GCPS Board Meeting Summary for September 12, 2002

          The following are highlights of the September 12, 2002, 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 achievements of schools and staff

          --School Board members recognized Gary Bahn, principal of J.E. Richards MS, on being named the 2002 National School Counseling Advocate of the Year by the American Counselors Association. In introducing Mr. Bahn, GCPS Coordinator of Guidance and Counseling Vickie Watts described Mr. Bahn as a leader who both respects and endorses the role of the school counselor. Mr. Bahn remarked that it is very easy to be an advocate of counselors when you take into account the caliber of counseling professionals in Gwinnett County and at Richards MS. He said, "I am very proud to be an advocate for them and would like to thank the Board for its continued support of counselors."

          --The Board congratulated Summerour MS, Principal Jaime Espinosa, and school staff members on the school's recognition as a 2002 National Title I Distinguished School. Title I Coordinator Carol Grady spoke of some of the accomplishments and achievements that helped Summerour MS earn this national award, which only three Georgia schools received this year. Mr. Espinosa recognized his staff and Title I committee introducing Joy Davis, Carroll Polak, Susan Dover, and Angie Matheny. "This award is a reflection of the fine work our teachers do," said Mr. Espinosa. The "Distinguished Schools" program identifies schools that have the following attributes:
            - opportunities for all children to meet proficient and advanced levels of performance
            - highly effective professional development
            - coordination of Title I with other programs in the school
            - curriculum and instruction that supports achievement of high standards
            - a partnership among the school, parents, and the community
            - successful achievement data (meeting Adequate Yearly Progress, AYP, for three years)
          In congratulating Mr. Espinosa and the Summerour team, School Board member Dr. Mary Kay Murphy complemented the school on its achievement and its fine reputation.

          Assessment update indicates improvement in student achievement

          Director of Assessment Linda Mitchell provided School Board members with recent student achievement information from a number of assessments administered in the 2001-02 school year. On state and national tests, the results indicate overall improvement with Gwinnett test-takers outperforming their peers and in some cases setting system achievement records. To follow are summaries of the results shared.
            Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs) for grades 6 and 8-- More GCPS test-takers met or exceeded the state standard than their peers statewide. In addition, Gwinnett mean scores on the CRCT were above the state average in all content areas.

            Gwinnett’s average SAT score of 1033 is the highest-ever for the system-- Gwinnett scores came in 53 points above the state and 13 above the national average. In addition, Gwinnett's 2002 SAT-takers averaged 527 in mathematics-- another Gwinnett County record.

            ACT performance remains high, continues trend of improvement-- Gwinnett’s Class of 2002 demonstrated high levels of performance on the ACT Assessment, earning a composite score of 21.6 out of a possible 36. The state average is 19.8 and the national average is 20.8. This is the second year in a row that Gwinnett scores on the ACT have improved. In the same two-year period, state and national scores have gone down.

            Gwinnett students excel on Advanced Placement (AP) tests-- Gwinnett high schools saw a 38 percent increase in the number of AP tests taken in 2002. In 2002, students took 5,915 tests compared to the 4,301 tests taken in 2001. In addition, 69 percent of Gwinnett’s AP test-takers scored a 3 or higher on the exams in 2002, compared to 65.8 percent in 2001. This is the highest-ever percentage of Gwinnett students achieving at this level.

            Despite higher cut scores, 2002 High School Gateway passing rates remain high-- In addition, the percentage of students scoring in the top two levels increased, with noteworthy gains in the percentage of students scoring in the “Effective” range. For the high school Gateway, students write two essays-- one on a science topic and one on a social studies topic. In addition to earning scores on science and social studies content, students also earn scores on their writing/language arts skills on both essays. Summary results follow:

            Passing Rates
            % Scoring “Effective”
            % Scoring “Excellent”
            (8.5% failure rate)
            (up from 6.5% in 2001)
            (up from 0.4% in 2001)
            Language Arts in Science
            (3.0% failure rate)
            (up from 7.0% in 2001)
            (up from 0.2% in 2001)
            Social Studies
            (13.6% failure rate)
            (up from 18.8% in 2001)
            (1.0% in 2001)
            Language Arts in Social Studies
            (4.4% failure rate)
            (up from 12.4% in 2001)
            (0.4% in 2001)

          School Board appoints members to joint study task force

          The Board appointed citizens Woody Woodruff, Joel Taylor, and David Barker to represent the Board of Education on the steering committee of a joint study task force formed by the Gwinnett County Board of Education and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. The seven-member steering committee, which first meets on Sept. 17, is made up of the three BOE representatives, three representatives appointed by the Board of Commissioners, and one member appointed by the Chamber of Commerce. The task force will review areas of mutual interest to the school system and county government (including planning, operations, and infrastructure), assess the current status of cooperative efforts between the two governmental bodies, and identify opportunities for further cooperation that are important or beneficial to the community and taxpayers.

          Gwinnett County Board of Education approves application for state construction funding
          School Board members approved an application for state dollars that will provide some much-needed funding for classroom construction. The Capital Outlay Application requests the use of accumulated "exceptional growth" funds in FY 2004. These funds, in the amount of $15,377,978, will be combined with local funds to construct additions at eight GCPS facilities. (These classrooms are part of the Board's 2002 building program. In all, the 2002 program calls for the construction of 20 new schools and additions to 40 existing schools.)

          Information provided on final 1997 SPLOST collections
          Chief Financial Officer Jeff Weiler provided the Board with information on 1997 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) collections. Final collection figures showed that Gwinnett County Public Schools collected $529.3 million, or 97 percent of its projected sales tax revenue. Funds from the five-year penny tax provided new classrooms and additional instructional technology, and helped to pay down existing debt. In November of 2001, Gwinnett County voters approved an extension of the sales tax, meaning the penny will continue to be collected for Gwinnett schools through 2007.

          FY2003 Budget Development Calendar Approved
          The Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted its Fiscal Year 2004 budget development calendar. Among the key dates included in the calendar are:
            December 16, 2002-- Program managers begin development of department budgets
            February 26-28, 2003-- Superintendent and Cabinet review budget requests
            April 17, 2003-- Superintendent's budget recommendations available to the public
            April 19, 2003-- Board budget work session
            April 23, 2003-- Board budget work session and adoption of tentative budget
            April 24, 2003-- Copies of tentative budget available to public
            April 27 & May 4, 2003-- Recommended budget published in the newspaper
            May 8, 2003-- First public hearing on tentative budget
            May 15, 2003-- Second public hearing and final adoption of the budget

          Board accepts construction bids for new elementary schools
          School Board members awarded contracts for the construction of two new elementary schools. Carroll Daniel Construction will build the new Duluth Cluster elementary school. The company's bid of $5,608,000 was $8,000 lower than the next lowest bidder. Carroll Daniel Construction is currently building Ivy Creek ES. The Board also approved Nix-Fowler Constructors' bid of $5,957,568 to build the new Dacula Cluster elementary school. This bid came in $136,932 lower than the next lowest bidder. In other action, the Board approved bids submitted by Busker Communications, Inc. for LAN cabling at Mill Creek HS and Frank N. Osborne MS.

          Stadium loan approved for Brookwood HS
          The Board of Education approved a $410,000 loan to Brookwood HS from the local school investment pool. The loan, to be repaid over a maximum of 12 years at an interest rate of 1 percent over the pool's earnings rate, will be used to pay off commercially financed stadium debt.

          Gwinnett Technical College lease amended to provide additional classroom space
          The School Board approved an amendment to its current lease allowing the lease of an additional 23,173 square feet of space from Gwinnett Industries. The additional space will provide 11 more Arts and Sciences classrooms, as well as faculty offices. It also will include a portion of a separate paved parking lot, consisting of approximately 223 parking spaces. There will be no financial impact to the Gwinnett County Board of Education as the costs for this lease will be paid for through Gwinnett Technical College tuition and fees revenue.

          Board approves recertification of compliance with GSBA standards
          The Gwinnett County Board of Education recertified its compliance with the Standards for Local Boards of Education as developed and recommended by the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA). The standards address six areas: Vision/Philosophy/Goals, Board Organization, Board Operations, Board's Role in Personnel Operations, Board/Staff/Community Relations, and Board Continuous Improvement Development.

          The following policies were tabled until the October 10 Board meeting:

          -- Policy ED - Student Transportation Management-- Changes to this policy are proposed due to changes in state law.
          -- Policy GA - Sexual Harassment/Discrimination (Employees)-- Recommended changes update policy and change the descriptor code and title from JC "Grievance/Appeal Procedure" to GA "Sexual Harassment/Discrimination (Employees)."
          -- Policy JGC - Student Health Services-- In addition to changing the name from "School Health Nurse Program," proposed changes broaden the policy and its accompanying procedure.
          -- Policy JGCC - Communicable Diseases and Policy JGCD - Medicines-- Staff is recommending that the information contained in these policies be incorporated into Procedure P.JGC "Student Health Services," which accompanies Policy JGC.

          Citizens addressing the Board:

          Kerry Armstrong
          Jimmy Norton

          The School Board also approved the following appointments at its meeting on September 12, 2002.

          Name-- Current Position


          Cheryl Doblar-- Assistant Principal, Freeman's Mill ES

          Principal, J.C. Magill ES

          Donna Ledford-- Assistant Principal, Craig ES

          Principal, Susan Stripling ES

          Byron Collier-- Area Executive Director for Instructional Team VI, DeKalb County Schools

          Half-time Community School Director, Norcross HS

          Nancy Fowler-- Teacher Leader, Shiloh HS

          Community School Director, Shiloh HS

          The principal appointments are effective Monday, Sept. 16, 2002. Mr. Collier and Ms. Fowler took their positions last month.