06/21/2001









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for June 21, 2001

          The following are highlights of the June 21, 2001, 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 Recognizes Students and Staff
          • Joanie Arcement was recognized and thanked for her service for the past two school years as Gwinnett PTA Council Co-President. A former principal who has worked with Ms. Arcement as a parent and PTA leader described her as "one of the hardest-working parents she has ever known." Through her work in PTA and the PTA Council, Ms. Arcement has put her creativity, her dedication, and her passion for helping children to work. The Board members commended Ms. Arcement for her servant leadership and her commitment to Gwinnett's students and schools.
          • Martha "Elizabeth" Wiggins, a 2001 graduate of Dacula High School, is the 2001 recipient of the Alton C. Crews Scholarship Award. The $1,500 scholarship, named in memory of the former Gwinnett superintendent, is given to a Gwinnett high school student who plans to major in education and return to Georgia to teach. Ms. Wiggins will be attending Clemson University this fall.
          • William "Will" M. Gifford, a 2001 graduate of Parkview High School, is the 2001 recipient of the Sandra L. Lawton Scholarship Award. The $1,500 scholarship, given in memory of Sandra Lawton, who served as a teacher and media specialist for 24 years, is given to a student who plans to become a teacher. Mr. Gifford is the first recipient of this scholarship. He plans to attend Presbyterian College, where he will play soccer. The honoree was introduced by principal Dr. Robert Clark. The Board also commended Dr. Clark, who will retire at the end of the month to join the Georgia Department of Education, for his years of service to Gwinnett County Public Schools.
          • A Creekland MS team placed second in the Georgia Math League Contest. Team members Abigail Palmer, Chris Prosser, and Neil Kulkarni were recognized. Assistant Principal Linda Calhoun introduced Abigail and Neil and their teachers, Elaine Crowell and Jamie Fewell, to the School Board.

Citizens Address the Board
          • Carl Finder expressed concerns about the rising cost of the diesel fuel that powers the buses operated by most school systems. His company is working with several school systems to try a new technology that he says will improve the performance of diesel engines. He expressed an interest in piloting the product in Gwinnett and was referred to Chief Operations Officer Jim Steele.
          • Lawrence Major addressed the Board about his son's experience in fourth and fifth grades. He feels the school system's promotion policy, which requires students to pass the Gateway test, negatively impacted his son's overall study and homework habits.
          2002-2003 School Calendar Presented to Board
          The 2002-03 school year calendar was presented to the School Board. The calendar calls for a starting day of August 12, first semester ending before winter break, and an ending day of May 28. Attached is Gwinnett County Public Schools' calendar for the 2002-03 school year. In addition, citizens may receive a copy of the calendar by calling the school system's Department of Community and Media Relations at 770-822-6508.
          Calendar for School Year 2002-2003.lwp

          School Board Receives Update on Gateway and Acts on Review Procedure Recommendations
          Of the 14,658 Gwinnett fourth and seventh graders required to pass the 2001 Gateway test administered in April, the vast majority earned passing scores on the first try and were promoted to the next grade level. Forty-eight students, however, did not do as well on the Gateway as would be expected, based on their classroom grades. For them, the school system’s Assessment Review Procedure was immediately initiated and acted upon by the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
          In the review process based on the preliminary multiple choice results, it was determined that 16 of the 48 students qualifying for the Assessment Review must retake and pass one or more portions of the test in order to be promoted to the next grade. So ruled the Gwinnett County School Board in accepting Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks’ recommendation to approve the actions proposed for the 48 students.
          According to the Assessment Review Procedure, any student whose report cards in 2000-01 included no grade below a “C” in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies qualified for an automatic review if he or she failed any part of the Gateway test. Each review was conducted by an impartial committee of teachers, principals, and central office administrators. Two such committees operated simultaneously in order to complete the reviews before the June 21 School Board meeting.
          In addition to reviewing each student’s preliminary Gateway scores, the committee examined each student’s classroom performance as documented by the child’s teacher(s). Members also studied each student’s standardized test data, other assessment information, and evidence provided by the parents of extenuating circumstances (illness, death in the family, etc.) that could have caused the student to perform poorly on the test. The committee then recommended one of the following four actions for each student:
          ­ waive passage of this year’s Gateway and promote to the next grade
          ­ waive passage of this year’s Gateway, promote to the next grade, but recommend summer school
          ­ do not waive passage of this year’s Gateway, recommend summer school, and require Gateway retake and passage for promotion
          ­ delay action until the complete Gateway results are received at the end of June, and reschedule the review prior to the start of summer school.

          Board Sets Millage Rate to Support FY2002 Budget Adopted in May
To provide the necessary funding to support the school system's $972.6 million budget adopted in May, the Board set its total millage rate for FY2002 at 20.42 mills. The property tax rate consists of 18.62 mills for maintenance and operations, plus 1.80 mills for bond debt service. The new millage rate reflects a 1.25 mill increase from the total millage rate for FY2001. Explosive growth and the demands of providing a quality and effective education for a changing student population led the Gwinnett County Board of Education to increase the millage rate, action it had been able to avoid since FY95. The increase will add about $69 to the tax bill on a $150,000 home.
The total school millage rate is made up of two portions-- the maintenance and operations (M&O) millage and the debt service millage. Funds generated by the M&O millage pay for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including employee salaries, instructional materials, student transportation, and school utility costs. The debt service millage is used to pay down the School Board's long-term debt from bond referenda passed over the years to pay for school construction.
The net increase of 1.25 mills in the total millage was achieved by increasing the M&O millage by 1.5 mills, bringing it to 18.62 mills. The increase is offset by a reduction of .25 mills in the debt service rate, which was dropped to 1.8 mills. Combining the two rates results in a total school millage rate of 20.42 mills. At 20.42 mills, the school tax rate remains lower than it was in the mid-to-late nineties. In fiscal years 1995 and 1996, the total tax rate was 21.85 mills, and it stood at 20.75 for the next three years.
          Board Receives Update on the Naming of New Schools
          The Board of Education approved names for 11 of the schools that will be constructed as part of its next five-year building program. Naming committees-- composed of a parent and educator from each of the new school areas-- collected input from community members and conducted research on the area and its history. Each committee then submitted the preferred name for the School Board's consideration. The names for the 11 schools are:

          New School to be Built/Cluster
          Approved Name
          Duluth Area High School/ New Duluth Area Cluster (sometimes referred to as the Sugarloaf Area Cluster)Peachtree Ridge High School
          New Duluth Area Elementary School/ New Duluth Area Cluster (sometimes referred to as the Sugarloaf Area Cluster)Parsons Elementary School
          New Hamilton Mill Area High SchoolMill Creek High School
          New Hamilton Mill Area Middle SchoolFrank N. Osborne Middle School
          New Harmony Area Middle SchoolGlenn C. Jones Middle School
          New Hamilton Mill Area Elementary SchoolDuncan Creek Elementary School
          New Harmony Area Elementary SchoolIvy Creek Elementary School
          New Benefield/Bethesda Relief Elementary SchoolJ. A. Alford Elementary School
          New Grayson Area Elementary SchoolW. J. Cooper Elementary School
          New Minor/Kanoheda Relief Elementary SchoolCorley Elementary School
          New Sugar Hill Area Elementary SchoolSycamore Elementary School

          Board Members Approve Revision to Fine Arts Education Specifications
          The Board approved Education Specifications (the listings of basic equipment, furniture, and facilities needed for schools) for the school system's Fine Arts programs. Fine Arts Coordinator Robert Andrews has worked with the Department of Business Services, the Office of Procurement, and GCPS Fine Arts teachers to develop a comprehensive list of Fine Arts Education Specifications for the Board's consideration. Mr. Andrews and his team reviewed the current Fine Arts Education Specifications, deleting items which are no longer appropriate and adding items deemed to be essential.

          School Board Approves Business Members to Serve on Local School Councils
          In accordance with state law, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the business representatives who will serve as members of the Local School Councils at the 20 schools that will operate councils next year. The councils serve in an advisory capacity, providing advice, recommendations, and assistance to schools. The seven-member councils are made up of teachers, parents, business representatives, and the principal.

          Board Continues Focus on Updating Policies
          The following policies were approved after a 30-day input period:
          Policy EBC, Data Access and Security-- Approved changes bring this policy into compliance with current practice.
          Policy JCD, Student Conduct Behavior-- The revised policy revisions are minor, addressing possession of a pocket pager or electronic communication device by students at school.
          Policy IFB, Use of Electronic Media-- The revisions to this policy include changes that will bring it into compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act.

          The Board tabled the following policies for 30 days to allow for public input:
          • School District Organization Policies-- Staff is recommending that a number of policies be revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies. These revised policies include: Policy AA, School District Legal Status; Policy ABA, School Board Authority; Policy ABB, Board Powers and Duties; Policy ABCC, Board Member Terms of Office; Policy ABD, Superintendent Legal Status; and Policy AF, School Day. In this same area, the following polices are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy AB, School Board Legal Status and Policy AFA, Double Sessions.
          • School Board Operations Policies-- Staff is recommending that the following policies be revised to reflect current practice and to consolidate redundant policies: Policy BBAB, Duties of Board Officers; Policy BC, Board Meeting; Policy BCAEA, Appeals (Hearings); Policy BCBJ, Board Meeting News Coverage; Policy BDC, Policy Adoption; Policy BDF, Board Review of Administrative Rules; and Policy BH, Code of Ethics- Board Members. In this same area the following policies are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy BBABA, Duties of the Chairman; Policy BBABB, Duties of the Vice-Chairman; Policy BBABC/E, Secretary/Treasurer; Policy BBB, Corporate Board Membership; Policy BCAA, Annual Meeting of the Board; Policy BCAC, Special Board Meetings; Policy BCAF, Work Session of the Board; Policy BCBA, School Board Meetings- Time and Place; Policy KBCC, Board News Coverage; Policy BCBF, Board Meeting Rules of Order; Policy BCBFA, Quorum for Board Meetings; Policy BCBG, Voting at Board Meetings; and Policy BCBK, Executive Sessions.
          • General School Administration Policies-- Staff is recommending that Policy CA, Administration Goals be revised to reflect current practice and incorporate language regarding the system's vision, mission, and goals. In this area, the following policies are proposed to be rescinded in July: Policy CED, Superintendent Appointment; Policy CEE, Superintendent Compensation; and Policy CMAD, Board Review of Administrative Rules.
          • Policy JHCA, Student Groups and Organization Policy-- The proposed revisions refer to student groups which meet in school facilities.
          • Policy JCB, Safe Schools Discipline Policy-- Proposed changes bring this policy into compliance with current practices.

          The School Board approved the following appointments at its meeting on June 21.

          Name, Current Position
          Appointment
          Beverley Evans, teacher at Annistown ESAdministrative Assistant at Annistown ES
          Ron Boyd, teacher at Simonton ESAssistant Principal at Benefield ES
          Helen Mayfield, special education teacher at Meadowcreek HSAssistant Principal at Cedar Hill ES
          Terrie Adkins, teacher/leader at Collins Hill HSAdministrative Assistant at Collins Hill HS
          Mary Hensien, an assistant principal in the Clarke County School SystemAssistant Principal at Creekland MS
          Heidi Hill, teacher/leader at Norcross HSAdministrative Assistant at Creekland MS
          Dewey "Nick" Williams, teacher/leader at Creekland MSAssistant Principal at Creekland MS
          Diane Wise, teacher/leader at McConnell MSAdministrative Assistant at Duluth MS
          Bryan Long, teacher/leader at Grayson HSAdministrative Assistant at Grayson HS
          Kristie Martin, teacher/leader at Dacula HSAdministrative Assistant at Grayson HS
          Keith O'Carroll, teacher/leader at Grayson HSAdministrative Assistant at Grayson HS
          Suzanne Pierce, reading teacher at R. D. Head ESHalf-time Administrative Assistant at R. D. Head ES
          Carol Ferguson, teacher/leader at Creekland MSAdministrative Assistant at Hull MS
          Dale Pugh, administrative assistant at Kanoheda ESAssistant Principal at Kanoheda ES
          Nancy Caudell, teacher/leader at Lanier MSAssistant Principal at Lanier MS
          Hilary Keskonis, teacher/leader at Berkeley Lake and Dyer ESAdministrative Assistant at Lilburn MS
          Paula Cobb, teacher at Jackson ESAdministrative Assistant at Dr. M. H. Mason ES
          Nancy Ward, teacher/leader at Maxwell HS of TechnologyAssistant Principal at Maxwell HS of Technology
          Clarissa Bradham, teacher/leader at Meadowcreek HSAdministrative Assistant at Meadowcreek HS
          Lynne Best, teacher and administrative assistant at Norcross HSAssistant Principal at Norcross HS
          Lisa Lang, Reading Recovery teacher at Centerville ESReading Recovery Teacher Leader in the Language Arts Office
          Melissa Campbell, reading specialist at Peachtree ESAdministrative Assistant at Peachtree ES
          John Mitchell, an assistant principal in IllinoisAssistant Principal at Richards MS
          Glenn George, administrative assistant at Shiloh ESAssistant Principal at Shiloh ES
          Barbara Martin, special education teacher at Stripling ESHalf-time Administrative Assistant at Stripling ES
          Christopher Wells, director of client solutions for Arthur Andersen Strategic Learning SolutionsCustomer Liaison Director, Division of Information Management
          Sandra Grice, general manager of customer relationship management solutions with Verso TechnologiesDirector of Customer Service and Support, Division of Information Management

The following leadership transfers were presented to the Board of Education members for their information:
          • Debra Ault-Butenko is transferring from her position as assistant principal on special assignment in Educational Programs to the position of assistant principal at Harbins ES.
          • Cyndi Darsch is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Camp Creek ES to the position of assistant principal at Harmony ES.
          • Sigrid Fehrman is returning from leave to serve as a half-time administrative assistant at Minor ES. She previously served as a half-time administrative assistant at Minor ES and a half-time intervention teacher at Kanoheda ES.
          • Nancy Innes is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Lanier MS to become an assistant principal at Central Gwinnett HS.
          • Anne Marie Keskonis is transferring from her position as assistant principal at Jackson ES to become an assistant principal at Simpson ES.
          • Jeanie Jones will serve as a part-time administrative assistant at Shiloh MS. Prior to her retirement in December 2000, she was an assistant principal at Meadowcreek HS.