GCPS Board Meeting Summary for July 10, 2008

The following are highlights of the July 10, 2008, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Carole Boyce, Vice Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

School Board recognizes students, staff, and schools for earning honors
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized four of 14 graduating seniors with 13 years of perfect attendance… kindergarten through 12th grade. The recent graduates include Jennifer Hollis of Brookwood HS; Andre Henderson of Norcross HS; David Torcivia of Peachtree Ridge HS; and Jessica Ann Miller of South Gwinnett HS. Bobby Crowson, associate superintendent for Academic Support, introduced these recent graduates. In honoring these students, the school system also honored the students' families, commending them for their support of their students. Six graduates with perfect attendance were recognized at the June Board meeting.
-- School Board members honored Ian Nurse, a 2008 graduate of Parkview HS, for earning four Gold Medals on the National Latin Exam during his high school career. This year more than 150,000 Latin students around the world took the National Latin Exam. The National Latin Exam committee awards the "Oxford Classical Dictionary" to students who achieve four consecutive gold medals. Of all the students who took the exam this year, only 537 students achieved this honor. The student was accompanied by David Jahner, Director of Foreign Language; Dr. Charles “Buck” Buchanan, Parkview's principal; and Bob Patrick, Parkview's Latin teacher. Two students from Duluth HS-- Albert Liao and Meng Lee-- also achieved this honor but were unable to attend the Board meeting.
-- The Board congratulated the Berkmar HS Academic Decathlon Team. For the sixth time, the school brought home the state championship in the annual academic competition sponsored by Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).Team members were Liana Nisimova, Agni Chandora, Anu Laxmi, Andrew Harazin, Joel Mathew, Allan Marin, Mai Himedan, and Fahad Chowdhury. The competition includes a number of events. Seven comprehensive tests are given in the areas of economics, mathematics, language and literature, science (or social science), music, art, and the Super Quiz topic. The three communication events include speech (prepared and impromptu), interview, and a written essay. The competition concludes with the Super Quiz Oral Relay, a team event held before a live audience. Berkmar HS competed and won its sixth straight state title in February, and competed at the national event in California from April 29 to May 2. The team placed 19th at the national competition. Teachers Christopher Pae and Brian Bernhardt served as coaches with the team this year. Principal Ken Johnson introduced the students and coach attending the Board meeting. Coach Pae acknowledged the work of IV Bray, who started the program at Berkmar HS.
-- Berkmar HS Principal Ken Johnson accepted the Board's kudos for a recent national honor from the College Board. Berkmar HS is one of three schools in the nation to receive the “College Board 2008 Inspiration Award.” Berkmar was honored for successfully improving the academic environment, and helping students achieve equitable access to higher education despite social, economic, and cultural challenges. The national award honors high schools that initiate unique programs and create partnerships between the school and its community supporters to help more students pursue higher education. Four years ago, the school began its Stretch Performance Initiative to encourage more students to take Advanced Placement classes in preparation for college. As a College Board 2008 Inspiration Award winner, Berkmar HS earned a $25,000 grant to continue working on guiding and encouraging more students to realize the promise of higher education.

Annual school nutrition report notes gains
Associate Superintendent Bobby Crowson reported on GCPS' School Nutrition Program for the last school year. Participation in the school system's breakfast program increased by 3 percentage points during the 2007-08 school year, with the largest increase among middle school students. About a third of GCPS' students eat breakfast at school. Lunch participation stayed the same at 83 percent, with a slight decrease in participation among elementary students and a small increase among high school participants. A strong marketing program is credited with the increase in breakfast participation, ensuring a good start to the school day with a nutritious meal. In addition, Mr. Crowson noted that the net worth of the program rose by more than $8 million, compared to the previous year, for a total of $41,186,209. Gwinnett's School Nutrition Program will pay for new cafeteria equipment for new schools from these funds. Ken Yant is director of the systemwide program.

Board receives report on GSBA summer conference and delegate assembly
District III Representative Dr. Mary Kay Murphy represented the Gwinnett County Board of Education at the Georgia School Boards Association Summer Conference and Delegate Assembly in June 2008. She briefed the other Board members on the conference and actions taken by the Delegate Assembly.

School Board continues its policy work
School Board members approved the following policies which were tabled at the June meeting to allow for further input:
Policy EG- Risk Management and Insurance-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy IFBD- School Media Programs and Patron Privacy-- This proposed new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes and mandates in state and/or federal law.

Citizens addressing the Board
- Roy Scafe