GCPS Board Meeting Summary for August 10, 2006

The following are highlights of the August 10, 2006, 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 members
-- Yalanda Bell, marketing education teacher and sponsor of the Distributive Education Clubs of America program at Peachtree Ridge HS, was honored on her recognition as Most Outstanding New Educator by the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Educators. Ms. Bell earned this honor for her outstanding leadership and for extraordinary contributions to the field. She will represent Georgia at the Association for Career and Technical Educators National Conference in December.

-- Board members saluted Norcross HS graduate Carmen Rodriguez on her selection for the Presidential Scholars Program by the United States Department of Education. Of the 2.8 million high school seniors in the country, she is one of the 2,700 outstanding students to be considered for the program. Miss Rodriguez has the esteemed honor of being named among the 141 distinguished finalists for this prestigious program. She will attend Purdue University this fall.

-- The School Board also honored Monica Huynh, a Berkmar HS student, who won first place in the girls essay category in the 2005-06 state AAAAA Literary Meet, sponsored by the Georgia High School Association. Miss Huynh was accompanied by Principal Kendall Johnson and Donna Fisher, language arts department chair.

-- The Board of Education congratulated Berkmar HS' Academic Decathlon team on its fourth consecutive state championship. The decathlon competition, sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), focuses on the importance of developing well-rounded individuals and providing an antidote to intellectual apathy and underachievement. This program provides incentive for average students, underachieving students, above-average students, as well as academically talented students, to become interested in intellectual activities. IV Bray is the team's coach. Team members include Richard Dempsey, Chris Deter, Katie Harazin, Dua Hassan, Ian Marra, Liana Nisimova, Chris Parsons, Kelly Shaul, and Chris Shields.

-- Berkmar HS received additional kudos from the Board of Education on its award-winning newspaper, The Liberty. The publication received a "Superior" rating and was chosen "All Georgia" by Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA) for the second time in three years. "All Georgia" designates the publication as the best school newspaper in Georgia. The GSPA assists Georgia high school journalism programs and students by encouraging their production of quality publications through instruction and contests. Donna Fisher, language arts department chair at Berkmar HS, is the newspaper's sponsor. Student staff members of The Liberty include Megan Brock, Sara Caldwell, Monica Huynh, Kelly Shaul, Chris Ward, and Yasmin Yonis.

Board denies charter school application from Gwinnett Connections Academy
The Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to deny the charter school application filed by Gwinnett Connections Academy, a non-profit public benefit corporation proposing a virtual school. Following state rules for charter applications, requests must first be reviewed by the local Board of Education prior to submission to the Georgia Department of Education. Staff has reviewed this application and finds that it does not meet State requirements. The instructional methods used do not include unique instructional techniques, especially considering the fact that Gwinnett already has the largest virtual school in the state. In addition, many of the required criteria for charters are not met as determined by Gwinnett's staff review. Staff will provide a detailed response to the charter applicant and to the Georgia Department of Education listing the criteria which are not met.

Board tables policy revisions for further review
The following proposed policy revisions were placed on the table for review until the September 14, 2006, Board meeting:
- Policy DJE- Purchasing-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
- Policy GBRA- Drug and Alcohol Testing-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.