GCPS Board Meeting Summary for July 12, 2001

          The following are highlights of the July 12, 2001, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
          The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

          School Board Receives Update on 2001 Total Gateway Results for 4th and 7th Graders
          Of the 14,658 Gwinnett fourth and seventh graders required to pass the 2001 Gateway test administered in April, the vast majority earned passing scores on the first try and were promoted to the next grade level. Associate Superintendent for Organizational Advancement Dr. Cindy Loe presented a report to the Board on the final Gateway results that were released today for grades 4 and 7. Although the cut scores-- or minimum scores a student must attain to pass-- were raised for most subtest areas, students performed well and Gateway passing rates remained high.
          As expected, fewer students failed any portion of the test than were predicted to fail in May. (See "Predicted Passing Rates" in the table below.) The May prediction, based on scores from only the multiple-choice portion of the test, intentionally over-predicts which students are likely to fail the Gateway so that students who may need the academic summer school program can make plans to attend as soon as possible.
          The "Actual Passing Rates" in the table below are based on students' total Gateway performance, which consists of the multiple-choice, short answer, and short essay responses. The data show that there were students who were predicted to fail based on the multiple-choice portion who instead earned a passing score when the short answer and essay portions of the test were factored in.
          2001 Passing Rates: Predicted vs. Actual
          (These rates reflect students who were required to take and pass the Gateway)
          4th Grade
          Predicted Passing Rates
          Actual Passing Rates
          Language Arts
          Social Studies*
          7th Grade
          Predicted Passing Rates
          Actual Passing Rates
          Language Arts
          Social Studies*
          * Subtests in which the cut score increased

          In grade 4, the systemwide passing rate ranged from a high of 98.9% in Social Studies to a low of 96.2% in Science. In grade 7, systemwide passing rates ranged from 99% in Social Studies to 97.5% in Mathematics.
          The attached charts reflect total Gateway results by subtest and performance level for students who were required to pass the Gateway to be promoted. Student scores fall into four levels of performance-- “Below Minimal,” “Minimal,” “Effective,” and “Excellent.” The table shows that the percent of students scoring in the “Excellent” and “Effective” categories improved in most subtest areas-- 4th grade Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies; and 7th grade Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
          Percent Scoring in the Combined “Excellent” and “Effective” Ranges
          4th Grade
          Language Arts
          Social Studies
          7th Grade
          Language Arts
          Social Studies

          “Our students performed well on the Gateway tests, even when faced with a rising cut score,” Dr. Loe told the Board. “The low failure rate and the higher percentage of students achieving at the ‘Excellent’ and ‘Effective’ performance levels are evidence that Gwinnett students are learning the AKS curriculum. In addition, it speaks volumes about the excellent job our teachers are doing. They're challenging students and enriching the curriculum so that students do more than pass the Gateway-- they also achieve at higher and higher levels.”
          All 4th and 7th grade students are required to take and pass the Gateway for promotion to the next grade level, except for special education students whose promotion is determined by their Individualized Education Plan, or ESOL students whose promotion is determined by their Student Support Team recommendation. Students who failed the Gateway test may attend summer school at no charge to prepare for retesting during the week of July 23. Summer school will be held July 9-27. Gateway retests will be given on the following days: Social Studies on July 24; Mathematics on July 25; Science on July 26; and Language Arts on July 27. Results from the retest will be available before school starts. Students who pass the retest will be promoted. Those who do not pass will be eligible for a transition program for the 2001-02 school year.

          Annual Special Education Comprehensive Plan Approved
          Gwinnett County's Board of Education is required by state rules and regulations to annually approve the Special Education Comprehensive Plan,
          which assures that the school system complies with all state and federal requirements regarding special education. The plan specifies how GCPS will use
          the federal money that will flow to the system for special education. Federal dollars account for 11.4 percent of GCPS' cost of educating special education
          children. This plan must be approved by the Georgia Department of Education before federal special education funds are released. The Board urged school
          system officials to continually remind Congress of the escalating costs of serving students with special needs and encourage full funding of implementation of
          federal special education mandates.

          Board Continues Focus on Updating Policies
          The following School Board policies were approved after a 30-day input period:
          • School District Organization Policies-- The following policies were revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies: Policy AA, School District Legal Status; Policy ABA, School Board Authority; Policy ABB, Board Powers and Duties; Policy ABCC, Board Member Terms of Office; Policy ABD, Superintendent Legal Status; and Policy AF, School Day. In this same area, the following policies were rescinded: Policy AB, School Board Legal Status and Policy AFA, Double Sessions.
          • School Board Operations Policies-- The following policies were revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies: Policy BBAB, Duties of Board Officers; Policy BC, Board Meeting; Policy BCAEA, Appeals (Hearings); Policy BCBJ, Board Meeting News Coverage; Policy BDC, Policy Adoption; Policy BDF, Board Review of Administrative Rules; and Policy BH, Code of Ethics- Board Members. In this same area the following policies were rescinded: Policy BBABA, Duties of the Chairman; Policy BBABB, Duties of the Vice-Chairman; Policy BBABC/E, Secretary/Treasurer; Policy BBB, Corporate Board Membership; Policy BCAA, Annual Meeting of the Board; Policy BCAC, Special Board Meetings; Policy BCAF, Work Session of the Board; Policy BCBA, School Board Meetings- Time and Place; Policy KBCC, Board News Coverage; Policy BCBF, Board Meeting Rules of Order; Policy BCBFA, Quorum for Board Meetings; Policy BCBG, Voting at Board Meetings; and Policy BCBK, Executive Sessions.
          • General School Administration Policies-- Policy CA, Administration Goals was revised to reflect current practice and incorporate language regarding the system's vision, mission, and goals. In addition, the following policies were rescinded: Policy CED, Superintendent Appointment; Policy CEE, Superintendent Compensation; and Policy CMAD, Board Review of Administrative Rules.
          • Policy JHCA, Student Groups and Organization Policy-- The revised policy includes guidelines for student groups which meet or request to meet in school facilities.
          • Policy JCB, Safe Schools Discipline Policy-- The revision of this policy included minor changes in language to reflect current practice.

          The following policy revisions were tabled for 30 days to provide an opportunity for input:
          Policy JAB, Gender Equity in Sports-- Proposed changes bring the policy into compliance with state law.
          Policy KB, Public Information-- Proposed changes will bring this policy in line with current practice.
          Policy KBCC, Board News Coverage-- Staff is recommending that this policy be rescinded as guidelines for Board news coverage are contained in Policy BCBJ, Board Meeting News Coverage.
          Policy KCA, Public Participation-- Staff is recommending that this policy be rescinded as guidelines for public participation in Board meetings are contained in Policy BCE, Public Participation in Board Meetings.
          Policy KJA, Distribution of Flyers-- Staff is recommending that this policy be rescinded as guidelines for distributing flyers will be contained in Policy KJ, Advertising in Schools.
          Policy KJ, Advertising in Schools-- Changes to this policy include the addition of guidelines for the distribution of flyers.
          Policy LDAJA, Police Interrogations and Investigations-- Proposed updates to this policy reflect current practice.
          Policy MDB, Interscholastic Activity-- Staff is recommending that this policy be rescinded as guidelines for interscholastic activity will be contained in Policy JHA, Student Participation in Interscholastic Activity.
          Policy JHA, Student Participation in Interscholastic Activity-- Guidelines for interscholastic activity have been incorporated into this policy revision.
          Policy DFL, Investment Policy-- The proposed revision includes minor changes to the existing policy.
          Policy FC, Facility Impact Statement-- The proposed revision includes minor changes to the existing policy.

          Board Extends Contract With Visiting Faculty International
          Last year the Board entered into an agreement with Visiting Faculty International (VFI) that would allow the school system to hire qualified teachers from outside the United States to fill vacancies that could not be filled with teachers closer to home. GCPS did not need to use the services of VFI in 2000-01; however, in light of potential vacancies in the new school year, the Board voted to extend the contract with VFI for another year under the same terms as the original agreement. Metro systems that have used VFI report very satisfactory results with the teachers they have provided. Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks reiterated that the system would look to VFI for teachers only in the event qualified teachers from within Georgia or the United States could not be found. There is no cost to GCPS unless a VFI teacher is actually employed.

          Special Recognition
          The Board and Superintendent Wilbanks said thank you and farewell to a long-time GCPS employee and the Board's recording secretary, Miriam Nettleton. After 20 years of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools, Ms. Nettleton retires on July 31 as executive secretary in the Superintendent's Office. The Board and Superintendent praised Ms. Nettleton for her considerable talents, professionalism, graciousness, and helpful nature. In recognizing Ms. Nettleton, Board Chairman Louise Radloff applauded her many years of service to the school system and spoke warmly of the friendship they have shared since Ms. Nettleton began working in Gwinnett at Oakland Center. "Miriam Nettleton typifies Gwinnett County Public Schools," said Board Member Dr. Robert McClure. "She is someone I deeply respect." (A reception honoring Ms. Nettleton's retirement is planned for July 24 from 3-5 p.m. in the Grayson Room at Lawrenceville East.)The School Board approved the following appointments at its meeting on July 12.

          Name, Current Position
          *Dale Robbins, Social Studies Coordinator for Gwinnett County Public SchoolsPrincipal of Parkview HS
          Louise Bryant, administrative assistant at Dacula HSHalf-time Assistant Principal/Half-time Administrative Assistant at Dacula HS
          Debra Dees, teacher/leader at Brookwood HSHalf-time Assistant Principal at Brookwood HS
          Ann Izadi, fifth-grade teacher at Jackson ESAssistant Principal at Jackson ES
          Barbara Martin, administrative assistant at Stripling ESAssistant Principal at T. Carl Buice Center
          Inga McCoy, administrative assistant at Shiloh HSAssistant Principal at Shiloh HS
          Inez Mitchell, assistant principal at Zion ES in IllinoisAssistant Principal at Chattahoochee ES
          David Perron, teacher/leader at North Gwinnett HSHalf-time Community School Director at North Gwinnett HS
          Roberta Romeo, administrative assistant at Oakland CenterAssistant Principal at Oakland Center
          Pagie Ryals, principal in Forsyth CountyAssistant Principal at Camp Creek ES
          Calvin Watts, assistant principal at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in AtlantaAssistant Principal at Bethesda ES

* Mr. Robbins will succeed Dr. Robert Clark who is retiring at the end of June.

The following leadership transfers were presented to the Board of Education members for their information:
          • Dr. Connie Burch is transferring from her position as a teacher at Mountain Park ES to the Division of Organizational Advancement as a teacher on special assignment-mentoring and staff development.
          • Judith Ford is transferring from her position as administrative assistant at Dacula ES to the position of administrative assistant at J. C. Magill ES.
          • Arthur Knight is transferring from his position as assistant principal at Parkview HS to become an assistant principal at Lilburn MS.
          • Bill Metzger is transferring from his position as community school director at Shiloh HS to become an assistant principal at the school.
          • Lea Arnau is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Shiloh HS to serve as the school's community school director.
          • Last month, Jeanie Jones was inaccurately reported as being appointed to serve as a part-time administrative assistant at Shiloh MS. Ms. Jones will be a part-time assistant principal at Shiloh MS.