04/17/2003









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for April 17, 2003

          The following are highlights of the April 17, 2003, 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.

          Board of Education recognizes students and staff
          The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized the following students and educators at its April meeting:
          • Lilburn MS' HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) Program was recently honored nationally as a HOSTS Exemplary School. Title I Coordinator Carol Grady introduced the honor, commenting on the hardworking and dedicated staff that have implemented this one-on-one mentoring program that brings parents and business partners in to work with struggling students. Principal Arthur Knight commended teachers Pam Webb, Angie Pinkston, Susan Coopman, and Jennifer Akin for their work with the HOSTS program and for their efforts to improve student achievement. HOSTS also honored Ms. Webb with its top national award for teachers. In her remarks, District V School Board member Louise Radloff, who also serves as a HOSTS volunteer, applauded the staff of Lilburn MS and the HOSTS program.
          • Dr. Barbara Reed, GCPS science coordinator, was honored for winning the 2003 David P. Butts Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Award from the University of Georgia's College of Education. This prestigious award, which only has been given five times, was bestowed on Dr. Reed because of her distinguished work promoting science education in Georgia. Dr. Reed has been described as "the ultimate ambassador for science education in Gwinnett County." In addition to co-authoring four widely used science activity books for elementary and middle school teachers, she also has provided professional development opportunities for teachers throughout Gwinnett County and the state.
          • Foreign Language Coordinator David Jahner was recognized as the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German's Leader of the Year. This award recognizes educators at any school level (including universities) who have been particularly helpful to colleagues and the organization. Dr. Cindy Loe, associate superintendent for organizational advancement, introduced Mr. Jahner citing his active role in the association, his leadership in state curriculum development, and his contributions to Gwinnett County's "world-class" foreign language programs. This is the first time a K-12 educator has won this award.
          • School Board members congratulated Summerour MS on being named a state nominee for the "No Child Left Behind" Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Summerour is one of eight Georgia schools to earn the nomination. This national program honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior (overall student achievement in the top 10 percent statewide on reading and math assessments) or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement (improvement by at least 40 percent of the school's disadvantaged students in state math and reading assessments over the previous year.) Summerour MS faculty members in attendance included: Principal Jaime Espinosa; assistant principals Joy Davis and Kenny Wells; and teachers Debbie Calvert, Clenda Scales, Susan Dover, and Angie Matheny. Also in attendance was former Summerour staff member Sharron Neeves, who this year after 20 years at the school joined the staff of the Georgia Department of Education. Mr. Espinosa explained that this achievement is the result of a commitment by the whole Summerour community.
          • Also recognized was Mai Yin Tsoi of Collins Hill HS, the Georgia Science Teachers Association's (GSTA) 2003 Georgia High School Science Teacher of Promise. Each year GSTA recognizes up-and-coming new teachers by selecting a high school teacher with less than three years experience as its "teacher of promise." The award is based on an application, an example of a unique teaching activity, and letters of recommendation from colleagues, administrators, students, and parents of students. Ms. Tsoi was recognized at a conference in February and received a $500 cash prize. Principal Glenn McFall commented on Ms. Tsoi's energy, enthusiasm, and love for her discipline. Collins Hill Science Department Chairs Gayle Adkinson and Rosemarie Placek echoed Mr. McFall's praise, calling Ms. Tsoi "a catalyst."
          • The Board of Education commended Bryan Christian of Collins Hill HS on his 1st place finish in the 2003 Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Bryan presented his research on hydrogen fuel cells to the symposium's panel of judges. As the winner, Bryan received a $4,000 undergraduate tuition scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to the National Symposium, which will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Principal McFall said that Bryan Christian, who also is a state science fair winner, "typifies the kind of science students Collins Hill has been turning out."
          • Board members honored Melissa Dittmar Joy of Collins Hill HS, who was named Dance Educator of the Year by the Georgia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. Ms. Joy was chosen as this year's recipient based on a comprehensive application process that included a video of classroom instruction. She has implemented a dance curriculum at Collins Hill HS consisting of courses in anatomy, dance history, choreography, performance, career exploration, and peer instruction. As a professional dancer, Melissa sets high academic standards for her students. "She didn't just walk into a program... she built the program," said Principal McFall.
          • The School Board congratulated Jim Small of Shiloh HS for earning the title Secondary Science Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Science Teachers Association. Principal Bill Kruskamp commended Mr. Small for his work to extend opportunities for students. "His robotics and electric car activities teach students the AKS," said Mr. Kruskamp. "These lessons provide extensions not just for Advanced Placement students but for all students." Dr. Kruskamp informed the Board and audience that this will be Mr. Small's last year in GCPS as he will be leaving to pursue another dream, attending Tulane Medical School. In his comments to the Board, Mr. Small expressed his appreciation for the support he has received over the years-- as a student, a teacher, and also a parent in the Gwinnett County school system.
          • The Board recognized the Parkview HS boys' swim team on winning its fourth consecutive state championship, and its sixth state championship in nine years. Principal Dale Robbins applauded the strong program and the work of Coach Rick Creed. Coach Creed thanked the school's administration, parents, the School Board, and the Parkview community for its continued support. On hand for the recognition were senior captains John Millen and David McManic, and freshman Michael Robinson. Coach Creed shared that Mr. Millen will attend the University of Virginia next year and Mr. McManic will attend Williams College.
          • Another Parkview HS state championship team-- the girls' basketball team-- was honored for its achievement. During his introduction, Principal Robbins alluded that a state championship season was the perfect way to break in the school's new gym, which opened this year. Coach Mike McCoy said the team has had a whirlwind week--visiting the Capitol, the Lilburn City Council, and now the School Board meeting. In attendance were Assistant Coach Jack Sarfaty; seniors Rachel Moreau (who will play volleyball at Berry College) and Katie Hamilton (who will play basketball at Davidson College); juniors Carley Peterson, Sara Kate Greene, Kelley McCormick, Sarah Spivey; and sophomore Sarah Beavin.

          Board members and citizens receive update on Sycamore ES
          At the March Board of Education meeting, school system leaders indicated they would proceed with additional testing at the Sycamore ES site. In discussing the progress made to date, Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks told Board members that further environmental testing at the school site confirmed that the new facility is safe. He explained that additional soil, air, and water testing was done and that an independent environmental engineering expert had been brought in to review all of the work done previously, as well as the new tests that were conducted by Atlanta-based MACTEC Engineering and Consulting Inc. James Walsh of SCS Engineers in Cincinnati, Ohio, provided the Superintendent and Board with a summary of his findings. In his presentation, Mr. Walsh indicated that the two landfills would have no environmental impact on the school in regards to surface water contamination, groundwater contamination, or the migration of landfill gases (via subsurface or airborne movement). Although there are no environmental risks to Sycamore ES from the Richland Creek and Appling Road landfills, Mr. Walsh recommended an ongoing ambient air monitoring program be instituted at the school to provide students, their families, and staff an even greater level of assurance. Copies of the report submitted by SCS Engineers were available to those in attendance. In addition, Mr. Wilbanks informed the Board that a letter, including an executive summary of the risk/hazard analysis completed by MACTEC and the recommendations made by SCS, has been mailed to parents of Sycamore ES students.

          School Board approves stadium financing for Parkview HS and Collins Hill HS
          The Board of Education authorized the issuance of stadium loan financing to Parkview HS in the amount of $700,000 for the purpose of installing new aluminum bleachers in the football stadium. In addition a stadium loan was approved for Collins Hill HS in the amount of $1,500,000 for the purpose of constructing a field house. These loans are made from the local school investment pool, offering schools a lower interest rate than they could achieve commercially. As part of the process, schools make application to the school system for the loan, including a business plan on how they will repay the loan.

          Board receives update on Gwinnett Technical College governance transfer
          The Board approved a proposal from the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) that the governance of Gwinnett Technical College transition from the governance by Gwinnett County Public Schools to DTAE over a three-year period. Under the plan, the governance transition would begin July 1, 2003. Gwinnett Tech currently is jointly governed by GCPS and DTAE. The college's Council of Advisors proposed the change in governance in July 2002, in response to the state's education reform law and its impact on postsecondary technical education in Georgia. A change to DTAE governance of Gwinnett Tech would result in an increase in funding, which would impact the college's students through the ability to develop more programs, facilities, and services.

          Board approves new instructional materials
          As part of its monthly business, the Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted instructional materials for elementary language arts; mathematics, grades 1-5 and 8; science, grades Kindergarten through second, and middle and high school; and middle and high school health and physical education. The new instructional materials, which will cost approximately $25 million dollars, will be phased in over the next two years.

          Citizens address the Board of Education
          The following citizens addressed the Board:
          - Laura Cronin
          - Marlyn Tillman
          - Dwight Jones

          The School Board also approved the following appointments.

          Name-- Current Position
          New Position
          Keith Chaney-- Assistant Principal, Dacula HSPrincipal, Grayson HS
          Jonathan Patterson-- Assistant Principal, Dacula HSPrincipal, Alton C. Crews MS
          Judy Stephens-- Assistant Principal, Dacula MSPrincipal, J.E. Richards MS
          Joyce Spraggs-- Principal, Sweetwater MSDirector, Elementary Staffing, Human Resources
          Kara Dutton-- Title I Teacher, B.B. Harris ESAssistant Principal, Jackson ES
          Florence Huard-- Administrative Assistant, Camp Creek ESAssistant Principal, Camp Creek ES
          Angela Madrigal-- Gifted Teacher, Oakcliff Traditional Theme School, DeKalb County SchoolsAssistant Principal, Harbins ES
          Julia Osborne-- Special Education Teacher, Dacula MSAssistant Principal, Berkmar HS
          Julie Peyton-- Administrative Assistant, Jackson ESAssistant Principal, J.A. Alford ES
          Suzanne Pierce-- Administrative Assistant, R.D. Head ESAssistant Principal, R.D. Head ES
          Janet Davis-- Math Specialist, Fort Daniel ESAdministrative Assistant, Ivy Creek ES
          Susan Downs-- Gifted Teacher, Trickum MSAdministrative Assistant, Lanier MS
          Mark Montello-- 5th Grade Teacher, McKendree ESAdministrative Assistant, K.E. Taylor ES
          Emily Thomas-- 2nd Grade Teacher, Cedar Hill ESAdministrative Assistant, Cedar Hill ES
          Deborah Durrence-- Special Education Teacher, Dacula HSAssistant Principal on Special Assignment for Data Reporting, Organizational Advancement and Information Management
          Kenneth Adkins-- Project Manager, The Home Rebuilders, AtlantaProgram Director, Residential Construction, Gwinnett Technical College
          Lisa Richardson-- Coordinator, Adult Education and Developmental Studies, Harrisburg (Pa.) Area Community CollegeSpecial Populations Coordinator, New Connections to Work, Gwinnett Technical College

          The appointments for Ms. Durrence, Mr. Adkins, and Ms. Richardson are now effective. All other appointments will be effective this summer for the new school year.

          In addition, the following organizational changes involving existing positions were presented to Board members for their information:

          Name-- Current Position
          New Position
          Anna Elliot-- Assistant Principal, Annistown ESAssistant Principal, Corley ES
          Barbara Ergle-- Assistant Principal, Meadowcreek ESAssistant Principal, Dacula ES
          Anna Jones-- Assistant Principal, Suwanee ESAssistant Principal, B.B. Harris ES
          Sabrina May-- Assistant Principal, Dacula ESAssistant Principal, Ivy Creek ES
          Deb Murphy-- Assistant Principal, McKendree ESAssistant Principal, Sycamore ES
          Christopher Ray-- Assistant Principal, Susan Stripling ESAssistant Principal, Jackson ES
          Cindy Truett-- Assistant Principal, K.E. Taylor ESAssistant Principal, Bethesda ES
          Debbie Wyatt-- Assistant Principal, Kanoheda ESAssistant Principal, Corley ES
          Susan Eyring-- Part-time Assistant Principal, Creekland MSPart-time Assistant Principal, Ivy Creek ES

          The transfers are effective for the new school year.