GCPS Board Meeting Summary for February 8, 2001

          The following are highlights of the February 8, 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 Approves Leadership Appointments
              NEW POSITION
              *Lynne Davis, currently an associate principal at Creekland Middle
              Principal of Trickum Middle
              Richard Trainor, currently Director of Financial Services for the Alachua County School System in Gainesville, Florida
              Director of Internal Audit
              Paula Everett-Truppi, currently a teacher leader at Five Forks Middle
              Administrative Assistant at Five Forks Middle
              **Mary Zaharis, currently a teacher at Rock Springs Elementary
              Assistant Principal at Bethesda Elementary
          * Ms. Davis will assume the leadership of Trickum Middle on April 1. She will succeed Dr. Kay Harvey who will become the principal of Duluth Middle. Duluth Middle's current principal, John Ford, will retire at the end of March.
          ** Ms. Zaharis fills the vacancy created by the transfer of Leigh Westcott to Mountain Park Elementary.

          Board Recognizes Teacher and Students for Achievement
          • Sara Halliburton and Michelle Jude, third graders at Berkeley Lake Elementary, were honored for placing first at the International Media Festival. The students were recognized for a video they produced in second grade while students in Jane Bundy's class.
          • Collins Hill High School's Boys' Cross Country team-- this year's state championship team-- and Coach Matt Johnson were recognized for the team's recent success in state competition.

            Citizens Address the Board
            • Gwinnett County Association of Educators (GCAE) representatives Dianne Lockwood of Lilburn Middle and Shera Hudson of Parkview High shared results from a recent survey of high school teachers in GCAE. The results included concerns about the shortage of substitute teachers; the amount of paperwork required of teachers; the need for additional technology support for assistance and training; the complicated procedure for obtaining supplies and materials; the need for teachers to have more say in instructional decisions, and the need for increased administrator accountability. The group also provided their recommended solutions which included increase pay for substitutes as well as ideas for allowing teachers more input in curriculum decisions, staff development, and administrative accountability measures.
            • GCAE representatives Beth Smith of Lanier Middle and Linda Jenkins (Grayson Elementary), disguised as the Cat in the Hat, asked the Board to support "Read Across America Day" on March 2. The goal of the annual celebration, which coincides with the late Dr. Seuss' birthday, is to have every child read for 30 minutes with a caring adult. Board members were encouraged to join in the festivities and celebrate reading.
            • Debbie Moore, Gwinnett Bus Drivers Association representative, brought to the Board's attention a concern about the school system's participation in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) and how it adversely affects participating employees' Social Security benefits. Ms. Moore shared that the school system's decision to withdraw from Social Security was not beneficial for all GCPS employees. The GBDA asked the Board to consider allowing all employees in PSERS to withdraw from the Gwinnett Retirement System and go back into Social Security. Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks said that the Board is aware of deficiencies in the current retirement system for bus drivers, custodians, and school nutrition workers, but that returning to Social Security is not an option. He stated that the School Board's 2001 Legislative Priorities again call for improvements at the state level in the retirement benefits for these employees. He encouraged the group to work with their legislators to increase the state's contributions to the retirement system.

              Board of Education Approves Changes to AKS Based on the Recommendation of the GEMS Oversight Committee
              The Board adopted recommended revisions, deletions, and additions to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. These recommendations were made by the GEMS Oversight Committee, a committee of educators and community members who meet annually to review the AKS. The committee analyzes data received through the annual AKS review process, validates the proposed changes, and makes recommendations to the Superintendent, who presents them for Board approval. The AKS review process allows parents, community members, and teachers to provide input on specific AKS. The AKS areas reviewed were: mathematics, technical education, language arts, social studies, science, and fine arts.
              Dr. Cindy Loe, associate superintendent for Organizational Advancement, informed the Board and the audience that the school system is currently accepting applications for membership on the GEMS Oversight Committee. The application can be found on the school system's web site (www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us). School Board members applauded the work of the GEMS Oversight Committee.

              Gwinnett Proclaims February 17 as PTA Day in Gwinnett Schools
              The School Board adopted a proclamation honoring the anniversary of the founding of the National PTA by proclaiming February 17, 2001, as PTA Day in Gwinnett County Public Schools. In doing so, the Board acknowledged the Gwinnett PTA Council and the local school units for their work as advocates for children, families, and public education in Gwinnett County. PTA Council Co-President Joanie Arcement accepted the proclamation on behalf of the county's Parent-Teacher Association.

              School Board Approves Business Members to Serve on Local School Councils
              In compliance with the state's new education law, GCPS is piloting local school councils at four schools in an effort to prepare for systemwide implementation. The councils serve in an advisory capacity, providing advice, recommendations, and assistance to schools. The council membership is made up of teachers, parents, and community members. The Board of Education approved the appointments of the following business members as recommended by the each pilot school's principal.
              Knight Elementary-- Dan Griffin, Assistant Manager, Publix
              Magill Elementary-- Robert Hoyle, Manager, Kroger
              Alton C. Crews Middle-- Kevin Young, Fuji Corporation
              Grayson High-- Tommy Carraway, Brand Bank, Grayson Branch

              Tabled Policies Adopted by Board
              The Board of Education approved the following policy which was presented and tabled at the January meeting:
              • Compulsory Attendance Age, Policy JBA-- Revised to comply with changes in state law regarding the ages at which children must be attending school.

                Proposed Policies Tabled for Input
                The Board of Education tabled the following proposed policies until the March 2001 meeting to allow for public input:
                • Pre-Enrollment of Two Year Olds, Policy JGCB-- Policy revision complies with new state law that says that all parents of two-year-old children will be invited in the spring of each year to voluntarily pre-enroll their children in school.
                • Student Support Team, Policy IEIA-- Proposed policy allows school personnel and parents/guardians to determine that there is a reasonable cause to bypass the Student Support Team process for a student being considered for special education or other support services.
                • Consequences for Offenses, Policy JDD-- Proposed changes in this policy comply with changes in state law. The majority of the changes have to do with outlining the purpose of the alternative education program.
                • Personnel Separation, Policy GBN-- Proposed changes in this policy deal with the non-renewal of certificated personnel contracts and are in compliance with HB1187.
                • Electronic Pagers, Policy JCDBA-- The policy revision, which complies with new state requirements, prohibits a student from having a pager or electronic communication device during school hours except for health or other unusual reasons approved by the Board. It also states that a violation of this rule may result in placement in an alternative education program.
                • Financial Reports, Policy DIB-- Revisions to this policy reflect the school system's current practice.

                  Review Indicates Gwinnett County Board of Education in Compliance with GSBA Standards
                  On December 10, 1998, the Gwinnett County School Board adopted the "Standards for a Local Board of Education" as recommended by the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA). A committee of School Board members, administrators, and lay people appointed to review the standards determined that the Board of Education is meeting all of the standards as set forth by GSBA. The Board certified its compliance with the standards and will provide verification to GSBA.