GCPS Board Meeting Summary for December 9, 2004

The following are highlights of the December 9, 2004, 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 Gwinnett County Board of Education honored Parkview HS' Boys Cross-Country Team on earning the AAAAA state championship title. Parkview HS Principal Dr. Charles Buchanan congratulated Coach Josh Crowfoot and his team for their championship season. In his comments, Coach Crowfoot thanked the school administration and the team members' parents for supporting the boys and the cross-country team.
-- The Board recognized three GCPS employees who received state recognition from the Georgia School Counseling Association. Dr. Carrie Booher, director of student academic support and advisement, and school representatives introduced the honorees, providing examples of their accomplishments and special characteristics. Gwinnett's latest state counseling winners include: Shiloh MS Principal Karen Robinson-- Georgia School Counseling Advocate of the Year; Vicki Hoffman of North Gwinnett HS-- Georgia High School Counselor of the Year; and David Young of Brookwood ES-- Georgia Counselor Writer of the Year.
-- School Board members also recognized Keila Brown of Shiloh MS, who won first place in a statewide essay contest sponsored by Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine's office. The essay contest was entitled "Fire Alarms Save Lives." As a state winner, she received a $100 savings bond.

Board reviews national report on teaching
Associate Superintendent of Organizational Advancement Dr. Cindy Loe provided School Board members with an overview of the national study "Teaching at Risk." Because hiring and retaining the best teachers is critical to the success of our students and the school system, Gwinnett County leaders are studying available research on teacher quality. "Teaching at Risk" makes several recommendations for improving the teaching profession. It reviews compensation, skills and preparation, licensing and certification, and personnel, mentoring, and professional learning. "We anticipate that this report may have far-reaching impact on teacher quality and teacher reform," said Dr. Loe. "Therefore, we want Board members to be familiar with the recommendations, as we continue our study of them."

Update provided on the Governor's Educational Finance Task Force
The Board received information on the Governor's Educational Finance Task Force, including information on recent meetings and public hearings. In addition, the Board was brief on upcoming events, including a community conversation that will take place statewide on January 27 from 7-9 p.m. This event will be available via Webcast. Gwinnett's Peachtree Ridge HS will be one of the host sites during this community conversation.

Business and school leaders participate in Principal for a Day event
Gwinnett County business and education leaders teamed up in November during the inaugural “Principal for a Day” program, cosponsored by GCPS and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Throughout the week, 31 business leaders worked alongside Gwinnett school principals for a day. Berney Kirkland, executive director to the CEO/Superintendent briefed School Board members on the successful event, sharing examples of the enthusiastic comments received from business and principal participants. Comments from business leaders ranged from "Outstanding experience" to "Having the opportunity to work with [the principal] on this very special day provided me with both encouragement and confidence that some of our greatest challenges within GCPS are in the very capable hands of educational leaders who demonstrate a unique balance of passion, love, nurturing, encouragement, discipline, and knowledge of the profession." Principals also responded positively saying what a great opportunity this was to share their programs with influential leaders and how much they enjoyed discussing the similarities between their jobs.

Special Education Department earns state recognition
Gwinnett County Public Schools was recognized by the Georgia Council for Administrators of Special Education as a state leader for its outstanding efforts to improve the performance of students with disabilities. Data from the 2003-04 school year was the basis for this award, which recognizes systems that increase the percentage of students who meet or exceed state achievement standards. Mr. Wilbanks and the Board commended the Special Education Department for the great job they do.

Board approves redistricting recommendation
School Board members approved a redistricting recommendation that will send approximately 350 students from Meadowcreek ES to Hopkins ES. An inclusive process allowed GCPS to gather input from educators, parents, and community members on the proposed district line revisions. Boundary recommendations were based on current enrollment, enrollment forecasts, enrollment history, existing identifiable boundaries, the locations of the schools, and student transportation.

Resolution regarding construction sales tax notes approved
To prepare for the sale of construction sales tax notes in 2005, the Board approved a resolution authorizing staff to publicize the pending sale of the notes and to seek bids for their purchase. The Board will not take action on the actual sale of the construction notes until January. The resolution allows staff to take the necessary action to issue tax-exempt construction notes in the approximate amount of $150 million. They serve as a temporary loan for cash-flow purposes in anticipation of the receipt of sales taxes in the year 2005.

Board members adopt reimbursement resolution
The School Board adopted a resolution that will allow the Board to use its FY2005 General Fund, if necessary, to retire the sales tax notes for construction that were issued in January 2004. The resolution, which is required by the Internal Revenue Service, will allow the Board to cover any shortfall, up to $120 million, until the 2005 sales tax notes can be issued. If the General Fund is used, the money will be reimbursed out of proceeds from the 2005 notes once they are issued.

Dr. Mary Kay Murphy (District III) honored as outgoing School Board chair
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks and the members of the School Board expressed appreciation for Dr. Mary Kay Murphy's leadership as the 2004 chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Mr. Wilbanks commended Dr. Murphy's commitment to public education and to setting policy and direction to ensure that every Gwinnett student receives an effective education.