GCPS Board Meeting Summary for February 10, 2011

The following are highlights of the February 10, 2011, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Dr. Robert McClure, Louise Radloff, Carole Boyce, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board members honor award-winning schools
-- The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) and the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) recently announced that 30 Gwinnett County schools earned a 2010 Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) Award during the 2009-10 school year. This award recognizes schools for their continuous improvement in raising student achievement and closing achievement gaps on state curriculum tests as well as their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. The schools were recognized in two categories:

1) Highest Performance, indicating the percentage of students meeting and exceeding academic standards on state tests-- the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) or the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT); and

2) Greatest Gains, indicating the greatest gains in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding academic standards on the CRCT or GHSGT.

In each category, the state recognizes four school award levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The schools recognized with SSAS awards were presented by Dr. Steve Flynt, Associate Superintendent.

Click here for a listing of Gwinnett's recognized schools.

-- The Georgia Department of Education has named a number of GCPS schools as "Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools".  The Title I Distinguished Schools Program, authorized in Section 1117 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, was established by the Georgia Department of Education to recognize schools that meet the state's academic content standards and student achievement standards. The recognition was made public by Georgia's State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Barge, and spotlights schools with outstanding student achievement that meet requirements for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for three or more consecutive years. Carol Grady, director of Federal and Special Programs, introduced principals and representatives from the honored schools. Ms. Grady noted that this group of distinguished schools represents 40,689 students, 51% of the school's system's students served in the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, and 21% of GCPS' students served in the Special Education program. "Free and Reduced is how they eat, not how they learn," said Ms. Grady of the schools' students, many of whom qualify for subsidized federal meal programs due to poverty. Poverty rates in the honored Title I schools range from 62% to a high of 96%. Click here to see a listing of the 33 Gwinnett schools recognized as "Title I Distinguished Schools."

Board approves actuary's recommendations for disability and retirement funds
In accordance with the Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS) Plan Document, the Plan’s actuary annually calculates the amount of contributions which are sufficient to fund the benefits provided by the Retirement and Disability Funds of the Plan. The actuary delivers the calculated rates to the GRS Plan Administrative Committee which in turn transmits the results of the calculations to the Board together with recommended levels of contributions. The School Board approved the actuary and committee's recommendations to fund the Plan as shown below. These recommendations represent contributions to be made to the Retirement and Disability Funds of the Plan for the period of July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.   

- Employer Contributions: 5.09% of compensation (This employer contribution rate represents an increase of .21% over the current year and results in no change to GRS Plan benefits.)

- Employee Contributions: 1.00% of compensation

- Transfer $31,700,811 from the Disability Fund to the Retirement Fund within the GRS Plan (Actuarial rebalancing of GRS Plan assets)

Board receives redistricting update
Dr. Steve Flynt, associate superintendent for School Leadership and Operational Support, provided Board members with a review of previous redistricting and the effect it will have on a few schools next year. In August 2011, Moore MS will open in the Central Gwinnett Cluster. With the opening of this middle school, the Cluster will have two distinct feeder patterns, one for Moore MS and one for Richards MS. Lawrenceville and Winn Holt elementary schools will feed into the new Moore MS, while Cedar Hill, Jenkins, and Simonton elementary schools will continue to feed into Richards MS. This cluster alignment was planned as part of the December 2009, redistricting which established the attendance zone for Jenkins ES. In addition, there will be a shift in elementary attendance zones in the Shiloh Cluster as sections of Spain Road, Waterfront Place, Hadley Place, and Forest Bend Road will move to Partee ES from Annistown ES. This change also was part of the approved redistricting in December 2009.

Dr. Flynt also announced that the district will begin the redistricting process this spring in the Peachtree Ridge and Duluth clusters. Peachtree Ridge HS and Hull MS are well over capacity. Peachtree Ridge HS currently has nine trailers and Hull MS has 28 trailers. Through this redistricting, both schools would receive much-needed relief beginning in the 2011-12 school year. During his review of these upcoming changes, Dr. Flynt reminded Board members and the audience that GCPS uses a very inclusive process for redistricting that allows us to gather input from educators, parents, and community members on proposed revisions.

Gwinnett Board recognizes contributions of PTA
In observance of the National PTA's founding 114 years ago, the Gwinnett County Board of Education issued a proclamation acknowledging the PTA as a valued partner in the school district's quest to become a system of world-class schools. In saluting the PTA, Board members acknowledged that PTAs play an instrumental role in helping local schools establish and maintain goals that focus on meeting the needs of all students. This includes providing valuable services that support instruction and encourage parental involvement. In a proclamation, Board members also noted that Gwinnett's PTAs have distinguished themselves as respected advocates for children, families, and public education in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County Public Schools is served by three PTA Councils. The Area I Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by Co-Presidents Shena Garrett and Tomar Williams and includes local PTA units in the Brookwood, Meadowcreek, Parkview, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett clusters. The Area II Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by President Rae Saidman and includes local PTA units in the Collins Hill, Duluth, Mountain View, Norcross, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge clusters. The Area III Gwinnett Council of PTAs is led by President Dani Matzick and includes local PTA units in the Archer, Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Dacula, Grayson, and Mill Creek clusters. PTA visitors included Carol Ranft, 12th District Director for Georgia PTA, and the 12th District's 2nd Assistant Director, Holly Melton.

Board continues updates to policies
The Board approved the following policies which had been tabled at the January meeting to allow for public input:
Policy IDCA- Summer School-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy DCKI- Annual Operating Budget-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy DA- Fiscal Management Goals-- Changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes and with revisions to generally accepted accounting principles.