The following are highlights of the February 16, 2017, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE). Board members present included Chairman Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman Carole Boyce, Daniel Seckinger, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Dr. Robert McClure. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board salutes staff, students, and schools on recent honors
- Members of the Board congratulated members of the school district's Broadcast and Distance Learning/GCPS TV team on their recent success. This past year, the GCPS TV team won three EMMY Awards, competing in the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The team competed against major television stations and production companies throughout the southeast. The school system's winning entries were "Cooper O'Brien's Courage Award" and "Que's Story," which won two EMMYs. Altogether, the GCPS TV team has won eight EMMYs and 17 TELLY awards. Attending tonight's recognition and representing the department were Greg LaHatte, director of Broadcast and Distance Learning; Glenn Ballard, coordinator of Broadcast Media; Kolinda Scialabba, coordinator of Broadcast Media; and Lakyn Brinkman Napoletan, systems analyst for Broadcast Media.
- The BOE honored Brookwood High School Media Specialist Jan Wilson for her recent recognition as 2016 Georgia Media Specialist of the Year by the Georgia Library Media Association. In introducing Mrs. Wilson, Principal Bo Ford discussed her passion for her work and students, explaining that when she came to Brookwood she had an instant impact on the program and the school. He said, "Her passion for what she does is unparalleled." Wilson advances to compete for the national title.
- School Board members recognized a team of students from Meadowcreek High School on its top finish in the Global Virtual Classroom competition. This competition, which builds a bridge of communication between classrooms in countries and regions of the world, is open for approximately 10 weeks during three different periods in the school year. As part of the contest, the students create a collaborative website on a topic of world interest. Groups are assigned by the Global Virtual Classroom, and may consist of two to four schools. Assessment of the team's performance was based on creativity/originality, social responsibility, team spirit, and copyright compliance. In this particular competition, 16 schools and eight teams from the United States, India, Africa, Russia, and Taiwan participated. Meadowcreek's partner team was from New Delhi, India. The students' award-winning website-- “Mosaic”-- may be accessed here: https://sites.google.com/a/gsbi.org/gvcm109/. Members of the Meadowcreek team include Trung Bui, Nancy Chavez, Sukhmani Choudhry, Aljon Pineda, Dawson Truong, and Shaskia Voltaire. Accompanying the students at tonight's meeting were Dr. Kevin Wood, associate principal, and their teacher, Pintu Thaker.
- Twenty-six Gwinnett schools recently were honored by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement as 2016 Single Statewide Accountability System Award winners. The schools were recognized in the "Greatest Gains" and/or the "Highest Performing" categories. "Greatest Gains" schools have three-year average of student growth in at least the 93rd percentile in the state and "Highest Performing" schools have three-year average student achievement in at least the 93rd percentile in the state. Schools recognized in the "Greatest Gains" category include Arcado Elementary, Jenkins Elementary, Simpson Elementary, Sugar Hill Elementary, Couch Middle, Five Forks Middle, North Gwinnett Middle, Osborne Middle, Twin Rivers Middle, and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Schools recognized in the "Highest Performing" category include Brookwood Elementary, Camp Creek Elementary, Gwin Oaks Elementary, Head Elementary, Level Creek Elementary, Mulberry Elementary, Parsons Elementary, Puckett's Mill Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Roberts Elementary, Simpson Elementary, Suwanee Elementary, Crews Middle, Five Forks Middle, Hull Middle, North Gwinnett Middle, Osborne Middle, Twin Rivers Middle, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Mill Creek High, and North Gwinnett High.
School Board approves framework for performance-based teacher compensation system
The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a new teacher compensation system framework that focuses on rewarding employees for performance. The new framework will be phased in over the next two years, beginning in August 2017. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks reviewed the Performance-Based Teacher Compensation System framework with School Board members during the afternoon work session, sharing details on the work done to this point to develop the framework and previewing the work that will continue next year. The Board voted on the framework as part of its regular business meeting. Phase 1 of the framework moves the school district to a Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule beginning next school year (2017-18). All teachers and certified staff who are compensated on the district’s teacher salary schedule today will transition to the new salary schedule starting with the August 2017 paycheck. In 2018-19, the district will implement Phase 2, which provides Performance-Based Awards to teachers as determined by four metrics—professional growth, a teacher’s rating on the state’s Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) evaluation, student growth, and the local Weighted School Assessment. The methodology for calculating the points earned for each metric will be finalized in late fall of 2017. The Performance-Based Awards will go to the 10% of eligible teachers who earn the highest scores systemwide (Category 1). The award for teachers in Category 1 will equal 10% of the average GCPS Teacher salary. Category 2 will recognize eligible teachers who score in the highest 10% at each school (excluding those in Category 1). The teachers in Category 2 will receive an award equal to 6% of the average GCPS teacher salary. Category 3 will recognize eligible teachers with the second highest 10% of scores at each school. The monetary award for teachers in Category 3 will equal 3% of the average GCPS teacher salary. This framework recognizes that the district has great teachers in every school and rewards the best teachers, not just at the district level but at the school level as well.
BOE approves charter school amendment
The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a proposal submitted by the governing board of North Metro Academy of Performing Arts that would amend its charter contract (Five Year Charter Term beginning July 1, 2014; expiring June 30, 2019). The amendment will change the grades served in the school's current charter from grades K-8 to grades K-5. Total enrollment shall not exceed 750 students during the term of the charter.
Student author shares book with BOE
Brooke Hudson, a 5th grade student at Puckett's Mill Elementary School, won Gwinnett County Public Schools' first annual K-12 Children's Book Contest. The contest-- sponsored by the offices of Early Learning and School Readiness, Fine Arts, and Language Arts in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction-- asked students to write and illustrate a children's book using the theme "All the Great Places in Gwinnett County." Brooke's winning book, All the Great Places in Gwinnett County: A Button’s Journey, shares a story about a young girl who is learning about Gwinnett County and all the places to visit in school. Copies of her book were shared with members of the Board of Education and plans are to distribute the book to families of new babies born in Gwinnett County who will be future GCPS students.
Civic engagement lessons prepare students to participate as constructive citizens
Dr. Debbie Daniell, director of Social Studies, provided Board members with an update on recent lessons and activities aligned with the district's work to prepare students to participate as constructive citizens in a democratic society. In addition to providing an overview of our district's curricular focus on civic literacy, she provided samples of this work in action, including lessons on immigration, Presidents' Day, the presidential election, the inauguration, and Black History Month.
School Board continues policy work
The Board approved revisions to the following policy which was tabled at the last meeting to allow for public review:
Policy KJ - Advertising/Campaigning on School Property-- Changes were made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes.
The following policy was tabled until the March meeting to allow for public input:
Policy GAK - Fingerprinting/Criminal Background Check-- Changes have been made to this policy to align it with improvements in system processes and with mandates in state and/or federal law.
Citizens addressing the Board
- Ephraim Kum
- Marvin Hines