GCPS Board Meeting Summary for November 17, 2011

The following are highlights of the November 17, 2011, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Dr. Robert McClure, Louise Radloff, Carole Boyce, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Daniel D. Seckinger. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.

Board recognizes students, staff, and schools
- The Gwinnett County Board of Education recognized Parkview HS' Marine Corps JROTC on its recognition as a Naval Honor School by the Commanding General Training and Education Command, MCCDC in Quantico, Virginia. This designation is given to 20% of the JROTC units in the nation in recognition of a unit's exemplary performance during the area Commander's inspection. The recognition also takes into account a unit's exemplary performance in drill competitions, community service, and marksmanship competitions. Honored JROTC units also must demonstrate exemplary performance in unit administration, training, supply, facilities, armory management, cadet citizenship, school and community involvement, scholastic achievement, and extracurricular events, according to Training and Education Command guidelines. Parkview HS Marine Corps JROTC accomplishments for the past year include being named a Naval Honor School for the fourth consecutive year; winning first place in State Drill Competition; taking second place nationally in Orienteering (placed in top three for the past three years); earning state semifinalist in Rifle Competition; doubling enrollment in the past three years, including cadets from six high schools (Parkview, Brookwood, Grayson, Archer, Meadowcreek, and Berkmar); collecting more than $60,000 in cash and toys for the Toys for Tots drive last year; posting an average of 40 hours per cadet in Community Service hours; and JROTC cadets earning two appointments to the United States Naval Academy, one appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point (Army), five ROTC scholarships, and numerous academic scholarships. Accompanying the cadets for the Board recognition were Principal David Smith; Major Ronald Tootle, USMC retired; and Gunnery Sergeant and Marine Instructor Dave Erwin, USMC retired. Major Tootle commended his cadets, giving his senior cadets credit for their leadership and hard work.

- The School Board congratulated the school system's Social Studies Department on its designation as a Program of Excellence by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies (GCSS). Each year, GCSS identifies exemplary social studies programs throughout the state, and encourages the growth and development of effective programs in the social studies. This year, GCSS recognized GCPS Social Studies Department for the "Building Literacy in Social Studies" initiative. Over the past two years, GCPS' Social Studies Department has trained more than 300 K-12 teachers, using the "train the trainer" model for re-delivery to their local schools. The program uses research-based strategies that align with the district's Quality-Plus Teaching Strategies in the areas of the reading process, vocabulary development, fostering engaged learning, textbook literacy, gender differences in reading instruction, primary and secondary documents, critical thinking about social studies issues, and promotion of civic engagement in the community. Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Dale Robbins, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction Mary Elizabeth Davis, and Director of Social Studies Debbie Daniell accepted the Board's congratulations on behalf of the district's social studies teachers.

- Board members saluted Oswaldo Terrones Suarez, a 3rd grade student at Dacula ES, on his first-place finish in the Jimmy Carter Mini-Poster Contest, sponsored by the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Education Program. Each year, K-12 grade students are invited to participate in the "Plains, Peanuts, and a President" Mini-Poster Art Contest, in which entries are judged by their creativity in work and neatness in drawing an image that represents Jimmy Carter, Plains, and Peanuts. This year, a total of 9,566 entries were submitted from K-12 students statewide. Oswaldo's winning design was on display at the Peanut Festival on Sept. 24, and will be exhibited in the Plains High School Museum until next summer and featured on the Jimmy Carter website. The student also will receive an autographed copy of one of former President Carter's books. Accompanying Oswaldo were Dacula ES Principal Mary Lou Enright, Assistant Principal Pam Tuggle, and 3rd Grade Teacher Edriel Wilkerson.

Board approves resolution affirming election results
The Board of Education approved a resolution declaring the results of the Nov. 8, 2011, election in which voters approved the continuation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and authorized the issuance of general obligation debt in conjunction with the tax. In doing so, Board members thanked the voters who supported the measure and extended a special thanks to the citizens committee, headed by Sean Murphy and Mike Levengood, for leading the successful campaign for the sales tax extension. They also expressed appreciation to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and the numerous community leaders and Gwinnett residents who helped promote passage of the education SPLOST. The current SPLOST will expire on June 30, 2012. With the renewal, the education SPLOST will continue collecting a penny to support school capital needs through June 30, 2017.

Board approves legislative priorities for 2012
Each year, the Gwinnett County Board of Education communicates with the Gwinnett Delegation to the General Assembly those issues of critical importance to the funding and effective operation of Gwinnett County Public Schools. The 2012 Legislative Program summarizes the continuing positions and state funding improvement requests that the Board wishes to bring to the delegation for consideration in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. These adopted priorities will be posted on the district's website. On December 5, the Board will meet with members of the Gwinnett Delegation to review the district's legislative agenda.

School Board members recognized for completing annual training
Local Board of Education members in Georgia are required by state law to annually complete approved training activities offered through the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) Professional Development Program or other qualified agencies. The State Board of Education and GSBA issue certificates to Board members who fulfill the training requirements each year. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks presented a certificate to each Board member on behalf of the State Board of Education and GSBA, acknowledging completion of this state-mandated training.

Murphy to represent Gwinnett BOE at National School Board Association's meeting
The Board of Education authorized Dr. Mary Kay Murphy of District III to represent the Board at the 2011 National School Board Association's Federal Relations Network Conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5-7, 2012. This meeting is attended by School Board members nationwide. It provides for local input concerning America's education agenda, as well as the opportunity to dialogue with members of Congress and the Administration.

Citizens addressing the Board
- Craig Lownes