GCPS Board Meeting Summary for December 10, 2009

The following are highlights of the December 10, 2009, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Vice Chair Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, 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.

Board honors award-winning students and staff
  • The Board saluted 34 Gwinnett schools that were recently recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as 2009 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools for making and exceeding state academic standards.The Title I Distinguished Schools Program, authorized in Section 1117 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, recognizes Title I schools that have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three or more consecutive years. Schools making AYP for four or more consecutive years receive monetary awards. Schools making AYP for three consecutive years receive a certificate of recognition from the Georgia Department of Education. Click here for a list of Gwinnett's honorees.
  • Board members congratulated Dr. Aimée Burgamy of Trickum MS on her designation as the 2009 Great American Teacher of the Year. Dr. Burgamy, a middle school visual arts teacher, competed with about 6,000 teachers for the national award. She was named the winner at the Great American Teacher Awards Banquet on October 23, 2009, in Atlanta. Principal Kay Sands introduced Dr. Burgamy, who was Gwinnett County's Teacher of the Year last year, and provided Board members with an outline of the extensive selection process. As the 2009 Great American Teacher, Dr. Burgamy received $10,000 for her personal use, $5,000 for her school, and a technology package for her classroom.
  • Alexandra Kates, visual arts teacher at Parkview HS, was honored on her recent recognition as the 2009 Secondary Art Educator of the Year award winner by the Georgia Art Education Association. In addition to her outstanding work in the classroom, she has presented at the National Art Education Association Conference and has chaired the High Museum of Art's Metro Atlanta High School Exhibit for seven years. Principal David Smith said his school was very fortunate to have Ms. Kates as a visual arts teacher at the school and said she was a truly deserving recipient for this award.
  • The Board of Education applauded the Grayson HS Technical Education Culinary Arts Program on its efforts to earn culinary arts industry certification from the American Culinary Federation. Throughout the past year, the Grayson HS Technical Education Program completed a detailed study of the school’s culinary arts program, reviewing the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum, facilities, and teacher education; thereby, verifying that the American Culinary Federation standards were met. In addition, students in the program hosted visits from the American Culinary Federation as part of its National Board Committee Review. The program at Grayson HS is the first high school program in Gwinnett and one of just a handful in the state to achieve this prestigious national recognition. The culinary arts course at Grayson HS Technical Education Program began in 2004. Director of Technical Education Jody Reeves introduced Chef Jennifer Booker who leads the program at Grayson.
  • Kudos to Dr. Debbie Daniell, GCPS director of Social Studies, on being named the 2009 Outstanding Social Studies Supervisor Award from the Georgia Leadership Association for the Social Studies (GLASS). Dr. Daniell earned this honor for her efforts to go beyond state and local requirements, her use of innovative leadership methods, and her support of meaningful social studies instruction that enriches the lives of students. In introducing Dr. Daniell, Dr. Jean Walker, assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, outlined a number of recognitions the district has earned under Dr. Daniell's leadership. She said, "She is most worthy of this award. Her work has enhanced the lives of students."
  • In other social studies news, Melisa Jeffers, a 4th grade teacher at Riverside ES, was congratulated by the School Board on her recent recognition as 2009 Outstanding Social Studies Educator of the Year by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. Ms. Jeffers has been active in many of the county social studies initiatives such as Gateway, Textbook Adoption, GEMS, Curriculum Review, and Sequential Lesson Plans. She has presented workshops and training locally, as well as at the state and national levels. In introducing Ms. Jeffers, Principal Craig Barlow described her as a wonderful addition to the Riverside staff, saying, "In addition to being caring and loving, she is a wonderful instructor and invaluable to our school."
  • Board members recognized the Collins Hill HS Softball Team on its AAAAA state championship season. This is the second state championship in softball for Collins Hill HS. Accompanying the team were Principal Glenn McFall, Athletic Director Roland Wallace, Head Coach Billy Dooley, and Assistant Coach Melissa Richardson. Coach Dooley expressed his appreciation to the team's parents and to the girls on the team. In addition to the state championship, Collins Hill's team members received numerous individual awards. During the recognition, Coach Dooley shared the pride he takes in his team's leadership, both on the field and in the classroom.
  • Also earning praise from the Board was the North Gwinnett HS Girls Cross Country Team which won its first state championship, after finishing third in 2007 and second in 2008. Athletic Director and Head Coach Mark Karen accompanied his team. The team's overall record was 253-1. They are ranked #8 in the southeast and #23 in the nation. Coach Karen recognized his team parents along with assistant coaches Ann Tindol, Kim Wimpey, and Evan Wimpey, thanking them all for their support of the program.

Board approves attendance zones for new schools
Board members approved the Planning Department's final recommendations for the redistricting of six new schools opening in 2010. Since October, the school system has gathered feedback on the proposed boundaries through an inclusive process that included educators, parents, and community members. In addition to providing opportunities for input through Boundary Input Forms, a public hearing was held in November to allow for further input on the attendance boundaries. Based on the input gathered throughout the process, the Planning Department made 10 changes to the original maps, including one final change made the night of the Board meeting that affected the Roberts ES map. Final maps as adopted by the Board of Education will be posted to the web site on Friday, December 11.

Board revisits names for two new schools: New Shiloh Cluster ES to be called Anderson-Livsey ES and the new South Gwinnett Cluster MS will be Grace Snell MS
At its meeting, the School Board officially changed two school names adopted last spring. The new Shiloh Cluster elementary school, formerly called Snell ES, will be Anderson-Livsey ES and the new South Gwinnett Cluster middle school, formerly referred to as Midway MS, will be Grace Snell MS. In recommending the changes to the school names adopted by the Board last spring, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recognized the uniqueness of this situation. “While we followed our traditional school naming process, which has served us well over the years, this situation warranted further review,” he said. “As we learned more about the Anderson and Livsey families and their historical significance to the community, and considered the wishes of both the Snell and the Livsey families, it became clear that we should revisit this decision.”
The Anderson and Livsey families are two of the original African American families in the area where the new school is located. The new name for the elementary school provides the school district a way to recognize the families and the community in which the new school will open. In addition, renaming the middle school in Mrs. Snell's honor is appropriate as she taught middle school students in the middle grades for a number of years.

Board approves pricing and issuance of GO bonds previously authorized by voters.
The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a final bond resolution, approving the pricing and issuance of General Obligation Qualified School Construction Bonds, Series 2009, in the amount of nearly $19 million, which were authorized as part of a larger bond program approved by voters on February 5, 2008. The affected bonds are in the amount for qualified school construction bonds that the federal government allotted the district to sell at a reduced interest rate as part of the federal stimulus program. This favorable interest rate resulted in the savings of $9 million in interest.

School Board extends contract of CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks
The members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education unanimously approved an extension of CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks' contract. The superintendent's new two-year term commences July 1, 2010, and expires June 30, 2012. Legislation limits a Gwinnett County school superintendent's contract to two years. Under the terms of the new contract, Mr. Wilbanks' base salary will remain the same. The only changes to the new contract provide for the payout of unused sick leave on an annual basis and allow for up to 10 days of teleworking. Mr. Wilbanks has served as Gwinnett County Public Schools' superintendent since March of 1996.

School Board honors Daniel Seckinger for service as 2009 chair
The Board annually recognizes and thanks the outgoing chairman for his or her leadership and service during the year. Daniel Seckinger was acknowledged during the meeting for his service as the 2009 Board chairman. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks presented Mr. Seckinger with several books. These books will be provided to the media centers in the District II high schools (Collins Hill, Mill Creek, Mountain View, and North Gwinnett) in Mr. Seckinger's honor. In addition, a leadership book will be presented to the next Quality-Plus Leader Academy class in his honor.

Citizens Addressing the Board
- Alejandra Avelino
- Hannah Burton-Dooley
- Melaan Callaway
- Marlyn Tillman
- Zahra Juma
- Jan Cohen