GCPS Board Meeting Summary for April 14, 2005

The following are highlights of the April 14, 2005, 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 honors students and staff
-- The Duluth HS Chamber Orchestra, the top-rated public school orchestra in the nation, kicked off the regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Led by Duluth HS' orchestra directors-- Dr. Peter Lemonds and Reva Paget-- the orchestra showcased its award-winning talent. At the National Orchestra Festival Competition in Reno, Nev., the Duluth students earned their number-one public school ranking and finished number two in the high school string orchestra category. Among the students recognized were Jin Choi, Shang Gao, Savannah Gowdy, Robert Harrell, Zach Jones, Judith Kim, Alan Lee, Maryia Lu, Brad Mendrala, Annie Park, Jina Park, Catherine Parsons, Elaine Shin, Pavielle Walker, Yi Xiang, Collin Chung-Yee, June Yoo, and Mi Sol Do.
-- The Board honored five GCPS students for their outstanding achievement on the National German Exam. More than 30,000 students took this year's exam, which is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German. It assesses students' abilities in listening and reading comprehension, as well as vocabulary and grammar usage in context. Students are ranked according to their performance on the exam among their peers at private and public schools in the state. This year, 29 of the 82 students who placed at the 90th percentile or higher are from Gwinnett. Dylan Lovin, a second year German student and junior at Dacula HS, had the highest score of any of the 259 students in Georgia who took the Level 2 exam. Iva Franjkic and Anita Miocevic-- a junior and senior, respectively-- are both German 4 students at Collins Hill HS. They, along with a student from Marietta HS, tied for the highest score in the state among students taking the fourth-year exam. For the first time ever, the state's two nominees for summer study trips are from Gwinnett. Senior Lauren Edson of Collins Hill HS was recognized as Georgia's senior summer study trip nominee. Mill Creek HS junior Jasmine Ford is a German study trip nominee and winner. As such, she will participate in a three-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Germany.
-- In other foreign language news, Stacey Cummings, a teacher at Peachtree Ridge HS, was selected as the Georgia German Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of German. In order to be considered for the award, a teacher must be a member in good standing of the organization, demonstrate excellent pedagogical practices in the classroom and sensitivity to foreign language students' needs and abilities, and show a commitment to continual professional growth by attendance at professional meetings, and/or participation in foreign language workshops, retreats, or institutes.
-- School Board members commended Joe Fang of North Gwinnett HS on earning a perfect 1600 on the SAT (on his first attempt). Dr. John Green, North Gwinnett HS principal, introduced Joe as an extraordinary student. As a 14-year-old junior, Joe has attended high school classes for seven years, since he was a 3rd grader. He has taken every Advanced Placement course in math and science offered at the school, as well as most AP classes in other subjects. He also is ranked number one in North Gwinnett's junior class.

Board members authorize stadium loans for Mill Creek and Peachtree Ridge high schools
The School Board authorized stadium loan financing to Mill Creek HS and Peachtree Ridge HS in the amounts of $1 million and $742,636, respectively. Mill Creek will use these funds to provide visitors side seating, softball/baseball dugouts, concession stands, and softball/baseball hitting facility. At Peachtree Ridge, projects benefiting from the loan include practice field lights, softball/baseball press box, and softball/baseball concession stands.

Board accepts GEMS Oversight Committee recommendations
School Board members adopted the Superintendent's recommendation of revisions and additions to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. The approved revisions and additions are based on the recommendations of the GEMS Oversight Committee, with input from educators and community members. The GEMS Oversight Committee meets annually for one to two days to analyze data received on the Academic Knowledge and Skills and validate the curriculum. The committee of educators and community members has been in existence since 1996. This year's review resulted in several suggested revisions and additions to the AKS. A summary of these revisions is available by calling the Office of Curriculum Development and Instructional Support at 770-338-4832.

GCPS budget development process underway
The Board received an update of the budget development calendar adopted in September 2004. Key upcoming dates include:
April 16, 8:30 a.m.: Board budget work session, Executive Board Room at Lawrenceville East
April 19, 5:30 p.m.: Board budget work session/adoption of tentative budget at Mill Creek HS (prior to District II Area Board Meeting)
May 5: Public hearing on FY06 Budget
May 12: Public hearing on FY06 Budget
June 6, 7 p.m.: First public hearing on millage rate, Board Room at Lawrenceville East
June 13, 11:45 a.m.: Second public hearing on millage rate, Board Room at Lawrenceville East
June 13, 7 p.m.: Third public hearing on millage rate and adoption of final millage rate, Board Room at Lawrenceville East

Board continues update of policies
The Board tabled two policies in order to receive public input on them prior to its May meeting.
Policy KB – Public Information – Minor changes have been made to this policy to reflect current practice.
Policy JBCF – Admission – Gwinnett Technical College-- Staff recommends that this policy be rescinded as Gwinnett Technical College has become a separate entity and is no longer under the direction of Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Citizens addressing the Board...
-- Jonathan and Valerie Rackard