The following are highlights of the March 21, 2019, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE). Board members present included Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice Chairman Louise Radloff, Carole C. Boyce, Steven B. Knudsen, and Everton Blair, Jr. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board members honor students and staff
- The School Board saluted Collins Hill HS Principal Kerensa Wing on her selection as 2019 Georgia Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. Mrs. Wing, who has served as principal of Collins Hill since 2014, earned the top honor after being named one of six state finalists. This process highlights principals who excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service. She now advances to the national level where she will compete with state winners from every state. In accepting the Board's congratulations, Mrs. Wing thanked her staff and school community for their support.
- The Board of Education applauded Brookwood HS Principal William "Bo" Ford on his selection as the Georgia Thespian Society's 2019 Administrator of the Year. Every year, the Georgia Thespian Society presents this award to outstanding school administrators who have demonstrated exemplary support for educational theatre. Mr. Ford was honored at the organization's annual conference, "ThesCon," in February of 2019.
- School Board members congratulated the McConnell MS Girls Basketball Team and the Dacula MS Boys Basketball Team on their success as the 2019 Gwinnett County Middle School Tournament Champions. The McConnell girls team, coached by Erik Robinson and Charles Jones, defeated Pinckneyville MS to earn their school's third county championship. Dacula MS Coach Colton Ritter led his team to a victory over Trickum MS to earn Dacula's third county championship.
- Brookwood HS' Swim and Dive teams continued their record of success with both the girls and boys teams bringing home state titles as Georgia's Swim and Dive State Champions. For the Brookwood Girls team this is its second consecutive state championship, while this year's win marks the fourth in a row for the Boys team. Both teams are coached by Jack Gayle. In introducing the teams, Coach Gayle expressed his pride in his student-athletes' unwavering commitment to their sport and to their school. He shared that Brookwood is the only public school in history to win both boys and girls titles in the same year more than once, and that this team did it two years in a row.
- Kudos to Mill Creek HS' Dance Team on winning the 2019 6A and 7A State Dance Invitational Championship. The team is coached by Suzanne Muck. Fifty teams competed in this inaugural dance competition. The Mill Creek team beat out a team from Forsyth Central HS to win this first-ever state championship.
- The BOE also congratulated North Gwinnett HS' Cheerleading Team which won the first-ever 2019 Georgia High School Association Game Day Invitational State Championship in both the 6A and 7A categories. The team is coached by Tabatha Johnson and Kathy Johnson. North Gwinnett's team beat out their region rival Mill Creek HS. Coach Johnson commended the girls on their accomplishment, calling them true leaders in the school community.
- Board members congratulated 24 Gwinnett students on their 1st and 2nd place finishes at the DECA State Career Development Conference, held February 14-16 in Atlanta. Click here for a list of Gwinnett DECA honorees. DECA is an international association of middle school, high school, and college students that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Through DECA, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ students have the opportunity to participate in leadership development activities and compete in a variety of events on an international level. As top finishers in the state, these students will represent GCPS at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla.
- Gwinnett's 21 traditional high schools, along with Gwinnett Online Campus and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, earned a nod from the Board of Education as they were all named 2019 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools. AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board. The 2019 AP Honor Schools, designated by the Georgia Department of Education, are named in six categories based on the results of the 2018 AP courses and exams. Click here for a complete listing of Gwinnett's AP Honor Schools.
School Board receives update on civics instruction
Civics instruction is a part of Gwinnett County Public Schools' social studies curriculum and lessons are learned in grades K-12. Gwinnett teachers build authentic connections between what students learn and today's world through a number of activities, including Constitution Week, voter registration campaigns, content-specific simulations, mock trial, Model UN, Junior Achievement, and JROTC and Junior Leadership Corps. In addition to sharing these examples, GCPS Social Studies Director Kathy Sanchez highlighted several ways schools at all three school levels celebrated Black History Month and acknowledged the contributions of African Americans who have influenced and made an impact in the United States and around the world. In doing so, she stressed the importance of extending this learning beyond one month of the year, saying "Our students need to study all of the people that contributed to developing this great nation. They need to effectively work and learn from people who have backgrounds that may not mirror their own." Toward this goal, ensuring that teachers are well-equipped to guide students in this learning and are comfortable and confident in teaching their students about diversity, the district has partnered with the 3Rs Project to offer professional learning that targets ways to promote a greater understanding of our nation through the lens of the First Amendment.
Board members tapped for state committees
Board members approved Board Chairman Dr. Mary Kay Murphy to serve on the 2019 Georgia School Boards Association's (GSBA) Governmental Operations Committee. This committee develops the legislative priorities that will be presented to GSBA's Delegate Assembly in June. The Board also approved Dr. Murphy, District I Representative Carole Boyce, and District V Representative and 2019 Vice Chair Louise Radloff to represent Gwinnett at GSBA's 2019 Summer Conference and Delegate Assembly in Savannah, set for June 6-8, 2019, with Dr. Murphy serving as the voting delegate for the Gwinnett County Board of Education.
Policy work continues
The following policy changes were approved having been tabled at last month's meeting to allow time for further review:
- Policy ABD- School Superintendent Legal Status, Appointment, Compensation - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy BBA- Board Officers Election - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy BBBB- New Board Member Orientation - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy BBBC- Board Member Development Opportunities - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy BBBE- Board Member Compensation and Expenses - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy BD- Policy Development - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
- Policy GAD- Staff Development - Changes are in accordance with policy guidance and/or mandates in state and/or federal law.
Citizens addressing the Board
- State Representative Donna McLeod
- Christina Simmons
- Tristan King
- James Taylor
- Rev. Dr. Frederick Phillips
- Penny Poole
- Allan Owen
- Jennifer Guyre
- Adam Lux
- Jacob Bowerman