Volume 41 , Number 5January 28, 2021


GCPS employees express interest in vaccination, Health Dept. timeline now to be determined by vaccine availability
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
While vaccines will be an important tool in our fight against COVID-19, state officials say the supply is limited at this time.
GCPS is partnering with the Health Department to offer the two-part COVID-19 vaccine to GCPS employees, contingent on the transition to Phase 1B of Georgia’s Vaccination Plan and availability of vaccine.
Given the limited supply, the Health Department is coordinating with GCPS to hold a vaccination clinic for school district employees who are currently covered under Phase 1A+. Given the current status of available vaccine in our county, efforts are underway to schedule that event as soon as possible, likely to occur in February.
It is important to remember that the Health Department is just one source for the vaccine. At this time, employees age 65+ may seek the COVID vaccination through ongoing Health Department vaccination efforts, their primary care physician, and other providers as part of Phase 1A+. Individuals can visit the Vaccine locator available at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.
Once Phase 1B begins, all GCPS employees (including those who have signed up to receive the vaccination through the Health Department opportunity for GCPS employees) may choose to make an appointment with their primary care physician and other health providers providing the vaccinations.
Employees who receive the vaccine elsewhere, but previously expressed interest in the GCPS employee Health Department option via the survey will have an opportunity to remove their name from the GCPS list/schedule once they receive information about their scheduled date/time of their appointment.

Health officials say that COVID-19 vaccines will be an important tool in our fight against the pandemic that began in the U.S. a year ago.
However, as Gov. Brian Kemp shared on Jan. 26, that tool is not as readily accessible as we would all hope. Georgia is currently in Phase 1A+ of the state’s vaccination plan, vaccinating healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care residents and staff, adults 65 and older, and their caregivers. Between Jan. 11 and Jan. 18 more than 216,000 vaccinations were administered in the state. Gov. Kemp shared that as of Jan. 25, 533,000 Georgians had been vaccinated. However, he indicated that the state has not reached the halfway mark to the current Phase 1A+ population, which numbers more than two million people.

A challenge to the vaccination process is the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. State officials have said they have limited supply and no indication of when weekly allocations will increase. Knowing this, their focus is on utilizing the current allotment as safely and as quickly as possible and planning for the time when an increased supply becomes available. On Jan. 26, several news agencies reported that the White House is expected to tell governors they will get more coronavirus vaccine doses starting next week. While this increase will ease shortages, it will not fully resolve supply problems. Public Health officials have reported that the vaccine supplies will likely not increase substantially until March.

Closer to home… what does this mean for GCPS employees?
In January, GCPS announced a partnership with the Gwinnett Newton Rockdale (GNR) Health Department to offer the two-part COVID-19 vaccine to GCPS employees, contingent on the transition to Phase 1B of Georgia’s Vaccination Plan and availability of vaccine. In addition to school staff, Phase 1B includes other essential workers outside of healthcare settings, including pharmacy and grocery store workers.

Of GCPS’ 24,900 employees (including all full- and part-time staff and active substitutes), more than 13,500 indicated an interest in receiving the vaccine through this opportunity. In speaking about vaccinations for teachers and school staff, Gov. Kemp said he shares the concerns that have been raised and the hope that we can vaccinate these deserving Georgians soon. However, he indicated the state does not have enough vaccine to expand at this time.

With that in mind, the Health Department is coordinating with GCPS to hold a vaccination clinic for school district employees who are currently covered under Phase 1A+. Given the current status of available vaccine in our county, efforts are underway to schedule that event as soon as possible, likely to occur in February. Vaccinations of other interested GCPS employees will be scheduled based on two things—when the state moves to Phase 1B and availability of the vaccine. That said, based on availability of vaccine, it may take longer to vaccinate all staff and the priority will be placed on staff who work directly with students. Once the schedule is determined, employees who expressed an interest in the vaccine will get an email alerting them to their scheduled appointment. In the meantime, it is important to remember that the Health Department is just one source for the vaccine.

What avenues are available for employees who are interested in getting the vaccination as quickly as possible?
— Employees who are eligible as members of Phase 1A+ (including healthcare workers, first responders, and adults 65 and older) may seek the COVID vaccination through the ongoing Health Department vaccination efforts, their primary care physician, and other providers as part of Phase 1A+. Individuals can visit the Vaccine locator available at https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.

— Once Phase 1B begins, employees (including those who have signed up to receive the vaccination through the Health Department opportunity for GCPS employees) may wish to make an appointment with their primary care physician and other health providers providing the vaccinations.

— Employees who receive the vaccine elsewhere, but previously expressed interest in the GCPS employee Health Department option via the survey will have an opportunity to remove their name from the GCPS list/schedule once they receive information about their scheduled date/time of their appointment.

GCPS continues to have daily discussions with the Health Department about the vaccination process and is committed to keeping its employees up to date. In addition, Gwinnett School Board members Dr. Tarece Johnson of District V and 2021 Vice Chair Karen Watkins (District I) have joined several Board of Education members from around Metro Atlanta in asking Gov. Kemp to prioritize access to COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and school staff. In addition, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks was one of 11 superintendents who asked in a letter that the governor prioritize teachers. In his press conference on Jan. 26, Gov. Kemp addressed educators’ concerns by saying there is not enough vaccine available.

If you have questions about the vaccine, check with your primary care physician or visit the GNR Health Department website or the COVID-19 Vaccine information page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the Georgia Department of Public Health has set up a call center to answer general questions about the vaccine: 1-888-357-0169.

Remember, no single tool alone is going to stop the pandemic. Your best protection from COVID-19 will be a combination—getting a COVID-19 vaccine, ensuring you remain at least 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask, staying home when ill, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. GCPS will continue to require masks and employ established mitigation efforts. In addition, we ask that GCPS staff continue to report COVID infections and exposures so that important disease control measures can continue to be put in place.

An important reminder for all staff members
Stay home from school or work if you…
are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
have tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID;
are awaiting test results; or
have been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed with COVID or someone with COVID symptoms who is waiting for test results.

It’s important that we all do our part to keep ourselves and others healthy. Remember to follow these four important steps… social distancing when feasible, wearing a mask that covers nose and mouth, washing your hands, and staying home if you do not feel well or have been exposed to illness.


Click here to return to top.

About the COVID-19 vaccine...

Click here to return to top.
District adds 10-day option as FFCRA expires
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which offered a one-time, 10-day leave for employees, expired on Dec. 31.
GCPS will continue to provide this one-time, 10-day leave option through March 31 to any employee who qualifies and who has not yet used the 10-day FFCRA option.
If an employee already has used the 10-day leave option, he or she would use sick leave to cover any absences from work.

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which offered a one-time, 10-day leave for employees, expired on Dec. 31. However, GCPS will continue to provide this one-time, 10-day leave option through March 31 to any employee who qualifies and who has not yet used the 10-day FFCRA option. The district also has added the opportunity for employees whose duties and responsibilities allow them to work from home to do so for up to 10 days if they need to be out with their own children for COVID-related reasons. If an employee already has used the 10-day leave option, he or she would use sick leave to cover any absences from work. For employees whose jobs cannot be performed from home, including bus managers, custodians, and school nutrition workers, Human Resources will determine if they qualify to complete online staff development courses. If the employee does not qualify to work-from-home or cannot complete the staff development option due to illness, the employee should contact the Leave Team at leave@gcpsk12.org.
Click here to return to top.

Under the Gold Dome: Session begins with positive budget report, call for $1K supplement for school staff
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The Georgia General Assembly is in session.
Thanks to federal CARES Act funding, the governor’s education budget includes no new cuts, no furloughs, and no layoffs.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced a proposed one-time supplemental payment of $1,000 to every public school teacher and school-level staff member in the state. (The proposed payments are in addition to the $700 one-time salary adjustment approved for GCPS staff by the Gwinnett Board of Education.)

On Jan. 14, Gov. Brian Kemp delivered his State of the State remarks to a joint session of the 156th Georgia General Assembly. (The session began Jan. 11 and lawmakers will meet as a body for a total of 40 days over the next few months.) While the main focus of Gov. Kemp’s address was the human and financial costs of the global pandemic for Georgians and the state’s business community, he also sent a message of thanks to the state’s educators and support staff “who faced COVID-19 with heart, passion, and perseverance!” Thanks to federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, the governor’s education budget includes no new cuts, no furloughs, and no layoffs. Gov. Kemp proposed restoring $647 million to the education funding formula and fully funding education growth.

At the event, Gov. Kemp also announced a proposed one-time supplemental payment of $1,000 to every public school teacher and school-level staff member in the state. Eligible employees would include teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, school nutrition staff, media specialists, clerical staff and administrative assistants, school principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, therapists, etc. The payments would come from the next round of federal funding, dubbed CARES 2. State Superintendent Richard Woods will officially recommend the allocation for approval at the State Board of Education's Feb. 18 meeting. (The proposed payments are in addition to the $700 one-time salary adjustment approved by the Gwinnett Board of Education for all active benefit-eligible employees as of Nov. 19.)

For the remainder of the session, keep a close eye on Gold Dome proceedings with these resources:
— Review the
governor’s budget recommendations for Amended FY2021 and FY2022 online. (The education notes start on page 162. Find budget highlights on pages 7-9.)

— Keep up with both chambers on the General Assembly website.

Subscribe online for regular updates, including bill tracking, through Capitol Watch, a free service of the Georgia School Boards Association.

— Watch a daily legislative wrap-up on “Lawmakers”— a program of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB)—or check out live coverage of House and Senate proceedings.

— And, find a link to GCPS’ legislative priorities.
Click here to return to top.

Board conducts annual business, names chair in January meeting
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
In 2021, Everton Blair, Jr., (District IV) will serve as chairman and Karen Watkins (District I) will be vice chair.
Remaining dates in the 2021 meeting schedule are Feb. 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 18, and Dec. 16.

The start of the 2021 calendar year is the time for the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) to conduct its annual business, including leadership changes and calendar decisions. At the BOE’s Jan. 21 meeting, Everton Blair, Jr., District V representative, was elected 2021 chairman. District I’s Karen Watkins will serve as vice chairman this year. In other annual business, the BOE reaffirmed its policies, designated the Gwinnett Daily Post as the official media organ for the school system, and retained Thompson, Sweeny, Kinsinger & Pereira, P.C. as the Board’s legal counsel. Board members confirmed remaining dates in the 2021 meeting schedule: Feb. 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 18, and Dec. 16.
Click here to return to top.

Budget discussions begin for GCPS’ FY2022 plans
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
— The adopted FY2022 Budget Calendar includes several public sessions.
— 
The first public session is set for March 27 and adoption of a final budget is expected on June 17.

Last fall, the Board of Education adopted the FY2022 Budget Calendar, reserving certain critical dates relating to the budget process. Departments and divisions are developing budget requests to submit to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. The superintendent’s recommended budget will be shared later this spring, followed by a series of work sessions and hearings. The state requires a new budget be adopted each year prior to July 1.

Following are key dates in the budget process for FY2021:
— March 27— Budget work session (Saturday)
— April 15— Budget work session and adoption of tentative budget
— May 20— First public hearing on budget
— June 17— Second public budget hearing, final budget adoption, and adoption of tentative millage rate
— July 2021 (date TBD)— Final adoption of millage rate.
Click here to return to top.

Board approves January appointments
The School Board approved the following leadership appointments at its regular monthly Board Meeting on January 21, 2021.

Name
New Position
Current/Previous Position
Jennifer L. Clowers
Principal, Partee ES
Assistant Principal,
Partee ES
James “Jay” Nebel, Jr
Assistant Superintendent
for Middle Schools,
School Improvement
and Operations
Executive Director of
Continuous Quality Improvement,
Human Resources and Talent Management
Dr. Nicole A. White
Executive Director of
Special Education and Psychological Services,
Curriculum and
Instructional Support
Principal, Kanoheda ES
Vickie B. Martin
Executive Director
of HR Systems,
Human Resources and
Talent Management
Director of
Support Staffing,
Human Resources and Talent Management
Lynnette M. Aponte
Director of English Language Learners Program,
Curriculum and
Instructional Support
Assistant Principal,
Meadowcreek HS

Ms. Clowers transitions to fill the role previously held by
Dr. Kelli McCain, now serving as an assistant superintendent for elementary schools. Mr. Nebel steps into the position that opened when Peggy Goodman retired. Dr. White moves to her new position, which had been filled by Paula Everett-Truppi as interim executive director since October. Ms. Martin takes on her new role, previously held by Hunter Blackburn. Ms. Aponte transitions to the position filled by Elizabeth Blackmon on an interim basis.

January Leadership Appointments
Jennifer L. Clowers
Jay Nebel
Dr. Nicole A. White
Vickie B. Martin

Click here to return to top.

K-5 families invited to virtual sessions to support learning
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Through Feb. 4, GCPS is hosting AKS at Home virtual sessions for the 3rd nine weeks for K-5 language arts and mathematics.
Families can participate in live sessions or watch recorded sessions and review tipsheets later.

Parents and caregivers are important education partners with their child’s school. With the school district’s quarterly AKS at Home initiative, families of students in grades K-5 are able to learn ways to help their children practice the key skills they are learning in language arts and math, whether students are learning at home or at school. The next round of live virtual sessions—presented live Jan. 25-Feb. 4—support learning in the 3rd nine weeks of the year.



With AKS at Home, families with students in grades K-5 participate in live Zoom sessions—specific to their child’s grade level—or watch recorded sessions. Helpful tipsheets are available online. In 1st semester, close to 4,000 families participated in the online sessions, which are designed to reinforce key skills that students should master for success in core subjects.

Each nine weeks, the district rolls out new Zoom sessions and tipsheets to support a key concept for each elementary grade level in the content areas of language arts and mathematics. The sessions are hosted by parent instructional coordinators and parent outreach liaisons who staff Parent Centers in the district’s Title I schools and teachers throughout the districts, with Spanish interpretation provided. The sessions are open to all GCPS families.
Click here to return to top.

Reminder: Free school meals available through end of school year
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS will continue to distribute free meals for Gwinnett children and teens through the end of the school year.
Families of at-home learners and others (ages 18 and younger) can pick up meals at schools.

A reminder for 2nd semester… GCPS will continue to offer both breakfast and lunch on school days to all Gwinnett children, ages 18 and younger, at no charge through the end of the school year. This includes children who are attending GCPS schools in-person and those who are digital learners as well as children who are not school-aged and those who are not GCPS students. These meals are provided at no cost to the individual through the federal School Nutrition Program. Online, find more information about GCPS’ free meals program, including a list of schools offering curbside meal pick-up for digital learners and other children age 18 and under.
Click here to return to top.
Eye on Quality:
When it comes to safe schools, F&O teams 'make it happen'

Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Teams in Facilities and Operations have demonstrated an improvement mindset and have been instrumental in maintaining a safe teaching and learning environment during the pandemic.
The team effort includes new processes, new technology, and increasing capacity and flexibility to ensure supplies are available and all stakeholders are familiar with safe procedures.

“Eye on Quality” is a new feature that puts the spotlight on people, quality work, and improvement efforts that are making a difference for our kids, schools, and community so that we can celebrate and take pride in our accomplishments together.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been especially important that students and staff have a safe teaching and learning environment. Teams from the Environmental, Print, and Supply Services departments, which include Custodial Services, have been instrumental in those efforts. Effective processes and structures have allowed staff members working in these areas to adapt, innovate, and meet stakeholder needs by aligning with Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) principles.

“The improvement mindset is demonstrated in several ways within our work,” says Stephen Hatcher of the departments he oversees in Facilities and Operations (F&O). “Often, we’re developing processes to handle new expectations or priorities with existing resources.” He says his teams have “incorporated new technology to ensure consistent results and extend the reach of training, and increased cross-training of existing staff to expand the team’s capabilities and flexibility for responding to change.” And this team approach is critically important, particularly because the teams work across departments and with multiple stakeholders to support schools and help ensure safe workplaces.

“Many of our stakeholders are involved in the process, identifying new needs to be met, and collaborating on plans to provide the requested

The adaptability, innovative approach, and teamwork of these groups, and the work of all of our Facilities and Operations team members, exemplifies the CQI mindset.
support,” says Mr. Hatcher. “Each of these teams contributes to our students’ and staff’s safety.” This includes teams from Transportation, Custodial Services, School Nutrition, Purchasing, Inventory Control, Supply Distribution, Property Distribution, and the Print Shop. Cooperative efforts—sometimes outside of regular duties—have helped provide schools with needed support during GCPS’ pandemic response.

Print Shop staff packed supplies like spray bottles and Plexiglas shields for teachers and paraprofessionals for delivery before the return of students. Custodial trainers prepared modules to demonstrate to teachers how and when to use cleaning and disinfecting products provided for every classroom. Trainers also worked with custodial staff on new cleaning and disinfecting processes for athletic facilities before and after student athletes were conditioning and the cleaning and disinfecting protocols for classrooms and workspaces after a known or potential COVID-19 exposure. The Property Distribution team delivered critical supplies to schools on tight deadlines and Supply Distribution staff met peak demands. (This video highlights these frontline workers.)

Mr. Hatcher says the ongoing pandemic has put the F&O motto—We Make It Happen!—to the test. However, “a ‘can do’ spirit carries to frontline workers who pull together and do what is necessary to serve the greater good for our students and fellow staff.”
Click here to return to top.

Career Connections goes virtual for 2020-21
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The annual Career Connections event will be virtual this year.
This event promotes career awareness for students attending a 9th Grade Academy at one of the district’s seven College and Career Academy high schools.
Students will participate online with keynote addresses (NBA star Lou Williams, a South Gwinnett HS alumnus, and actor Jason Dirden), pre-recorded panels featuring industry professionals, and virtual booths.

As with so many things during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district’s annual Career Connections event looks different for the 2020-21 school year. Typically, the event brings nearly 5,000 GCPS students to the Infinite Energy Center to learn more about potential careers. This event promotes career awareness for 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.

Dr. Kyle Jones, coordinator for Academies and Career and Technical Education, says Career Connections is a cornerstone in the district’s support for academy schools. “We knew we did not want to have any of this year’s 9th grade students miss this event due to the pandemic,” he says. “With the help of local school teacher leaders, we were able to take this event entirely online for student career exploration uniquely tailored to them as Gwinnett County students, citizens, and future professionals.”


This year, career exploration has gone virtual for the students, who are participating on their school’s designated day through Feb. 2. Students are exploring careers and learning about programs offered at their schools and available options through the Technical Education Program at Grayson HS and Maxwell HS of Technology. This year’s event features keynote addresses by Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers star and South Gwinnett HS alumnus, and Jason Dirden, an actor in OWN’s drama Greenleaf. Pre-recorded panels feature industry professionals working in STEM, Fine Arts and Communication, Healthcare, and Business talking about career opportunities, required skills, benefits and challenges, and the job outlook for the next decade in their respective fields. In addition, students have the opportunity to visit virtual booths to learn more about a range of careers from local businesses.

“We have a very active and supportive professional community in Gwinnett, so as hoped, our local businesses and industry leaders really stepped up to help provide the programming we wanted to get in front of these students,” says Dr. Jones. “This year’s Career Connections may look different, but its heart and soul are very much the same.”
Click here to return to top.

Take the SUPER Book Return Challenge!
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
About 80,000 school library books stayed home when schools reopened in August.
To get those books back into circulation, GCPS is hosting the SUPER Book Return Challenge Feb. 1-5.
Families can return books to any school or public library branch. (Barcodes will ensure that books return to their home media center.)

Last spring, when students moved to digital learning to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, book bags and their contents were parked on desks and shoved under beds. While our school buildings have reopened, about 80,000 school library books remain at home. To get those books back into circulation, GCPS is hosting the SUPER Book Return Challenge during Super Bowl Week—Feb. 1-5! Our school media centers challenge GCPS students to look everywhere for library books that they checked out last year and return them to any school or public library branch. (Barcodes will ensure that books return to their home media center.) All participating schools are entered into a drawing for a visit from the GCPS Book Mobile, providing a free book for every student.


Click here to return to top.
Gwinnett celebrates National Mentoring Month
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS' Community-Based Mentoring Program celebrate National Mentoring Month during the month of January.
Last school year, more than 1,000 students were supported by a total of 661 volunteer mentors.
The district is seeking both men and women to serve as mentors for the three prioritiesAfrican-American boys (gr. 4-12), Hispanic boys and girls (MS), and African-American girls (MS).

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) and the district’s Community-Based Mentoring Program celebrate National Mentoring Month during the month of January.

GCPS is committed to increasing the number of quality mentoring opportunities in order to connect more young people with caring adults. Currently, GCPS has mentoring programs that connect potential community mentors with student mentees. These programs provide guidance, encouragement, and support, helping the students become successful young adults, both in and out of school. Last school year, more than 1,000 students were supported by a total of 661 volunteer mentors.
“Mentors play a critical role in the lives of many of our students.” says James Rayford, director of the Community-Based Mentoring Program’s African-American priority for boys. “They are role models that provide valuable advice and insight in an effort to help young people navigate through confusing and turbulent times. Mentoring is proven to have a positive effect on academic, social, and economic outcomes for our young people.” The African-American priority for boys—launched in 2009—serves more than 600 students in grades 4-12 at 61 schools.

Studies show mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behaviors. In turn, these young people are:
55% more likely to be enrolled in college
81% more likely to report participating in sports or extracurricular activities.
78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team

Research also shows that 9 million young people in the United States will grow up without a mentor.

“A mentor is like a madrina or padrino for our kids,” says Nury Crawford, director of the Community-Based Mentoring Program’s Hispanic priority, which serves boys and girls in middle school. “Like in a family, mentors guide, lead, but most of all they listen and care.” Nearly 200 students at 15 schools are served through this part of the mentoring program. With the pandemic, families, mentees, and mentors are able to stay connected with videos posted on a YouTube channel.

The newest member of the Mentoring team is Nicole Tomlinson, who recently took on the role of director of the Community-Based Mentoring Program’s African-American priority for girls. “Mentoring is a vital way to address the opportunity and achievement gaps in our communities,” she says. “A mentor provide experiences and opportunities that will help students see beyond their circumstances and other obstacles. In addition, a mentor also provides a child with their personal champion, a person who believes in them until they have the courage to believe in themselves.” Nearly 300 girls from 24 middle schools are served through this priority, which started with grade 6 and adds a new grade level each year. Now in its third year, the program currently serves girls in grades 6-8.



The district is seeking both men and women to serve as mentors. In fact, many GCPS staff members have stepped up to fill this important role for a student. Prospective mentors, who must be 21 or older, must follow these
steps:
Complete a mentor application.
Attend a Volunteer Mentor Training Session (currently online).
Complete the fingerprinting and background check process.

The district matches mentors who have completed all steps in the application process with student mentees, and provides ongoing support and resources for a successful mentoring experience. Community members and local businesses also can support the program in other ways—from learning opportunities and event sponsorships (like the March 22 golf tournament) to financial donations and in-kind contributions. Learn more online.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Call 770-682-8086 or visit the program’s webpage.
Click here to return to top.

Complete multi-factor authentication registration before Feb. 8
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Beginning Feb. 8, multi-factor authentication (MFA) enrollment will be required.
MFA is an extra layer of security added to the Employee Portal login.
After enrolling in MFA, you will need your employee ID, password, and a security code each time you access the Employee Portal.
MFA will NOT be required when accessing the Employee Portal on a GCPS-issued computer at your worksite.

Gwinnett County Public Schools has implemented multi-factor authentication to further safeguard the information entrusted to us by students, families, and employees. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA for short, is an extra layer of security added to the Employee Portal login. MFA ensures that you are the only one who can access your account, even if someone knows your password. MFA is a proven and effective way to protect against many security threats that target employee passwords, such as phishing.

Beginning Feb. 8, MFA enrollment will be required. If you have not enrolled, the next time you log into the Employee Portal, you will be redirected to the “MFA Enrollment screen” and will not be allowed to access your account without completing MFA enrollment

After enrolling in MFA, you will need your employee ID, password, and a security code each time you access the Employee Portal. You will be able to retrieve a security code using your mobile device or from an application installed on your GCPS-issued laptop.

Note that multi-factor authentication will NOT be required when accessing the Employee Portal on a GCPS-issued computer at your worksite.

Follow these steps to register before Feb. 8:
· Sign-on to the Employee Portal;
· Navigate to your name (hint: top right corner of the navigation bar);
· From the drop-down menu, click “Edit MFA Information;” and
· Follow the directions on the screen.

Look for a flyer and FAQs on the portal to learn more.
Click here to return to top.

Driver Referral Program: Turn your contacts list into cash!
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
With the district’s Bus Driver Referral Program, employees can earn up to $250 for referring a qualified candidate who is hired as a school bus driver for GCPS.
The program provides a payment of $100 as soon as the individual is hired, and an additional $150 once the new driver has completed 60 days on the job.
Let your contacts know about the great benefits of becoming a GCPS bus driver, and tell them to provide your name as a referral when they apply.

GCPS employees have an easy way to add some extra cash to their paycheck. With the district’s Bus Driver Referral Program, employees can earn up to $250 for referring a qualified candidate who is hired as a school bus driver for GCPS. The Bus Driver Referral program provides a payment of $100 as soon as the individual is hired, and an additional $150 once the new driver has completed 60 days on the job. There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make or referral rewards you can earn!

So, how do you get started? Just let your contacts know about the great benefits of becoming a GCPS bus driver, and tell them to provide your name as a referral when they apply. Our Transportation team will take it from there and make sure you get the rewards you earn from referring your friends and neighbors.

Any questions? Email Dawn.Head@gcpsk12.org for assistance.


Start reaching out to your connections today
and turn your contacts list into cash!



Need-to-know information to share with prospective bus drivers
GCPS school bus drivers have excellent benefits, competitive hourly wages, paid training, summer and student holidays off, weeknights and weekends free, and opportunities for growth!
Drivers must have a high school diploma or GED, a good driving record, and be 21 or older.
To apply, prospective drivers should go to www.GCPSJobs.org/Drivers and click “Apply Now!” (Posting #66966) Submit a completed application, including required work history and a reference from a supervisor. The Transportation Department will contact qualified applicants to schedule an interview.
Make sure that your referral knows to provide your name at the time of hire!
Click here to return to top.
Submit eligible expenses for FSA reimbursement by March 31
If you incurred expenses during the 2020 calendar year that are reimbursable through your Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), or had expenses covered by GCPS’ dental or vision plans during the plan year, the deadline to file an FSA claim is drawing near. You have until March 31 to file claims for your 2020 eligible expenses. An FSA claim form can be found online. You also may contact the Benefits team via email at benefits@gcpsk12.org.
Click here to return to top.
Schedule an appointment if you plan to retire in 2021
If retirement is on the horizon for you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor. The Gwinnett Retirement Services Department is scheduling retirement counseling appointments through March for those employees planning to retire at the end of this school year. In order to complete retirement applications and ensure prompt first payments from the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia or Public School Employees Retirement System, please contact Retirement Services at (678) 301-6267 or (678) 301-6267 6269. Appointments with retirement counselors— located in either Suwanee or Lawrenceville— are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.


Click here to return to top.
Staff have access to behavioral health support
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
— Benefits-eligible employees have access to free behavioral health and counseling services.
— 
Counseling sessions are tailored to individuals and their needs— in-person, by phone, or via video chat— for up to five sessions per event.

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. Questions? Contact MetLife at 1-888-319-7819, then press 1; or email the Benefits Administration Team at benefits@gcpsk12.org.
Click here to return to top.

Deadlines approach for scholarships for staff
Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association (GCREA) Scholarship
The
association serving the district’s retired teachers will award a $1,500 GCREA scholarship to one or more GCPS educators currently accepted into an accredited graduate program. Academic ability and financial need will be reviewed, but the overriding criteria will be the applicant’s sincere intention to remain in the field of education. Find an application online. Mail three copies of your completed application to Scholarship Chair Gloria James, 945 Bramlett Shoals Rd., Lawrenceville, GA, 30045. Applications must be postmarked by March 8. Recipients will be notified by April 5 and will be invited to attend the GCREA meeting on April 16 for the presentation of the scholarship if an in-person meeting is possible. For additional information, contact Ms. James at 404-556-5892 or send an email to overbrook@mindspring.com.

Peach State Federal Credit Union (PSFCU) Scholarships
GCPS staffers may apply for one of 25
Career Advancement Scholarships offered by Peach State Federal Credit Union in recognition of education as a lifelong experience. Applicants must be current employees, Credit Union members in good standing with an active account that has been open for a minimum of one year, and enrolled in an accredited program at a college, university, or technical institute with the goal of career advancement. Find an application on the PSFCU website or at any branch. Apply for one of the $2,000 scholarships by Feb. 26. Send applications to Peach State Federal Credit Union, Attention: Scholarship Committee, 1505 Lakes Parkway, Suite 100, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Recipients will be selected March 31.
Click here to return to top.

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… a mentoring fundraiser, a call for judges, job opportunities, registration deadlines, Spotlight submissions, podcast platforms, recent online Communiqué stories, and Perks.
Hit the links for our mentoring program… Grab your favorite driver, putter, and wedge. Practice your swing, master your putt, and work on your approach shot. GCPS’ Community-Based Mentoring Program’s 11th Annual Golf Tournament is set for Monday, March 22! 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 March 5, and includes tournament entry, breakfast, entry in the Hole-In-One Contest, entry in the Longest Drive Contest, and the Awards Luncheon. The district also is seeking sponsors for the event. Learn more about GCPS’ mentoring program online. #GCPSMentoring #PowerOfOne
Support the 2021 Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair!
STEM Lights the WayThat’s the theme of the upcoming 2021 Gwinnett Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair! The virtual event is set for Feb. 19, and you can be a part of it! If you’re interested in being a judge, register by Feb. 8. This year, project judging will be taking place on a digital platform with scheduled interviews of students and judges via web meetings. Virtual workshops will provide students with the high-level learning experiences based on their interests. If you’re interested in a sponsorship of the event, contact Rachel Jeffers to learn about available opportunities.
Know someone who would shine as a special education teacher in GCPS?… GCPS will host a Special Education Virtual Teacher Career Fair on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon. Contracts of employment for the 2021-22 school year will be offered. Those who are interested must complete the online application at http://www.gcpsjobs.org, then register to attend. Registration for the fair will close on Jan. 29, or after all interview times have been filled. For a glimpse into the classroom, share this video with Whitley Parker, a special education teacher at Duluth HS and a 2021 Teacher of the Year semifinalist.
Watch registration deadlines for GCPS programs and schools for 2021–22… Gwinnett charter schools and a number of other special schools and programs have scheduled information sessions and registration dates for students interested in attending one of the schools in the 2021–22 school year:
New Life Academy of Excellence: Enrollment for new students is open through Feb. 5. If needed, a registration lottery will be conducted Feb. 9.
North Metro Academy of Performing Arts: Enrollment is ongoing.
Grayson HS Technical Education Program: Online registration is open, with a virtual information session set for Feb. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. Students can apply from any GCPS computer, and must be in the GCPS network to apply.
—Maxwell High School of Technology: Registration continues, with a virtual Open House set for Feb. 18 between 4 and 6 p.m. Students can apply from any GCPS computer, and must be in the GCPS network to apply.
Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC): During February, students in grades 4–12 may complete the registration process to attend GOC next school year. Register for an information session on the “Interested in Attending GOC webpage.

Registration for Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) closed earlier this month. The registration lottery will be held at 9 a.m. on Feb. 9 at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center.
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 an email to the Spotlight mailbox, or send the information to the Communication and Media Relations Department through the courier. Find the Fall issue online. Submissions for the Spring issue are due March 9.
Discover the ‘Teaching Gwinnett’ podcast… “Teaching Gwinnett”—a district-produced podcast hosted by Bernard Watson, GCPS’ director of media and community relations—features in-depth and informative interviews. Find the podcast on Anchor, Spotify, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Pocket Casts, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, and the district website. Subscribe today!
Find the latest from Communiqué… Recent and upcoming posts to the online Communiqué include a community partnership to support young learners, news on resources for families, a reminder on inclement weather planning, and more. Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
Make the most of your paycheck with employee discounts… Get "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.

Click here to return to top.
Tell us what you think!
Click here to give us your feedback on Education Briefs.

Click here to return to top.


    GCPS    Employment    Back Issues   
    Last modified on 02/26/2021