes who represent the school system in sporting events. At this month's meeting, School Board members expressed their appreciation to these individuals:

Team Doctors
Dr. Jeff Traub, Berkmar HS, Collins Hill HS, and Grayson HS
Dr. Gary Levengood
, Brookwood HS and Norcross HS
Dr. Mike Mathers
, Central Gwinnett HS
Dr. Mark Cullen
, Dacula HS and North Gwinnett HS
Dr. Snehal Dalal
, Duluth HS
Dr. Robert DuVall
, Meadowcreek HS
Dr. John Buchanan
, Mill Creek HS
Dr. Mike Sampson
, Norcross HS
Dr. Maurice Jove
, Parkview HS
Dr. Michael Morris
and Dr. Scott Quisling,
Peachtree Ridge HS
Dr. Matt Pombo
, Shiloh HS
Dr. Craig Mines
, South Gwinnett HS
Team Trainers
Jay Pearson, Brookwood HS
Suzie Williams
, Central Gwinnett HS
Lara Sikes
, Collins Hill HS
Gene Pfaff
, Dacula HS
Mindy Simmons
, Duluth HS
Brad Hodgson
, Grayson HS
Deanna Holder
, Meadowcreek HS
Mike Taube
, Mill Creek HS
Shawn O’Connor
, North Gwinnett HS
Chris Johnson
, Parkview HS
Marc Icenogle
, Peachtree Ridge HS
Kristen Johnson
, Shiloh HS
Mike Polascik
, South Gwinnett HS

-- Board members honored the Brookwood HS Boys Swim and Dive Team on its second consecutive state AAAAA title. Accompanying the team were Principal Debbie Dees, Head Coach Greg Puckett, Assistant Coach Michelle Golden, and Athletic Director Mark Kimbro.
-- The Board of Education saluted Dacula HS' Christy Belbey on her recognition by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) as the 2009 Georgia High School French Teacher of the Year. Each year, the state's AATF chapter selects one high school teacher from across the state as its High School Teacher of the Year. Criteria for the award include innovative teaching practices, attendance at professional meetings, and evidence of active contributions to the profession beyond the classroom setting.
-- Also recognized was Sanja Knezovic of Parkview HS, who is the 2009 Georgia German Teacher of the Year. Each year the American Association of Teachers of German selects one K–12 teacher from across the state to honor as its Teacher of the Year. In order to be considered for the award, the teacher must be a member in good standing of the organization, demonstrate excellent teaching practices in the classroom and sensitivity to foreign language students’ needs and abilities, and show a commitment to continual professional growth by attendance at professional meetings, and/or participation in foreign language workshops, retreats, or institutes.
-- Kudos to Dean Feldman of Peachtree Ridge HS on his receipt of the Hall of Fame Award from the Georgia Thespians. Mr. Feldman was inducted into the Hall of Fame on February 27, 2009. The Georgia Thespians annually recognizes an individual who has at least 20 years of dedicated service in the field of theatre education.
-- The Board celebrated more fine arts news, honoring Hunter McRae and Mary Wilson of Lanier MS and Dr. Tonya A. Millsap of Glenn C. Jones MS on their recognition as "Citation of Excellence" award winners from the National Band Association.This award is presented to an individual whose ensemble has a history of a distinguished level of accomplishment or to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field. The Lanier MS 8th Grade Symphonic Band performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association in January. In December, the Jones MS Honor Band performed at the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival, and in January performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association. A highlight of the Board recognition was a brief performance by the Lanier MS Percussion Ensemble, part of the Symphonic Band. This past December, the group performed by invitation at The Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra conference in Chicago.
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education congratulated the 2009 winners of three scholarships awarded each year. Winners included the following:
  • Sunny Carey of Grayson HS, winner of the 2009 Alton C. Crews Teaching Scholarship. Since 2002, donations made to the Alton C. Crews Scholarship Fund have made it possible each year to award a one-time scholarship to a GCPS senior pursuing a career in education. Dr. Crews served as superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools from 1977 to 1989.
  • Jose Gomez of South Gwinnett HS, this year's Louise Radloff Scholarship recipient. The Louise Radloff Scholarship Program provides funds for a Gwinnett County high school senior who has overcome a significant personal challenge in order to graduate and is pursuing postsecondary study through a four-year, two-year, or certificate program. This fund was established in 2004 by the Gwinnett Federal Credit Union (GFCU) in honor of three decades of service by Gwinnett County Board of Education member Louise Radloff, and in recognition of her tireless work on behalf of those most in need.
  • Adam Innazzone of Brookwood HS, 2009 recipient of the J. Alvin Wilbanks Scholarship. This scholarship fund was established in 2007 by Gwinnett Federal Credit Union in honor of over four decades of service to public education by CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, and in recognition of his leadership in guiding the district to state and national prominence as superintendent since 1996. The fund provides a one-time scholarship, awarded each year to a GCPS senior pursuing a career in education.
    The three awards had been set at $2,000 each for 2009. However, GFCU President Marshall Boutwell surprised the winning students with the announcement that the winners each would receive $2,250 this year and the award would increase to $2,500 for the 2010 winners.
    -- Also recognized at the April Board meeting were this year's Atlanta Toyota Scholarship winners. This program recognizes one student from each high school in Gwinnett County Public Schools and the educators these students selected as their most inspiring teachers. The 2009 student recipients will receive a $2,000 scholarship, and their inspiring teachers each will receive $1,000, for a total of $48,000 awarded by Atlanta Toyota this year. The program has awarded more than$250,000 to students and teachers in Gwinnett since 2004.

    The 2009 Atlanta Toyota Scholarship honorees include:
    Berkmar HS
    Royce McLain
    Suzanne Nemeth
    Brookwood HS
    Stanley Guillaume
    David S. Nelson
    Central Gwinnett HS
    Katie Bridges
    Hope Campbell
    Collins Hill HS
    Daniel Cook
    Ed Scott of Creekland MS
    Dacula HS
    Jacob Harward
    Jonathan Crymes
    Duluth HS
    Janushi Pandya
    Christopher DeCastro
    Grayson HS
    Ly Tran
    Rick Wood
    Meadowcreek HS
    Hyun Gu
    Jenna Gardner
    Mill Creek HS
    Shauna Burnette
    Gregory Marr
    Norcross HS
    Eboni Vance
    Elizabeth Frisbee
    North Gwinnett HS
    Hoon (Scott) Kang
    Roger Prill
    Parkview HS
    Glenn Branscomb
    Cary Sell of Trickum MS
    Peachtree Ridge HS
    Brittney Johnson
    Seth Hersch
    Phoenix HS
    Carla Flores
    Matt Winking
    Shiloh HS
    Carlos Chavarri
    Terry Brand of Mill Creek HS
    South Gwinnett HS
    Caleb Lee
    Judith Hall
    (Unless otherwise noted, the honored educator teaches at the honored student's high school.)

    -- The Board of Education recognized Gwinnett students who placed 1st and 2nd in the Georgia Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) competition. Kaitlyn McLaughlin and Justin Ditty of Maxwell HS of Technology finished 1st in the Emergency Medical Technician category and Maranda Smith of Maxwell HS of Technology took 2nd Place in the Epidemiology category. HOSA is a student organization whose mission is to promote career opportunities in healthcare and to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare to all people. Students in the Healthcare Science Program at Maxwell HS of Technology competed for the opportunity to represent Georgia in their events at the National Conference this summer in Nashville.
    -- Gwinnett County Public Schools has 14 active Technology Student Association (TSA) chapters, providing opportunities for more than 1,000 students to participate in leadership development activities and compete in a variety of events related to technology. The Board saluted 76 Gwinnett students who finished 1st or 2nd in the state TSA competition. These students will compete at the National Leadership Conference in Denver in July. Click here for a list of students honored by the Board.
    -- The School Board also recognized 41 students who placed 1st or 2nd in the state DECA competition. DECA is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management, and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. Gwinnett County Public Schools has 14 active Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapters, providing opportunities for more than 1,400 students to participate in leadership development activities and compete in a variety of events. Students recognized tonight will be competing at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif., April 29-May 2. Click here for a full list of DECA students advancing to international competition.
    -- Two individual students involved in DECA-- Brian Geil and Robbie Mannino, both of North Gwinnett HS-- earned additional School Board recognition as winners of national DECA scholarships. DECA's Scholarship Program provides more than $300,000 in scholarships at the International Career Development Conference each year. More than 50 corporations provide scholarships through the DECA Scholarship Program. DECA, Inc., administers the program based on guidelines set by the donor. DECA scholarships are strictly merit-based. Gwinnett County Public Schools' winners each will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
    -- The North Gwinnett HS DECA Program earned additional honors on being named 2009 Outstanding Georgia DECA Chapter and earning "School-Based Enterprise (SBE) Gold Certification." The North Gwinnett chapter was recognized as the top chapter in the state, based on membership development, civic consciousness, and leadership development. The chapter earned "Gold" certification in recognition of its outstanding achievement in meeting standards for model school store operation. The North Gwinnett HS DECA sponsor is Dr. Jacqueline Huffman.

    BOE approves change to budget development calendar
    In October, the Board adopted the budget-setting calendar for FY2010, which lists the key dates and activities associated with developing and approving the budget for the next fiscal year. Due to a conflict, an alternate date is needed for the first public hearing on the proposed budget. The Board agreed to change the date of that hearing, moving it from May 11 to May 7. The time and location for the hearing remain the same as originally adopted.

    Board adopts instructional materials
    In compliance with Gwinnett County Board of Education Policy IFAA and the Georgia Department of Education Rule 160-4-1.12, the periodic program and instructional materials review was conducted in the areas of science (grades K-12), mathematics (grades 10-12), health and physical education (grades K-12), and reading intervention (grades 9-12). All materials were piloted in classrooms during Fall 2008. Science and health materials were reviewed by the Community Health Advisory Committee (CHEAC) as required. Additionally, resource materials from local school media centers were approved by CHEAC as required. The Board of Education voted to adopt the instructional materials for science (grades K-12), mathematics (grades 10-12), health and physical education (grades K-12), and reading intervention (grades 9-12), and the CHEAC-approved Media Center resource materials, as recommended. Click here for the list of instructional materials and click here for resource materials for media centers.

    Board approves revisions to renewal application for New Life Academy of Excellence charter
    The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the renewal of the New Life Academy of Excellence charter through 2011-12. The school was first 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. Doors opened to students in fall of 2007. The school ended the 2007-2008 year with 206 students in grades K-3. New Life currently has 275 students enrolled in grades K-4. The school's current charter expires in June of 2009. At its October 10, 2008, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a renewal petition for New Life Academy's charter for the years 2009-2010 through 2011-2012. The approved petition was submitted to the Georgia Department of Education. The Department of Education requested that additional information be added to the renewal petition prior to its review by the Georgia Board of Education. The revisions approved by the Gwinnett County Board at its April 2009 meeting will be submitted to the Georgia Board of Education.

    School Board continues its policy work
    As part of its ongoing policy work, the School Board approved the following policy change which was tabled at last month's meeting:
    Policy JR- Student Records-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
    The School Board tabled the following proposed policy changes until next month's meeting to allow for public input:
    Policy DIF- Fraud-- This proposed new policy has been created in order to more fully comply with generally accepted internal auditing standards as well as with mandates in federal regulations.
    Policy GBRIA- Judicial, Military Duty, and Religious Leave-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
    Policy JGC- Student Health Services-- Minor changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
    Policy IHFB- Graduation Requirements- Students Entering 9th Grade in 2008-09 and Subsequent Years-- Minor changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
    Policy JBCB- Acceptance of Transfer Credits-- Minor changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.