GCPS Board Meeting Summary for February 28, 2013

The following are highlights of the February 28, 2013, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Carole Boyce, Vice Chairman Daniel Seckinger, Dr. Robert McClure, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

School Board expresses appreciation to Gwinnett PTA Councils
In February of each year, the Gwinnett County Board of Education takes the opportunity, in conjunction with the February anniversary of the founding of PTA, to salute Gwinnett County PTA leaders.
Chief of Staff Berney Kirkland provided a history of Gwinnett's PTA, calling the organization a mainstay of support for Gwinnett schools. Mrs. Kirkland extended the Board's thanks to the PTAs and their leaders for the work they do to support teaching and learning. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks added his thanks saying it was what they do, not just for their children, but for all Gwinnett children that make them outstanding leaders. Those recognized at tonight's meeting included Georgia PTA District 12 Director Dee Dee Jackson, Gwinnett Area I Council of PTAs Co-Presidents Mary Coughlin and Mayna Thomas, Gwinnett Area II Council of PTAs Co-Presidents Beth Horn and Beverly Shorter, as well as other Area II leaders Lesley Poole and Caressa Prescott, and Gwinnett Area III Council of PTAs Co-Presidents Janie Martinez and Kindell May. Carol Ranft, who serves as parliamentarian for the Gwinnett Area III Council, accepted the Board's recognition on behalf of Area III. In addition, the School Board honored Tilwana Anderson of the Partee ES PTA on her recent recognition from the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia PTA as one of six winners of a Parent Leadership Award. As a winner of the Georgia Parent Leadership Award, Ms. Anderson will have opportunities throughout the year to share her story by promoting and assisting parent engagement activities at the state level. Ms. Anderson was accompanied by Dr. LaVern Lynch, Partee ES principal.

School councils from Berkmar and Mountain View clusters make report to BOE
As part of the recognition portion of the meeting, representatives of local school councils from the Berkmar and Mountain View clusters made a presentation to the Board, sharing how their councils help bring parents, teachers, school administrators, and the business community together to discuss concerns and share ideas for school improvement.

Board hears report on Black History Month celebrations
Each year, Gwinnett County Public Schools joins citizens and schools across the nation in celebrating Black History Month during February. This annual event celebrates achievements of African Americans, and serves as a time for recognizing the central role they have played in U.S. history. Dr. Debbie Daniel, GCPS director of Social Studies, provided Board members with examples of school and classroom activities and shared professional learning opportunities that have been made available to teachers.

Board approves extension of strategic partner agreement
IBM is the school district's strategic technology integrator and has provided excellent service in support of the district and its schools. The current Strategic Technology Integration Partnership Agreement with IBM is recommended for extension from March 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017. This agreement provides a number of benefits to the district:
  • Accelerates the district’s eCLASS strategic initiative through more stringent and focused management, using world-class systems integration methodology and project implementation leadership;
  • Elevates the level of IBM accountability, advice, involvement, and responsibility in the school district’s technology decision-making, including strategy, solution selection, and implementation;
  • Provides GCPS access to dedicated IBM resources in the area of Personalized Education analytics research;
  • Continues to provide GCPS the broad scope and full capabilities of IBM-provided resources (hardware, software, and services), including leadership in project and systems integration;
  • Continues to provide for sole-source, vendor of choice, and single-source technology services and product procurement, avoiding costly and extended delays in bid processing; and
  • Continues IBM’s responsive and supportive long-term relationship with GCPS, which has been built over many years on assured value, commitment to deliver, and industry viability.

Any financial obligation associated with these referenced services, software, and hardware would be from budgeted funds and would be approved through a Project Change Request (PCR).

Board approves plan for eCLASS acceleration and transformation
Under the updated Strategic Technology Integration Partnership Agreement with IBM, the Board of Education approved the eCLASS Acceleration and Classroom Transformation Project Change Request 1317 at a cost of $27,020,497 which will be budgeted over the next five years. This will allow for the following enhancements to the eCLASS initiative:
  • Accelerates the implementation of GCPS’ eCLASS initiative;
  • Designates IBM as the lead systems integrator and program manager for eCLASS;
  • Ensures greater clarity and focus for the overall program management and direction of the eCLASS initiative through December 31, 2017;
  • Allows GCPS to focus on enhancing teaching and learning while IBM provides education research input, and performs the functions of program management and governance, solution implementation, technical support, and integration essential to the success of eCLASS;
  • Builds upon existing GCPS systems through the selection and integration of "best of breed" solutions in Curriculum & Instruction, Professional Development, SIS, Gradebook, and Analytics, which will accelerate the delivery of “out-of-the-box” functionality and minimize the need for custom application development;
  • Leverages existing GCPS investments in analytics, content management, infrastructure, and portal technology; and
  • Incorporates emerging technologies, enabling delivery to mobile devices, integrating social media, and leveraging analytics.

BOE approves naming of Chattahoochee ES bus lane
he Board approved the recommendation of Chattahoochee ES' Local School Council to name the bus lane in front of the school “Coomer Cove” in honor of former principal Jane Coomer.  Ms. Coomer was the first principal of Chattahoochee ES and served in that position for 14 years before retiring.  During her retirement, she has returned to the school to tutor students to help them succeed in reading, writing, and mathematics.