GCPS Board Meeting Summary for September 20, 2012

The following are highlights of the September 20, 2012, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Board Chairman Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Daniel Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board recognizes students and staff
- Board members recognized Shiloh HS' Air Force Junior ROTC unit on its designation as a 2012 Air Force Junior ROTC Distinguished Unit. This award recognizes Air Force Junior ROTC units that have performed above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force Junior ROTC mission of producing better citizens for America. Shiloh High is one of 80 units nationwide to receive this award. Air Force Junior ROTC is located in 884 high schools across the United States and in selected schools in Europe, in the Pacific, and Puerto Rico. Junior ROTC enrollment includes more than 117,000 cadets. The objectives of the AFJROTC program are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills; promote community service; instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline through character education; and provide instruction in air and space fundamentals. Attending the Board recognition with cadet representatives were Dr. Eric Parker, Shiloh HS principal, and the school's JROTC Instructors, Major Lourdes Trujillo and Master Sergeant Demetris Cook. In introducing the cadets and their instructors, Dr. Parker expressed his pride in the unit and all that they have accomplished.
- The Board saluted Trickum MS' Academic Team on its first place finish in the 2012 Junior National Academic Championship Tournament, which was held in Washington, D.C., in early June. Forty-seven middle and junior high schools throughout the country competed simultaneously in Washington D.C., Chicago, and New Orleans. Because Trickum went undefeated throughout the entire three-day tournament and no competitor at any of the other competition sites had a higher record, Trickum was crowned the undisputed National Champion. This is the 14th year that Trickum has fielded an Academic Team. The team qualified for the national tournament by winning first place (out of 60 teams) at the Georgia Academic Team Association (GATA) state finals and placing second (out of 133 teams) in the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE)-sponsored state finals during the school year. Academic Team competitions resemble the game show Jeopardy, only played as teams. Questions cover geography, science, mathematics, language arts, art, history, music, literature, sports, spelling, and current events. Principal Kay Sands introduced Coaches Linda LaPerre and Cary Sell and congratulated the student team members on their accomplishment.
- The Gwinnett County Board of Education congratulated teams from Brookwood HS and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) on their first and second place finishes, respectively, at the Georgia State Science Olympiad. Science Olympiad is a competition in which a team of 15 students competes 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. Several 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. Brookwood HS Principal Debbie Dees congratulated her school's team and their coach, Joe Cox, on their top finish. Ms. Dees thanked the Board for their support of extracurricular activities in science. She shared that Brookwood's team has won four of the five state championships in which it has competed. Accepting the Board's recognition on behalf of GSMST were Dr. Jeff Mathews, principal, Dr. Susan Kramer, coach, and members of the team.
- School Board members honored three GCPS educators on their recognition from the Georgia School Counselors Association. Dr. Paul Johnson, an assistant principal at Peachtree Ridge HS, is this year's GSCA Advocate of the Year. Ms. Tinisha Parker, a counselor at Gwinnett Online Campus, won the Counselor of the Year title at the secondary level. And, Robin Zorn, a counselor at Mason ES, was honored as the state's Elementary Counselor of the Year and also took top honors as the 2012 State of Georgia Counselor of the Year. The Georgia School Counselors Association will recognize the Gwinnett educators at its annual conference November 8 in Athens, Ga.  Each of these honorees has demonstrated support for counseling programs, elevating counseling in GCPS to the highest standard. Gwinnett's Counseling Program continues to serve as a model for programs throughout the state and nation. Attending the Board recognition with the counseling award winners were the following administrators: Dr. Kevin Tashlein, principal of Peachtree Ridge HS; Dr. Ginger O'Neal, associate principal of Gwinnett Online Campus; and Paula Deweese, principal of Mason ES.
- Gwinnett has a long history of counseling award winners who have gone on to earn national recognition... and that list just got a little longer. Summerour MS Principal Dorothy Jarrett was recognized by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) as its 2012 National Counseling Advocate of the Year. ASCA recognized Ms. Jarrett at its annual conference on June 25, 2012, in Minneapolis, Minn., for her unflagging support for counseling programs. The path to winning such an honor is a long and competitive process. Ms. Jarrett was named Gwinnett Advocate of the Year in 2011, and went on to be named the Advocate of the Year for both Region 2 and the state of Georgia. 
- Rounding out the School Board honors this month was recognition for GSMST as the recipient of the first annual STEM Education Award from the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). GSMST was recognized in the High School Category for inspiring students to become interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and incorporating the advancement of STEM education through an integrated curriculum and community partnerships. This award was created by TAG and the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) to recognize and celebrate schools, extracurricular programs, public-private partnerships, science agencies and postsecondary education outreach programs for outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education in Georgia. Accepting the award on behalf of GSMST was Dr. Jeff Mathews, principal, accompanied by Internship Coordinator Molly McAuliffe, Business Partner Sam Lim of CISCO, and TAG Representative Michael Robertson.

School Board reviews proposed calendar for FY2014 budget development process
The Board annually adopts a calendar of critical activities and dates that comprise the budget development cycle for the coming fiscal year. The Board of Education reviewed the proposed calendar of activities and dates associated with adoption of the FY2014 budget. The budget development calendar will be presented for approval at the October 18, 2012, Monthly Business Meeting. Key dates proposed include:
October 18, 2012
– Adopt budget development calendar for Fiscal Year 2014
December 21, 201
2–January 31, 2013 – Prepare FY2014 program budget requests
February 1, 2013
– Central Office budget managers submit completed proposed budget requests to Budget Office
March 11-22, 2013
– Preparation and printing of Superintendent's recommended budget
April 6, 2013
– Board budget work session (Saturday)
April 16, 2013
– Board budget work session; adoption of tentative budget; (Area Board Meeting)
April 22, 2013
– Copies of Superintendent’s recommended budget available for public
May 1
and May 5, 2013 – Publish budget advertisement in newspaper
May 9, 2013
– First public hearing on budget
May 16, 2013
– Second public budget hearing; final budget adoption; and adoption of tentative millage rate
June TBD, 2013 –
Final adoption of millage rate

Board receives update on constitutional amendment
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks briefed Board members on Amendment 1 which will be on the ballot on November 6. He shared that there continues to be much discussion about the pros and cons regarding the amendment, referencing recent news articles. As part of his presentation, Mr. Wilbanks stressed the importance of educating voters about the issue.

Board receives evaluation update
Dr. Frances Davis, chief human resources officer, provided the Board with an update on the district's work to implement a new evaluation system. She reminded the Board that GCPS' work to develop and implement a new evaluation system that involves all categories of staff has been underway since 2009. She reminded Board members that although the district became a part of the state's Race to the Top (RT3) initiative in 2010, improving the personnel evaluation system was a GCPS initiative prior to the district’s involvement in RT3. By partnering with the state, GCPS leaders have been at the table as Georgia’s new evaluation system has been developed. Currently, 56 schools are piloting the new teacher evaluation system and the district plans to fully implement this with all teachers in 2013-2014. Dr. Davis shared next steps that include piloting of the leader evaluation system, implementing some form of performance pay, and developing a revised evaluation system for district and support personnel. During her presentation, Dr. Davis said, "We are observing and hearing a lot of positive feedback about the work currently taking place with the new evaluation system and our work to increase the effectiveness of employees."

Work of local school councils reviewed with School Board
Under state law, local school councils were instituted to advise and make recommendations to schools on a number of topics that focus on student learning, local school policies, and communication and collaboration. Dr. Calvin Watts, assistant superintendent for School Leadership and Operations, provided Board members with an overview of local school councils and the work of school councils in Gwinnett. As required, each local school council is comprised of the principal, parents/guardians of students enrolled at the school, two parents who serve as business partners, a minimum of two teachers, and other members from the business community. In addition, each local school council must hold a minimum of four meetings per year. These meetings are open to the public and advertised in school communities. Dr. Watts shared that the most effective school councils are those that focus discussions on student achievement, parent engagement strategies, and ways to address the school's academic/operational needs, as well as cluster needs. He also indicated that, in the coming months, school councils will be addressing Board members during the BOE's regular monthly meetings, sharing information about the schools in their cluster and strategies they are using to engage and communicate with their communities.

Citizens Addressing the Board
- Selena Brand
- David Johnson