GCPS reports discipline declines

SUWANEE — Already a small percentage of the district’s overall student body, discipline hearings declined last year in Gwinnett schools.

James A. Taylor, executive director of academic support, said in a work session on Thursday before the Gwinnett County Public Schools Board that disciplinary hearings dropped by 94 cases to 1,878. In-school suspensions rose by 826 to 34,656, while out-of-school suspensions dropped by 1,174 to 16,782.

While ninth grade students represent about 28 percent of all in-school suspensions, Taylor said the in-school suspension figures represent the district’s overall goal.

“It speaks to how we’re trying to keep kids in school as much as possible,” he said.

Bullying and gang activity continued to decline, Taylor told board members, as there were 400 referrals for bullying in the last year, down from 530 in 2012. Referrals for gang activity dropped to 62 from 88 a year ago.

Taylor attributed the drops to due diligence by school officials and increased awareness and recognition of gang activity. Gang activity in Gwinnett schools has dropped nearly 75 percent since 2010, Taylor said.

Board member Robert McClure applauded the work of the district to keep schools safe.

“I don’t believe there’s any place in our public community that is safer than our schools,” McClure said.

Staff report

During a monthly staffing update, Frances Davis, the district’s chief human resources officer, said GCPS has six teacher vacancies, including four in elementary schools, one in a middle school and one in a high school. The district has made 926 new hires, 451 re-hires and 73 re-hire retirees, Davis said.

Davis said the district’s enrollment is expected to exceed the projection of 166,667 students by its third count on Aug. 20. Davis reported that the largest schools by enrollment for each level were Nesbit Elementary with 1,909 students, Hull Middle with 2,269 students and Mill Creek High with 3,712 students.

Aspiring leaders

The district honored 52 employees who completed the Aspiring Leader Program from the Quality-Plus Leader Academy. Glenn Pethel, executive director of the GCPS Leadership Development team, said the program’s results focused on screening and selecting more highly qualified people for assistant principal positions, and newly appointed APs will transition from the role of teacher to school leader.

Summer school

Steven Flynt, the district’s chief academic officer gave a report that said 93 percent of summer school students had a passing grade, which is higher than typical figures from a regular year. There were 8,365 students enrolled in summer classes.

“We seem to continue to have success,” Flynt said.