GCPS Board Meeting Summary for December 12, 2002

          The following are highlights of the December 12, 2002, 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 of Education recognizes students and staff
          • Grayson HS girls' softball team was honored on winning the state AAA championship. In introducing the honor, Charles Meagher, director of Athletics and Extracurricular Activities, indicated that it is very rare to have a state championship at a school that is this young. Grayson HS Principal Mike Moody reminded Board members that Grayson's motto is "First Comes Learning;" but he pointed out that a strong athletics and extracurricular program is also important to students and the community. Mike Phillips, associate principal and athletic director, introduced the coach of the team, Kristi Lyn, and assistant coaches Seth Rhine and Steve West.
          • This year, Gwinnett had several winners in the 2002 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Student Media Festival. June Sweat, director of Technical Education, Computer Science and Apprenticeships, introduced student winners from several high school video broadcast programs. "Best in Comedy" awards went to several Gwinnett students including Nick Folger and Nick Goebel of Brookwood HS for "Silent Movie," Bob Place of Collins Hill HS for "Stark Naked," and Matt Chase of Collins Hill HS for "Procrastination." Shay Marlowe, a graduate of Duluth HS, produced "Sol Glo: A Gloing Tradition," which was selected for a "Best in Entertainment" award. Also honored was Brandon McCormick, a Collins Hill HS graduate who received "Best in Drama" for his work on "Zeek the Freak" and "Premonition." Ms. Sweat and the Board congratulated all of the students and paid special tribute to the students' teachers Alayne Smith of Brookwood HS, Dr. Beverly Johnson and Rupert Johnston of Collins Hill HS, and Marsha Hunter of Duluth HS.
          • School Board members saluted the one-act play state AAA champions from Grayson HS. The school's theatre students earned the distinction for their performance of "Catfish Moon." Dr. Mike Moody, principal of the school, expressed his pride in the talented students and in the theatre arts program Michelle Morea has created. Ms. Morea thanked the Board and also the community that has shown support for the arts and the program.
          • The Board honored the HOSTS (Help One Student To Succeed) Structured Mentoring Program in Language Arts at Meadowcreek ES and Rockbridge ES. Both programs were recognized as 2001-02 exemplary sites, earning the HOSTS program's highest quality award. The two schools attained a level of excellence in the HOSTS Quality Assurance Program, based on positive student gains, that places them in a very select group of schools nationwide. In her comments, Meadowcreek ES Principal Donna Robertson commended teachers Angie Bowers and Margaret Morris for their work with the mentors and the students and thanked the community for embracing the school and its support of the mentoring program. Ms. Robertson applauded the contributions of Campus Church of Christ, Canon USA, Vulcan Materials, and many others who have helped to make this program such a success. Rockbridge ES Principal Linda Daniels thanked the Board for recognizing the achievement of her school and students and for allowing schools the flexibility to try new programs. Ms. Daniels says the combined expertise of HOSTS teacher Lynda Dyer and paraprofessional Ruthanne Colick has been instrumental to the program. She explained to the School Board members that "Focused one-on-one instruction is making a difference for students."
          • The Department of Budgets, Finance, and Accounting was recognized for earning a Certificate of Excellence for Financial Reporting for the 15th consecutive year from the Association of School Business Officials. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Weiler and Executive Director of Finance, Budgets, and Accounting Theresa McDugald recognized the following staff members who produced the 2001 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: Lawanda Hankins, Donna Redfern, Dan Smith, Kathy Stillwell, and Bruce Taylor.

          School Board approves redistricting proposals
          The Board of Education approved the recommendation of the Superintendent for the redistricting of students to six new elementary schools-- J.A. Alford, W.J. Cooper, Corley, Duncan Creek, Ivy Creek, and Sycamore. The two-month process included opportunities for educators, parents, and community members to provide input on proposed lines, including public meetings and opportunities for written and oral input. Initial draft boundaries were based on current enrollment, enrollment forecast, enrollment history, existing identifiable boundaries, school locations, and student transportation. Using the input received through the process, staff was able to recommend several changes to the original proposals. These changes were reflected in the attendance zones recommended to the School Board. Information on the new attendance zones may be obtained from the GCPS Planning Department.

          Board members receive update on Cross-Functional Action Teams (XFATs)
          Gwinnett County Public Schools addresses issues of significance through cross-functional action teams (XFATs) made up of local school and central office employees of various divisions, as well as parents and community members when appropriate. Since 1996, the school system has convened 22 teams to look at a range of issues. Tricia Kennedy, director of Continuous Improvement, provided Board members with a report on the status of six XFATs operating at this time. These teams and their purpose are:
          -- Academic Achievement Gap-- To investigate disparity in academic achievement among GCPS ethnic and socioeconomic student populations and recommend best practices for closing any gaps discovered.
          -- Alternative Education Programs: Planning for Growth-- To examine student growth and demographic projections and the effect these will have on current alternative education programs (GIVE, Project Rescue, and Project YES) and current related programs (North Metro Hooper-Renwick), and recommend expansion of current and/or creation of new alternative programs and services.
          -- Data Quality-- To recommend ways to improve and assure accuracy and overall quality of district student data and its sources.
          -- Rewards and Recognition-- A follow-up team to a previous XFAT, team members will develop specific plans for a central, equitable program of rewards and recognition in all categories of employee positions.
          -- Staffing-- This ongoing team meets annually to determine issues surrounding staffing, analyze those issues, and make recommendations for improvement.
          -- Staff Retention-- To investigate the staff turnover rate in GCPS and recommend best practices for retaining staff.

          Board Members Adopt Reimbursement Resolution
          The School Board adopted a resolution that will allow the Board to use its FY2003 General Fund, if necessary, to retire the sales tax notes for construction that were issued in January 2002. The resolution, which is required by the Internal Revenue Service, will allow the Board to cover any shortfall, up to $80 million, until the 2003 sales tax notes can be issued. If the General Fund is used, the money will be reimbursed out of proceeds from the 2003 notes once they are issued.

          Resolution Regarding Construction Sales Tax Notes Approved
          To prepare for the sale of construction sales tax notes in 2003, the Board approved a resolution authorizing staff to publicize the pending sale of the notes and to seek bids for their purchase. The Board will not take action on the actual sale of the construction notes until January. The resolution allows staff to take the necessary action to issue the tax-exempt construction notes. They serve as a temporary loan for cash-flow purposes in anticipation of the receipt of sales taxes in the year 2003.

          Board rescinds policy
          School Board members rescinded the Policy JCA- Student Complaint, action that had been recommended and tabled at the November meeting. Information contained in this policy has been incorporated into Procedure P.JC- Student Complaints- Sexual Harassment/Discrimination.

          BOE recognizes Daniel Seckinger as outgoing Board Chair
          Board members and Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks expressed appreciation for Board Chairman Daniel Seckinger's leadership and unselfish service this past year. In his remarks, Mr. Seckinger said that this recognition was very humbling and how very satisfying it is to work for the children of Gwinnett County. He expressed gratitude to his fellow Board members and to the incredible staff and teachers who work in Gwinnett County Public Schools. In January, the Gwinnett County Board of Education will elect its chairman and vice chairman for 2003.

          Citizens Addressing the Board
          Residents of Arbor Clos-- Tracey Curtin, Paula Horne, Diane Miley, Clint Thompson, and Dale Whelchel

          The School Board approved the following appointments at its meeting on December 12, 2002.

          Name-- Current Position


          Patricia Kennedy-- Director of Continuous Improvement

          Executive Director, Curriculum and Instruction, Div. of Organizational Advancement

          Yvonne Frey-- Principal, R. D. Head ES

          Principal, Ivy Creek ES

          Nancy Hammond-- Principal, Suwanee ES

          Principal, B.B. Harris ES

          Jean Loethen-Payne-- Assistant Principal, G. H. Hopkins ES

          Principal, Gwin Oaks ES

          Ruth Markham-- Assistant Principal, Jackson ES

          Principal, Jackson ES

          Nancy Morrison-- Assistant Principal, Benefield ES

          Principal, Bethesda ES

          Margaret Barry-- Counselor, Duluth HS

          Counselor on Special Assignment, Meadowcreek ES

          Suzanne Brighton-- Community Development Specialist, GUIDE, Inc.

          Counselor on Special Assignment, Meadowcreek HS

          Sara Clifford-- Director of Vocational and Support Services for Resources & Residential Alternatives, Inc.

          Special Education Lead Teacher

          Angela Martin-- Teacher, Richards MS

          Teacher on Special Assignment, Div. of Organizational Advancement

          Sebastian Davis-- Administrative Assistant, Sweetwater MS

          Assistant Principal, Sweetwater MS

          Jim Hall-- Administrative Assistant, Phoenix HS

          Assistant Principal, Phoenix HS

          Pamela McRae-- Teacher, Shiloh HS

          Administrative Assistant, Shiloh HS

          Sebastian Davis and Angela Martin already have moved into their new roles. The following appointments are effective in January: Patricia (Tricia) Kennedy, Jean Loethen-Payne, Margaret (Meg) Barry, Suzanne Brighton, Sara Clifford, Jim Hall, and Pamela McRae. Yvonne Frey, Ruth Markham, Nancy Hammond, and Nancy Morrison will assume their new positions on July 1, 2003.

          In addition, a reorganization in Organizational Advancement has resulted in another leadership change. Linda Mitchell, currently the Director of Assessment, will become the school system's Executive Director for Student Accountability, Assessment, and Advisement. This change is effective January 1, 2003.