07/11/2002









GCPS Board Meeting Summary for July 11, 2002

          The following are highlights of the July 11, 2002, 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.

          Gwinnett School Board Considers Change in Gwinnett Tech Governance
          At its July meeting, the School Board received a proposal from the Gwinnett Tech Council of Advisors (COA) that would move Gwinnett Technical College under the authority of the state's Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) within one to three years if the Gwinnett County Board of Education authorizes the change. The 2002 COA report endorses a change in governance primarily because Georgia's A+ Education Reform Act of 2000 included three major improvements for technical institutes, which had impact on the governance issue. Those improvements included:
          -allowing technical institutes that are accredited to award associate degrees to change their names to technical colleges. That change was made for Gwinnett Tech in the summer of 2000.
          -creating a funding formula by which to allot state dollars to technical colleges based on their enrollments; and
          -improving the transferability of course credits between DTAE institutions and Board of Regents colleges and universities.
          The Gwinnett School Board received the COA's recommendations but elected to take action on them at an upcoming special called meeting of the Board on July 23 at 7:30 a.m. This will allow Board members to receive input from citizens on the Gwinnett Tech governance issue. Anyone wishing to comment on the Gwinnett Tech governance issue may do so by mail (52 Gwinnett Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30045) or by fax (770-513-6650). If approved by the local board, the governance change would be presented to the DTAE board for approval. Specific timelines and details would be determined if the Gwinnett Board of Education authorizes the change.

          Board recognizes PTA Council, PTA leader, and student scholarship winner
          -- School Board members recognized and thanked the Gwinnett PTA Council for its work on behalf of Gwinnett County students. At the Georgia PTA convention held in May, the Gwinnett PTA was designated as Georgia PTA Outstanding Council for 2001-02. The award acknowledges the work of the Gwinnett PTA Council on behalf of children, schools, families, and the PTA organization. Last year's Council Co-Presidents Cindy Thompson and Anita Solty accepted the honor on behalf of the Council and the approximate 70,000 members of the Gwinnett County PTA. In her remarks, Ms. Thompson briefed the Board on several PTA initiatives, including enhanced training and materials and the special needs college fair. She expressed great pride in the Council's work and in their ability to bring this prestigious award home to Gwinnett County.
          -- Board members recognized Cindy Thompson as outgoing president of the Gwinnett PTA Council and thanked her for her service in 2000-01 and in 2001-02. The Board applauded Mrs. Thompson's service and dedication to children, schools, and the community. She has contributed her energies, talents, and indomitable spirit in service to GCPS in numerous ways-- as a parent, a room mom, a volunteer, and as a PTA leader. Over the years, she has given much to the PTA organization, serving at the local school level (Cedar Hill ES, Lawrenceville ES, Richards MS, and Central Gwinnett HS), and at the Council level (cluster representative, secretary, newsletter editor, vice president, and co-president). Her support of public education also is evident in her service as a key member of the promotional activities subcommittee for the 2001 SPLOST campaign and as a charter member of the Superintendent's Council of Community Advisors. Mrs. Thompson plans to continue her service with the PTA Council as past president and as an area representative; she also will serve as co-president of Central Gwinnett's PTSA and coordinate the special needs college fair.
          -- The Gwinnett County Board of Education honored Duluth HS graduate Tana Over as the 2002 recipient of the Alton C. Crews Scholarship. The $1,500 scholarship, which is named in honor of a former Gwinnett superintendent, is awarded to a student who plans to become a teacher in Georgia. Ms. Over will attend the University of Georgia this fall and upon her graduation hopes to return to Gwinnett County to teach. She was accompanied by her parents, Alan and Vicki Over. Her mother teaches at McKendree ES.

          Board of Education approves Annual Special Education Comprehensive Plan
          The Board approved the school district's annual Special Education Comprehensive Plan. This action assures that Gwinnett County Public Schools will comply with all provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state rules governing special education. It also establishes how federal and state grant funds will be distributed to support the needs of special education students in GCPS. This flow-through funding, received from the U.S. Department of Education, helps to defray the cost associated with providing a Free Appropriate Public Education to all special education students in GCPS. This federal funding amounts to approximately 10.1% of the excess cost of educating special education students as compared to the cost of educating a regular education student. The state and the district provide the majority of the total funding. (Note: The U.S. Department of Education indicated that federal funds would account for 40% of the excess cost of educating a child with a disability; however, Congress has not funded this.)
          The Comprehensive Plan is designed for services to students from 3 through 21 years of age with an identified disability. This includes preschool students who have a disability in private preschool programs. More than 13,000 Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are written in GCPS each year. Special education data indicates that although IEP goals increase in difficulty each year, the vast majority of students meet these goals. Linda Mitchell, GCPS director of assessment, shared assessment information for special education students, clearly showing that most special education students pass the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and high school Gateway assessments and High School Graduation Test on the first try.

          School Board approves list of school council business partner representatives
          In accordance with state law, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the business representatives who will serve as members of the Local School Councils at 66 schools that are implementing councils this school year. The councils serve in an advisory capacity, providing advice, recommendations, and assistance to schools. The seven-member councils are made up of teachers, parents, business representatives, and the principal. This year, every Gwinnett school will have a school council, putting GCPS a year ahead of schedule of the state's timeline for implementation.

          BOE votes on long-term care insurance provider
          The Board approved Lincoln Benefit Life as the school system's "endorsed plan" for long-term care insurance. This benefit will be offered to employees as part of the school system's cafeteria benefits package. J. Paul Copeland of Copeland Insurance Associates will serve as the agent of record for long-term care insurance. Mr. Copeland may offer options in addition to the endorsed plan in individual situations.

          School Nutrition Program report reflects sound financial position
          Board of Education members received the final of three reports on the participation and financial status of the School Nutrition Program (SNP) for the 2001-02 school year. Participation rates at all school levels increased over rates from the previous year, with the systemwide participation rate at 71% compared to last year's rate of 68%. Gwinnett's SNP provides breakfast and lunch and teaches students healthy eating habits. Federal law requires the SNP to operate on a financially sound, non-profit basis. All costs of the program-- including food, labor, and supplies-- are financed by meal payments and federal and state reimbursement. This report indicates that as of May 2002, Gwinnett's SNP had a cash net worth of more than $12.4 million.

          The School Board adopted the following policy revisions, which had been tabled since its June 20, 2002, meeting:
          -- Policy G - Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities-- This new policy, located under the “Personnel” section, addresses employees with disabilities.
          -- Policy JC - Sexual Harassment/Discrimination (Students)-- This new policy complies with current practice and state law. Some of the information previously contained in Policy JC “Grievance/Appeal Procedures,” which was rescinded, was incorporated into this new policy.
          -- Policy JCAC - Accommodations for Students with Disabilities-- Changes to this policy comply with current practice and include a change in name from “Section 504 Policy” to “Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.”
          -- Policy KJ - Advertising in Schools-- Minor changes to this policy were approved to comply with current practice and to include information contained in Policy KIA “Distribution of Political Campaign Materials.”

          The following policies were rescinded:
          -- Policy JC - Grievance/Appeal Procedures-- Information contained in this policy will be split into two documents-- policies and procedures-- that focus on student complaints and employee complaints separately.
          -- Information contained in the following policies is being incorporated into Policy JCD “Student Discipline and Conduct Behavior Code:
          JCB - Safe Schools Discipline Policy
          JCDAB - First Offenders--Rule 7 Discipline Policy
          JCDB - Student Dress Code Discipline Policy
          JCDBA - Electronic Pagers,
          JD - Student Discipline
          JDA - Corporal Punishment
          JH - Student Activities
          -- Policy KEBA - Concession Rights-- This policy is a duplicate of Policy JKA “Concession Rights.”
          -- Policy KIA - Distribution of Political Campaign Materials-- Staff is recommending the information contained in this policy be incorporated into Policy KJ “Advertising in Schools.”

          A complete list of the leadership appointments approved at the meeting include:

          Name-- Current Position

          Appointment

          Kellye Riggins-- Administrative Assistant, Dacula MS

          Assistant Principal, Dacula MS

          Teresa Siebenbruner-- Administrative Assistant, North Gwinnett HS

          Assistant Principal (half-time)/
          Administrative Assistant (half-time), North Gwinnett HS

          Debra Hall-Griffin-- Teacher on Special Assignment, Gwinnett Technical College

          Administrative Assistant, Buchanan School

          Jodi Robinson-- Teacher, Brookwood HS

          Administrative Assistant, South Gwinnett HS

          Patricia Sharpton-- Teacher, Meadowcreek HS

          Administrative Assistant, Meadowcreek HS

          Stefanie Woods-- Teacher, Collins Hill HS

          Administrative Assistant, Meadowcreek HS

          The following leadership transfers were presented to School Board members for their information:
          • Guylyn DeMeyere will transfer from her position as assistant principal at Meadowcreek HS to her new position as assistant principal at South Gwinnett HS.
          • John Hall will serve as an assistant principal at Parkview HS. Currently, he is the community school director at Parkview HS.
          • Donna Ledford will become assistant principal at Craig ES, transferring from her position as assistant principal at Beaver Ridge ES.

          Ms. Mariano, Mr. Daymude, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Volkmer already have moved into their new positions. All of the other appointments are effective July 1, 2002, with two exceptions: Dr. Kahrs will move into his leadership position with the new Peachtree Ridge HS on January 1, 2003. Mr. Kruskamp will become principal of Shiloh HS at that time.

          The following policies are recommended to be tabled until the August 8 Board Meeting:
          --Policy EBC - Data Access and Security-- Staff is recommending proposed changes to this policy to include the review of Data Access and Security procedures annually with staff.
          --Policy IFB - Acceptable Use of Electronic Media-- Staff is recommending changing the name of this policy from “Use of Electronic Media” to “Acceptable Use of Electronic Media.”
          --Policy JCD - Student Conduct Behavior Code-- Staff is recommending changing the name of this policy from “Student Discipline and Conduct Behavior Code” to “Student Conduct Behavior Code” and incorporating information contained in policies that were recommended to be rescinded at the July 11 Board meeting.