GCPS Board Meeting Summary for September 11, 2008

The following are highlights of the September 11, 2008, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Carole Boyce, Vice Chairman Daniel D. Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Students, staff, and community members earn Board recognition
-- A number of Gwinnett County Public Schools employees, PTA leaders, and PTA units were awarded first or second place at the state level in a variety of categories at the 2008 Summer Conference and Leadership Training of the Georgia PTA. The following Gwinnett schools and leaders were recognized: Chris Emsley of Duncan Creek ES, Beverly Todd-Lee of W.C. Britt ES (retired), and Berry Simmons of South Gwinnett HS-- Outstanding Principals; Pamela Harris and Peggy Tim of R.D. Head ES-- Outstanding School Nurses; Gwinnett Council of PTAs and Co-Presidents Holly Melton and Angela Monetta-- 1st Place, Outstanding Council (over 50 local units); Jackson ES PTA and President Mari Beth Cameron-- 2nd Place, Outstanding Local Unit (elementary schools over 1,000 students); Mulberry ES PTA-- 2nd Place, Membership (elementary schools under 750 students); Cedar Hill ES PTA-- 1st Place, Education Enrichment ; Grayson ES PTA-- 1st Place, Health and Youth Services (elementary schools over 1,000 students); and Grayson ES PTA-- 1st Place, Legislation and Advocacy (elementary schools over 1,000 students)
-- The Board recognized the Collins Hill HS' Girls Track Team on its 2008 AAAAA state championship season. This is the third consecutive year that the Collins Hill Girls Track Team has won the state title. Overall, the Collins Hill girls' team has won the state championship four times. Coach Andrew Hudson worked with coaches Richard Ramsey and Jessica Sedor.
-- The Brookwood HS Baseball Team finished the 2008 season ranked third in the nation by USA Today and the team was GHSA AAAAA State Champion, with a 34-3 overall record. The team was undefeated in Region 8AAAAA and was Region Champion for the second consecutive year. The team was led by Head Coach Rick Howard with Assistant Coaches Ryan Ledden and Brian Albury and Community Coach Bret Carithers.
-- School Board members saluted the Parkview HS' Girls Soccer Team as the 2008 AAAAA Girls Soccer State Champion. This is the second consecutive year that the Parkview Girls Soccer Team has won the state championship. The team ended the season ranked number one in the nation and was declared the National Champion. The team went undefeated for the first time in school history. Head Coach Judson Hamby was assisted by Coaches Mark Leviton and Michael Tolmich.
-- The exemplary performance of Parkview High students enrolled in the school’s MCJROTC (Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) unit has earned the Lilburn school designation as a “Naval Honors School.” The Gwinnett County Board of Education joined the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Training and Education Command in commending Parkview High on this national honor shared by only 20% of the nation’s units.This designation recognizes a unit’s exemplary performance during the area Commander’s inspection, and the unit shows exemplary performance in drill competitions, community service, and marksmanship competitions. The JROTC unit also must demonstrate exemplary performance in unit administration, training, supply, facilities, armory management, cadet citizenship, school and community involvement, scholastic achievement, and extracurricular events, according to Training and Education Command guidelines. Representatives from the Parkview Marine JROTC program were accompanied by Dr. Charles "Buck" Buchanan, Parkview HS principal; Capt. Modesto Silverio, USMC (retired), Senior Marine Instructor; and Gunnery Sgt. Dave Erwin, USMC (retired), Marine Instructor. Students in the program attend a number of home schools in Gwinnett, including Parkview, Brookwood, Grayson, Meadowcreek, Central Gwinnett, and South Gwinnett high schools. Capt. Silverio, who is new to the Parkview program this year, praised the work of his predecessor with the program, Lt. Col. Denis G. Carruth, who now works in California.
-- Three Gwinnett educators were honored for their designation as state winners by the Georgia School Counselors Association. Karen Gannon Griffith of Berkeley Lake ES is the 2008 Georgia Elementary School Counselor of the Year. Dr. Helen Clark of Dacula HS is the 2008 Georgia Secondary Counselor of the Year. And, Grayson HS Principal Keith Chaney was honored as the 2008 Georgia Counseling Advocate of the Year. These Gwinnett educators will be honored at GSCA's annual conference this November in Augusta, Georgia. Criteria for being recognized as a School Counselor of the Year includes: responsibilities for guidance program innovations or further development of programs aligning with the Gwinnett’s 21st Century Comprehensive Counseling program, known as 21C3, to support the career, life skills and academic development of students; demonstration of leadership, advocacy and collaboration in their work and promote equity and access to opportunities and rigorous educational experiences for all students to maximize student achievement; demonstrate collaboration with stakeholders; performance of outstanding service to the school or community; participation in professional counseling organizations; and demonstration of personal/professional qualities. Mr. Cheney's honor as "Advocate of the Year" recognizes exemplary support of counseling services aligning with 21C3; outstanding promotion of counseling and guidance services; implementation of new/additional guidance and counseling services; and improvement of existing guidance and counseling services. Before being named the state’s top winners, these three professionals were Region 2 winners, and among four educators recognized as local school district winners. The level winners will now move on to compete at the national level.
-- The Board recognized Donald Geldbach of Brookwood HS and Siddhartha "Deep" Datta Roy of Parkview HS on their perfect scores on the ACT college-entrance exam. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. A 36 is the highest possible composite score that can be earned on the ACT Assessment. North Gwinnett High senior Jeffrey Angell also earned a perfect score and will be recognized by the Board at a future meeting.

Success of Fine Arts program takes spotlight
Robert Andrews, director of fine arts, reviewed the state of fine arts in the district with the School Board. Each school day, more than 116,000 students take part in fine arts programs in Gwinnett schools, under the tutelage of 476 fine arts teachers. In middle schools, students have the opportunity to take art, band, chorus, general music, orchestra, and theater arts classes. At the high school level, students can choose from 56 different courses, including courses in art, band, chorus, dance, music technology, orchestra, and theater arts. The success of the program is measured in many ways. This year, 38 Gwinnett students were selected to participate in the Governor's Honors Program as fine arts participants. A growing number of students also are taking Advanced Placement exams in art and music. Another indication of a successful program is found in the groups of students selected to participate in All-State and earning "superior" ratings at state contest, as well as the growing number of student groups invited to perform at state and national events. In closing, Mr. Andrews thanked Board members for their continued support of the fine arts program and for providing the resources necessary to build and sustain a world-class program.

FY09 budget development calendar tabled for review
The Board of Education reviewed the proposed calendar of activities and dates associated with the adoption of the FY2010 budget.The budget development calendar will be presented for approval at the October 9, 2008, Monthly Business Meeting. Key dates in the proposed budget calendar are December 22, 2008 - February 2, 2009– Prepare program budget requests; February 2, 2009– Central Office budget managers submit completed proposed budget requests to Budget Office; March 6, 2009– Superintendent’s Recommendations due to Budget Office; March 9-25, 2009– Preparation and printing of Superintendent's recommended budget; April 18, 2009– Board budget work session (Saturday); April 21, 2009– Board budget work session and adoption of tentative budget (Area Board Meeting); April 27, 2009– Copies of Superintendent’s recommended budget available for public; May 3 and May 7, 2009– Publish budget advertisement in newspaper; May 11, 2009– First public hearing on budget; May 14, 2009– Second public budget hearing, final budget adoption, and adoption of tentative millage rate; and June 2009– Final adoption of millage rate.

BOE receives update on former school property
The former Mechanicsville School was donated by Gwinnett County Public Schools to the Mechanicsville Community Association (MCA) for use as a place for meetings and community activities. In the 1990s, the association determined it could no longer provide the necessary upkeep for the facility and MCA deeded the property back to GCPS in 1993, with the idea it could be converted to a teaching museum. Since 1993, the facility has remained on the site and has been used infrequently by the Mechanicsville Community Association. Over the years, GCPS has sought outside funding to pay the expenses of preserving the former school, but without success. It now appears a developer is interested in purchasing a number of parcels in and around the Mechanicsville School, including the parcel on which the school is located. Superintendent Wilbanks reported that he would keep the Board apprised of this situation. A likely recommendation may be to sell the property and use the proceeds of the sale to relocate the former school to a site where it can be preserved.

School Board continues its policy work
School Board members tabled the following policies to allow for further input:
Policy BHA- Board Member Conflict of Interest-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy GBRI- Personal Leave-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy KJ- Advertising in Schools-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.

Citizens and groups addressing the Board
- Millie Linville of GUIDE
- Marlyn Tillman