04/17/2008









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for April 17, 2008

The following are highlights of the April 17, 2008, 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 members in attendance at this month's meeting include: Chairman Carole Boyce, Vice Chairman Daniel Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff.

-- The Board honored a number of students who met national standards for the Marketing Credentialing Program. Marketing Education Student Credentialing is a component of the Industry Certification Program, whereby individual students are evaluated and recognized for the knowledge and skills they have acquired. This assessment is administered by The Institute for the Assessment of Skills and Knowledge of Business. Gwinnett's newly credentialed students include Aisha Yaqoob, Adil Yaqoob, Ally Perkins, Johan Andren, John Dickey, Katelyn Siegel, and Sarah Levy of North Gwinnett HS; and Brooks Burmaster, Dannie Charnaia, Jason Sedam, Jessica Yoder, Jessie Baumgart, Khurman Dhanani, Monica Sakalik, Sarah Vakili, Siddarth Narang, and Matt Upchurch of Peachtree Ridge HS. Sarah Vakili of Peachtree Ridge HS earned the second highest score in the state through the credentialing process.
-- DECA is an association of high school and college students who study marketing, management, and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. Gwinnett County Public Schools has 14 active DECA Chapters. Georgia DECA held its annual State Leadership Competition in Atlanta on March 14 and 15. Of the 225 students from Gwinnett who participated in this event, 19 earned 1st or 2nd place honors. Those honored students include Michele Davis and Natalie Davis of Grayson HS,1st place in Entrepreneurship Written Team Event; Eboni Vance and Mike Woodward of Norcross HS, 2nd place in Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making Event; Brian Geil of North Gwinnett HS, 2nd place in Business Speech Event and 2nd place in Internet Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event; Katelyn Siegel of North Gwinnett HS, 2nd place in Community Service Project Event and 1st place in the Georgia DECA Memorial Scholarship Event; Kyle Hardaway of North Gwinnett HS, 2nd place in Internet Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event; Lewis Robinson of North Gwinnett HS, 2nd place in Community Service Project Event; Sarah Levy of North Gwinnett HS, 1st place in Travel & Tourism Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event; Tanja Ardalic of North Gwinnett HS, 1st place in Entrepreneurship Promotion Project Event; Tyler Henry of North Gwinnett HS, 1st place in Travel & Tourism Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event; Jordan DeArmon of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Job Interview; Dillon Swaim of Parkview HS, 1st place in Accounting Applications Event; Victoria Head of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Automotive Services Event; Adam Greenwald of Peachtree Ridge HS, 1st place in Sports and Entertainment Marketing Management Team Event; Logan McElroy of Peachtree Ridge HS, 1st place in Sports and Entertainment Marketing Management Team Event; Matt Upchurch of Peachtree Ridge HS, 2nd place in Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making Event; Milisa Patton of Peachtree Ridge HS, 1st place in Marketing Management Series Event; and Sarah Vakili of Peachtree Ridge HS, 2nd place in Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making Event.
-- Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the largest student business organization in the world, with more than 250,000 members. Georgia also has the largest FBLA chapter in the nation, with more than 17,500 members. FBLA is an important partner, recognized by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor as an integral part of a co-curricular approach to business education and leadership education. The FBLA mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. The following students earned FBLA recognition Dhruv Bhavsar of Collins Hill HS, 1st place in Help Desk Event; Jackleen Fan of Collins Hill HS, 1st place in Insurance Event; Schmind Marc and Emanuel Kusovschi of Grayson HS, 1st place in Virtual Business Challenge; Samrat Sinharoy of Norcross HS, 2nd place in Economics Event; James Johnson of North Gwinnett HS, 2nd place in Personal Finance Event; Merlyn Abraham of Parkview HS, 1st place in Personal Finance Event; Jeff Baron of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Entrepreneurship-Individual Test Event; Natalie Ricker of South Gwinnett HS, 1st place in Computer Applications Event; and Christopher Andrus of South Gwinnett HS, 1st place in Networking Concepts Event.
-- Twenty-nine Gwinnett students placed 1st or 2nd in the Georgia Technology Students Association (TSA) State Competition. This organization is committed to providing students with opportunities to excel and advance as part of their instruction in technology education. TSA promotes technology education as a means of preparing students for a dynamic world, inviting them to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and technologically literate leaders. The mission of TSA is to prepare its members to be successful leaders and responsible citizens in a technological society through co-curricular activities with the technology education program, thereby developing communication, leadership, and competitive skills. Recognized Gwinnett students include Brian Sturdevant of Grayson HS, 1st place in 3-D CAD Animation; Tommy Terrell of Grayson HS, 1st place in Architecture CAD 2-D and 1st place in Technical Sketching and Applications; Sarah Sommano of Grayson HS, 1st place in Promotional Graphics and 2nd place in Career Comparison; Samat Kabani of Parkview HS, 1st place in Agricultural and Biotechnology Design; Sang-Keun Kim and C.J. Marihew of Parkview HS, 1st place in Animatronics; David Perez, Austin Foote, Miguel Cordon, Brian McCoy, Jordan Rosenthal, Ben Flieg, and Maxwell Cotton of Parkview HS, 1st place in Electronics Research and Experimentation; Nathan Purcella, SoDam Jung, and Danja Mewes of Parkview HS, 1st place in Imaging Technology; Josh Irvin of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Architectural Model; Jocelyn Cotton, Karim Jiwani, Brent Blihovde, Zunair Ukani, Rainer Nix, Schyler Cain, and Jocelyn Cotton of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Medical Technology; Karim Jiwani and Sang-Keun Kim of Parkview HS, 2nd place in Technical Research and Report Writing; and Simon Hiller of Norcross HS, 2nd place in Architecture CAD.

XFATs report to Board on ideas for improving employee attendance and the district's staff development efforts
As part of its continuous improvement efforts, the school district regularly convenes cross-functional action teams (XFATs) to address topics of interest.
-- During the Board's work session, the Improving Employee Attendance XFAT presented its findings and recommendations. The team made a number of recommendations, including that GCPS:
- formally develop a process for measuring and acknowledging staff attendance,
- convene a committee to standardize employee attendance reporting procedures and the scheduling of substitutes, and
- continue efforts to ensure, through the legislature, that discrepancies regarding accumulated sick leave between the Teachers Retirement System and the Public School Employees Retirement System are minimized.
-- At the evening meeting, the Quality Staff Development for all GCPS Employees XFAT presented its findings and recommendations. The team researched, evaluated, and reported on the current status of staff development for all certified and classified employees. It also studied and made recommendations for a coherent systemwide staff development program, which aligns with the vision, mission and goals of GCPS; meets the needs of all employees and builds individual and system capacity; uses best practices to produce measured improvement in student achievement and employee results; and uses technology and other delivery mechanisms to improve the processes and delivery models of staff development.

Board of Education approves advisement program materials
In order to support the school district's advisement program, several middle and high schools have piloted support materials this school year. Additionally, the schools evaluated other potential support materials to determine the quality and relevance to the goals of our advisement program. On the basis of this pilot program, staff members have recommended and the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the adoption of the advisement materials for Teenagers Preparing for the Real World (grade 8); Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, Committee for Children (grades 6-9); HS 101 (grades 9-12); and Student Paths (grades 9-12). The projected budget for this advisement materials adoption is $301,500. The school system plans to seek available grant funding to assist with the purchase.

Board adopts proposed changes to the AKS
The Gwinnett Educational Management System (GEMS) Oversight Committee held its annual meeting on March 6, 2008, to review and recommend changes to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Area Superintendent Dale Robbins reviewed GEMS meeting highlights, as well as the suggested revisions to the AKS based on input received from educators and citizens. The Board of Education approved all of the recommended changes.

One of the instructional items addressed in this year's review dealt with the required levels of P.E. and Health instruction at the middle school level. The GEMS Committee recommended maintaining the current levels of instruction. (Currently, Gwinnett requires middle school students to take nine weeks of P.E. and nine weeks of Health each year. The state does not have set time requirements for instruction in these areas.) While Board members approved the GEMS Committee's recommendation, they requested that the school district investigate the implementation of a parent waiver to allow for less physical education and health instructional time at the middle school level. This move is in response to requests from some Gwinnett parents who have sought this change in order to provide their students with more flexibility in their schedules for Connections classes.

School Board continues its work with The Center for Reform of School Systems
Since July 2006, the Gwinnett County Board of Education has participated in a two-year, invitation-only program called "Reform Governance in Action" (RGA). RGA is conducted by The Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS) and is funded by The Broad Foundation. Its focus is on improving large, urban school districts through effective governance by the Board-Superintendent team. Gwinnett's participation in the two-year program will conclude in July 2008. CRSS extended an invitation to the Gwinnett County Board of Education to continue its work with RGA through July 2010 as a participant in the RGA Sustainability Program. Citing the quality of the program and the overall benefit to the school district, Gwinnett Board members unanimously stated their desire and intent to continue working with CRSS. In addition to approving a letter of intent, the School Board adopted a resolution stating its intent to participate in the Sustainability Program.

School Board continues its policy work
School Board members approved the following policies which were tabled at the March meeting to allow for further input:
Policy BBFA- Local School Councils-- The title of this policy has been changed from “School Councils (Advisory Committees)” and the descriptor code has been changed from BBF. The approved changes align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy DFN- Fixed/Capital Asset Management-- The title of this policy has been changed from “Property & Textbook Control.” Approved changes to this policy align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy DJE- Purchasing-- Minor changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
School Board members tabled the following policies to allow for further input:
Policy BAB- District Dashboard-- This proposed new policy has been created to ensure the establishment of a “data dashboard,” which will assist the Board and public-at-large to monitor key indicators of district performance, including student achievement, district operations, and stakeholder satisfaction.
Policy IA- Academic Accountability-- This proposed new policy has been created to ensure that a comprehensive accountability system is implemented that focuses on student achievement and district performance.
Policy IHFB- Graduation Requirements- Students Entering Ninth Grade in 2008-09 and Subsequent School Years-- This new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes and mandates in state and/or federal law.
Policy GAD- Staff Development-- The proposed revisions to this policy ensure that a comprehensive staff development plan exists, which will guide the development of leaders, teachers, and support staff and will provide the opportunity for all personnel to acquire the relevant knowledge, skills, and expertise they need to perform their work to consistently high standards.
Policy IHFA- Graduation Requirements- Graduating Classes of 2006-2011-- The title of this policy has been changed from “Graduation Requirements” and the descriptor code has been changed from IHF. 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 JCD- Student Conduct Behavior Code-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
Policy KM- Visitors to Schools-- Changes have been proposed to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.