The following are highlights of the April 20, 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 Ryan Lewis, a student at Discovery High School, on his 2nd place finish in the August Wilson Monologue Competition. Ryan was the only Gwinnett County student to advance to the state competition. As a state winner, he will participate in the 2017 National Finals in New York. Ryan was accompanied by Dr. Gene Taylor, Discovery HS principal, and teachers Travis Smith and Diane Sullivan.
- The Board of Education honored Karl Patram, a student at Brookwood High School, on his recognition as the 2017 Student of the Year by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Principal Bo Ford and Teacher Mary Meyer attended tonight's recognition with Karl.
- In other Foreign Language news, School Board members saluted Jamie Vega, a teacher at Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, who was honored as the 2017 Spanish Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
- Kudos also to Lesa Howell, a teacher at South Gwinnett High School, on her designation as the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) 2017 Teacher of the Year. Each year, FLAG awards the prestigious title of Teacher of the Year to one teacher in the state who demonstrates excellence in the field of foreign language education and who strives to provide students with meaningful connections between the foreign language he or she teaches and real-world opportunities. Accompanying Ms. Howell at tonight's recognition were Principal Monique Lee and Dr. Stanley Burney, assistant principal.
- The BOE congratulated Deeya Datta of Crews Middle School who placed 2nd in the Atlantic Institute Art and Essay Contest. Each year, the contest helps to promote mutual respect and bring issues and problems of the world to light through paintings, photographs, and essays. Held at local higher education institutions, the award ceremony brings diplomats, corporate officials, local leaders, and educators to witness the quality of the student work. Dr. Stacey Schepens, principal, and Marcia Littlefield, teacher, attended the meeting tonight with Deeya.
- Board members applauded the Brookwood High School Science Olympiad Team which finished the year as 2017 state champion. Science Olympiad is an academic competition in which a team of 15 students competes in 23 events covering the major branches of science and engineering. All events require students to work as a team in order to successfully complete the challenging tasks. Brookwood High School is repeating as Science Olympiad state champion. In fact, this is Brookwood's seventh consecutive win and the ninth overall. In introducing the team, Teacher and Coach Joe Cox expressed pride in his team, sharing that every student won a medal. He also shared examples of their dedication, telling stories of the time they spend mentoring and giving back to younger students.
- The Board recognized North Gwinnett Middle School Teacher Cheri Nations on being honored as an Innovation in Teaching State Winner. The Innovation in Teaching Competition promotes excellence in the classroom by recognizing and rewarding Georgia's most effective educators and making examples of their practices-- including videos and full unit plans-- available to Georgia's teachers and leaders online. Since 2013, the Innovation in Teaching Competition has recognized 36 educators from across Georgia. On January 17, Governor Deal announced Ms. Nations and two other teachers as the winners of the 2016-17 Innovation in Teaching Competition.
- Board members honored Jody Reeves, executive director of Academies and Career and Technical Education, who was named 2017 Administrator of the Year by the Georgia Technology Student Association. Mrs. Reeves has been involved with Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the past 27 years. A former Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at North Gwinnett High School, she always has been a champion of CTE in Gwinnett County. Under her leadership, the CTE program has grown to almost 400 teachers teaching courses in 58 pathways in all 17 of the national career clusters. These teachers and programs have produced countless region, state, and national winners in the six Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO). Since March 2016, Mrs. Reeves has been recognized with the Administrator of the Year Award by three different CTSOs-- Future Business Leaders of America; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, and the Technology Student Association.
- Members of the Board also saluted Grace Nguyen of Discovery High School who was the Tri-State Regional Winner of The Bebras® Challenge. The Bebras® Computing Challenge introduces computational and logical thinking to students. The challenge is organized in more than 30 countries and is designed to get students all over the world excited about computing. In November, students competed in a local qualifier. Based on those local scores, 11 students from Discovery High School attended regional competition at Clemson University in March. Competitors were grouped in two divisions (junior and senior) and went up against students from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The competition consisted of answering 24 questions about computational and logical thinking in 45 minutes. Accompanying Grace tonight were her principal, Dr. Gene Taylor, and her teacher, Dr. Stacy Byous.
- Fourteen GCPS students earned a nod from the Board on their top finishes in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) state competition. FBLA is the largest student business organization in the world with more than 250,000 members. FBLA is an important partner in business education and student leadership development. This Career and Technical Student Organization is recognized by the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor as an integral part of a co-curricular approach to business and leadership education. The FBLA mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. Students being recognized are 1st and 2nd place winners at the FBLA State Leadership Conference in Athens and qualified to represent GCPS this June at the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. Click here for a complete list of honored students.
- Eleven Gwinnett students placed 1st and 2nd at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of American (FCCLA) state competition. FCCLA, founded in 1945, is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and addresses important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer science education. FCCLA leadership competitions focus on a variety of youth concerns, including parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, environment, nutrition and fitness, inter-generational communication, and career education. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life-- such as planning, goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal communication-- that are necessary in the home and workplace. Students recognized are 1st and 2nd place winners at the State Leadership Conference in Athens and have the opportunity to compete at the 2017 National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in July. Click here for a complete listing of FCCLA winners.
- In other career and technical education news, the Gwinnett School Board recognized nine students who garnered 1st and 2nd place wins at the HOSA-Future Health Professionals state competition. HOSA is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). HOSA's two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the healthcare industry and to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare to all people. Students being recognized were 1st and 2nd place winners at the HOSA State Leadership Conference held in Atlanta and qualified to represent GCPS this June at the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. Click here for a complete listing of HOSA state honorees.
- The Board honored teams from North Gwinnett Middle School and Dacula Middle School for winning the 2017 middle school county championships. The North Gwinnett Middle School Girls Basketball Team, coached by Head Coach Eddie Boynce and Assistant Coach Pam Reynolds, defeated a team from Snellville Middle School on February 23 to take the county title. The Dacula Middle School Boys Basketball Team defeated Shiloh Middle in the championship game. The Dacula team is coached by Head Coach Jason Thomas and Assistant Coach Sean Nestor.
School Board continues policy work
The Board approved revisions to the following policy which were tabled at the last meeting to allow for public review:
- Policy IJ- Balanced Assessment Program-- This new policy has been created to reflect improvements in system processes.
- Policy DFL- Investment Earnings-- 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
- Michelle Ayers
- Marlyn Tillman
- Frederick Phillips
- Hashim Jabar
- Ty Alston
- Lorraine Wright