GCPS Board Meeting Summary for November 9, 2000

          The following are highlights of the November 9, 2000, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
          The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next meeting.

          Board Recognizes Educators and Students
          • Dr. Evelyn Grant, social studies department chair at Central Gwinnett HS, was recognized for being named this year's "Outstanding Social Studies Educator" by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. Dr. Grant was saluted for her exceptional teaching and her leadership in many system initiatives, including the high school Gateway assessment program, by Social Studies Coordinator Dale Robbins, Central Gwinnett High principal Dr. Valerie Clark, and former Central principals Dr. Charles Buchanan and Dr. Wendell Jackson.
          • Beaver Ridge Elementary Principal Joyce Spraggs was honored on her recent recognition as a "Milken National Educator Award" recipient-- one of only four in Georgia this school year. Nationwide 145 educators received the Milken award in 2000. As one of the winners, Ms. Spraggs receives a check for $25,000 and will participate in a Milken Foundation-sponsored conference next summer in California. The Milken program is designed to attract, retain, and reward high-caliber educators. Also on hand for the Board's recognition were three of Gwinnett's four previous Milken National Educator Award winners: Joan Akin (Creekland Middle principal), Ken Almon (Norcross Elementary teacher), and Suttiwan Cox (Duluth High teacher). Gwinnett's other Milken winner is Jeff White (Berkmar High teacher).
          • Members of the 2000-01 Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, accompanied by teacher/sponsor Nancy Ward (Maxwell High School), were introduced to the Board and commended for their selection as student leaders by their schools. Two juniors from each high school are chosen each year to participate in the two-year leadership development program.

            Board Approves Additions to the 1997 Building Program
            As new schools and classrooms have been built that are part of the school system's 1997 capital program, there have been sufficient savings on a number of bids to allow the system to fund some additional needed projects. The Board approved adding the following construction projects to the building program, which is funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST):
            • Addition at Lilburn Elementary. Originally part of the 1997 SPLOST building program, this project was deferred temporarily in December 1997. Today, Lilburn Elementary has an enrollment of 1,087 students and has 17 trailers on its campus. Enrollment is projected to be more than 1,200 by school year 2002-03. The Board approved restoring the Lilburn Elementary addition to the building program and approved the appointment of an architect for the project .
            • Expanded classroom addition at Berkmar High School. The original SPLOST program calls for a 10-classroom addition at Berkmar High, which would increase the school's capacity from 1,975 to 2,225 students. Today, Berkmar High has an enrollment of 2,680 and has 38 trailers on campus. Enrollment is projected to be nearly 3,000 by school year 2003-04. The Board had been apprised that the Berkmar addition would need to be increased if funding became available to do so. The savings on previous bids now allow the system to fund a larger addition of 41 classrooms, which will increase Berkmar's capacity to 3,000 students.

              Results-Based Evaluation System Update

              Principals Mary Anne Charron (Alton C. Crews Middle School) and Linda Daniels (Rockbridge Elementary School) and Crews Middle School parent Jim Beebe briefed the Board on key components of the Results-Based Evaluation System (RBES).
              Ms. Charron and Mr. Beebe shared a copy of the Crews Middle School "RBES Accountability Report." They discussed its value as a communication tool for parents and the community, and explained its link to the local school plan for improvement. The accountability report is being piloted this year by schools whose principals serve on the RBES Advisory Team. The report will be produced for every school next year. Ms. Charron also shared data regarding staff development her teachers engaged in last year in support of the school's instructional goals. Over 6,585 hours of targeted staff development were logged by Crews Middle teachers in 1999-2000.
              Ms. Daniels talked about the various strategies that have been successful in improving student achievement at her highly diverse and transient school. She specifically mentioned the emphasis on staff development tailored to meet the needs of teachers at Rockbridge Elementary, as well as the staff's commitment to student learning and good behavior at school. As explained by Ms. Daniels, raising student achievement is a matter of teaching a specific curriiculum (the Academic Knowledge and Skills); consistently applying teaching strategies that work, over time and in an environment that nurtures learning, and continually assessing how well the students are progressing.

              Board Tables Policies for Review
              The Board of Education tabled the following proposed policies for 30 days to allow for public input:
              • Fingerprinting/Criminal Record Check, Policy GBDA-- The proposed policy reflects the state requirement that all new employees hired after July 1, 2000, be fingerprinted and have a criminal record check. Certified personnel already employed must have a criminal record check before applying for renewal of certification to the Professional Standards Commission.
              • Board Goals and Objectives, Policy BA-- Proposed changes in this policy comply with state requirements that were approved through House Bill 1187. The law calls for each Board to provide a system-level school improvement plan that includes a component for staff and professional development.
              • Internal Audit, Policy DID-- Staff is recommending minor changes to this policy that reflect the current organizational structure in the school system.

                American Education Week Proclamation Adopted
                The Board adopted a proclamation submitted by the Gwinnett County Association of Educators (GCAE) designating November 12-18 as the 79th annual observance of "American Education Week." The proclamation was presented on behalf of GCAE by Five Forks Middle School teacher Dale Willard.

                Vice Chairman Radloff to Represent Board at NSBA
                The Board designated Vice Chairman Louise Radloff as its representative on the National School Boards Association's Federal Relations Network.