GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 8, 2009

The following are highlights of the October 8, 2009, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Vice Chair Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board honors award-winning students
-- The Board saluted the Parkview HS Marine Corps Junior ROTC unit on its selection as a Naval Honors School by the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Training and Education Command. JROTC units are selected by the area Commander for attaining the highest overall rating during the school year. This designation is given to 20% of the JROTC units in the nation in recognition of a unit’s exemplary performance during the area Commander’s inspection, and a unit's exemplary performance in drill competitions, community service, and marksmanship competitions. The JROTC unit also must demonstrate exemplary performance in unit administration, training, supply, facilities, armory management, cadet citizenship, school and community involvement, scholastic achievement, and extracurricular events, according to Training and Education Command guidelines. Accompanying the school's Marine Corps JROTC officers were Parkview HS Principal David Smith; Captain Modesto Silverio, USMC retired; and Gunnery Sergeant and Marine Instructor Dave Erwin, USMC retired.
-- Board members congratulated Terry Cotton of Parkview HS on being named the 2008-09 Georgia Technology Student Association (TSA) High School Advisor of the Year by the Georgia Technology Student Association. Mr. Cotton was named the state's top TSA advisor at the 31st Annual National Conference in Denver, Colorado, in July. Under Mr. Cotton’s guidance, the Parkview TSA has had great success in competing at the local, region, state, and national levels. Parkview HS TSA was the only school in Georgia to have a national winner at the most recent leadership conference. TSA is the only student organization devoted exclusively to the needs of students interested in technology and engineering. Open to students enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes more than 150,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 48 states. TSA is supported by educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Members learn through exciting competitive events, leadership opportunities, and much more. The diversity of activities makes TSA a positive experience for every student.
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education joined the Georgia Department of Education in honoring
Dreana Trent, a Gwinnett special needs bus driver in the Duluth transportation zone. Ms. Trent recently was honored with the American Red Cross' Certificate of Merit and the Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation Valor Award. Ms. Trent received these organizations' highest honors for her efforts to save the life of a 9-year-old passenger on December 15, 2008. Ms. Trent was driving students home when she noticed a boy was choking. She pulled the bus to the side of the road, asking her backup-trained student to call dispatch over the radio while she rushed to help. When abdominal thrusts did not dislodge the object and the passenger stopped breathing, she laid the boy on the floor of the bus and started chest compressions until the obstruction dislodged and breathing was restored. Ms. Trent had renewed her Red Cross CPR certification as part of her GCPS Transportation Department annual training just seven days before the incident. Ms. Trent has been a GCPS employee since 2005.
-- The Georgia PTA presented local Gwinnett schools and PTA units with a number of awards for their work during the 2008-09 school year. The state organization recognized the efforts of parent leaders, educators, and students, as they worked together to support the teaching and learning that takes place every day in Gwinnett classrooms. Gwinnett schools and individuals earning state PTA recognitions included:
Outstanding District, 12th District, 1st Place, District Director Carol Ranft
Keys to Leadership Success
, 2008-09 Trickum MS PTA, Deirdre Hill and 12th District Director Carol Ranft
Outstanding Principal, McKendree ES, Former Principal Cindy Antrim (retired)
Outstanding School Nurse
, Rockbridge ES, Pam Barrientos
Outstanding Local Unit
, McKendree ES PTA, 1st Place (school with more than 751 students)
Outstanding Local Unit
, Five Forks MS PTA, 2nd Place
National PTA Phoebe Hearst Family-School Partnership Award
, Jackson ES PTA, Award of Merit

Board adopts FY11 budget calendar
The Board of Education adopted the calendar of activities and dates associated with adoption of the FY2011 budget. Click here to review the adopted budget calendar.

Board approves Maxwell HS of Technology as conversion charter school
The Board of Education approved a conversion charter school application submitted by Maxwell High School of Technology. The school's charter calls for academic performance goals that would:
- Increase number of students graduating with business- and industry-recognized credentials (e.g., industry-certification exams, Georgia Work Ready certification);
- Increase number of dual enrollment credits offered and completed by students; and
- Increase graduation rate for students enrolled in Maxwell.
Prior to the Board's vote, district leadership staff reviewed the application for compliance with Georgia law and Georgia Board of Education rule. The school's petition now will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education. The State Board of Education is expected to vote on this item by March 2010. Charter status for Maxwell HS of Technology, if granted, would begin in August 2010.Gwinnett County Public Schools already has two successful charter schools in place-- New Life Academy of Excellence and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

Superintendent updates BOE on Vision for Public Education in Georgia Project
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks briefed the Board during the worksession on this joint project of the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association. The Vision for Public Education in Georgia Project was established to engage stakeholders across the state in the important work of creating a vision for the future of public education in Georgia that will focus on the intellectual development of all students, prepare them to be contributing members of a democratic society, embrace world-class standards, promote 21st century skills, gain the support of state and local policy makers, and be supported by the citizens of the state.

District begins drafting legislative priorities for 2010
Each year, the Gwinnett County Board of Education communicates with the Gwinnett Delegation to the General Assembly those issues of critical importance to the funding and effective operation of Gwinnett County Public Schools. The 2010 Legislative Program summarizes the continuing positions and state funding improvement requests that the Board wishes to bring to the delegation for consideration in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. The superintendent will present a draft of the 2010 Legislative Program for the Board’s consideration and adoption at the November 12, 2009, Monthly Business Meeting.

Board members to participate in GSBA and NSBA programs
The Board of Education authorized Board members Dr. Mary Kay Murphy and Louise Radloff to represent the Board at the 2010 National School Boards Association's Federal Relations Network Conference in Washington, D.C., from January 31 to February 2, 2010. The Federal Relations Network Conference is attended by school board members nationwide. This conference provides for local input concerning America's education agenda, as well as the opportunity to dialogue with members of Congress and the administration.

School Board continues its policy work
As part of its ongoing policy work, the School Board approved the following policy changes that were tabled at last month's meeting to allow for public input:
Policy AE- School Year-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes as well as with mandates in state and/or federal law.

Citizens Addressing the Board

Jackie Richards
Deja Hulbert
Maya Laws
Anna Park
Megan Park
Dwight Thomas
Latrice Ross
Nina Gilbert
Bemsi Wallang
Julie Carroll
Marlyn Tillman/Tony Roberts
Anita Freedman
Jennifer Falk