Volume 39 , Number 2October 30, 2018

CEO/Superintendent’s Message:

Voters’ Nov. 6 decisions to have impact on school district
On Nov. 6, Gwinnett County citizens will decide a number of important races and issues during the General Election. Three of those decisions will have a direct impact on Gwinnett County Public Schools.
J. Alvin Wilbanks

At the end of December, Gwinnett County Board of Education members Dr. Robert McClure and Daniel Seckinger are stepping down after 24 consecutive years of outstanding service. That means voters in Board districts II and IV will be electing new School Board representatives for the first time in more than two decades. We are fortunate to have good candidates in both races whom I believe are interested in continuing the Board’s tradition of doing what is best for students… not just those who reside in their individual districts, but all of the children in Gwinnett County. We are immensely thankful to Dr. McClure and Mr. Seckinger for being stellar members of the Board of Education, and we wish them all the best.

Another important vote on the Nov. 6 ballot is the General Obligation, or G.O., bond referendum that seeks funding to address the school district’s capital improvement needs. Providing needed classrooms, catching up on building maintenance and aesthetic improvements, updating technology in schools throughout the district, and enhancing school safety are some of the capital projects the G.O. bonds would fund if approved. In addition, we would be able to construct a new high school in the crowded Mill Creek Cluster area, purchase school buses, and upgrade athletic facilities across the county. The $350 million in G.O. bonds that voters are being asked to approve would fund projects that would benefit every cluster and every school, and do so without increasing the tax rate for our citizens.

As Election Day draws near, it is important for all of us to be educated voters regarding the various races and issues on the ballot. I encourage us all to become well informed about the candidates who are seeking office, and about the G.O. bond referendum’s significance to Gwinnett County Public Schools. Lastly, I hope all of us take time to vote in this very important election. It is the right, the privilege, but also the responsibility we share as citizens of this greatest nation, the United States of America.

CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks

In General Election, Gwinnett voters have three ways to cast ballot
If you are registered to vote, you have three ways to cast your ballot in the upcoming General Election. Advance in-person voting is underway at Gwinnett County’s election headquarters in Lawrenceville, and continues through Nov. 2. This option is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday during this window. Additional advance voting opportunities are scheduled for satellite sites around the county through Nov. 2. Voters who can’t make it to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day also may apply for an absentee ballot. (The last day for the Voter Registrations and Elections Office to accept completed absentee applications is 3 p.m. on Nov. 2, the Friday before the election.) To vote on Election Day— Tuesday, Nov. 6— just head to your polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Schools are closed as many are used as polling places.) Log on to the Secretary of State’s website for a sample ballot, poll and advance voting locations, and more. Call the Gwinnett County Office of Elections at 678-226-7210 with questions about voting in Gwinnett.

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Six TOTY finalists named in surprise classroom visits

Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Six GCPS teachers are finalists for 2019 Teacher of the Year.
The finalists are Juah Nyemadé Baker-Marsh of Lovin ES, Kelly Specht of Riverside ES, Chandra Brandel of Coleman MS, Lindsey Saa of Couch MS, Heidi Campbell of Parkview HS, and Meredith White of Peachtree Ridge HS.
The district's top teacher will be named at an event on Nov. 8

Last week, surprise visits to six GCPS campuses revealed the educators who are still in the running for GCPS’ 2019 Teacher of the Year (TOTY), the district’s top honor. These talented teachers— our TOTY finalists— will be center stage at the upcoming TOTY celebration on Nov. 8.

Congratulations to our 2019 Teacher of the Year Finalists!
Juah Nyemadé

Lovin ES
Special Education
Teacher – Early Childhood Program (Pre-K)
Kelly Specht
Riverside ES
Reading Recovery and Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades 1 and 2)
Chandra Brandel
Coleman MS
Mathematics and Accelerated Mathematics Teacher (Grade 6)
Lindsey Saa
Couch MS
Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)
Heidi Campbell
Parkview HS
Journalism Teacher (Grades 9–12) and British Literature Teacher (Grade 12)
Meredith White
Peachtree Ridge HS
Spanish I and II Teacher
(Grades 9–12)

The finalists were selected from a group of 25 semifinalists honored last month. The TOTY contest began with a field of 137 local school TOTYs named earlier in September. For the six finalists, the next step includes interviews and classroom observations by a selection committee made up of former TOTYs, administrators, and central office staff. On Nov. 8, at a gala banquet attended by all 137 teachers, the district will announce the county TOTY and level winners. Stay tuned!
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Kudos to our 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Semifinalists!
Dr. Janie Avant
of Arcado ES,

Special Education Teacher – Orthopedic Impairments (Grades K–5)

Falicia O’Mard
of Baggett ES,

1st Grade Teacher

Stephen B. Beall
of Brookwood HS,
Physics, Energy and Power Technology, and Appropriate and Alternative Energy Teacher
(Grades 9, 11, and 12)

*Chandra Brandel
of Coleman MS,

Mathematics and Accelerated Mathematics Teacher (Grade 6)

*Lindsey Saa
of Couch MS,

Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Allyson Clark
of Craig ES,

Special Education Teacher (Pre-K)

Ashley Booker
of Ferguson ES,

Kindergarten Teacher

Keith Oldknow
of Five Forks MS,
Algebra I and Accelerated Algebra I Teacher (Grade 8)

Julie Massey
of Freeman’s Mill ES,

Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Sarah Hoeflin
of Graves ES,

Drama and Theatre Arts Teacher (Grades K–5)

Chris Fendley
of Jenkins ES,

1st Grade Teacher

Christy Battle
of Lanier HS,

AP, Honors, and Gifted Biology and Forensic Science Teacher
(Grades 9–12)

Tia Milhouse
of Lilburn MS,

Language Arts Teacher (Grade 7)
*Juah Nyemadé Baker-Marsh
of Lovin ES,

Special Education Teacher – Early Childhood Program (Pre-K)

Sabrina Hancock
of Mill Creek HS,

AP Statistics and AP Research Teacher (Grades 9–12)

Dr. Dana Griffith
of Northbrook MS,
Health and PE Teacher (Grades 6–8)

*Heidi Campbell
of Parkview HS,

Journalism Teacher (Grades 9–12) and British Literature Teacher
(Grade 12)

Jennifer Burel
of Patrick ES,

2nd Grade Teacher

*Meredith White
of Peachtree Ridge HS,

Spanish I and II Teacher
(Grades 9–12)

Ashley Dunlop
of Pharr ES,
Special Education Teacher – Severe Intellectual Disabilities (Pre-K)

*Kelly Specht
of Riverside ES,

Reading Recovery and Early Intervention Program Teacher
(Grades 1 and 2)

Celia Ramos
of Roberts ES,

Language Arts Teacher (Grade 5)

Alicia Teague
of Starling ES,
English to Speakers of Other Languages and Early Intervention Program Reading Teacher
(Grades K–5)

Marti Parker
of Suwanee ES,
Music Teacher (Grades K–5)

Emily Greenblat
of Woodward Mill ES,

Special Education Teacher (Pre-K)

*Denotes finalist

Learn more about our Finalists and
on the district website.

Our 25 TOTY semifinalists come from every Board district and school level. Whether special education teachers, subject-focused specialists, intervention teachers, or gifted education teachers, these top teachers believe in the power and the Promise of what we do in Gwinnett County Public Schools. On the staff “Promise” page, throughout October and November, learn more about these honored educators and how they deliver on The Promise of Gwinnett.

Pictured left to right:
Front Row: Christy Battle, Jennifer Burel, Emily Greenblat, Kelly Specht, Julie Massey, Celia Ramos, and Lindsey Saa.
2nd Row: Heidi Campbell, Juah Nyemadé Baker-Marsh, Falicia O’Mard, Sabrina Hancock, Alicia Teague, and Chris Fendley.
3rd Row: Ashley Dunlop, Keith Oldknow, Marti Parker, Tia Milhouse, Meredith White, Allyson Clark, and Chandra Brandel.
Top Row: Dr. Janie Avant, Sarah Hoeflin, Stephen B. Beall, Dr. Dana Griffith, and Ashley Booker.

Thank you to the sponsors of this year’s TOTY celebration!
— Presenting Sponsor: Peach State Credit Union
— Platinum Sponsors: Emtec, Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep, IBM, Lifetouch, Scholastic Images, and VALIC
— Gold Sponsor: The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.
— Silver Sponsors: J Smith Lanier & Company, Junior Achievement of Georgia, and Kroger
— Bronze Sponsors: Celia Brien, Classworks, Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (HMH), Horizon Software, MetLife, and Pearson Education
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Gwinnett citizens to weigh in on G.O. bond referendum
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
A General Obligation (G.O.) bond referendum is on the Nov. 6 ballot.
If approved, the School Board would be able to sell up to $350 million in G.O. bonds to fund capital projects around the county.
No tax increase would be needed to fund bond repayment.
Every school and cluster would benefit from the projects that would be funded if the referendum passes.
The bond question is the last on the ballot for Gwinnett County voters.
Voters also will be selecting new Board members for two open seats, resulting from the retirements of Daniel Seckinger (District II) and Dr. Robert McClure (District IV).

The Gwinnett County Board of Education is asking voters to approve a General Obligation (G.O.) bond referendum in the upcoming General Election on Nov. 6. If approved, the School Board would be authorized to sell up to $350 million in G.O. bonds to fund capital improvements for schools throughout the county. Here are a few things to know about the G.O. Bond proposal as well as other ballot need-to-knows…

No tax increase would be needed if the bond referendum passes. In fact, the School Board lowered the tax rate for debt service this year. Even at the lower rate, current taxes are sufficient to cover these bond payments, plus the payments for existing bonds that are being paid down each year.

The projects funded by the G.O. bonds would benefit every cluster, every school. The district’s capital needs continue to outpace the funding it receives from the E-SPLOST penny sales tax. The need for classrooms, technology, and infrastructure and safety enhancements continues as the system grows. If approved, the G.O. bonds would provide funding right away, allowing the district to complete a number of capital projects as quickly as possible.

Projects on the list include:
– Systemwide improvements to schools in every cluster, including general building renovations and maintenance, upgrades to labs and instructional spaces at middle and high schools, high school athletic facility improvements, intercom replacements, and artificial turf for athletic stadiums

– Enhancements to school safety systemwide
– Technology upgrades throughout the system
– New school buses and other transportation vehicles
– Other facility and infrastructure improvements in the district
– One new school— Mill Creek Cluster area high school
– Build-out at Discovery HS
– Renovations to Central Gwinnett HS' fine arts areas

The bond issue question is long... and is the last item on the ballot. It reads: “Shall general obligation debt of the Gwinnett County School District in the principal amount of not to exceed $350,000,000 be issued for the purpose of funding (i) all or a portion of the following projects for Gwinnett County School District: (A) developing, constructing and equipping new schools, support facilities and athletic facilities; (B) adding to, renovating, modernizing, improving and equipping existing schools, properties and support facilities of the Gwinnett School District; (C) enhancing school safety system-wide; (D) acquiring school buses and other transportation vehicles; (E) improving and modernizing technology and making system-wide technology improvements; and (F) otherwise improving and equipping facilities for educational purposes (collectively, the “Projects”); and (ii) paying costs of issuance of such general obligation debt?”

Voters in Gwinnett County Board of Education districts II and IV will elect new School Board members. The candidates are Steve Knudsen and Wandy Taylor in District II, and Everton “E.J.” Blair and Chuck Studebaker in District IV.

You can find additional information about the G.O. Bond referendum on GCPS’ website, including an informational newsletter, a project list, information on voting in Gwinnett County, and more.
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Performance-Based Teacher Compensation System update
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS rolled out Phase I of the district's Performance-Based Compensation System in 2017.
The Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule acknowledges performance rather than time on the job as the basis for movement on the salary schedule.
Teachers who achieve a rating of Proficient or higher on their evaluation advance one performance step annually.
In Phase II, Performance-Based Awards will provide financial awards to top performers, above and beyond the teacher salary schedule.
Approximately 3,000 teachers will be rewarded every year for their outstanding work.
The first awards will be distributed in November or December of 2019, based on data from the 2018–19 school year.
Teachers can find additional information about the path to awards, eligibility, award categories, and related dates on the GCPS website on the Employment tab.

As an organization, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) knows that our people are our greatest resource. We also realize that a key to recruiting, developing, and retaining the best people— teachers and administrators who will help us achieve our vision of becoming a system of world-class schools— is to recognize and reward great performance.

To that end, in 2017, GCPS rolled out Phase I of the district’s new Performance-Based Compensation System— a Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule that provides a salary step increase for teachers who meet expectations on their performance evaluations. The new salary schedule is used for all teachers and certified staff compensated on the district’s teacher salary schedule. This salary schedule acknowledges performance— not time on the job— as the basis for movement on the salary schedule. A teacher advances one “performance step” each year upon achieving a rating of “Proficient” or higher on the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) or equivalent evaluation tool. Employees earning TAPS ratings of “Needs Development” or “Ineffective” do not move a performance step, but remain on the current step for the next contract year.

Teachers are encouraged to submit further questions via Lotus Notes to the
Performance Based Awards mailbox.
In Phase II of the new compensation system, the district is implementing Performance-Based Awards that reward top performers with financial awards. The awards framework allows top-performing teachers— both veterans and those new to the profession— the opportunity to earn money above and beyond what they earn on the teacher salary schedule. According to the framework, we anticipate approximately 3,000 Gwinnett teachers will be rewarded every year for their outstanding work. The first awards will be distributed in November or December of 2019, based on data from the 2018–19 school year.

Teachers can find additional information about the path to awards, eligibility, award categories, and related dates in a new flyer on the Performance-Based Awards posted to the GCPS website. Learn more about how GCPS is revising the compensation system in videos, FAQ flyers, and informational presentations located on the GCPS Employment tab.

Watch CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ message on GCPS’ Performance-Based Teacher Compensation System, available on GCPS TV.
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GCPS ACT and SAT scores outpace Ga., U.S.
Gwinnett test-takers continue to outperform their peers on the ACT and the SAT, two popular college-admissions exams.

On the ACT, Gwinnett posted an average composite score of 22.6 out of a possible 36, compared to 21.4 for the state and 20.8 for the nation. In each skill area— English, Reading, Science, and Mathematics— GCPS scores were above those for Georgia and the U.S. Nine schools saw higher composite scores compared to 2016–17, with scores for two schools unchanged.

On the SAT, GCPS’ combined average score of 1102 (of a possible 1600) topped state and national averages for public school students— 1054 and 1049, respectively. The district posted a score of 553 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 549 in Mathematics. SAT scores for 15 high schools increased over the previous year, with increases of 20 or more points for seven schools.
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School and district leaders approved by Board
The following school and central office appointments were announced in October:
New Position
Current/Previous Position

Meadowcreek Cluster
health sciences
high school
(school to be named)
Principal, Berkmar MS
Susan D.
Coordinator of Academies–Health Science, Curriculum and Instructional Support
Registered Nurse,
Gwinnett Medical Center
Dr. Frank W. Jones
Coordinator of Academies–JROTC/JLC, Curriculum and Instructional Support
Teacher, McConnell MS
Karim Ladha
Coordinator of Accountability
and Assessment–Psychometrics, Curriculum and Instructional Support
IBM SPSS Statistics
Trainer and Modeler,
nFolks Data Solutions
Jason C. Yancey
Coordinator of
Security Operations,
CEO/Superintendent’s Office
Senior Internet Engineer,
Information Management
and Technology

Ms. Mosley will move into her new role as the health sciences-themed school prepares to open in the Meadowcreek Cluster in August of 2019.
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GCPS’ Open Enrollment window open through Nov. 2
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Employees can add and change benefits through Nov. 2, the last day of Open Enrollment (OE).
Changes are effective Jan. 1 and will be in effect for the 2019 calendar year.
Employees will see no changes to providers, plans, or rates for 2019.
Health insurance changes are made on the State Health Benefit Plan website.
Other OE benefit changes are made via the GCPS Employee Portal.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) do not renew from year to year. Employees must enroll or re-enroll each year.

Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Open Enrollment (OE) window for adding and changing benefits is open through Friday, Nov. 2. Changes are effective Jan. 1 and will be in effect for the 2019 calendar year. Employees will see no changes to providers, plans, or rates for 2019. Read on for more insurance offerings, and see your Local School Benefits Representative (LSBR) with questions.

Health Insurance Benefits
Benefits-eligible employees currently enrolled or seeking to enroll in health insurance should complete the election process via the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) website, www.myshbpga.adp.com. Employees are required to register on the site, using a unique user name and password. New users should enter SHBP-GA as the required Registration Code during the registration process. (Employees who are already registered but can’t remember their user ID or password should select the appropriate “Forgot” button and follow the instructions to reset.) Employees who do not currently have health coverage and do not wish to enroll for the 2019 Plan Year are not required to register. Employees should print and keep a copy of their confirmation page for their files.

GCPS Benefits
Open Enrollment changes for GCPS benefits will be made through the Online Benefits System, found on the GCPS Employee Portal. Guides and plan information are available online. All benefits-eligible employees may log into the GCPS Employee Portal to confirm or update their contact information, add dependent information (if applicable), and confirm elections for GCPS-provided benefits, including dental, vision, short-term disability, legal services, and more. Again this year, GCPS was able to hold the rates on these benefits, with no rate increase.

Open Enrollment Reminders
— Contact Information: Employees may update and/or confirm their home address and telephone number.
Dependent Information: Employees seeking to enroll in family coverage must add dependent information via the Online Benefits System. (“Dependent” applies to all GCPS or local benefits, not health insurance.)
— Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): Employees who wish to participate in a healthcare or dependent care FSA for Plan Year 2019 must enroll or re-enroll during OE. FSAs do not automatically renew each year.
— Info Sessions: Benefits-eligible staff members receive information from their Local Site Benefits Representative (LSBR) regarding Open Enrollment, health insurance, and other benefits offered through GCPS employment. The remaining virtual question-and-answer session on the schedule will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. A link will be communicated to LSBRs and posted on the Benefits portion of the Employee Portal.
Decision Guide: Find an overview of health insurance coverage in the state’s SHBP Decision Guide and more on GCPS-provided benefits in the school district’s Decision Guide. Both also can be found on the Employee Portal.
Find more answers to your benefits questions in this Open Enrollment FAQs document and check out these OE videos.

Plan Year 2019 Vendors for State Health Benefit Plan
Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Note: As of Jan. 1, 2019, BCBSGA will become Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Anthem). 
High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), for members who live or work in the 27-county metro Atlanta service area.

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Referral fee for bus drivers jumps to $250
GCPS’ Transportation Department “drives” student success, and we need more bus drivers to transport our students to and from school. The school district is offering an increased referral fee of $250 to current employees who refer prospective drivers who are hired, complete training, and have worked 60 days on the job. To qualify as a referral, the new driver must list the referring employee on the referral form that new drivers receive on their first day of training. Referral bonuses will be included in the referring employee’s paycheck once the new driver has successfully completed training and has two months on the job. If you have questions about the referral program, contact Patrice Pendergast by Lotus Notes or call 678-301-6076.
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Phishing 101: Raise your security awareness IQ
Email is one of the primary ways to communicate. It is not only used every day for work, but to stay in touch with friends and family. In addition, email is now how most companies enable communications from online services, such as confirmation of online purchases or availability of bank statements. Since so many people around the world depend on email, it has become one of the primary attack methods used by cyber-criminals.

What is Phishing?
Phishing is a social engineering attack method that uses a fraudulent email, often purporting to be from a trusted source. The email is meant to trick the recipient into sharing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link or attachment that installs malware.

Cyber-criminals work hard to make their phishing emails convincing. They will even add logos of popular companies and forge email addresses, so the message appears more legitimate.

Phishing is similar to using a net to catch fish. The fisherman does not know what they will catch, but the bigger the net, the more fish they will find. Cyber-criminals do not know who will fall victim… all they know is that the more emails they send, the greater the chance for success.

For a phishing attack to work, the bad guys need to trick a victim into doing something. Here are several ways that cyber-criminals use phishing to get what they want:
Harvesting Information: The cyber-criminal’s goal is to harvest personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or banking details. To do this, they email a link that takes a victim to a website that appears legitimate. This website then asks victims to provide their account information or personal data. However, the site is fake, and any information entered goes directly to the cyber-criminal.
Malicious Hyperlinks: In this case, the cyber-criminal aims to take control of a device by sending victims an email with an embedded link. If victims click on the link, it takes them to a website that launches an attack on their device in the background that, if successful, installs malware on their device.
Malicious Attachments: Another way to infect and take control of a device, this method uses an attachment instead of a link. The cyber-criminal emails a victim an infected file, such as a Word document. Opening the attachment triggers the attack, potentially giving the cyber-criminal control of the system.

Preventing Phishing Attacks…
When you receive a suspicious email or text
– Do not reply, reply to all, or forward the message to any other person.
– Do not open any attachments.
– Do not click any website links provided in the message.
– Carefully examine the message.
– Beware of unknown senders or sensational subject lines.
– Look at the hyperlinks in the message carefully to identify fraudulent URLs. For instance, they might use bankofamerica.co versus bankofamerica.com. To view the hyperlink, hover your mouse over the link until a pop-up shows you the true destination.

Recognize the red flags
– Misspelled words and poor grammar.
– Urgent subject lines.
– Promises of free gifts or prizes.
– Requests to verify your username, password, account number, or other sensitive information.

Take action
– Report suspected social engineering attempts to your TST/LSTC or contact Customer Support at (678) 301-6547.
– Forward any suspicious email messages to Phishing_SPAM@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
– Delete the email from your Inbox, Sent Folder, and Trash Folder to permanently dispose of the message, or delete the text message/SMS.

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Commit support to United Way
GCPS has a strong legacy of support for United Way. For the 2018 campaign, the district has committed to a goal of raising $600,000 in staff and student campaigns and increasing staff participation to support our community. Making your pledge is easy. Just go to the Employee Portal, select the “About Me” tab, and go to the link for United Way to designate a tax-deductible payroll deduction. You can choose to have a set deduction each paycheck, starting in January, or request a one-time deduction, also in January. The campaign runs through Nov. 16. When you pledge, selecting the Impact Fund puts money to work where it can do the most good… in programs and solutions in Education, Income, Health, and Homelessness that move the needle on the key measures of child, family, and community well-being.
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EB Bulletin Board

What's new on the Bulletin Board?
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Check out Bulletin Board items with the latest on... an upcoming teacher fair, scholarship opportunities for GCPS seniors, the latest Essentials, Communiqué stories, recent GCPS TV videos, the next Spotlight, the approaching flu season, Perks, and commute alternatives

STEM Teacher Career Fair set for Dec. 15… If you have friends and family who are certified to teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), working toward certification, or working in a STEM field and interested in teaching, let them know about an upcoming opportunity to join the Gwinnett teaching corps! Gwinnett County Public Schools will host a STEM Teacher Career Fair on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 8 a.m. to noon at Paul Duke STEM HS. The fair is by invitation only and consists of pre-scheduled interviews. Once an applicant is registered at gcpsjobs.org, files are reviewed and interviews will be extended based upon file completion. Registering to attend the fair does not guarantee an interview. Those selected for an interview will receive an email confirmation. Point potential GCPS teachers to these frequently asked questions to learn more about teaching in Gwinnett. For additional information or questions, email gcpsteach@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
Window opens for Foundation Scholarship applications… If you have a member of the Class of 2019 at home, your fall weekends may be filled with campus visits and work on college applications. Don’t forget to put scholarship applications on the to-do list. The GCPS Foundation Fund is now accepting applications from members of the GCPS Class of 2019. Annually, the Foundation awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to GCPS seniors, funded through the support of local businesses and organizations and contributions from generous staff and community members. Last year, more than 130 graduating seniors earned $175,000 in district and school-specific scholarships administered through the Foundation. Find the 2019 GCPS Foundation Scholarship Catalog online. Scholarships range in value from $500 to $2,000 and most are one-time awards. The deadline for scholarships managed by the Foundation is Dec. 7. (All scholarship deadlines are included in the scholarship information and clearly noted on each application.) The Foundation will announce scholarship recipients in May.
Check out Essentials newsletter… The fall issue of Essentials takes a look at how theme schools are opening doors for GCPS students, a salute to retiring Board members, as well as brief notes on safety improvements, an inclement weather reminder, an invitation to become a mentor, a call for bus drivers, and a rundown of recent honors. The issue also include an informational insert on the G.O. bond referendum.
Find the latest from Communiqué… The latest posts to the online Communiqué include a celebration of our TOTY finalists and semifinalists, features on civics education, mentoring, and a medal-winning employee, plus calendar updates, dates and deadlines on the Bulletin Board, videos, and the latest episode of In5ive. Coming up? Stories on award-winning students, a preview of the health sciences high school opening in 2019-20, GCPS TV Focus Moments, and more! Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
Find latest Focus Moments on GCPS TV… These are just a few of the recent videos from GCPS TV:
Maxwell Manufacturing: As the manufacturing sector in the US and here in Gwinnett expands, companies are looking to the schools to fill vital roles. Maxwell HS of Technology is there to help with its new Manufacturing and Engineering program. 
Mill Creek Service Appreciation Night: This fall, under Friday night lights, Mill Creek HS brought the community together to honor the military and first responders.
Girls Flag Football: Check out the excitement of GCPS' inaugural season of girls flag football! Sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons, the league gives each Gwinnett high school a bold new opportunity for girls to be active and get into athletics. 
Something to celebrate?… Share your good news with your colleagues in Spotlight . If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send the information to the Spotlight mailbox via Lotus Notes, or to the Communication and Media Relations Department through the courier. Submissions for the winter issue are due Jan. 4. The fall issue of Spotlight  is coming soon.
Fight flu! Get your family vaccinated!… When you or your family members are sick with the flu, you risk missing work, missing school, and missing important life events. Fight flu this season by getting your flu vaccine and encouraging others to protect themselves and their loved ones by doing the same. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are gearing up for the flu season. Most seasonal flu activity occurs between October and May, and peaks between December and February. Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and its potentially serious complications. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated by the end of October. Flu vaccines, including the nasal spray flu vaccine, have been updated to better match circulating flu viruses. Ask your health care provider about what vaccine is right for you. For more on seasonal flu, check out news and information from the CDC and find resources about infection prevention, flu preparedness, and more on the Health and Wellness page on the GCPS website.
Stretch your budget with employee discounts… Special offers and discounts from local and national businesses are as close as a computer or smartphone for GCPS employees. They're easy to find online at the Employee Perks tab on the GCPS Foundation web page or via the new app for your phone, available from Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Also, watch for occasional “perks” newsletters with rundowns on special offers and the latest deals.
Check out Georgia Commute Options… Sign up for Georgia Commute Options programs, find carpool partners, and log your commute trips to earn cash and win prizes online. On the Commute Options website, you can:
Find out how much you’re spending on your commute by using Georgia Commute Options Commute Calculator.
Manage everything, from ride-matching to incentives;
Use easy “drag and drop” features to log your commute;
Set text or e-mail log reminders for any day of the week and any time;
Set alerts via text or e-mail when new carpool or vanpool matches become available;
Check current enrollment status in any of the Georgia Commute Options incentive programs;
Find Park and Ride locations and transit routes in the Atlanta region; and
View or share public pages through Facebook or Twitter log-in.

A mobile-friendly version of the system is available so users can log commute trips on the go. Go to the website to learn how to improve the way you get to and from work. If you have any questions, call 1-877-9-GA-OPTIONS.

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Problems with the feedback link? If you recently upgraded your Microsoft Office software, you may get a message to set up Microsoft Outlook in order to send your feedback by e-mail. This occurs because the upgrade defaults your e-mail preference to Outlook. To reset your e-mail preference to Lotus Notes, with your browser open, go to Tools/Internet Options/Programs/Internet Programs/Set program access and computer defaults. Toggle Custom, and using pull-down menu, select Lotus Notes as e-mail default. Select OK and save. You may have to close your browser and reopen to update your e-mail default.
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    Last modified on 12/06/2018