GCPS Board Meeting Summary for May 19, 2011

The following are highlights of the May 19, 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
-- In October, Gwinnett County Public Schools was named the winner of the 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education. As a result, the district received $1 million in scholarships to be awarded to graduates in the Class of 2011. Fifty-one seniors were selected from more than 1,000 applicants to receive a Broad Scholarship of up to $20,000 over four years. The 51 graduates represent 17 GCPS high schools. Accompanying the Broad Scholars were their parents and other family members, their principals, and Felicia Lewis of Georgia Perimeter College who served as a reader in the scholarship competition. The Broad Scholars are: from Archer HS: Anna Hunter; from Berkmar HS: Ana Barrera, Diamond Bledsoe, Ioana Creta, and Kevin Jordan; from Brookwood HS: Darshan Patel; from Central Gwinnett HS: Daniel "Aaron" Lapniewski and Alexis Taylor; from Collins Hill HS: Zoe Crane, Taylor White, Sydney Williams, and Anije Williams; from Dacula HS: Karla Cruz, Shelley McDaniel, and Al Haj Shah; from Duluth HS: Katherine Aubrey, Erik Brewer, and Celene Cervin; from Grayson HS: Dionnet Bhatti, Candice Cobb, and Jeshua Pope; from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology: Farida Bana, Dione Duc, Mahnoor Hasson, Dominique McLeod, Mary Nguyen, Alexander Steahr, and Ivana Stojkic; from Meadowcreek HS: Miriam Choudhry, Lemlem Mehari, and Hiral Patel; from Mill Creek HS: Anisha Ali, Tishan Bowen-Gordon, Chelsea Cierski, Cailee DeLeon, Juan Forero, Leila Osman, Catherine Starry, Tiah Westover, and Kelly Wilkinson; from Mountain View HS: Yessi Castro; from Norcross HS: Nurin Abdulwassy, Aminatou Diallo, Seth Hinsley, Florence Pham, and Star Reese; from North Gwinnett HS: Michelle Fulleda and Kaleb Swanda; from Peachtree Ridge HS: Adnan Nathani; from Phoenix HS: Wanda Wilson; and from South Gwinnett HS: Senae Jones.

-- The Board of Education saluted Brookwood HS Principal Debbie Dees on her recent recognition as the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) High School Principal of the Year. The GASSP Principal of the Year recognition program is sponsored by MetLife, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and GASSP. As the Georgia winner, Ms. Dees will represent the state in the competition for National Principal of the Year. The Principal of the Year program recognizes principals that excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service.

-- Board members honored Jennifer Shaffer of Collins Hill HS for earning the highest score in the state on the Level 2 National German Exam, which is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German. Ms. Shaffer responded correctly to 99 of 100 questions on the test, which assesses a student's ability in listening and reading comprehension in German. In fact, only 13 students of the nearly 10,000 students across the country who took the test scored higher than Ms. Shaffer. Accompanying this award-winning student was her teacher Jill Tweedy and Principal Glenn McFall.

-- The Board recognized a number of Gwinnett students who won awards in recent economic competitions. The Parkview HS team, made up of William Gausphol, Brynna Paulakaitis, Sona Sadselia, and Tianqi Wu, was the state winner in the Georgia Economic Challenge. The National Economics Challenge applies the excitement of an athletic competition to academic excellence. In each competition, teams of students answer rigorous questions on microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics. The most exciting round is the final round, conducted in an oral quiz-bowl format. Only the top two teams from the first three rounds compete in the final round. Principal David Smith and Economics Teacher Gary Petmecky accompanied the students.

-- Another Parkview team, along with a team from Mountain View HS, took 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the Fall 2010 Georgia Stock Market Game, sponsored by the Georgia Council on Economic Education. Honored students were Jonathon Benken, Mary Kidane, and Alina Saveli of Parkview HS; and Camden Valentine, Jaimie Stuart, and Lauren Miley of Mountain View HS. Both teams were given a hypothetical $100,000 in common stocks listed on the major exchanges. After 10 weeks, the Parkview team turned its investment into $275,235 to defeat more than 4,000 other statewide teams. The Mountain View HS team turned its investment into $150,000 to finish as the runner-up. For more than 30 years, GCEE has worked to bring economic education into Georgia's classrooms. With strong support for businesses, foundations, and individuals, the Council provides K-12 curriculum materials and specialized programs like the Stock Market Game. Teachers Mark Leviton of Parkview HS and Scotty McDaniell of Mountain View provided the Board with an overview of their teams' accomplishments.

-- Parkview HS Teacher Mark Leviton also received recognition from the Board as the winner of the Teacher Division of the Georgia Stock Market Game. In addition to the student competition, faculty members also can compete in the state competition. After 10 weeks, Mr. Leviton turned his hypothetical $100,000 into $150,364 in the fall and $145,048 in the spring to defeat more than 300 other teachers for the state teacher title.

-- The Gwinnett School Board honored a team from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology as Georgia winner in the 2011 World Quest Competition. In the competition, held by the World Affairs Council, students answered 100 multiple choice questions on topics that included current events, countries and international law, UN Peacekeeping organizations, worldwide elections, Great Decisions articles, and people in the news. After winning the state competition, the students traveled to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition. The team members are Nikhil Lakhanpal, Benjamin Pham, Seong "Daniel" Jin Park, and Marcus Raimondi. Accompanying the honorees were Principal Dr. Jeff Mathews and Team Sponsor Beverly Jerrim.

-- Another state winner recognized by the Board was the Duluth HS team of Emily Bi, Ashwin Jayachaandran, Nihar Madhavan, Sindhu Prabakaran, and Maya Ramachandran on its 1st place finish in the Georgia 2011 Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is a competition in which a team of students compete in 23 events covering the major branches of science and engineering. Many of these events require students to complete a college-level laboratory analysis while using the same techniques as practicing professionals. Other events require devices to be built prior to the competition to exacting specifications. All events require students to work as a team in order to successfully complete the challenging tasks.

-- The Board of Education honored a number of students who took top honors in the Georgia State Junior & Senior Science & Engineering Fair. This annual competition features the research of middle and high school students in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.  Students qualify for the state competition by placing 1st at the Regional Science & Engineering Fair held earlier in the year. Gwinnett students who earned 1st place in the 2011 Georgia State Junior Science & Engineering Fair include: Christina To of Bay Creek MS and Evann Brantley and William G. Moise of Trickum MS. Students who earned 1st place at the 2011 Georgia State Senior Science & Engineering Fair are: Michael Aderhold of Collins Hill HS, Danish Singh of GSMST, and Samuel Gauspolh and Daniel Ting of Parkview HS. The Board also congratulated several students who were selected as Grand Prize Winners in the 2011 International Science & Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. These students are Cory Bhowmik of Parkview HS; Danish Singh of GSMST; and Guillermo Bautista, He Sun Kim, and Sunyoung Wang of Mill Creek HS.

-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized the teachers, administrators, and students from Osborne MS and North Gwinnett MS on their top finishes in the state on the Georgia Grade 8 Writing Assessment. Osborne MS' scores on the test ranked first in the state and North Gwinnett MS' scores ranked second in the state for the highest mean scores and highest percentage of students achieving in the "exceeds" category. Principals John Campbell and Wanda Law congratulated their teachers, as well as the other teachers in the cluster, for their success and for the success of their students.

-- Board members extended congratulations to teams from Meadowcreek HS and North Gwinnett HS on their Gold Medal wins in the state Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition. In addition, the School Board honored Raven Smith of Meadowcreek HS who earned 2nd place in culinary arts for chicken fabrication. FCCLA, founded in 1945, is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer science education. Chapter projects focus on a variety of youth concerns including teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, environment, nutrition and fitness, inter-generational communication and career education. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life such as planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal communication-- necessary in the home and workplace.

-- The School Board also gave kudos to another Meadowcreek HS group of award winners. Students Valeria Cervantes, Erick Salgado, Yewssica Trinidad, and Caejawn Williams placed 1st in the Microsoft Web Site Design Contest sponsored by Microsoft bliink. The competition consisted of exploring new ideas that would be helpful for our environment. The Meadowcreek website was created with the idea of biodegradable bags and cans that would eventually decompose after a certain amount of time. Accompanying the honorees were Principal Bob Jackson and Sponsor Pinau Thaker.

-- Board members recognized two state championship teams from Norcross HS-- the girls basketball team and the boys basketball team. This is the second, consecutive year that Norcross' girls team, coached by Angie Hembree, won the state title. Norcross HS boys basketball coach Jessie McMillan congratulated his team on its championship season. This is the fourth state championship in the past six years for the school's boys team. Representatives from both teams were present for the Board recognition, serving as examples of the outstanding student-athletes at Norcross HS and in Gwinnett County.

FY2012 Budget approved and millage rate tentatively set
The Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted the FY2012 Budget in the expenditure amount of $1,702,318,947. In adopting the budget, the Board also tentatively adopted a millage rate of 19.25 mills for maintenance and operations and 1.30 mills for debt service. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks first provided his FY2012 budget recommendations to the members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education the week of April 10, 2011.  The Board met in work sessions to discuss the budget on April 16, and April 19, 2011.  School Board members tentatively adopted the FY2012 Budget and then held public hearings on May 12, and May 19, 2011.  As part of the budget process, the Board of Education is required by the State to adopt a tentative budget, to advertise it and to hold a public hearing.

Board continues updates to policies
The Board approved the following policies which had been tabled since last month's meeting to allow for further review:
- Policy JCD - Student Conduct Behavior Code-- Changes to this policy 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.
Board members tabled Policy FGB - Site Acquisition (Disposal) again to allow for further review. The suggested changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.

Citizens addressing the Board
- Patricia Swilley
- Dana Tristan
- Dera Taylor
- Jennifer Falk/Nina Gilbert
- Marlyn Tillman