Volume 40 , Number 1September 13, 2019

GCPS recognizes local school Teachers of the Year for 2019–20
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
A group of 139 educators were named as local school Teachers of the Year.
Semifinalists will be announced later this month.

Congratulations to
Gwinnett’s 139 local school Teachers of the Year (TOTYs)! These award-winning educators have an eye on the future for their students and they are focused on excellence! Announced Sept. 9, our TOTYs were selected by their peers to represent their school in the district’s annual TOTY contest. (TOTYs were not selected for New Life Academy of Excellence and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts.)

“Our Teachers of the Year exemplify the high expectations that our Gwinnett parents and community have for every teacher in every classroom,” says Dr. Jonathan Patterson, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Support. “They are selected by their peers because of the great things they do for students every day, and they are models of excellence for their colleagues as well. We are grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate their passion and their dedication to their students and their profession.”

Next up in the TOTY process? A panel of former TOTYs and administrators will determine Gwinnett’s 25 semifinalists who will be named toward the end of September. A second panel will review applications of the semifinalists to determine the six finalists, with an announcement set for mid-October. Level winners and the county Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet on Nov. 14.

Throughout the fall, we’ll be highlighting TOTY news in staff newsletters. Watch for online photo galleries, featuring photos of local school TOTYs submitted, posted, and tweeted by our schools!

Congratulations to
GCPS’ 2019-20 Local School Teachers of the Year!
Joya Harris of Alcova ES
Chloe Troutman of Alford ES
Launa Ricketts of
Anderson-Livsey ES

Lenise Brown of Annistown ES
Jessica Barrows of Arcado ES
Jennifer Westbrook of Archer HS
Jessica E. Johnson of Baggett ES
Dr. Sheryl Robinson of Baldwin ES
Lauren Brazell of Bay Creek MS
Chelsey Cresap of Beaver Ridge ES
Michelle McKnight of Benefield ES
Matthew Green of Berkeley Lake ES
Vivian Stevens of Berkmar HS
Georold Rogers of Berkmar MS
Laura Sciacca of Bethesda ES
Sally Manaois of Britt ES
Colleen LaPerre of Brookwood ES
Dr. Amber Simmons of
Brookwood HS

Jessica Garrett of Buice Center
Alice Carscaddon of Burnette ES
Paige Davis of Camp Creek ES
Betsie Still of Cedar Hill ES
Shaletha D. Lightfoot-Haughton of Centerville ES
Lori Wood of Central Gwinnett HS
Kelsey Case of Chattahoochee ES
Shemika Turner of Chesney ES
Jimmy Nguyen of Coleman MS
Alex Lowe of Collins Hill HS
Alyssa Krisher of Cooper ES
Lilly Yvonne Houston of Corley ES
Kim Dawson of Couch MS
Alyson Reilly of Craig ES
Carrie Card of Creekland MS
Nicole Finley of Crews MS
Laura Maxwell of Dacula ES
Tonya Aldridge of Dacula HS
Celisa Edwards of Dacula MS
Jason Hall of Discovery HS
Brandy J. Carter of Duluth HS
Jermaine Shakespeare of Duluth MS
Amy Bell of Duncan Creek ES
Ellen Hill of Dyer ES
Lashanta E. Crawford of
Ferguson ES

Emma Towey of Five Forks MS
Mary Beth Peat of Fort Daniel ES
Melissa Benedict of
Freeman's Mill ES

Tracy M. Valentino of
GIVE Center East

Karen Vaught of GIVE Center West
Zondrea Hooks-Phillips of
Grace Snell MS

Keanna Funderburk of Graves ES
Kristie Horn of Grayson ES
Michelle Green of Grayson HS
Cindy Amick of Gwin Oaks ES
Debora Hogan of
Gwinnett Online Campus

Dr. Rhonda Rackley of
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

Carrie Rajek of Harbins ES
Amie Jo Hewette of Harmony ES
Dr. Marlene Botts of Harris ES
Stephanie Richter of Head ES
Emma Clyde of Hopkins ES
Anthony Dramis of Hull MS
Erica Poole of
International Transition Center

Melissa Lorenz of Ivy Creek ES
Nancy Fitzgerald of Jackson ES
Andrea Everett of Jenkins ES
Jessica Perry of Jones MS
Lori Leigh Alderman of Jordan MS
Angela Rivers of Kanoheda ES
Aubriann DiPietro of Knight ES
Nick Brenner of Lanier HS
Janan Olsen of Lanier MS
Will Lewis of Lawrenceville ES
Lisa Vogel of Level Creek ES
Ashley Maxey of Lilburn ES
Dr. Adebimpe Solarm Odunjo of
Lilburn MS

Vivarine Argilagos of Lovin ES
Tyuan Berneil Duncan of Magill ES
Carly Chestnut of Mason ES
Mark James of
Maxwell HS of Technology

Jessie Zaretsky of
McClure Health Science HS

Michelle A. Jones of McConnell MS
Abbey Quintero of McKendree ES
LeTricia Parks of Meadowcreek ES
Leah Ferrell of Meadowcreek HS
Elizabeth Summerlin of Mill Creek HS
Kemel Roberts of Minor ES
Gulannar Akhtar Rattani of
Moore MS

Debbie A. Freeman of
Mountain Park ES

Heather Brindle of Mountain View HS
Shannon Wiley of Mulberry ES
Devin Pulliam of Nesbit ES
Crystal N. Jones of Norcross ES
Lee Newman of Norcross HS
Rebecca Carlisle of
North Gwinnett HS

Dannica Barnum of
North Gwinnett MS

Tommy L. Edwards of Northbrook MS
Delisa Tate of Norton ES
Caitlen Green of
Oakland Meadow School

Kelly Sloan of Osborne MS
Laura Oliver of Parkview HS
Mary Monaco of Parsons ES
DeAnna Espinoza of Partee ES
Christy Lueke of Patrick ES
Carly Cantrell of Paul Duke STEM HS
Cassidy Hobby of Peachtree ES
MaryJane Young of
Peachtree Ridge HS

Susan Kusch of Pharr ES
Therese A. Rinehart of Phoenix HS
Amanda Heaton of Pinckneyville MS
Jenny Ittner of Puckett's Mill ES
Brad Zickefoose of Radloff MS
Crystal Donaldson of Richards MS
Lori Tschan of Riverside ES
Deanne Manotas of Roberts ES
Janet Zawacki of Rock Springs ES
Christine Bower of Rockbridge ES
Nicole Fletcher of Rosebud ES
Tina Hall of Shiloh ES
Minnie Sharpe of Shiloh HS
Jerion Smith of Shiloh MS
Sheron Jones of Simonton ES
Gayle Dingler of Simpson ES
Tiffany S. Fortner of Snellville MS
Jennifer Zaino of South Gwinnett HS
Leigh Shores of Starling ES
Ivelisse Hernandez of Stripling ES
Julie Morrow of Sugar Hill ES
Althea Carter of Summerour MS
Jenn Jones of Suwanee ES
J. Antoine Shade of Sweetwater MS
Chelstyn Rudmose of Sycamore ES
Victoria Chhim of Taylor ES
Andy Paulson of Trickum MS
Jennifer W. Jones of Trip ES
Jessica Walker of Twin Rivers MS
Ashton Simpson of Walnut Grove ES
Hind Ghazzawi of White Oak ES
Jamie Gowen of Winn Holt ES
Susan Sanders of Woodward Mill ES
New Life Academy of Excellence and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts are not participating this year.
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Our inbox is moving... We’ll have a new address and so will you!
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS is changing to a new platform for email, calendar functions, and instant messaging.
The migration to Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online will begin this fall and will be completed next spring.
That’s right... Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is moving to a new platform for email, calendar, and instant messaging. For more than 20 years, the district has used Lotus Notes as its e-communication platform. And while Lotus Notes has met many of the district’s needs, it is dated and is no longer supported as it once was. When GCPS began to look at other options, the Microsoft platform was a natural choice as it has grown in popularity and is considered an industry standard. Its familiarity and modern look also make Microsoft Outlook very user-friendly.

Starting this fall, GCPS will migrate its email, calendar functions, and instant messaging from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online in Phase 1 of its Office Modernization Project.

Phase 1 of this project will deal with email, calendar functions, and instant messaging. We plan to roll out the new platform to district support staff and to schools in one cluster later this fall. In January, work will begin to migrate all school personnel from Lotus Notes to Office 365 Exchange Online. The migration will occur by school and cluster, with all employees moved to the new application in the spring of 2020. With the change, GCPS email addresses will transition to a more user-friendly naming convention. The district will replace gwinnett.k12.ga.us with gcpsk12.org and use dots rather than underscores in names.

You will hear more about our move from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online in the coming months, so stay tuned!
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Enrollment count tops forecast
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS' post-Labor Day enrollment count of 180,324 was 0.07% above projection... over by just 120 students.
The district's newest school— McClure Health Science HS— will hold its dedication on Sept. 29.

It would be hard to get any closer… Every year, GCPS’ final enrollment count the day after Labor Day comes in somewhere close to the neighborhood of the enrollment projection made by our Planning Department months before. Again this year, their prognostication skills are not in doubt. The post-Labor day count of 180,324 students on Sept. 3 was just 120 above the projection…120 students. That’s just a fraction of 1% (0.07%) above the expected 180,204 count! Since the district’s first count on Aug. 6, GCPS enrollment has grown by 7,800 students. Student enrollment typically fluctuates throughout the year. The official October FTE count will be taken Oct. 2.

Putting those numbers into perspective, GCPS accounts for more than 10% of Georgia’s schoolchildren, estimated at 1,759,838. More than 50.8 million students are enrolled in the nation’s K–12 public schools, with another 5.8 million students in private or home school settings.

Our student body reflects the rich diversity of our community, with 10.9% Asian students, 31.9% black students, 32.1% Hispanic students, 21% white students, and 4.1% multiracial students and students of other backgrounds. About 13% of our students are supported with special education services, while 14% receive gifted education services and around 19% of students are learning English. More than half (56%) of our students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch due to financial need.

The district’s largest schools, by level, are Cooper ES, McConnell MS, and Mill Creek HS. With 13,475 students, Meadowcreek is our largest cluster. Our newest school, McClure Health Science HS, opens with 609 students.

invites families, staff, School Board members, and community members to celebrate the official dedication
of the facility on Sunday,
Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. A reception and tour follow the program. Please RSVP by email or by calling 770-806-7946.

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BOE changes behavior code to clarify position on cannabis
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The Board approved a change to the Student Conduct Behavior Code to clarify policy on the possession/sale of cannabis.
The state's new law on hemp farming, which legalized the growing of cannabis (hemp plants), necessitated the clarification.
The revised policy clarifies that the possession or sale of cannabis on school grounds in Gwinnett remains a violation of GCPS school rules.

At its Aug. 15 meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a change to the Gwinnett Student Conduct Behavior Code to clarify the district’s policy regarding the possession and/or sale of cannabis in schools in Gwinnett County. The change reflects passage by the Georgia General Assembly of the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, which was signed into law on May 10. The changes to the discipline code specifically identify cannabis as a prohibited substance in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). Previously, Rule 7 of the Student Conduct Behavior Code addressed “Marijuana.” However, in light of the new state law which legalized the growing of cannabis, or hemp plants, school system leaders felt it prudent to update its rules to address “Cannabis.”

While cannabis/hemp plants are now legal in Georgia when produced by licensed growers and possessed by individuals, the possession or sale of cannabis on school grounds in Gwinnett remains a violation of GCPS school rules. This is similar to other substances or items that may be legal— for instance, cigarettes, other tobacco products, or knives, etc.— but that students are not allowed to have or use on school grounds, at bus stops, on a school bus, and at school activities, functions, and events.

The revised code is included in an updated version of the 2019–20 Student/Parent Handbook for middle and high school students, available on the GCPS website and in the Communications Database.
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Board approves leaders in new roles
The following leaders were appointed in August:

New Position
Current/Previous Position
Dr. Tommy T. Welch
Chief Equity and
Compliance Officer,
CEO/Superintendent’s Office
Meadowcreek HS
Pam McRae
Community School Director,
Parkview HS
Assistant Principal,
Parkview HS

Dr. Welch will move to the central office once a new principal has been named for Meadowcreek. Learn more about Dr. Welch and his work in the new position in this Focus Moment from GCPS TV.
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GCPS invites staff to give feedback on proposed resources
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Stakeholders are invited to the ISC to review proposed instructional resources for select grades and courses in language arts and social studies.
The review runs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays through Oct. 4, with additional opportunities the evening of Sept. 19, and on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Staff, parents, and community members are invited to review and provide input on proposed curriculum resources, including student textbooks, digital resources, and related teacher resources for language arts and social studies for select grades and courses. The review, which began Sept. 9, will run through Oct. 4 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with additional review opportunities on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19, and on Saturday, Sept. 21. During the review, both print and digital resources can be reviewed at the Instructional Support Center in the hallways between buildings 100 and 200.

Before adopting instructional resources for classroom use, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) holds an extensive review. The offices of Language Arts and Social Studies and Instructional Resources and Support jointly convened multiple committees involving various stakeholder groups to select resources to consider for adoption submitted by publishers. The resources were reviewed for alignment with the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. During the review process, resources are piloted in GCPS classrooms. Data from the reviews and pilots will be considered in making adoption recommendations to the Board of Education in early 2020.

For more about the instructional resources review process, contact the Office of Instructional Resources and Support, at 678-301-6828.
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Cybercriminals count on trusting nature of victims
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Cyberattackers use social engineering to hack into devices and networks.
The attacker may seem legitimate.
Attacks may be initiated by email, text, social media, and even in person.
You can prevent these attacks by knowing red flags and knowing what to do with a suspicious email or text.
Forward any suspicious email messages to Phishing_SPAM@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.

Daily, sophisticated criminals take advantage of unsuspecting victims, using social engineering tactics to trick people into doing something they should not do. Through everyday human interaction, these criminals gain an individual’s confidence through deception. As a result, trusting victims share sensitive information, infect their computer with malware, or provide physical access to a desired location.

The cybercriminal may appear to be legitimate, posing either as a credible person or impersonating a well-known and respected organization. They might claim to be a new employee, a familiar vendor, even someone from our own IMT Help Desk. However, attacks are not limited to email. They also can be initiated via text message/SMS, social media, and even in person.

So how can you prevent Social Engineering 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.

  • Know the red flags. Attacks often include misspelled words and poor grammar, urgent subject lines, or promises of free gifts or prizes. The cybercriminal may request that you verify your username, password, account number, or other sensitive information.

  • If you suspect a social engineering attack, take action. Report suspected social engineering attempts to your TST/LSTC or contact the Customer Support Center at (678) 301-6547. Make sure to forward any suspicious email messages to Phishing_SPAM@gwinnett.k12.ga.us. Remember to delete the email from your Inbox, Sent Folder, and Trash Folder to permanently dispose of the message, or delete the text message/SMS.

    Know these common social engineering attacks
  • Phishing: A fraudulent email, often purporting to be from a trusted source, meant to trick the recipient into sharing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link or attachment that installs malware.

  • Business Email Compromise: An email scam in which fraudsters impersonate district leaders requesting gift cards or access to sensitive information such as W-2 records.

  • Smishing: Known as SMS phishing, this fraudulent message is sent via text message.

  • Scareware: An attack method that tricks the victim into thinking computer is infected with malware or has inadvertently downloaded illicit content. The cyberattacker then offers the victim a solution that will “fix” the bogus problem. In reality, the victim is simply tricked into downloading and installing malware.

  • Tailgating: “Piggybacking” into a secured area by following someone with an authorized access card. This in-person attack presumes the person with legitimate access to the building is courteous enough to hold the door open for the person behind them.

  • Remember, all employees must complete required Security Awareness Training by Dec. 22. This series of online courses will provide employees with practical information on how to recognize and respond appropriately to cybersecurity threats. The training series should take approximately one hour to complete. Access the courses via the Employee Portal by clicking on the “Security Awareness” icon.
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  • GCPS Career Connections:
    Connecting Gwinnett students to their futures

    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Community members from across the career spectrum are invited to participate in GCPS' Career Connections event on Oct. 22.
    "Show and tell" interviews and activities will help more than 5,000 Gwinnett 9th graders learn more about potential career paths.

    Planning for a career is a critical decision for young people, and their high school years are the perfect time to explore opportunities and nurture interests that could lead to a career. By helping our students navigate their options and by providing relevant classroom experiences, we can make sure they are on the road to finding a potential career.

    To better prepare our students for a smooth transition from school to college and career, the district hosts Career Connections to promote career awareness. New this year, the event— set for Oct. 22 at the Infinite Energy Exhibit Hall— will focus on students attending a 9th Grade Academy at one of the district’s seven College and Career Academy high schools: Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett. (Previously, 8th graders attended Career Connections.)

    You can help our students prepare for their future by sharing this opportunity with friends and family in the business world. Community members from across the career spectrum are needed for “show and tell”
    interviews and activities. Participating businesses will have exposure to more than 5,000 Academy students… students who are excited to learn about their career field!

    Prospective exhibitors can find information about the event and a sign-up form online. There’s no cost for exhibitors to participate in the event. To learn more, they can contact Dr. Kyle Jones in the Office of Academies and Career and Technical Education at 678-301-7050 or by email.
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    Find compliance training, ethics reminders on Employee Portal
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    All GCPS employees are required to complete online training on ethics, harassment, and other key policies and procedures, no later than Oct. 31.
    Training is available in the Employee Portal.
    Each month, staff receive a pop-up on the Portal covering ethics topics.

    As a GCPS staff member, you are required to complete annual online training on district guidelines and legal requirements when it comes to ethics, sexual harassment, and other key policies and procedures. The videos and sign-offs are found in the Employee Portal under the PD&E Tool. Look for “HR Compliance 2019–2020” listed under “My Courses.” The deadline to complete the training is Oct. 31.

    Again this year, GCPS staff members entering the Portal will get a monthly review of the ethical guidelines under which district employees operate via a pop-up message. The review will focus on one of the 10 standards that make up the The Code of Ethics for Educators adopted by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The standards cover subjects including professional conduct, conduct with students, legal compliance, alcohol/drugs, honesty, gifts and remuneration, required reporting, testing, confidentiality, and use of funds and property.
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    Employees have access to behavioral health resources
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Benefits-eligible employees and retirees qualify for free, short-term behavioral health and counseling services to support those experiencing a major life change such as a death, major illness, or divorce.
    Five free sessions are offered face-to-face, by phone, or via video chat.
    Additional sessions may be available for a fee.

    Life’s challenges— from dealing with the loss of a loved one or a divorce to a terminal medical diagnosis or financial hardship— can be life disruptions when we have trouble coping. MetLife, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ provider of life insurance, offers behavioral health and counseling services to all benefit-eligible employees (including retirees), at no charge to the employee. The service— provided by LifeWorks, a nationwide company that employs over 30,000 licensed counselors— includes up to five sessions, per event, available face-to-face, or via telephone or video chat. Additional sessions may be available under an employee’s insurance coverage on a fee basis, with in-network and out-of-network rates. However, this free behavioral health benefit does not cover addiction counseling.

    Contact MetLife at 1-888-319-7819, then press 1; or email the Benefits Administration Team at benefits@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
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    Recommend a friend, earn incentive for referral
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    A tight labor market makes it more difficult for GCPS to fill some key positions.
    Current employees may qualify for a referral fee by recommending a prospective employee who is hired as a teacher in a high-need field, a speech-language pathologist, a bus driver, or a food assistant.

    GCPS employees— teachers, administrators, and support staff— are committed to high expectations for our students, and the district has equally high expectations for our employees. Our Human Resources and Talent Management (HRTM) team is committed to recruiting, developing, and retaining top-quality employees, but recruitment can be a challenge in a tight labor market. That said, some of our best “recruiters” are staff members who are already on the job and know that GCPS is a great place to work. In fact, more than 20% of teachers hired were referred by a current GCPS employee!

    And GCPS makes it worth your effort.
    Employees can earn a referral incentive bonus by recommending qualified candidates who are hired by the district in these high-need areas:

    The district will pay a referral incentive of $250 to GCPS employees who refer a certified teacher in the fields of Language Arts (4–8, 6–12), Mathematics (4–8, 6–12), Science (4–8, 6–12), Special Education, Technical Specialists (Engineering, Health Occupations, IT Programming, Computer Science), and Foreign Language (Spanish, French) and who is hired for the 2019–20 school year. The referral incentive would be included the referring employee’s paycheck once the teacher candidate is hired and has worked a minimum of 60 days. Referrals should be emailed to Human Resources at GCPSteach@gwinnett.k12.ga.us. Please type GCPS Teacher Referral in the email subject line and include the name and contact information (email address and/or telephone number) of the referral. The teacher candidate must list the name of the referring employee in the referral section of the online application. A GCPS employee who refers a teacher candidate may be asked to present proof of referral. A GCPS employee who submits a referral after a candidate is hired will not qualify for an incentive. The candidate must be new to GCPS (not a returning employee or a contracted employee from a previous year).

    Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP)
    SLP candidates must be new employees (not returning or contracted employees) and a direct hire to GCPS rather than through a placement agency. The current employee must send an email to GCPSteach@gwinnett.k12.ga.us with SLP Referral in the subject line prior to the candidate’s hire date. The SLP candidate must list the name of the referring employee in the referral section of the online application. A $500 incentive will be included in the referring employee’s paycheck once the SLP candidate is hired and has worked 60 days.

    Bus Drivers
    GCPS will pay a $250 referral fee to any current employee who refers a prospective driver who is hired, completes training, and has 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. Drivers earn competitive hourly wages, starting at $15.73 per hour, and have excellent benefits, paid training, and a great work schedule. Call 678-225-7670 with questions.

    Food Assistants
    Current employees in GCPS’ School Nutrition Program (SNP) can earn a $100 incentive for referring candidates for open SNP food assistant positions through Spur. Interested candidates should download the Spur app for Android or iPhone. Send questions on this SNP referral program to support@spurjobs.com. Referred Spur employee must complete 90 work days with Gwinnett County School Nutrition Program. Work days will be verified by Central Office.

    If you have questions about the referral program, contact Patrice Pendergast by Lotus Notes or call 678-301-6076.
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    Circle Oct. 21 on calendar as start for Open Enrollment period
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    The window for Open Enrollment is open Oct. 21 to Nov. 8.
    OE changes are effective Jan. 1, 2020, and will be in effect for the calendar year.
    Active employees will see no increase in the rate or plan changes for their health insurance.

    Choose the benefits package that’s right for you!

    Open Enrollment (OE) for Plan Year 2020 runs from Monday, Oct. 21, through Friday, Nov. 8. Changes made during OE are effective Jan. 1, 2020, and will be in effect for the 2020 calendar year. And, good news… active employees will see no increase in the rate or plan changes for their health insurance. OE changes to health insurance are made through the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) OE website. OE changes to GCPS benefits are made via the Online Benefits System, located in the Employee Portal. Before making your benefit selections, be sure to review SHBP and GCPS plan information, available later in the fall. In the coming weeks, look for further information from the Benefits and Leave Administration office and your Local Site Benefits Representative (LSBR).
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    Sept. 24 is National Voter Registration Day
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    National Voter Registration Day is Sept. 24.
    Citizens can register online, by mail, and in many public buildings, including Gwinnett schools and the ISC.
    One of the great privileges and duties of a citizen of a representative democracy like the United States is our right to vote. Yet, every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register. On Tuesday Sept. 24National Voter Registration Day— volunteers and organizations from all over the country will “hit the streets” to raise awareness of voter registration opportunities.

    This national observance is a celebration of civic unity, endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State, and supported by the National Association of State Election Directors, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the National Association of Election Officials.

    If you or a family member have not registered or have questions about your voter registration status, it’s easy to learn more about voting in Georgia. You can register to vote online, by mail, and in many public buildings, including Gwinnett schools and the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center. Young people can register to vote at age 17 1/2, as long as they will be 18 by Election Day. (Here’s a checklist for first-time voters from the non-partisan League of Women Voters.)

    On the Secretary of State’s (SOS) website, log on to MVP— My Voting Page— for voter registration status, mail-in application and ballot status, poll locations, and more. Call the Gwinnett County Office of Elections at 678-226-7210 with questions about voting in Gwinnett.
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    In the face of disaster, be prepared, not scared
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    September is National Preparedness Month.
    Online, find FEMA resources to help you to make a family emergency plan, build a Ready Kit, develop a communication plan, and learn steps to be tech-ready in an emergency.

    is National Preparedness Month, and natural disasters— from Hurricane Dorian to tornados, flooding, and wildfires— emphasize the need to plan ahead and prepare for a potential disaster. The Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) recommends these steps to prepare for the unexpected:
  • Make a family emergency plan, and review and practice that plan with your family;
  • Build a Ready Kit for the family, taking into the unique needs of your family, including supplies for an ill family member, pets, or seniors;
  • Develop a communications plan to connect with family and friends in an emergency; and
  • Keep updated on the latest alerts and tips with the FEMA mobile app, sign up for FEMA texts, and learn more about being “tech-ready” for a disaster.

    #BeReady #PreparedNotScared
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  • Vulcan and GCPS team ‘crush’ it for Meadowcreek schools
    The “Force” was with walkers and runners on May 4, 2019, during the Quarry Crusher Run hosted by Vulcan Materials Company at its Norcross Quarry. Proceeds from the event benefitted Meadowcreek ES, Radloff MS, Meadowcreek HS, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Gwinnett County.
    A total of 761 runners participated in this year’s race, surpassing the number of runners from the previous three years. Representatives from Vulcan Materials and Gateway 85 Gwinnett presented a check totaling $35,697.66 to the three GCPS schools at last month’s School Board meeting. Next year’s race will be held Feb. 22, 2020, raising resources for the three cluster schools as well as McClure Health Science HS.
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    EB Bulletin Board

    What's on the Bulletin Board?
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Check out Bulletin Board items with the latest on… your Hidden Paycheck, Teach On Project Awards, the need for mentors and for golfers for the program's Oct. 14 golf tourney, JA volunteers, access to resources on the Communications Database and the Personnel Handbook, the next Spotlight, recent online Communiqué stories, the latest from GCPS TV, Perks, flu season reminders, and commute alternatives
    What's hiding in your paycheck?… Your personal Hidden Paycheck reflects the true value of your total compensation. Employer-paid contributions toward benefits, such as health, dental, life, and retirement, can add a lot to your compensation package… up to 30%. Employees are valuable assets and these benefits show how much GCPS values you! For more information about the value of your benefits, check out your Hidden Paycheck in the About Me section of the Employee Portal or contact benefits@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
    Nominate, apply for Teach On Project Award… Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education is now the Teach On Project, and the organization is looking for outstanding teachers and school leaders to recognize for the 2020 Teach On Project Awards! The deadline to nominate or apply is Sept. 30. Each award winner receives $7,500— $3,500 in funding for a school project, $1,500 in funding for professional development, and a personal stipend of $2,500. Online, learn more about eligibility requirements for the Teach On Project Awards and the nomination/application process, and find a list of previous winners.
    District seeks mentors for both boys and girls… Studies show that successful mentoring programs help students develop social skills, improve their school achievement and graduation rates, build character, and many other benefits. Now in its 11th year, GCPS has served hundreds of young men, and now, young women through its Community-Based Mentoring Program, with a number of GCPS staff members serving as mentors. The district is seeking both men and women to serve as mentors. Prospective mentors can learn more about how to become a mentor and find an application online.
    Hit the links for our mentoring program… Grab your favorite driver, putter, and wedge, and practice your swing, master your putt, and work on your approach shot! GCPS’ Community-Based Mentoring Program’s 10th Annual Golf Tournament is set for Monday, Oct. 14. Bear’s Best Atlanta Golf Course in Suwanee will host the event. The money raised will go toward college scholarships, resources, enrichment activities, and background-building experiences for students in the mentoring program. Registration for golfers— $125 per individual and $500 per foursome— is open through Sept. 27, and includes tournament entry, breakfast, entry in the Hole-In-One Contest, entry in the Longest Drive Contest, and the Awards Luncheon. Learn more about district’s mentoring program online. #GCPSMentoring #PowerOfOne
    Share your ‘adulting’ experience with students at JA Discovery Center… A partnership with Junior Achievement (JA) launched the JA Discovery Center at Gwinnett, now in its fifth year. Annually, more than 50,000 GCPS middle schoolers take part in day-long simulations as part of the JA BizTown and JA Finance Park programs to learn how to navigate the workplace and manage money. Email VolunteerGwinnett@georgia.ja.org to learn how to volunteer and to see how your “adulting” experience could support this important program for our students.
    GCPS available resources on Communications Database… The Communications Database (on IntranetLN04) holds hundreds of system-level communication pieces, such as handbooks, parent tips, K–8 AKS brochures, calendars, translated pieces, and more. Items in the searchable database are organized by category and keywords. Access to some documents is restricted to principals or other employee groups, but most are available to all GCPS users. See instructions below for adding the database to your desktop, or request this Database icon by contacting Laura Nurse via Lotus Notes.
  • In the Lotus Notes workspace, click <File>, then <Database>, then <Open>;
  • In the “Open Database” window, select the server (PikeLN03) in the drop-down list;
  • Scroll through the list of databases and highlight (click once) the database you want to open;
  • Click the <Open> button. A database icon will be placed on your Lotus Notes workspace.
  • Find 2019-20 Personnel Handbook online… The 2019–20 edition of the GCPS Personnel Handbook is now available online. (The handbook is accessible on the GCPS website under Employment > Get a copy of…. > Personnel Handbook.) The Personnel Handbook contains important information about GCPS processes, policies and procedures. If you have questions about the handbook, please contact Susan Patterson at 678-301-6037 or by email for assistance.
    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. Coming soon… the back-to-school issue of Spotlight.
    What’s new in Communiqué?… The latest posts to the online Communiqué  include local school TOTY winners, news on heroic and lifesaving responses, staff honors, a cool hobby, plus calendar updates, dates and deadlines on the Bulletin Board, and the latest episode of In5ive. Coming up? The next round of TOTY honorees, cluster collaborations, opportunities in cybersecurity, and more! Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us. 
    Watch recent Focus Moments on GCPS TV… These are just a few of the recent videos from GCPS TV:
  • Real-world, hands-on projects such as the Great Georgia Pollinator Project and a community art project to honor law enforcement support student learning. A grant is helping students exercise both mind and body.
  • The 1st annual GCPS Football Media Day offered a gridiron preview and a back-to-school pep talk for players.
  • Play 2 Learn prepares young children for kindergarten.
  • Quick action by staff members saved the life of a GCPS bus driver and an SRO was honored for her valor during a classroom incident.
  • Summer news includes back-to-school for new teachers, GCPS’ selection as a top employer for women, a collaboration between School Nutrition and the GCPS Book Mobiles, and the opening of McClure Health Science HS.
  • Stretch your budget with employee discounts… Put ‘GCPS Perks’ at your fingertips with the Foundation’s mobile app. GCPS employees have easy access to employee perks and discounts via their smartphone! Perks include special offers and discounts from local and national businesses. With the app, users also can make a donation, purchase event tickets, catch up on Foundation news, and contact the Foundation team. Download the app today for your iOS or Android device.
    Practice healthy habits during flu season!… 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. Healthy habits recommended by the CDC include getting a flu vaccination for yourself and your family members, especially those with asthma and other chronic illnesses. 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, including Healthy Habits for cold and flu season.
    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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        GCPS    Employment    Back Issues   
        Last modified on 10/04/2019