The following are highlights of the January 22, 2015, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education. Board members present included Daniel Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Carole Boyce, Dr. Robert McClure, and Louise Radloff. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board attends to annual business at first meeting of 2015
January is the month for the Gwinnett County Board of Education to elect its officers for the new calendar year. As the first order of business, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, who represents District III, was elected chairman for 2015. Dr. Robert McClure, District IV representative, was elected vice chairman for 2015. In accordance with policy, the School Board reaffirmed its policies, designated the Gwinnett Daily Post as the official media organ for the school system, and approved retaining the services of Thompson ,Sweeny, Kinsinger & Pereira, P.C. as its legal counsel. In addition, Board members approved the meeting schedule for 2015. Adopted School Board meeting dates remaining in 2015 include February 19, March 19, April 16, May 28, June 25, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, and December 17. The proposed date for the first meeting in 2016 would be January 21.
Board honors award-winning students and staff
-- The Board of Education congratulated the Peachtree Ridge HS' Boys Golf Team on its state championship season. This is the team's second state title. Representing the team were Dr. Jeff Mathews, PRHS principal, as well as Activities Director Jon Weyher and Head Golf Coach Bert Green.
-- Also earning a nod from the School Board was Peachtree Ridge HS' Competitive Cheerleading Squad which earned its seventh state title with the win in November. Dr. Rob Spencer, head coach, and Teri Schneider, assistant coach, joined Dr. Mathews and Mr. Weyher in congratulating these student athletes on their successful season.
-- Board members saluted the Duluth HS Chamber Orchestra on its performance at the Midwest Clinic, a prestigious international band and orchestra conference held in Chicago. The Midwest Clinic receives applications from around the world to perform at its annual conference in December. This is the largest clinic of its kind held every year. Groups accepted to perform at this event have submitted recordings of the highest quality and show consistency in the quality of the program at the school. These groups perform featured music from across history, cultures, and styles, as well as world premieres and other new material for massive audiences. The orchestra is under the direction of Dr. Peter Lemonds and Shawn Morton.
Discovery HS to anchor new cluster
Discovery HS will be the name of the new high school opening in August of 2015 to relieve overcrowding in the Berkmar and Central Gwinnett clusters. The name of this school is fitting as it will feature unique programs including an entrepreneurship center, two Junior Achievement of Georgia programs for middle school students (JA BizTown and JA Finance Park), and other instructional innovations. This high school will anchor the district's 19th cluster of schools. Discovery HS will be led by Principal John Campbell, a veteran leader who most recently has served the district as principal of Osborne MS.
Board honors Gwinnett PTA for its support
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. Those recognized at tonight's meeting included Gwinnett Area I Council of PTAs President Fonda Hedgepeth, Gwinnett Area II Council of PTAs President Virginia Kerr, and Gwinnett Area III Council of PTAs President Kindell May. As part of the recognition, the Gwinnett County Board of Education proclaimed February 17, 2015, as PTA Day in Gwinnett County Public Schools, acknowledging the PTA as a valued partner in the school district's quest to become a system of world-class schools.
BOE approves revisions to vision, mission, and strategic goals
In 2014, Gwinnett County Public Schools revisited its vision, mission, and strategic goals as part of its civic engagement initiative in order to ensure that these foundational components are relevant and continue to resonate with those who live in Gwinnett County today. A community survey was conducted and additional feedback was gathered from school leaders. The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved slight revisions to the vision, mission, and goals based on the feedback received. The revised foundational components are found below.
Vision: Gwinnett County Public Schools will become a system of world-class schools where students acquire the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and careers.
Mission: The mission of Gwinnett County Public Schools is to pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student, resulting in measured improvement against local, national, and world-class standards.
Gwinnett County Public Schools will...
- Ensure a world-class education for all students by focusing on teaching and learning the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum.
- Ensure a safe, secure, and orderly environment for all.
- Optimize student achievement through responsible stewardship of its financial resources and the proactive pursuit of all resources necessary to meet current and future demands.
- Recruit, employ, develop, and retain a workforce that achieves the mission and goals of the organization.
- Support instructional and operational needs with technological systems and processes that support effective performance and desired results.
- Provide and manage the system’s facilities and operations in an exemplary manner as determined by programmatic needs and best management practices.
- Apply continuous quality improvement strategies and principles as the way the organization does business.
School Board receives update on Teaching American History Grant
Dr. Nikki Mouton, executive director for Curriculum and Instruction, and Dr. Debbie Daniell, director of Social Studies, presented the members of the Board of Education with an update on the school system's Teaching American History Grant, entitled American History: Examining Years of Economic Strides. Although funding for this grant ended in September of 2014, the impact on teaching and learning in our classrooms continues. The grant encouraged critical thinking and historical investigation into central themes and concepts in American history, thus providing a framework for study, comprehension, and understanding in a way that is fresh, engaging, and relevant to the teachers involved. The project focused on four themes and 12 topics in American history that represented a wide range of historical events. Over the three-year period of the grant, 90 Gwinnett County teachers participated in the training. Each July, these trained teachers hosted a conference sharing their learning with other Gwinnett teachers.
School Board honors Daniel Seckinger for service as 2014 chair
The Board annually recognizes and thanks the outgoing chairman for his or her leadership and service during the year. Daniel Seckinger was acknowledged during the meeting for his service as the 2014 chairman. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced that each of the high schools in Mr. Seckinger's Board district will receive a book for their media center in honor of Mr. Seckinger's service.
Citizens addressing the Board
- Amy Lopez
- Billy Wise
- Kathy Stahlman Hildebrand
- Judy Craft
- Ken Craft
- Bruce Duncil
- Mark Urbach
- Jane Wise
- Joe Albright