GCPS Board Meeting Summary for March 9, 2006

The following are highlights of the March 9, 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, teachers, and schools
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized Lilburn MS on being recognized with the HOSTS Learning National Exemplary Award in both Language Arts and Math for the school's HOSTSLink Language Arts and Math program for the 2004-05 school year. Lilburn MS has attained a level of excellence in the HOSTSLink Quality Assurance Program that counts it among a very select group of schools nationwide. This program measures seven characteristics of an effective, structured mentoring program. During the 2004-05 school year, 150 students and 136 mentors participated in the school's HOSTSLink Language Arts and Math program. The 136 mentors contributed approximately 1,960 volunteer hours. Principal James Rayford shared with Board members how the involvement of these mentors is having a positive impact on student's achievement and attendance.
-- Terry McGonigle of the Grayson HS Technical Education Program was honored on his recent induction into the 2006 Georgia Thespian Hall of Fame. According to Jody Reeves, director of technical education and computer science, Mr. McGonigle was selected for this honor because of his dedication to education, professional achievement, and lifetime service to the Georgia Thespian Society. In introducing Mr. McGonigle, Principal Keith Chaney said, "Mr. McGonigle is a pure asset to our faculty and a leader in our building. He is a very talented actor, but more importantly for us, he is a talented teacher."
-- School Board members applauded the Parkview HS Wrestling Team on its AAAAA state championship season in "Traditional" and "Team Dual" competition. Head coaches Dennis Stromie and Tom Beuglas applauded the team's members on their achievements. Coach Stromie thanked the Board for the support the Board has provided the wrestling program. Team members present were 12th grader Pete Sanders; 11th graders Ryan Galloway, Jesse Muller, and Charles Sandusky; and 10th grader Carson Fields.
-- The Board also recognized another state championship team from Parkview HS-- the 2005-06 Boys Swim Team. Coach Jack Gayle and Assistant Coach Eric Brown, both Parkview HS graduates and former swim team members, expressed their pride in the team and team members' determination. The coaches applauded the group of student-athletes, who exhibit excellence in the classroom and in athletic competitions. Team members present included 12th grader Bobby Allred; 11th graders Zack Highnote and George Partin; and 10th grader Steven Jones.

Board receives update on non-traditional educational programs
Dr. Cindy Loe, associate superintendent for Organizational Advancement, updated the Board of Education on the school system's efforts to expand non-traditional educational programs. One of the school system's primary efforts is the system's long-range vision for a center for mathematics, science, and technology, which would include multiple non-traditional course/program offerings including the Gwinnett Charter School of Advanced Math, Science, and Technology, Maxwell HS of Technology, and an international studies school. At its meeting, the Board approved moving forward with the preparation of an application for charter status. The Gwinnett Charter School of Advanced Math, Science, and Technology will offer a problem-solving and interdisciplinary approach to learning. In addition, it will provide diverse connections to in-field mentors, universities and research centers, and business and industry leaders. Proposed programs of study encompass three fields: engineering, biosciences, and emerging technologies. Students also will have the opportunity to expand their foreign language education in specialized programs directly linked to math, science, and technology fields of study. Proposed language programs will include Chinese and Japanese studies, as well as scientific and technical concentrations in French, German, and Spanish.

The proposed location for this non-traditional program is the existing site of Maxwell HS of Technology and Oakland School. Facility renovation and use will be phased in as Oakland School is relocated to its replacement facility, Oakland Meadow School. The target date for opening Phase One is August 2007. In this first phase, the center will serve rising 9th graders from across the district in a limited advanced studies program at the math/science/technology facility.

GCPS reviewing pedagogical instructional strategies
Dr. Loe also addressed the school system's ongoing efforts to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment, particularly focusing on the area of instruction. Effective instruction incorporates strategies that have been proven to be the most effective for increasing student achievement in the most efficient manner. The school system has developed a draft of effective pedagogical instructional strategies, which are founded on scientifically based research. A draft of these strategies is currently being shared with school leaders and teachers throughout the system. The feedback from Gwinnett educators will help further refine these strategies, which will help guide future instruction in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Gwinnett celebrates School Board Appreciation Week
During the week of March 13-17, Gwinnett County Public Schools will join in the statewide celebration of School Board Member Appreciation Week. This week-long observance, sponsored by the Georgia School Boards Association, calls attention to the contributions of local boards of education. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks thanked the members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education for their service. He applauded their commitment to students and to fulfilling their responsibilities to the public, saying, "We appreciate your leadership and governance role as School Board members. We have stability and a governance structure that focuses on teaching and learning and what is best for students, and that is in large part due to you."

Board authorizes short-term tax anticipation financing
The School Board adopted a resolution authorizing the distribution of a Preliminary Official Statement and distribution of a Notice of Sale and Solicitation of Offers for Short-Term Tax Anticipation Notes. This borrowing, not to exceed $180,000,000, is necessary in order to meet monthly cash flow needs and will be repaid by the end of the 2006 calendar year.