GCPS Board Meeting Summary for June 23, 2005

The following are highlights of the June 23, 2005, 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.

School Board honors students and staff
-- School Board members congratulated Gwinnett County Public Schools' Social Studies department on the school system earning the Georgia Council on Economic Education's Program of Excellence Award for its implementation of the Georgia Economic History Project in 8th grade. Over the last three years, 185 Gwinnett teachers have implemented the resources and instructional strategies with 9,000 8th graders. The Georgia Economic History Project has helped teachers support students as they study local economic history, businesses, and entrepreneurs. Social Studies Coordinator Debbie Daniell thanked the Board for its support and introduced three 8th grade teachers who have been leaders in this project. The teachers were Scotty Roberts of Summerour MS, Nikki Powell of Snellville MS, and Helene Brown of Frank N. Osborne MS.
-- Radloff Scholarship winner recognized… Claudia Caycho, a 2005 Norcross HS graduate, was recognized as the recipient of the Louise Radloff Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a Gwinnett senior. The scholarship was named after Louise Radloff, a longtime School Board member who is serving her ninth term with the Board. Miss Caycho's accomplishments at Norcross are numerous. In addition to her academic achievement, she has been involved in nine clubs and has served her community. She plans to put the $1,750 scholarship toward her studies at the University of Georgia. Her parents, Rosa and Luis, accompanied her.
-- Alton C. Crews Scholarship winner recognized… Suzanne Smethers, a 2005 Parkview HS graduate, was recognized as the recipient of the Alton C. Crews Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a Gwinnett senior who plans to become a teacher in Georgia. The $2,000 scholarship was named after former Gwinnett Superintendent Dr. Alton C. Crews. Ms. Smethers was accompanied by her parents, Sandra and Zach. This highly involved and highly honored GCPS graduate will attend the University of Georgia to study Spanish Education with hopes to return to Gwinnett to begin her teaching career.
-- The Board of Education honored Susan Patton, a literacy coach in the system's Language Arts Department, on her recognition as Georgia Reading Association Secondary Educator of the Year. Collins Hill HS Principal Glenn McFall praised Ms. Patton on her work as a reading specialist at his school, where she was working when she earned this recognition. This award is presented annually to a reading educator in the state who exhibits outstanding results in reading education. The recipient must spend 50% or more of his or her time actively engaged in the teaching of reading. Honorees are selected based on innovative teaching methods, leadership roles in the field of reading, voluntary service in the community in the field of literacy, and strong promotion of literacy instruction.
-- Three Norcross HS students earned state kudos, placing in the National Spanish Exam, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Filberto Hernandez and Carmen Rodriguez both placed 1st in Georgia at their respective levels. Mr. Hernandez took the state's highest honors on the Spanish VI Bilingual Exam, and earned the 5th highest score in the nation of the 288 students who took the exam. Ms. Rodriguez' score on the Spanish IV Exam was the highest in Georgia and the 2nd highest in the nation of the more than 11,000 students taking the exam. Andrew Lyu placed 2nd out of the 430 students taking the Spanish 4 exam in Georgia, and earned the 5th highest score of the more than 11,000 Spanish IV test-takers. Norcross foreign language teacher Paula Parris, who retired after the end of this school year, praised her students and thanked the Board of Education for its support of the International Baccalaureate program which allows students to build bridges and further their education.
-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education saluted Berkmar HS' Academic Decathlon Team on winning its third consecutive state championship. The Decathlon competition tests academic strength, demonstrations of communication ability, and super relay quiz. Principal Kendall Johnson commended Berkmar Teacher and Decathlon Coach IV Bray and his students on their accomplishments. Mr. Bray applauded the team's academic prowess and the time and dedication that led to the team's success. Team members include Brandon Ball, Stewart Barnes, Michael Brown, Matthew Caldwell, Katie Harazin, Chris Knight, Jami Mathewson, Greggory Rothmeier, and Matthew Treager.

GUIDE support continues with approval of annual agreement
The School Board and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved an annual agreement to support the operation of GUIDE, Inc., a substance abuse prevention agency, which develops and delivers local programs and services. Entering its 19th year, GUIDE provides education about and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and abuse. Joint support of the GUIDE program is one of many cooperative activities undertaken by the Board members and the county commissioners.

School Board completes Gateway review
Passing rates remained high on the 2005 administration of the Gateway Assessment at grades 4 and 7. Of the 17,556 Gwinnett 4th and 7th graders required to pass the 2005 Gateway test, the vast majority earned passing scores on the first try and were promoted to the next grade level. Systemwide passing rates in grade 4 were 98.7% in Language Arts and 93.4% in Mathematics. In grade 7, systemwide passing rates ranged from 87.9% in Mathematics to 97.5% in Language Arts. However, 83 students did not do as well as would have been expected, based on their classroom grades. For them, the school system's Assessment Review Procedure was initiated and acted upon by the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Any student who earned no grade below a "C" in all subjects assessed on the Gateway on their 2004-05 report cards qualified for the automatic review if he or she failed any part of the Gateway. The end result of this year's review is that 20 of the 83 students qualifying for the Assessment Review must retake and pass the portion(s) of the test they failed in order to be promoted to the next grade. School Board members recommended the Gateway be waived for the remaining students in the review, but did recommend summer school for 47 of those students.

Gwinnett Tech ground lease to lead to early learning center
The School Board approved a ground lease between the Board of Education and Gwinnett Technical College Foundation to allow the college to construct an early learning center on its campus. The property involved will transfer to the state, along with all Gwinnett Technical College property, effective July 1, 2005, when the college's governance transfers to the state's Department of Technical and Adult Education.