GCPS Board Meeting Summary for June 22, 2006

The following are highlights of the June 22, 2006, 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 and community leaders
-- School Board members saluted Bryn Trussell and Jonathan Walker of Berkmar HS; Suman Nag of Brookwood HS; and Matthew Newcomb of Peachtree Ridge HS on their first place finishes in the Gwinnett Regional Science and Engineering Fair. These students earned sufficient points for their winning projects in the regional competition to qualify to participate in the 2006 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Indiana in May. Their participation was funded by Jackson EMC.
-- Mr. Newcomb of Peachtree Ridge HS also was honored for winning the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair MVA Pinnacle Award. The award was presented for the best project in the Senior Division at the 2006 Georgia Science and Engineering Fair and is sponsored by MVA Scientific Consultants and the Science Fair Foundation. Mr. Newcomb will continue his studies this fall, attending Duke University.
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized Michelle Carter, the 2005-06 Gwinnett PTA Council Acting President for her service to Gwinnett PTA and school children. Annually, School Board members recognize the individual(s) who served as President of the Gwinnett PTA Council for the preceding school year. Mrs. Carter was elected as Vice-President of the Council for 2005-06 but assumed the role of Acting President when the former officer was unable to fulfill her term. The Gwinnett PTA Council is one of the largest and most successful councils in Georgia.
-- Board members took time to recognize one of their own at this month's meeting, honoring District III Representative Dr. Mary Kay Murphy on a recent national recognition. Dr. Murphy is the recipient of the Frank L. Ashmore Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). This prestigious national honor is one of five Distinguished Service Awards presented to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary service and leadership in higher education and the advancement of the profession. Dr. Murphy, who is the Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement for Morehouse School of Medicine, was recognized for her work in the area of fundraising for higher education institutions. During her long and accomplished career in the profession, she has raised nearly $100 million for her institutions, authored or contributed to numerous CASE publications, and chaired various CASE workshops and conferences. She has served as a CASE trustee, and is a past chair of CASE District III. The Ashmore Award is the third national award Dr. Murphy has received from CASE since 1994. She will accept her award at the CASE national conference in New York City in July.

School Board completes Gateway review
Passing rates remained high on the 2006 administration of the Gateway Assessment at grades 4 and 7. Of the 17,895 Gwinnett 4th and 7th graders required to pass the 2006 Gateway test, the vast majority earned passing scores on the first try and were promoted to the next grade level. Systemwide passing rates in grade 4 were 98.0% in Language Arts and 93.0% in Mathematics. In grade 7, systemwide passing rates were 85.8% in Mathematics and 96.5% in Language Arts. However, 169 students did not do as well as would have been expected, based on their classroom grades. For those students, the school system's Assessment Review Procedure was initiated and acted upon by the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Any student who earned no grade below a "C" in all subjects assessed on the Gateway on his or her 2005-06 report cards qualified for the automatic review if he or she failed any part of the Gateway. The end result of this year's review is that 53 of the 169 students qualifying for the Assessment Review must retake and pass the portion(s) of the test they failed in order to be promoted to the next grade. School Board members recommended the Gateway be waived for the remaining students in the review, but did recommend summer school for 91 of those students.

Gwinnett Board to participate in Georgia Education Coalition
The Board adopted a resolution to participate in the Georgia Education Coalition, designating Dr. Robert McClure, the 2006 chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, to serve along with CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks on the Coalition's board of trustees. The group is forming to address the critical fiscal and policy issues that are common concerns for all member districts. The intent of the Coalition is to serve as a vehicle for discussion of issues of mutual concern and for communicating about those issues with elected leaders in a unified voice. The Coalition members will develop and promote an annual legislative program for that purpose.

GUIDE support continues with approval of annual agreement
The School Board and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved an annual agreement to support the operation of GUIDE, Inc., a substance abuse prevention agency, which develops and delivers local programs and services. Entering its 20th year, GUIDE provides education about and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and abuse. Joint support of the GUIDE program is one of many cooperative activities undertaken by the Board members and the county commissioners.

Board approves names for three new elementary schools
Based on school naming committees’ recommendations, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recommended and the Board of Education adopted the following names for three elementary schools opening in August 2007: Lovin Elementary, Patrick Elementary, and Mulberry Elementary.
Lovin Elementary School
The new school in the Grayson/Dacula area, which will be located at 1705 New Hope Road in Lawrenceville, will be named Lovin Elementary School in honor of Edwin Lovin. Mr. Lovin, who is deceased, had a 34-year career with Gwinnett County Public Schools, serving as a teacher, principal, and associate superintendent. His wife was an educator in our system for more than 20 years, and his son, daughter, and granddaughter have been employed by GCPS. Mr. Lovin also lived on New Hope Road where the school is located for 45 years.
Patrick Elementary School
Patrick Elementary School, a new elementary school in the Mill Creek Cluster, will be located at 2707 Kilgore Road in Buford. This school is to be named in memory of Mr. Bobby Patrick, the first Gwinnett County firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty (April 14, 2003). Mr. Patrick lived in the Buford area for 18 years. He was an industrial arts teacher at the high school level before becoming a firefighter. His wife is a retired educator who served at Sugar Hill Elementary.
Mulberry Elementary School
The proposed name for the new elementary school in the Dacula area is Mulberry Elementary. The school will be located at 442 E. Union Grove Circle in Auburn. The school's name is in honor of the Mulberry community. This community has historical significance in the area near the school, as evidenced by the naming of the Mulberry River and Little Mulberry Park. This is the only school in this group which proposed a geographic name rather than a person as the first recommendation.

Board continues update of policies
The Board approved the following policy changes:
- Policy EEE– Wellness Plan-- This policy, which had been tabled since the May meeting, incorporates information that reflects changes in current legislation.
- Policy JCD-- Student Conduct Behavior Code-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and state law.

The following proposed policy revisions were placed on the table for review until the July 13, 2006, Board meeting:
- Policy GAD- Professional Learning Opportunities-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
- Policy JGJ- Crisis Management Plan/Required Drills-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.