GCPS Board Meeting Summary for September 16, 2010

The following are highlights of the September 16, 2010, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice Chairman Dr. Robert McClure, Carole Boyce, Louise Radloff, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board honors award-winning students and staff
-- Gwinnett County Public Schools Television (GCPS TV) recently won an Emmy Award for “What is the School Effect?”, a piece created in conjunction with the 2009 Gwinnett County Board of Education’s Area Board meetings. The award was presented to the school system by the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences during its 36th annual Southeast Regional Emmy Awards Gala on June 26. At the event, the Academy recognized the best of the region’s 2009 visual media. Gwinnett’s award-winning production was honored with the Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement: Television Crafts Achievement Excellence/Director - Post-Production.”  Greg LaHatte, the school district’s Director of Broadcast & Distance Learning, accepted the award on behalf of Gwinnett County Public Schools. He was joined by Faraz Ahmed, former Brookwood High student, University of Georgia graduate, and freelance specialist for GCPS TV. In his acceptance speech before the Academy, Mr. LaHatte thanked his team for their talent, efforts, and hard work. He also praised Gwinnett’s students for their continuous high achievement while taking note of the work by teachers and staff in supporting Gwinnett students. Team members accompanying Mr. LaHatte and Mr. Ahmed during the Board recognition were Glenn Ballard, Joe Leonard, Bruce Lennox, Bradley Gunter, Kim Daniels, and Kolinda Scialabba.
--- Board members congratulated the Gwinnett Heat Adapted Sports Football Team on its 2010 state championship season. In its first year of varsity competition, the Gwinnett Heat won the state championship in adapted football. GCPS Coordinator of Adapted Sports Mike Phillips shared past successes of the district's adapted sports program. He provided the Board with an overview of the team's season and their hard-fought win over an established team. A parent of one of the student-athletes thanked Board members for the program and for what it has meant to her daughter and the other students. The coaches for this state championship team are Michaela Istone of Oakland Meadow School, Jennifer Elinburg of Mountain View HS, and community coach Brian Elinburg.
-- The School Board extended its congratulations to another Gwinnett state championship team-- North Gwinnett HS' girls soccer team. Principal Ed Shaddix and Athletics Director/Head Girls Soccer Coach Mark Karen expressed their pride in the team, which earned the school its first state championship in girls soccer. Mr. Shaddix thanked the parents for their support of the students, their coaches, and the school. The team's assistant coaches are North Gwinnett's Erik Crawford and Kim Wimpey, and community coaches Evan Wimpey and Mario Raley. The team finished 19-3 overall. The team finished #15 in the United States, based on the NCAA ranking. Coach Karen commended the girls and his assistants on a great season.
-- The School Board congratulated Brookwood HS Principal Debbie Dees on her recent recognition as Outstanding Educator for 2010 by the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders. This award is presented to a Georgia educator who possesses a record of service for the profession of educational leadership that is considered exemplary and who exhibits leadership characteristics that serve as a positive role model for others. Area Superintendent Calvin Watts introduced Ms. Dees, calling her an instructional leader who leads with a quiet strength. In her remarks, Ms. Dees thanked the Board for giving her the opportunity to work with the staff and students at Brookwood HS.
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education saluted 13 Duluth HS students who earned top finishes in the National Geography Challenge. The event, sponsored by the National Council for Geography Education, is a multiple-choice, question-based contest. In two categories-- grades 7-9 and 10-12-- students have 35 minutes to address 50 questions. The contests reflect the main themes of geography and are appropriate to each grade level. Social Studies Director Debbie Daniel was joined by Duluth HS Principal Jason Lane and Duluth HS Social Studies Department Chair Geri Flanary. Duluth High's 9th grade team finished second in the nation. Team members include Dennis Chan, Brandon Chiem, Bryam Duque, Nolan Graham, John Kaffezakis, Jonathan Li, Richard Lu, Atanas Manasier, Cameron Niakan, Abraham Quintero, Molly Rea, and Jason Yu. In addition to the second-place finish for the team, Jason Yu was recognized as the 9th Grade National Champion. Samuel Aziz, a 10th grader at Duluth HS, earned the Grades 10-12 National Champion title. In accepting the Board's congratulations, Ms. Flanary thanked the other teachers at the school who supported this team, as well as the administration of the school.
-- Kudos to Shiloh HS' Air Force Junior ROTC unit on its selection as a 2009-10 Air Force Junior ROTC Distinguished Unit. The award from the Department of the Air Force honors AFJROTC units that perform above and beyond normal expectations and have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the AFJROTC mission of producing better citizens for America. Shiloh HS is one of 393 units nationwide to receive the award. The objectives of the AFJROTC program are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, promote community service, instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline through character education, and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals. Principal Gwen Tatum expressed her delight in being able to present the school's award-winning unit to the Board again. Major Lourdes Trujillo and Master Sargeant Demetris Cook applauded the dedication of the cadets who strive to be the best and then work tirelessly to achieve that goal.
-- School Board members congratulated Maxwell HS of Technology on earning industry certification in graphic arts and Print ED accreditation from the graphic communications industry. Maxwell's accredited courses include areas that meet industry standards for communications courses of study at the secondary and postsecondary levels. These classes include Introduction to Graphic Communications, Advertising and Design, Digital File Preparation, and Digital File Output. Director of Technical Education Jody Reeves introduced Principal Donna Powers and Teacher Mark James. In accepting this recognition from the Board, Ms. Powers reviewed the certification process and praised Mr. James for the work he does every day.

2011-12 school calendar shared
During the Board's afternoon worksession, Dr. Steve Flynt shared the 2011-12 calendar, which is similar to the current year's calendar. The first day of school is Monday, August 8, and the school year is slated to end on Wednesday, May 23. The calendar includes a full-week break at Thanksgiving, a two-week winter break, and one-week spring break. The calendar also includes three snow make-up days. While the calendar does not include furlough days, it does identify potential furlough days that could be used should a budget shortfall make furloughs necessary.

Shiloh HS seeks IB Program
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks shared with the Board Shiloh HS' interest in offering the International Baccalaureate Program. In order to proceed with the application process, the Board of Education had to grant approval. Currently, Norcross HS is the only Gwinnett high school to offer the IB Program. In addition, Norcross feeder schools Pinckneyville MS, Summerour MS, and Peachtree ES offer IB programs. In approving Shiloh HS' request to apply, Board members indicated that they felt the addition of IB programs would be a great opportunity for students in the Shiloh Cluster and that the community would support the application.

BOE reviews proposed FY12 Budget Development Calendar
Each year, the Board adopts a calendar of dates that comprise the budget development cycle for the coming fiscal year. At tonight's meeting, the Board of Education reviewed the proposed calendar associated with the adoption of the FY2012 budget. The budget development calendar will be presented for approval at the October 21 Board meeting. Proposed key dates in the coming budget development calendar are:
February 1, 2011 - Central Office budget managers submit completed proposed budget requests to Budget Office
April 16, 2011 - Board budget work session (Saturday)
April 19, 2011 - Board budget work session; adoption of tentative budget; (Area Board Meeting)
April 26, 2011 - Copies of Superintendent’s recommended budget available for public
May 3 and May 6, 2011 - Publish budget advertisement in newspaper
May 12, 2011 - First Public Hearing on Budget
May 19, 2011 - Second Public Budget Hearing; Final Budget Adoption; and Adoption of Tentative millage rate
June 2011 (Date TBD) – Final Adoption of millage rate

Completion of School Board training noted by district
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks presented a certificate to each Board member on behalf of the State Board of Education and Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) acknowledging completion of state-mandated Board member training. Local Board of Education members in Georgia are required by state law to annually complete approved training activities offered through GSBA or other qualified agencies.

Board continues updates to policies
The Board approved the following policies which had been tabled at its last meeting to allow for public input:
Policy DJE- Purchasing-- Minor changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy GAAA- Equal Opportunity-- Minor changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy GAE- Complaints and Grievances-- Minor changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy GBO- Personnel Resignations and Reemployment-- Changes to this policy align it with mandates in state and/or federal law.

In addition, the Board tabled the following policy to allow for public input prior to its October 21 meeting:
Policy JGFA- Restraint-- This proposed new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes and mandates in state and/or federal law.