GCPS Board Meeting Summary for October 20, 2011

The following are highlights of the October 20, 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 Brookwood HS' WordMasters Challenge Teams on their award-winning performance. The National WordMasters Challenge is a national competition for high school students requiring deep analytical reading of various kinds of prose and poetry, both fiction and nonfiction. The challenge requires a level of text analysis that is not possible without a thorough understanding of how the author uses language to communicate ideas. Brookwood HS consistently places in the top 10 in each challenge nationally. In the Spring of 2011, Brookwood 9th graders placed 4th nationally overall for the year. The school's 10th grade team placed 10th. BHS' 11th graders finished 2nd in their grade level. And, Brookwood's 12th grade team placed 1st overall in the nation. The following students attended the Board meeting to accept the Board's congratulations on behalf of their teams: Adrian Alabi, Parker Graves, and Ishani Patel. Accompanying the student honorees were Assistant Principal Faye Jones, Teacher Mary Britt, and 11th/12th Grade Advisor Heather Cloward.

Board renews charter for New Life Academy of Excellence
The Board of Education approved the superintendent's recommendation for the renewal of the charter for New Life Academy of Excellence for another five years. The school's current contract with the Gwinnett County Board of Education expires June 30, 2012. New Life first petitioned GCPS in 2006 and the school opened in August of 2007 as a school that served students in grades K-3. Since then, New Life has added a grade level each year and currently serves students in grades K-7. The school's unique focus is on Chinese language and culture. In 2009, the school's charter was renewed for three years. The school has received a number of academic recognitions including being named a 2010 Platinum Award winner for Greatest Gains in Student Achievement and a 2010 Bronze Award winner for Outstanding Student Achievement. In 2011, the school also topped state results on the Georgia Grade 5 Writing Assessment. In petitioning for renewal, New Life Academy of Excellence met all requirements of the Georgia Charter School Act. In recommending approval, the Board did so contingent on New Life addressing two recommendations made by the school district's charter review committee. Those recommendations call for New Life to submit a plan and timetable to provide 7th and 8th graders with accelerated mathematics course options and that New Life increase insurance coverage. With local approval, the petition now will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education for its review and consideration. If approved, the school's charter would be effective July 1, 2012.

2012-2013 school calendar presented to the School Board
The 2012-2013 school year calendar was presented to the Board of Education at its October 20 work session. The calendar calls for the school year to begin on August 6, 2012, and to end on May 22, 2013. the calendar includes a week-long break at Thanksgiving. The winter break will be from Thursday, December 20, through Tuesday, January 1. January 2 will be a teacher planning/staff development day/student holiday and students will begin the second semester on Thursday, January 3. Spring break is slated to be held April 8-12. As with this school year, the 2012-2013 calendar includes two furlough days for all employees. Teachers and school personnel have planned furlough days on October 8 and March 11. The planned furlough days for 12-month employees will be November 21 and December 20. (These furlough days could be restored if funding sources allow.) Click here to review the 2012-2013 calendar.

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful commends "green & healthy" schools
Gwinnett County Public Schools has a decades-long partnership with Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful (GC&B) through which thousands of students each year receive educational programming related to conservation and protection of natural resources, environmental stewardship, recycling and waste reduction, and community beautification. The Green & Healthy Schools program is a joint venture of the school district and GC&B that combines strategic planning, teaching, learning, and doing in an educational program that results in a greener and healthier natural world. Schools complete a Green & Healthy Achievement Profile each year and are recognized by GC&B for their efforts and accomplishments. This year's honored schools include:
Discovering Schools-- Ferguson ES, Phoenix HS, and Snellville MS;
Progressing Schools-- Bethesda ES, Dacula MS, Kanoheda ES, Nesbit ES, North Gwinnett HS, North Gwinnett MS, Oakland Meadow School, Parkview HS, Peachtree ES, and Woodward Mill ES;
Taking Action Schools-- Alcova ES, Anderson-Livsey ES, Britt ES, Centerville ES, Collins Hill HS, Dacula ES, Gwin Oaks ES, Harmony ES, Head ES, Knight ES, Lanier HS, Lilburn MS, Meadowcreek ES, Mountain Park ES, Mountain View HS, Patrick ES, Pharr ES, Simpson ES, Sycamore ES, and White Oak ES;
Reaching Higher Schools-- Annistown ES; Arcado ES; Beaver Ridge ES; Berkeley Lake ES; Brookwood HS; Buice School; Camp Creek ES: Cedar Hill ES; Chesney ES; Corley ES; Craig ES; Duncan Creek ES; Duluth MS; Dyer ES; Five Forks MS; Fort Daniel ES; Grayson ES; Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Harbins ES; Harris ES; Jackson ES; Lanier MS; Level Creek ES; Lovin ES; Mason ES; Maxwell High School of Technology; McKendree ES; Minor ES; Monarch School; Norcross HS; Parsons ES; Peachtree Ridge HS; Pinckneyville MS; Puckett’s Mill ES; Riverside ES; Roberts ES; Rosebud ES; Shiloh MS; Starling ES; Sugar Hill ES; Taylor ES; Trickum MS; Trip ES; and Winn Holt ES.

School Nutrition Program in sound financial shape
Staff members provided the Board with an annual report on all school nutrition programs. This report reflects the sound position of the School Nutrition Program and is provided to keep the Board informed of participation and the financial status of each school. Participation at the elementary level is 92% for lunch and 42% for the breakfast program. At the middle school level, 84% of students participate in the lunch program and 37% participate in the breakfast program. At the high school level, 66% of students participate in lunch and 23% in breakfast.

Board adopts budget development calendar
The Board annually adopts a calendar of critical activities and dates that comprise the budget development cycle for the coming fiscal year. The Board of Education reviewed the proposed calendar of activities and dates associated with adoption of the FY2013 budget at its last meeting. Key dates proposed include:
October 20, 2011 – Adopt budget development calendar for Fiscal Year 2013
December 19, 2011January 31, 2012 – Prepare FY2013 program budget requests
February 1, 2012 – Central Office budget managers submit completed proposed budget requests to Budget Office
March 9-23, 2012 – Preparation and printing of Superintendent's recommended budget
April 14, 2012 – Board budget work session (Saturday)
April 17, 2012 – Board budget work session; adoption of tentative budget; (Area Board Meeting)
April 23, 2012 – Copies of Superintendent’s recommended budget available for public
May 2 and May 7, 2012 – Publish budget advertisement in newspaper
May 10, 2012 – First public hearing on budget
May 17, 2012 – Second public budget hearing; final budget adoption; and adoption of tentative millage rate
June TBD, 2012 – Final adoption of millage rate

Board continues updates to policies
The Board approved the following policy which had been tabled for 30 days to allow for public input:
- Policy EEE- Wellness Plan
- Policy IHFB- Graduation Requirements – Students Entering Ninth Grade in 2008-09 and Subsequent School Years