GCPS Board Meeting Summary for December 16, 2010

The following are highlights of the December 16, 2010, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice Chairman Dr. Robert McClure, Carole Boyce, Louise Radloff, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

School Board honors, students, teachers, and staff members
-- The Board saluted Kelly Stopp of Meadowcreek ES on her recognition as one of two Milken Educator Award winners from Georgia. She is one of 55 educators from across the nation surprised with this year’s national honor. The Milken Educator Awards program was conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators, and to encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Ms. Stopp learned she was a Milken Educator during a "surprise" school assembly in November.
Working on her Ph.D. in reading, Ms. Stopp goes to great lengths to help her students gain literacy skills. In fact, more than 90% of her students (68% of whom participate in the English Language Learners program) passed the 2nd grade reading portion of the CRCT. As a 2nd grade reading specialist, Ms. Stopp extends her reach as a teacher by sharing best practices in literacy techniques with her peers. She also created a grammar lesson booklet that is now used countywide and organized a book room at her school.
In addition to the recognition that accompanies this prestigious honor, the award comes with a cash prize of $25,000 that Ms. Stopp can use in any way she chooses. She shared with the Board that she plans to use a portion of the award to begin a community literacy program in the Meadowcreek ES community. Ms. Stopp was accompanied by Meadowcreek ES Principal Kelli McCain.

-- Board members also recognized Mindy Lewis who was honored as the 2010 Georgia Outstanding Social Studies Educator of the Year by the Georgia Council for Social Studies. The Council was established in 1981 and seeks to recognize educators who have made an outstanding contribution in the teaching of social studies. The selection of the Educator of the Year is based on the nominee's promotion of social studies education that includes activities that demonstrate significant service and foster the development of democratic values and citizenship in the classroom, school, and community. Other standards for selection include professional involvement beyond the normal job requirements, efforts toward the improvement of student learning, use of multiple sources to enhance social studies instruction, and professional publication and/or conference or workshop presentations.
Ms. Lewis currently serves as a Content Assessment Specialist in the Division of Teaching and Learning. Prior to this position, she was the social studies instructional coach and an 8th grade social studies teacher at Crews MS. She has been active in many of the county social studies initiatives, such as building literacy in social studies, textbook adoption, Project Citizen, the Georgia Economic History Project, curriculum review, and sequential lesson plans. She also has been trained as a History Alive! instructional coach and serves as a trainer for the Center for Civic Education. Recognized as a Georgia Department of Education Master Teacher, Ms. Lewis has presented workshops for GCPS, the Georgia Council for Social Studies, and the National Council for Social Studies.

-- The Gwinnett County Board of Education honored several counselors who received state recognition this year. Kelly Flower of Five Forks MS was named the 2010 Georgia Middle School Counselor of the Year; Dr. Dana Edwards of Grayson ES is the 2010 Georgia ES Counselor of the Year; and Karen Gannon Griffith of Berkeley Lake ES is the 2010 Georgia Writer of the Year. The path to winning such an honor is a long and competitive process. The three Gwinnett honorees won local and regional honors in order to be eligible for the State honors. The Georgia School Counselors Association (GSCA) recognized the Gwinnett educators at its annual conference which was held on November 2 in Athens, Ga. Dianne Thompson, GCPS director of counseling and advisement, praised these individuals for their contributions to their schools, to student achievement, and to the district. She shared that Gwinnett school counselors remove barriers to student achievement by providing preventive and responsive services through classroom guidance, small-group, and individual counseling. She added that "High quality programs, with strong administrative support, delivered at all levels is what elevates counseling in GCPS." These recent honorees join a long list of Gwinnett counselors who have won state and national honors. Accompanying the honorees were Grayson ES Principal Dr. Christopher RayFive Forks MS Principal Dr. Mary Hensien; and Berkeley Lake ES Principal Dr. FA McLeod

-- The School Board congratulated North Gwinnett MS on its recent recognition by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) as a Distinguished Breakthrough Middle School. GASSP recognizes middle schools that are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement. For this award, one school from each GASSP district was nominated. Out of those 13 schools, North Gwinnett MS was selected as one of this year's "Distinguished" winners. The selection criteria looked at collaborative leadership among the staff, personalization and attention to students, and access to a rigorous curriculum for all students with differentiated instruction, multiple assessments, and data-based decisionmaking. Principal Wanda Law and Assistant Principals David Strickland, Natalie Perry, and Maggi Fehrman accepted the Board's congratulations on behalf of their school community.

-- The Board also recognized another GASSP honoree, Susan Opferman of Creekland MS, who is GASSP's Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year. This award recognizes assistant principals for their outstanding support of their principal and the work of the local school. In particular, the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and community involvement are considered when selecting the winner. Applications were received from schools throughout the state for this prestigious award. Ms. Opferman has served as an assistant principal at Creekland MS for nine years. She is a graduate of the Quality-Plus Leadership Academy Class of 2008. Accompanying Ms. Opferman was Creekland MS Principal Dr. Bill Kruskamp. Dr. Kruskamp was very complimentary of Ms. Opferman's leadership and of her many contributions to Creekland MS.

-- School Board members applauded the members of the Collins Hill HS Girls Softball Team on the team's 2010 AAAAA State Championship. This is the second consecutive state championship and third overall state championship for the Collins Hill softball program. In introducing the team, Head Coach Billy Dooley, a Collins Hill HS graduate himself, thanked the girls for their hard work and commitment. He also recognized the parents for the work they do to support the team. Coach Dooley also thanked his assistant coaches Missy Richardson, Paul Pierce, Nicole Frank, and Megan Marchman. Accompanying Coach Dooley and his team were Principal Glenn McFall and Activities Director Roland Wallace.

-- In other Collins Hill HS news, the Board recognized the Collins Hill HS Screamin' Eagle Band on its recent accomplishments. The Collins Hill HS Screamin' Eagle Marching Band-- led by drum majors Kelsey Gay, Eric Ivon, and Hannah Lee-- received the Grand Champion Award at the Georgia Contest of Champions on October 9, 2010, and repeated its success by receiving the Grand Champion Award at the Southern Invitational Music Festival on October 16, 2010. Accompanying the band members present were Principal Glenn McFall and Band Directors Ryan Bybee and Daniel Treuman (a Collins Hill HS graduate). In his remarks, Mr. Bybee spoke of his students' success in the classroom and in the marching band. He also thanked the Creekland MS band program for their work in developing young musicians.

-- Board members congratulated two Gwinnett educators who earned state honors from the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA). Lauren Christine Phillips, a visual arts teacher at Nesbit ES, was named the Elementary Art Educator of the Year at the GAEA's Fall Conference in Callaway Gardens on October 22, 2010. In addition to this honor, Ms. Phillips also was named the Southeastern Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association. Joining Ms. Phillips as a GAEA honoree is Dallas Gillespie, a visual arts teacher at Osborne MS, who was named the Middle Level Art Educator of the Year for 2010-11. Accompanying the honorees were Principals Clayborn Knight of Nesbit ES and John Campbell of Osborne MS.

-- Gwinnett County Public Schools takes pride in its involvement in Gwinnett County's successful Relay For Life event, benefitting the American Cancer Society. The total amount raised by Gwinnett County Public Schools for this past year's Relay event was $1,041,862. Among the 116 school system teams participating, 32 school teams and three central office teams raised $10,000 or more. Those schools are Brookwood HS, Cooper ES, Couch MS, Craig ES, Creekland MS, Crews MS, Collins Hill HS, Dacula ES, Duncan Creek ES, Grayson HS, Jones MS, Lanier MS, Mason ES, McConnell MS, Mill Creek HS, Minor ES, Norcross HS, North Gwinnett HS, North Gwinnett MS, Parkview HS, Peachtree Ridge HS, Pinckneyville ES, Puckett's Mill ES, Riverside ES, Rock Springs ES, Shiloh MS, Simpson ES, Snellville MS, Sugar Hill ES, Taylor ES, Trickum MS, and Winn Holt ES. The central office teams were the IMD CD's, ISC Relay For Life, and Transportation. Accompanying the Relay For Life teams were Linda Story, Senior Income Manager, American Cancer Society; Kirsten Baker, North Gwinnett HS assistant principal and youth development chair for North Gwinnett's Relay team; and Holly Smith, team captain and Social Studies department chair at North Gwinnett HS.

BOE reviews Vision for Public Education in Georgia
The Gwinnett County Board of Education received a report on the recently concluded first phase of the state Vision project sponsored by the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association. These two organizations partnered to develop a new "Vision for Public Education in Georgia." A planning team composed of 31 superintendents and school board members worked for more than a year reviewing research, hearing from national experts in a variety of education-related fields, and studying best practices. The result is 45 recommendations in seven component areas. As part of the report, Gwinnett School Board members learned more about the plans for dissemination and implementation of the recommendations in phase two, which gets underway in earnest in 2011. Click here to learn more about the Vision for Public Education in Georgia.

BOE amends charter school application for online campus
Gwinnett County Online Campus is seeking to become a start-up charter school positioned to open next school year. At its May 20, 2010, meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a petition for Gwinnett County Online Campus to move to charter status for the years 2011-12 through 2015-16. The approved petition was submitted to the Georgia Department of Education for review. The Department of Education has requested that additional or revised information be added to the petition prior to action by the Georgia Board of Education. Staff members have reviewed the application and have made recommendations for revisions to the school's original applications. The Board approved these revisions and the amended application will be resubmitted to the Georgia Board of Education for approval.

Board continues updates to policies
The Board tabled the following policies to allow for public input:
Policy BH- Board Members Code of Ethics-- 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 BCAB- School Board Meetings-- 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 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.

School Board honors Dr. Mary Kay Murphy for service as 2010 chair
The Board annually recognizes and thanks the outgoing chairman for his or her leadership and service during the year. Dr. Mary Kay Murphy was acknowledged during the meeting for her service as the 2010 chairman. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks presented Dr. Murphy with several books. These books will be provided to the media centers in the District III high schools (Duluth HS, Norcross HS, and the GIVE Center) and at Monarch School in Dr. Murphy's honor. In addition, a leadership book will be presented to the next Quality-Plus Leader Academy in her honor.