Board Meeting Summary for 12/17/2020
Recordings of the meetings will be available Dec. 18, 2020. Until they are available, the links below will direct users to GCPS TV's Board of Education Meeting Archive.
Work Session Business Meeting Dec. 17, 2020, School Board Work Session Stream:
To view the recorded Work Session, please click on the meeting link.
Dec. 17, 2020, School Board Business Meeting Stream:
To view the recorded Business Meeting, please click on the meeting link.
The following are highlights of the December 17, 2020, meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE). Board members present included 2020 Chairman Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman Carole C. Boyce, Steven B. Knudsen, Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, and Everton Blair, Jr. The official minutes of the meeting will be approved by the Board at its next monthly meeting.
Board celebrates service of outgoing members and welcomes new members
Prior to the evening meeting, members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education joined educators, staff, and a small number of community members in a celebration of service recognizing outgoing Board of Education members Carole C. Boyce and Louise Radloff. The two public servants are wrapping up 16 years and 48 years of service, respectively. During the program honoring them, both Mrs. Boyce, who represents District I, and Mrs. Radloff, who represents District V, shared their pride in having been a part of this successful school system and thanked the teachers and others who give of themselves each and every day to serve the children of Gwinnett.
Following the program/celebration and before the start of the 7 p.m. Board meeting, Judge Christopher Ballar delivered the oath of office to incoming School Board members Karen Watkins and Dr. Tarece Johnson, who will represent districts I and V, respectively. Ms. Watkins and Dr. Johnson officially will take on their duties beginning in January.
GCPS students and staff recognized for contributions to Relay For Life of Gwinnett Event
Kirsten Baker, an assistant principal at North Gwinnett High School and the Event Lead for Relay For Life of Gwinnett, addressed the Board, thanking the school district for its ongoing commitment to the fight against cancer. This year’s Relay event, like many other events this past spring, was different due to COVID-19. In March, event organizers announced that the Relay event would be rescheduled from its original date of May 8 to Halloween weekend because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite cancellation of the rescheduled event, the Gwinnett community remained dedicated to Relay. In all, Gwinnett County Relay For Life teams raised $368,527.04. Of that total amount, nearly half (47% or $173,350.14) was raised by GCPS teams.
Special entities GSMST and Maxwell present updates to the BOE
The Board of Education wishes to hear from constituents regarding what they believe to be the accomplishments, challenges, and aspirations for their schools. As part of this effort, the Board features a cluster or group of schools during its business meeting each month. This month, two special entity schools—Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) and Maxwell High School of Technology—were featured. Both schools are located in District V. GSMST Principal IV Bray and Dr. Jeff Hall, Maxwell principal, each provided a brief introduction about their school and the programs they provide students. The presentations featured a student from each school—Oluwaferanmi Adu of GSMST and Sophia Nguyen of Maxwell High School of Technology. The speakers' remarks focused on several primary themes.
- The partnerships that exist and collaboration that occurs between the two schools that are located next to each other.
- The unique programs offered at both schools that result in students being well-prepared for their future.
- The award-winning programs, outstanding educators, and high-achieving students who are found at both schools.
Board extends one-time salary adjustment to all active, benefitted employees
The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a one-time salary adjustment of $700 to all active, benefit-eligible employees (as of November 19, 2020), who were not included in the award approved at last month’s meeting for those employees paid on the teacher salary schedule. This salary adjustment will be paid in a lump sum and included in these employees’ January 2021 monthly paycheck. In making their decision in November, School Board members indicated their thanks to Gwinnett’s teachers and a desire to extend the one-time salary adjustment to others. However, the delay in extending the salary adjustment to other categories of employees was the result of the need to manage cash flow for the district. Gwinnett County property tax bills were sent out approximately 45 days later than in prior years due to the pandemic and because of a modification to the tax bills to include a new levy imposed by Gwinnett County. As a result, this year’s property tax receipts were not due until December 1. The extension of this one-time payment to other employees will affect approximately 9,000 employees, including support personnel and school administrators, and will cost the district approximately $8 million. This action does not encumber funds in future budgets, and, due to the district’s conservative approach to budgeting, will not decrease the year-end budgeted ending fund balance.
Board members get a lesson in eCLASS
Tricia Kennedy, executive director of Instructional Development and Support, provided the Board with an update on the district’s eCLASS digital learning platform, sharing how teachers use the technology tool. In her presentation, she walked through several teachers’ pages to show Board members what digital learning looks like from a student’s perspective. Ms. Kennedy spotlighted the use of activating strategies, mini lessons, interactive digital content, opportunities for independent practice and collaborative group work, and more.
Update on athletics reviews highlights of past year
The Board received a report on student athletics in GCPS from Dr. Steve Flynt, associate superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, and Eric Thigpen, executive director of Academic Support. They reviewed the wide range of sports offered in the district, including the adapted sports program. In 2020, the school system served more than 15,000 student athletes of which 59% are male and 41% are female. In addition to providing information on equity across the sports and within the district, Dr. Flynt and Mr. Thigpen shared updates on COVID-19 protocols, the installation of turf in stadiums, scholarships earned, and community partnerships. In reviewing the current status of the programs, they spoke to the importance of support received from parents, booster clubs, and other external support groups.
Board of Education reviews meeting calendar for 2021
Board members reviewed proposed dates for the Board of Education’s regular monthly business meetings in 2021. The dates are: January 21, February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18, and December 16.
BOE approves resolution certifying results of Nov. 3 election
The Board adopted a resolution certifying the results of the election held on November 3, 2020, as required by law. In November, Gwinnett voters approved a five-year extension of the special purpose local option sales tax for educational purposes (E-SPLOST), which will benefit Gwinnett County Public Schools and Buford City Schools. The ballot question included approval of the issuance by Gwinnett County Public Schools of general obligation bonds to be repaid with sales tax proceeds. The school district now will submit a copy of the executed resolution to the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections.
Gwinnett School Board approves Strategic Initiatives and Priorities for 2021-2025
The Board adopted the multi-year Strategic Initiatives and Priorities of the CEO/Superintendent’s Office to ensure that appropriate attention, resources, and management oversight are provided throughout the district so that GCPS realizes its vision of being a system of world-class schools. In GCPS, Strategic Initiatives are ongoing and/or new plans of action to improve something or solve a problem. Strategic Priorities are core business functions that require continued focus and never are fully accomplished. Hence, they remain relatively stable in each five-year plan. The adopted Strategic Initiatives are Leadership Development, the Compensation System, Transforming Teaching and Learning and Teacher Support, Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness, the Capital Program, and Seckinger High School and Theme Cluster. The Strategic Priorities provide a focus on Student Achievement, Educational Equity, Communication and Civic Engagement, Accountability—Academic and Operational, and Governance and Leadership.
Citizens addressing the Board
- Exquisitive Hundley
- Micaiah Jones
- Terrance Jones
- Anyah Jones
- Amber Karasik
- Aireane Montgomery
- Daniel Clark
- Teandra Storey
- Sherie Green
- Dibett Lopez
- Anthony Downer
- Alex Stein
- Brian Westlake
- Terri Stalker
- Rachel Ash
- Steve Gasper
- Elaine Nietmann
- Tanisha Banks
- Laurie Farley
- Clint Fishback
- Debbie Daniell
- Destiny McCowan
- Nicole Matthews
- Prudence Franklin
- Madeline Mitchell
- Sheri Mitchell
- Marlyn Tillman
- Mariell Hunt