GCPS Board Meeting Summary for November 11, 1999

          Board Recognizes Students and Staff
          • The Board recognized the following employees for earning state recognition from the Georgia School Counselors Association: Nancy P. Jones of Nesbit Elementary- Elementary Counselor of the Year; Susan Thompson of Lilburn and Richards middle schools- Middle School/Junior High Counselor of the Year; Connie Greenman-Vance of Nesbit Elementary- School Counseling Advocate of the Year; and Dr. Pat Otwell of Rebecca Minor Elementary- Writer of the Year.
          • Board members honored the Duluth High School's softball team for winning the AAAA state championship.

            Citizens Address the Board
            Twenty-three citizens addressed the Board regarding the Gateway Assessment Program. Both opposition and support were voiced. Concerns expressed by speakers focused primarily on the use of the Gateway test as the sole determiner for promotion or graduation for Gwinnett's students at Gateway grade levels. Opponents recommended revisions to the proposed Gateway Review Procedure, calling for the review to take place at the school level rather than being conducted by a system team that does not know the student. Supporters, including three Gwinnett teachers, urged the Board to stay the course with the Gateway Assessment Program, citing the positive impact the AKS and Gateway program already are having on student learning and classroom instruction. Others expressed support for the Gateway and the effect it is having on the school system's efforts to ensure students are well-prepared for the future.

            Board Of Education Approves Cut Scores/Implementation Procedures for the Gateway Assessment Program
            Gateway cut score recommendations were presented by Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks for Board adoption. He recommended the Board adopt the scores proposed by GCPS teachers in February 1999. A review of the pilot data from 1998 and 1999 showed that Gwinnett students performed particularly well on four of the subtests-- 7th grade language arts, 5th grade writing and 4th grade language arts and science when the teacher-proposed cut scores were applied. Therefore, Mr. Wilbanks recommended implementation of the teacher-proposed cut scores in these areas beginning this year. For the other subtests, Mr. Wilbanks recommended phasing-in the teacher-proposed cut scores over a five-year period. "In some areas, it is evident that we need more time for students and teachers to prepare for the test," said Mr. Wilbanks. Phasing-in cut scores in these areas will allow students to have more exposure to the Academic Knowledge and Skills curriculum, and will ensure better alignment between what is taught and what is tested. The teacher-proposed cut scores for all subtests will be in effect beginning with the 2004 administration of the Gateway tests.
            Click here for the cut scores unanimously adopted by the Board of Education.

            The Board also adopted the four "levels of performance" for each of the Gateway tests. The levels are: Excellent, Effective, Minimal but Passing, and Below Minimal (failing). The goal is to move as many students as possible into the top two performance levels.
            Superintendent Wilbanks then presented to the Board a recommendation regarding the implementation of the Gateway tests. He outlined proposed revisions to Procedure IHC, which supports the School Board's policy that established the Gateway Assessment Program. Several significant revisions to the procedure were proposed for the Board's consideration. These revisions revolve around a "Review Procedure" for students in grades 4 and 7 who unexpectedly fail the Gateway. The procedure provides an automatic review for any student who fails a Gateway test, but who has earned no grade below a "C" on his report card in all of the Gateway subject areas all year. An Assessment Review Committee will review data regarding the student's academic record and information provided by the student's parents. The committee may recommend waiving passage of the Gateway; waiving Gateway passage, but recommending summer school; requiring a retake and passage of the Gateway and recommending summer school; or deferring any decisions until the total Gateway results are in for a student who is predicted to fail based on his score on the multiple-choice portion of the Gateway.
            Mr. Wilbanks did not recommend a review procedure for the high school Gateway. Tenth-graders who fail the test may continue to take courses for promotion and earn credits toward graduation. They also will have at least seven opportunities to retake and pass the Gateway before the scheduled graduation date for their class.
            The Board voted unanimously to affirm the proposed revisions to Procedure IHC, including the Review Procedure outlined by Mr. Wilbanks.

            Revised 1997 Building Program Schedule Approved
            Annually, the school system analyzes its capital budget and building program to determine if sufficient savings have accrued which would allow the funding of construction projects currently unfunded. Having determined that such savings have accrued, the Board of Education approved the construction of additions at the following schools: Riverside Elementary, Mason Elementary, and Berkmar High. The Riverside addition is scheduled to open in 2001-02 and the Mason addition is scheduled to open in 2002-03. A 10-classroom addition at Berkmar High is scheduled to open in 2002-03. However, the scope of this project will be increased or a subsequent addition will be funded if and when more savings accrue. An addition at Dacula High also will be funded if and when more savings are accrued.

            Leadership Appointment Approved by the Board
            • Drew Madajewski, an administrative assistant at Norcross High, was appointed to an assistant principal position at the school.

              GCAE Presents Board of Education with American Education Week Proclamation
              Diane Lockwood and Dr. Barbara Blasch of Lilburn Middle, representatives from the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, presented the Gwinnett County Board of Education with a proclamation regarding the celebration of American Education Week, November 14-20. The proclamation described public schools as "linchpins in the community" that bring together parents, children, educators, volunteers, business leaders, and elected officials.

              Board Approves Proposed Policy Changes
              The School Board approved two proposed policy changes that had been tabled at the October meeting to allow for public input. Proposed changes to Policy DJE (Centralized Purchasing) include title and wording changes to reflect organizational changes and current practice. Proposed changes to Policy AEA (School Calendar) will align the policy with current practice.