|The following are highlights of the January 19, 2012, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Louise Radloff, Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, and Dr. Mary Kay Murphy. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.|
Board attends to annual business at first meeting of 2012
- January is the month for the School Board to elect its officers for the new calendar year. As the first order of business, Louise Radloff, who represents District V, was elected chairman for 2012. Carole Boyce, District I representative, was elected vice chairman for 2012. In accordance with policy, the School Board reaffirmed its policies, designated the Gwinnett Daily Post as the official media organ for the school system, and approved retaining the services of Thompson & Sweeny as its legal counsel. In addition, Board members approved the meeting schedule for 2012. Adopted School Board meeting dates for 2012 include January 19, February 9, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, and December 13. The Board will hold oversight workshops in the following areas during 2012: Business and Finance-- March 15, Construction Management/Facilities Maintenance-- July 19, Information Management-- September 20, Human Resources-- November 15, and School Nutrition- December 13.
Board recognizes students, staff, and schools
- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized Brookwood HS' Boys Cross Country Team on winning the 2012 AAAAA state title. This is the third consecutive state championship for the Brookwood team and their eleventh state championship overall. Principal Debbie Dees, Athletic Director Mark Kimbro, and Head Coach Ben Dehnke accompanied team members. Ms. Dees expressed her community's pride in the cross country team and Coach Dehnke. She said, "They exhibit outstanding character every day at our school, and, while we are very proud of their athletic accomplishments, we are also very proud of their academic accomplishments. Coach Dehnke commended the team's commitment to excellence and thanked the Board and the Brookwood community for their support of cross country.
- Board members saluted the Collins Hill HS Softball Team on its state championship season. This is the third straight year that the Collins Hill HS softball team has earned the state title, and their fourth state championship in the last seven years. Accompanying the team honorees were Principal Glenn McFall, Activities Director Roland Wallace, and Head Coach Paul Pierce. In introducing the team, Mr. McFall applauded Coach Pierce for "always going the extra mile." He pointed out that in this, his first year as the school's softball coach, that Coach Pierce led a team that brought home a state championship. Coach Pierce said he was blessed to be able to work with this group of girls who worked hard and achieved their goal. While acknowledging all that they achieved on the field, he also expressed his pride in his team's accomplishments in the classroom.
- The School Board honored the Mill Creek HS Cheer Hawks on the team's recognition as the 2011 AAAAA Competition Cheer state champions. This is the third state championship for the team in the last four years. Varsity Competition Coach Ashley Taube introduced the team and shared her team's experience on the way to its first place finish. She thanked the girls for their hard work and Coaches Brenda Petty and Hayley Garner for their leadership.
- Wrapping up the Board recognitions of 2011 state champions from Gwinnett was the Grayson HS Football Team. The Grayson football program won its fourth region championship and first state championship in 2011. The Rams football team finished the season with a perfect 15-0 record. Accompanying the team were Principal David Hopson, Activities Director Brent Tisdale, and Head Coach Mickey Conn. Principal Hopson shared his team's rankings with the Board, including that the team is ranked #3 in the nation. He also thanked the parents and coaches for their support of the players and school. Coach Conn introduced a number of the players and congratulated them for getting the job done on the field and in the classroom.
- Gwinnett County Public Schools takes pride in its involvement in Gwinnett County's successful Relay For Life event. Among the 122 school system teams participating in Relay in May 2011, a total of 32 school teams and three central office teams each raised $10,000 or more. Board members recognized the following teams for this accomplishment: Berkmar HS, Brookwood HS, Collins Hill HS, Cooper ES, Couch MS, Craig ES, Creekland MS, Crews MS, Duluth HS, Duncan Creek ES, GCPS IMD CD's, GCPS ISC Relay For Life, GCPS Transportation, Grayson HS, Lanier HS, Lanier MS, Mason ES, McConnell MS, Mill Creek HS, Mountain View HS, Norcross HS, North Gwinnett HS, North Gwinnett MS, Parkview HS, Peachtree Ridge HS, Pharr ES, Pinckneyville MS, Puckett's Mill ES, Riverside ES, Rock Springs ES, Shiloh MS, Simpson ES, Snellville MS, Trickum MS, and Twin Rivers MS. The teams of GCPS Transportation, Couch MS, Norcross HS, and North Gwinnett HS raised more than $30,000 each with North Gwinnett HS coming in as the top fundraiser at $75,416.99. Accompanying the Relay For Life teams: Kirsten Baker, Director of Team Management with the American Cancer Society, and Assistant Principal at North Gwinnett HS; Linda Story Cerjan, Senior Income Manager, American Cancer Society; and Kelsey Duncan, Student Intern with the American Cancer Society and student at Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. The total amount raised by Gwinnett County Public Schools for the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life was $1,046,420.38. Once again, GCPS played a leading role in making Gwinnett's Relay event tops in the world, raising nearly half of the county's total of $2,187,000.
Board receives update on Community-Based Mentoring Program
During the 2008-09 school year, Gwinnett County Public Schools launched a Community-Based Mentoring Program to provide identified at-risk minority males with emotional support and encouragement to facilitate their social and academic success. Under the direction of James Rayford and Andrew Toney, more than 100 adults in the community have been trained to serve as mentors to these students, and numerous partnerships have been established with other organizations. More importantly, Gwinnett students have benefited from these established relationships and lessons that have focused on life skills and improving academic achievement. As part of the update, the Board was briefed on an upcoming Volunteer Mentor Summit, conducted by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services and GCPS. This event is scheduled for January 21, 2012.
Board of Education acts on Ivy Preparatory charter applications
The Gwinnett County Board of Education acted on two start-up charter applications submitted by Ivy Preparatory Academy, denying them as submitted but extending the opportunity for the petitioners to resubmit revised applications within the next 30 days. The applications were first submitted in March of 2011 and were delayed due to a request from the petitioner. The revised applications were submitted to GCPS for consideration on December 9, 2011.
- The first application addressed the current Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett, which has a one-year contract with the Gwinnett County Board of Education that expires June 30, 2012. GCPS provided a one-year contract to help serve students affected by Ivy Preparatory Academy's transition from its status as a Commission Charter School. The proposed five-year charter would run from July 2012 through June 2017 and calls for the school to expand service to girls in grades 6 through 12.
- In addition, the Gwinnett School Board considered a charter school start-up application submitted by Ivy Preparatory Young Men's Leadership Academy. Petitioners asked for a five-year charter from July 2012 through June 2017 for a school that would serve boys in grades 6 through 12.
There were a number of concerns cited with the applications including the fact that they did not differentiate the curriculum or offer anything different from what is offered in existing schools other than being single gender, that they did not outline curriculum or four-year planning to ensure students would meet graduation requirements, and that the budgets provided in the applications were based on income greater than the state charter school law provides. In denying the applications, School Board members indicated that they hoped the petitioners would resubmit their applications within the next 30 days to address the deficiencies outlined during a review of the applications.
School Board extends contract of CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks
The members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education unanimously approved an extension of CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks' contract. The superintendent's new two-year term commences July 1, 2012, and expires June 30, 2014. Legislation limits a Gwinnett County school superintendent's contract to two years. Under the terms of the new contract, Mr. Wilbanks' base salary will be the same as last year's salary. He will see an increase in the amount contributed to the Teacher Retirement System, as determined by TRS. Mr. Wilbanks has served as Gwinnett's superintendent since March of 1996.
Citizens addressing the Board
- Laura Leigh Spencer, Gwinnett County School Counselor Association
- Marlyn Tillman
- Mark Anthony Williams
- Penny Poole
- Laura Vladick
- Pamela Woldu