GCPS Board Meeting Summary for April 21, 2011

The following are highlights of the April 21, 2011, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Dr. Robert McClure, Louise Radloff, Carole Boyce, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board members honor award-winning students, teachers, and schools
-- School Board members recognized several students and teachers who won state and regional awards in the Istanbul Center’s 5th Annual Art and Essay Contest. The contest invited middle and high school students from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee to submit works on this year’s theme of Empathy: Walking in Another's Shoes.All winning students and teachers-- along with parents, siblings, peers, school principals, and other education officials-- were invited to the Art and Essay Contest Awards Reception and Ceremony at Morehouse College on March 25, 2011, where the winning pieces were displayed. Gwinnett students and their teachers recognized this evening will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Turkey, with Southeastern winners also receiving airfare. Winning students and teachers from Gwinnett include:
Georgia Art Contest - HS Winners
1st Place, Suzie Lee and teacher Debi West, North Gwinnett HS
2nd Place, Michelle Partogi and teacher Jennifer Prince, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST)
Georgia Essay Contest - MS Winners
2nd Place, Gowan Moise and teacher Debra Moody, Trickum MS
Southeastern Art Contest - HS Winners
1st Place, Suzie Lee and teacher Debi West, North Gwinnett HS
Southeastern Essay Contest - MS Winners
1st Place, Sania Chandrani and teacher Cathy Alexander, Trickum MS
Principals accompanying these students included Ed Shaddix of North Gwinnett HS, Dr. Jeff Mathews of GSMST, and Kay Sands of Trickum MS.

-- Kudos to José Sagrero of Parkview HS on earning the highest score in the state on the Level 4 National German Exam. José responded correctly to 98 of 100 questions on the test, which assesses a student’s ability in listening and reading comprehension in German. In fact, only 15 non-heritage students across the country scored higher than Jose. Accompanying José at the Board meeting were Parkview HS Assistant Principal IV Bray and German Teacher Sanja Knezovic. More than 23,000 U.S. students participated in the national exams. In Gwinnett, 51 students achieved at or above the 85 percentile on the National German Exam.

-- The Board recognized a number of Gwinnett students who won national awards in the 2011 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. At the national level, six talented Gwinnett artists won National Silver and Gold Awards based on their work. Julio Garcia of Norcross HS won the American Vision Medal for Sculpture. Taking the Gold were Hokyum Kim of Mill Creek HS- Gold Award for Drawing; Binh Nguyen of Collins Hill HS- Gold Award for Design; and Lexi Wood of North Gwinnett HS- Gold Award for Drawing. Winning Silver Awards were Mr. Garcia- two Silver Awards for Drawing and Art Portfolio; Ashley Harkins of Collins Hill HS- Silver Award for Drawing; and Jana Rossouw of Mill Creek HS- Silver Award for Drawing. The students’ teachers are Karen Campbell of Collins Hill HS, Mike Lasseter of Mill Creek HS, Martha Cook of Norcross HS, and Debi West of North Gwinnett HS. They also were accompanied by their principals. Dr. Jim Markham of Mill Creek HS spoke on behalf of the principals and Visual Arts Teacher Debi West of North Gwinnett HS spoke on behalf of the teachers. Both spoke to the importance of having the arts in our schools and thanked the Board for its support of the arts.

-- The Board of Education saluted Dr. Peter Lemonds of Duluth HS on his selection as a Yale Distinguished Music Educator. As an award winner, he will attend the 2011 Symposium on Music in Schools in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Lemonds was selected from a pool of 330 nominees from 45 states. The nominations were reviewed by a panel of music professionals and 15% were selected for participation in the Symposium. Dr. Lemonds will attend a workshop conducted by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, entitled The Value of Music Education. A cellist himself, Dr. Lemonds will attend a concert by Mr. Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. In introducing Dr. Lemonds, Principal Jason Lane expressed appreciation for all that Dr. Lemonds and co-director Shawn Morton have contributed to Duluth HS, noting the school's "marching orchestra." Fine Arts Director Robert Andrews introduced the award.

-- The School Board congratulated Gina Parrish, Norcross HS theater arts teacher, on her recent induction into the Georgia Thespians Hall of Fame at the state conference of the Georgia Thespians held at the River Center for the Performing Arts, in Columbus. The Georgia Thespians annually recognize an individual who has at least 20 years of dedicated service in the field of theater education, and is a member of the Educational Theater Association. Recipients are role models respected by their peers and students. They exemplify extraordinary service to local and state thespian programs, exhibit extraordinary passion and enthusiasm for the educational process of theater arts, and display extraordinary leadership and vision. An out-of-state committee reviews and rates all applicants for the award. An in-state committee, made up of current Hall of Fame members, reviews the rated applications to select the individual who is inducted at the state conference. Principal Jonathan Patterson celebrated Ms. Parrish's achievements and her induction into the Hall of Fame.

-- Board members recognized the members of the Collins Hill HS Wrestling Team on their championship season. This is the team’s fourth consecutive state title in traditional and dual meets. Head Coach Josh Stephen thanked his team and expressed his appreciation for the support the wrestling program receives from the administration and the Collins Hill community. Collins Hill Athletic Director Roland Wallace noted that the seniors on the team have never lost a state championship. Director of Athletics, Student Activities, and Community Schools Mike Emery introduced the team.

-- The Board recognized another state championship team from Gwinnett County… the Peachtree Ridge HS Boys Swim and Dive Team. Peachtree Ridge Athletics Director Bill Hollemon introduced Coach Jeremy Laird. This is the first state championship the school has earned in this sport. Coach Laird introduced four seniors who will swim in college, and spoke of his swimmers' determination to win the state championship after placing second the previous year.

-- The School Board congratulated three Gwinnett high schools on their top finishes in the Peachtree Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. This event focuses on providing an affordable and accessible opportunity to participate in a robotics event and creates a bridge between the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST Robotics Competition. Students work together in teams, using a modular robotics platform to design and build robots to compete in FIRST-designed games. Students learned to use various structural members, motors, gears, wheels, tank treads, motor controllers, microcomputers, transmitters, receivers, and computer programming in order to make the robot complete various tasks. Gwinnett’s winning teams are North Gwinnett HS Robotics Team- Georgia State Champion for the second year in a row and winner of the Industrial Design Award; Peachtree Ridge HS Robotics Team- Finalist (2nd Place) and winner of the Engineering Excellence Award; and Norcross HS Robotics Team, winner of the Judges Award. Jody Reeves, director of Technical Education, Computer Science, and Work-Based Learning, thanked the principals of the three schools for their support of robotics.

Ms. Reeves introduced a number of other state honors earned by technical education students attending Gwinnett's middle and high schools:
-- Members of the Board of Education congratulated Hayley Dianne Fowler of Maxwell HS of Technology on her 2nd place finish at the state Health Occupations Student Organization (HOSA) competition. Hayley competed in the Physical Therapy category. HOSA is a student organization whose mission is to promote career opportunities in health care and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. Students in the Healthcare Science Program at Maxwell competed for the opportunity to represent Georgia in their events at the National Conference set for June 22-25 in Anaheim, California. Dr. Jade Gillispie, Hayley’s teacher, and Principal Donna Powers accompanied Hayley to the Board meeting.

-- The School Board congratulated six students on their 1st and 2nd place finishes in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) state competition. FBLA is the largest student business organization in the world, with more than 250,000 members. FBLA is an important partner in business education and student leadership development, recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as an integral part of a co-curricular approach to business and leadership education. The FBLA mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. Students from Archer HS, Brookwood HS, Grayson HS, Mill Creek HS, Parkview HS, and South Gwinnett HS were honored. Qualifying students advance to the FBLA National Leadership Conference set for June 28 to July 1 in Orlando. In addition, Parkview HS was recognized as Gold Chapter of the Year and Berkmar HS earned Silver recognition. Stacia Burke of South Gwinnett HS will serve as secretary for the state FBLA chapter. Click here for a list of Gwinnett FBLA honorees.

-- Board members honored 36 students who placed 1st and 2nd at the state DECA competition. DECA is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management, and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. GCPS has 16 active DECA chapters, with more than 1,600 students participating. Through DECA, students have the opportunity to participate in leadership development activities and compete in a variety of events. Students from Brookwood HS, Grayson HS, Lanier HS, Meadowcreek HS, Mill Creek HS, Norcross HS, North Gwinnett HS, Parkview HS, Peachtree Ridge HS, and South Gwinnett HS were honored. Students recognized tonight will be competing at the International Career Development Conference from April 30 to May 3 in Orlando. North Gwinnett HS students Kelliann Morrisey and Hillary Cochran earned DECA scholarships as well. North Gwinnett HS' Dawg House school-based enterprise earned Gold Level National Certification. Click here for a list of state DECA winners from Gwinnett.

-- Also presented to the Board were 11 students from Maxwell HS of Technology who placed 1st and 2nd in the state SkillsUSA competition. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives, working together to ensure that America has a skilled work force. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. Qualifying students advance to the National Leadership Skills Conference in Kansas City in June. Click here for a list of state winners in the SkillsUSA competition.

-- Wrapping up honors in this area are recent honorees from the state Technology Students' Association (TSA) competition. Gwinnett middle and high school students earned more than 70 honors at this year's state TSA competition. GCPS has 14 active TSA chapters, with more than 1,000 students participating. Through TSA, students have the opportunity to participate in leadership development activities and compete in a variety of events related to technology. Students from Creekland MS, Collins Hill HS, Grayson HS, and Parkview HS were honored. Students recognized tonight will have the opportunity to compete at the National TSA Conference, scheduled for June 21-25 in Dallas. Vivek Patel will serve as treasurer for the state TSA chapter, while Michelle McIntire will serve as the group's secretary. Both students are from Collins Hill HS. Parkview HS TSA Advisor Terry Cotton was honored with the statewide Tommy Pitchford Inspirational Teacher Award. Click here for a list of Gwinnett students who excelled at the state TSA competition.

-- Board members congratulated a number of students who earned scholarships, which were introduced by Kelly Herndon, executive director for the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc..
  • Tiffany Chu of Parkview HS-- The winner of the 2011 Alton C. Crews Teaching Scholarship-- Since 2002, donations made to the Alton C. Crews Teaching Scholarship Fund in memory of Dr. Crews, superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools from 1977 to 1989, have made it possible to award a one-time scholarship annually to a GCPS senior pursuing a career in education. The amount of the 2011 award is $1,500.
  • Also honored were this year's winners of the Atlanta Toyota Scholarship which recognizes one student from each high school in Gwinnett County Public Schools and the teacher named as most inspiring by each winning student. The 2011 student recipients will each receive a $1,500 scholarship, and the corresponding teacher will receive $750, for a total of $40,500 awarded by Atlanta Toyota. The program has awarded more than $300,000 to students and teachers in Gwinnett since 2004. The Board thanked Atlanta Toyota for its ongoing support of the school system and our students and staff. Honored students and their selected teachers are:
  • Nicole Nash, Archer HS – Teacher: James Reeves, McConnell MS 
  • Diana Nguyen, Berkmar HS – Teacher: Kereida Beadle, Berkmar HS
  • Carly Nielsen, Brookwood HS – Teacher: Catherine Trouteaud, Brookwood HS
  • Devin McKenzie, Central Gwinnett HS – Teacher: Lauren Ferguson, Central Gwinnett HS
  • Melissa Rary, Collins Hill HS – Teacher: Jill Tweedy, Collins Hill HS
  • Omar Pacheco, Dacula HS – Teacher: Chad Harrison, Dacula HS
  • Nhi Vu, Duluth HS – Teacher: Vanette Vedder – Duluth HS
  • Savanna Ziegler, Grayson HS – Teacher: Mary Stimmel, Grayson HS
  • Alicia Crewey, GSMST – Teacher: Barbara Steele, GSMST
  • Fabrice Alcide, Lanier HS – Teacher: Allison Jenkins, North Gwinnett HS
  • Ronnie Frasier, Meadowcreek HS – Teacher: Gerda Louizi, Meadowcreek HS
  • Do Hyun Kim, Mill Creek HS – Teacher: Gregory Marr, Mill Creek HS
  • Samuel Yang, Mountain View HS – Teacher: Heather Held, Collins Hill HS 
  • Florence Pham, Norcross HS – Teacher: Cassandra Harrington, Norcross HS
  • Shakerra Henry, North Gwinnett HS – Teacher: Michelle Mullis, North Gwinnett HS
  • Gerard Willingham, Parkview HS – Teacher: Doug Wagner, Parkview HS
  • Alexander Lopez, Peachtree Ridge HS – Teacher: Lisa York, Peachtree Ridge HS
  • Naya Dykes, Phoenix HS – Teacher: Sherry Fowler, Phoenix HS
  • Kristen LeMaster, Shiloh HS – Teacher; Stephen Lindsay, Shiloh HS
  • Santana Mowbray, South Gwinnett HS – Teacher: Erica Poole, South Gwinnett HS
  • Samantha C. Healy of Archer HS, Kyle R. Cowdrick of Brookwood HS, Nicholas A. Diaz of Central Gwinnett HS, Melissa A. Rary of Collins Hill HS, Nhi N. Vu of Duluth HS, Sarah A. Jestel of Grayson HS, and James F. Jiang of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology-- Winners of the 2011 J. Floyd and Eunice Brannan Scholarship-- This scholarship was established in 2006 to provide financial assistance to outstanding public school students wishing to obtain a college education. Joseph and Dorothy Shafer, descendants of the Brannans, created the scholarship with hopes of providing college opportunities to deserving students who are dedicated to enhancing their academic and leadership skills, and plan to return to contribute professionally to their communities. Scholarship recipients are selected through an application process that considers grades, a letter of recommendation from a teacher, a student-written essay, and participation in both school and community activities. Scholarship recipients are eligible to receive $1,000 for each of four years, as long as the student maintains a “B” average in college. Mr. Shafer congratulated the student winners.

Gwinnett Federal Credit Union (GFCU) President/CEO Marshall Boutwell spoke about the Board's exemplary stewardship of the public's funds and thanked the Board and system leaders for their commitment to excellence. Mr. Boutwell noted that this year approximately $50,000 will be awarded to Gwinnett students and staff by GFCU in the form of various scholarships. The credit union is celebrating its 50th year.
  • Lindsey Grizzard of Grayson HS-- The winner of the 2011 Louise Radloff Scholarship-- The purpose of the Louise Radloff Scholarship Program is to provide funds for a Gwinnett County high school senior who has overcome a significant personal challenge in order to graduate, and is pursuing postsecondary study through a four-year, two-year, or certificate program. This fund was established in 2004 by Gwinnett Federal Credit Union in honor of three decades of service by Gwinnett County Board of Education member Louise Radloff, and in recognition of her tireless work on behalf of those most in need. The amount of the 2011 award is $2,500.
  • Hope Lybeer of North Gwinnett HS-- The winner of the 2011 J. Alvin Wilbanks Scholarship-- This fund was established in 2007 by Gwinnett Federal Credit Union in honor of more than four decades of service to public education by CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, and in recognition of his leadership in guiding the district to state and national prominence as superintendent since 1996. The fund provides a one-time scholarship each year to a GCPS senior pursuing a career in education. The amount of the 2011 award is $2,500.
  • Dana Tzegaegbe of Shiloh HS and Jayla Hood of Brookwood HS-- Winners of the 2011 Robbie Susan Moore Scholarship-- Founded in 2011 by the United Ebony Society in honor of community activist Robbie Susan Moore, this scholarship recognizes deserving students from the African-American community who have exemplified a dedication to community service and the pursuit of higher education. More than 100 students applied for the scholarship.
Attendance lines set for Duluth and Peachtree Ridge clusters
Since early March, the Board of Education has gathered feedback on proposed attendance lines for the Duluth and Peachtree Ridge clusters. The school system uses an inclusive process that allows GCPS to gather input from parents, educators, and community members on the proposed revisions. In addition to providing opportunities for input through Boundary Input Forms, feedback was provided at monthly Board meetings, the Area Board Meeting, and at a public meeting on April 20. Based on the input gathered, the Planning Department did propose several changes to the original maps. The final map, as adopted by the Gwinnett County Board of Education at its April 21 meeting, is posted below. These attendance lines will go into effect in the fall of 2011. Duluth-Peachtree Ridge Cluster Redistricting- Final Map (4-21-11)

Gwinnett School Board adopts instructional materials
In compliance with Gwinnett County Public Schools Policy IFFA and the Georgia Department of Education Rule 160-4-1.12, instructional materials review was conducted for specific high school elective courses in the areas of science and technical education, along with supplemental materials approved by the Community Health Advisory Committee (CHEAC). All of the proposed materials were piloted in classrooms during Fall 2010. The projected budget for this core materials adoption is $149,848.50.

Board continues updates to policies
The Board tabled the following policies to allow for public input:
Policy JCD - Student Conduct Behavior Code-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law
Policy JCDAG - Bullying-- This new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes and mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy FGB - Site Acquisition (Disposal)-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.

Citizens addressing the Board
- Jennifer Falk