Volume 41 , Number 3October 27, 2020

District names 25 semifinalists for 2021 TOTY honors
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS has named 25 semifinalists for Teacher of the Year.
Six finalists will be named next month.

GCPS’ field of 139 local school Teachers of the Year (TOTYs) has been narrowed to 25 semifinalists who shine bright in our classrooms! Our semifinalists—many of whom have worked their entire career in Gwinnett—can be found at every school level, in core subject areas, electives, and “specials,” new to the profession and celebrating a lengthy career. The next stage of the competition is selection of the six finalists who will be named next month. Stay tuned!

Congratulations to…
Yvonda Thomas of Alcova ES—Gifted Education Teacher
(Grades 1-5)

Dr. Jessica Ewalt of Berkmar HS—
AP Macroeconomics,
AP Microeconomics, and AP Research Teacher (Grade 12)

Kelley Donovan of Coleman MS—Humanities Teacher (Grade 6)

Dr. Kinsey Edwards of Crews MS—Orchestra Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Stephanie Malley of Dacula ES—
3rd Grade Teacher

Whitley Arens Parker of Duluth HS—Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 4) and Interrelated Resource (Grades 10-12)

Julianne Purnell of Five Forks MS—Health Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Heather Thorpe of Fort Daniel ES—5th Grade Teacher

La’Bria Hannah of Graves ES—
3rd Grade Teacher

Ferdye Bamaca of Grayson ES—
1st Grade Teacher

Melissa Barth of Harbins ES—
2nd Grade Teacher

Olivia Boza of Knight ES—
2nd Grade Teacher

Lena Alonso of Lilburn ES—
Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 5)

Kinsley Compton of Lovin ES—Spanish Teacher (Grades K-5)

Dr. Leslie A. Dunham of McClure Health Science HS—
AP Environmental Science,
AP Physics, and Physics Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

Angelika Shelley of Northbrook MS—Social Studies Teacher (Grade 6)

Mona Brawley of Partee ES—
STEAM Teacher (Grades K-5)

Philip Peavy of Paul Duke STEM HS—Cybersecurity and Game Design Teacher (Grades 10-12)

Kelly Sibley of Peachtree ES—Reading Recovery and English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 1-3)

Genny Greco of Riverside ES—
3rd Grade Teacher

Danielle Swaby of South Gwinnett HS—Work-Based Learning Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

Katie Blum of Sugar Hill ES—
2nd Grade Teacher

Kelsi Carter Hamilton of Trickum MS—Language Arts Teacher (Grade 8)

Courtney Smith of Trip ES—
Music Teacher (Grades K-5)

Kristy Shea of White Oak ES—
1st Grade Teacher

Thank you to the sponsors of this year’s TOTY celebration!

- Presenting Sponsor: Peach State Credit Union
- Platinum Sponsors: AIG, Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep, IBM, and Lifetouch
- Gold Sponsor: The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.
- Silver Sponsors: Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc., and Kroger
- Bronze Sponsors: Celia Brien and Classworks
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Free meals extended through end of school year
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The USDA extended waivers, allowing school districts to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students through the end of the school year.
The waiver extends to children who are not school-aged and children who are not GCPS students, ages 18 and younger.

Thanks to USDA waiver extensions that were issued on Oct. 9, the school district is able 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, including children who are not school-aged and children who are not GCPS students. (Note that GCPS does not provide meals on weekends or on scheduled student holidays.) Gwinnett County Public Schools encourages families who are eligible for the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program to complete the annual application to ensure meal benefits continue when this waiver expires. Note that those eligible for free- and reduced-priced meals may be able to access other types of public assistance or services that may be available during this pandemic.
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Families can select 2nd semester learning option starting Oct. 28
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Families will be able to select their student’s learning option for 2nd semester.
They will indicate their choice in an online survey, available on their student’s page on the Parent Portal from Oct. 28 to Nov. 15

Starting Oct. 28, families will be able to select their student’s learning option for 2nd semester—either in-person at the school or digital learning at home. Families will indicate their choice in an online survey, available in the Parent Portal. Families can make changes to their selection up to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 15, when the selection process closes. Students whose families do not update their preference on the portal will continue in their current learning option on Jan. 6, when students return to learning for the spring semester. Families that don’t have an account yet can find the Parent Portal registration form online or at their student’s school. To verify their identity, parents must return the completed form in person or contact the local school to set up a virtual meeting. Learn more about the registration process in this flyer for families online.
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District eyes calendar options for 2021-22
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS is considering three calendar options for 2021-22.
Option 1 is much like the current calendar, with a start date of Aug. 4 and an end date of May 25.
Option 2 and Option 3 feature a staggered return to the classroom by grade level, with some students learning remotely until their grade level is scheduled to return to in-person learning. These options include digital learning days rather than scheduled inclement weather days.
Local schools are gathering feedback. District leaders are expected to share a final version at the Nov. 19 School Board meeting.

Looking ahead to 2021-22, GCPS is considering three calendar options. Several familiar features are included in the calendar options, including 180 school days, 10 planning/staff development days, two early release days in each semester for ES/MS, three early release days in each semester for HS exams, one week break for Thanksgiving, Winter Break, one week break for Spring Break, end of first semester prior to Winter Break, and end of second semester prior to Memorial Day. Of the three calendars currently under consideration, Option 1 is much like the current calendar. It calls for a start date of Aug. 4 and an end date of May 25. Option 2 calls for a start date of Aug. 4. However, with a staggered return to the classroom by grade level, some students will learn remotely until their grade level is scheduled to return to in-person learning. Option 3 also calls for a staggered start for students, with a start date of Aug. 9. Options 2 and 3 both include six digital learning days—three in first semester and three in second semester. These two options do not include built-in inclement weather days. Of the 10 planning days in the calendar, seven are designated for pre-planning in Options 2 and 3. Local schools are gathering feedback and we anticipate that district leaders will share a final version of next school year’s calendar at the Nov. 19 School Board meeting.
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CQI leads drive to ensure ‘tomorrow is better than today’
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS operates within the management philosophy of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).
A focus on positive results for everyone ensures that a CQI approach focuses on tools and resources that are needed rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.
A regular feature called “Eye on Quality” will put the spotlight on people, quality work, and improvement efforts that are making a difference.

As a district, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) aspires to become a system of world-class schools as we pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student. As we make progress toward our vision and mission, we must be adaptive, innovative, and prepared to meet new challenges as we ready our students for the future. With that in mind, we operate within the management philosophy of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).

But how is CQI defined, and how do we see it play out in the day-to-day work of the district—in our classrooms and conference rooms, on the bus and in the bus bay, in our hallways, cafeterias, and extracurricular activities?

“At every level, we believe that leadership matters,” says Jay Nebel, executive director of CQI. “In GCPS, the leadership of our employees and students helps drive improvement efforts that result in positive, equitable change for all stakeholders, both inside and outside of the district.”

That focus on positive results for everyone ensures that we are applying the principles of CQI across the district to provide the tools and resources that are needed—where and when they are needed—not one-size-fits-all solutions. CQI fosters a mindset and belief that tomorrow can always be better than today, using essential procedures, processes, and infrastructure to improve programs and practices throughout the district on an ongoing basis.

Mr. Nebel notes that, ultimately, CQI is people-oriented. “By investing in organizational improvement, we’re investing in and celebrating the people who serve and are served by GCPS,” he says. “Simply put, CQI doesn’t work without the active participation of faculty and staff, students, families, and our community, working together to transform our schools and school system to best serve the needs of everyone. People are at the heart of our performance culture”

In alignment with the CQI philosophy, future newsletters will include a recurring feature called “Eye on Quality.” Throughout the school year, watch for these CQI stories as they put 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.
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Board approves school, central office leaders in October
The School Board approved the following leadership appointments at its regular monthly Board Meeting on Oct. 15.

New Position
Current/Previous Position
Dr. Clay Hunter
Interim Associate Superintendent,
Curriculum and Instructional Support
Assistant Superintendent for
Curriculum and Instructional Support, Curriculum and Instructional Support
Dr. Michele A. Smith
Executive Director of Internal Resolution
and Compliance and
Title IX Coordinator,
Human Resources and Talent Management
Principal, Jenkins ES
Paula Everett-Truppi
Interim Executive Director
of Special Education and Psychological Services, Curriculum and
Instructional Support
Assistant Principal,
Duluth MS
Brittany N. Riddick
Principal, Rosebud ES
Assistant Principal,
Shiloh ES
Dr. Molly M. McAuliffe
Principal, Stripling ES
Assistant Principal, Harris ES
Dr. Shanna N. Ricketts
Director of
Enterprise Analytics,
Data Governance
Director of Data Analytics,
Research and Evaluation,
CEO/Superintendent’s Office

Dr. Hunter steps into his new role on an interim basis with
Dr. Jonathan Patterson’s departure to be superintendent in Fayette County. Dr. Smith moves to central office as Dr. Joyce Spraggs retires. Ms. Everett-Truppi takes her interim role until a permanent replacement fills the position previously held by Patrick Kane who has transferred to another position. Ms. Riddick and Dr. McAuliffe take on their new leadership roles as Monica Ball and Dr. Chisel Valdez are on leave. Dr. Ricketts fills the position previously held by Vickie Martin who recently transferred to a director position in Staffing.

Dr. Clay
Dr. Michele Smith
Dr. Molly McAuliffe
Dr. Shanna Ricketts

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Weigh in on EOC weight
The Georgia Department of Education is seeking input on the weight that should be assigned for End of Course assessments for select high school courses for the 2020–21 school year. The deadline to take the survey and give additional feedback is Nov. 16.
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Simon partnership extends to main Phoenix HS campus
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS and Phoenix HS are extending a successful partnership with Simon Youth Foundation (SYF).
Phoenix HS at Sugarloaf Mills, an SYF Academy and a satellite campus of Phoenix HS, supports students with flexible schedules, individualized learning, and blended instruction.
This fall, SYF “adopted” the main campus into the SYF network of academies, giving students access to scholarships and program grants.
SYF Academy at Phoenix HS increases the types of educational delivery models available at the main campus.

A thriving partnership that supports students at risk of dropping out of school has expanded this year through the school district’s partnership with Simon Youth Foundation (SYF).

When a Phoenix HS satellite campus opened at an area mall in 2018, the program—known as an SYF Academy—was the first of its kind in Georgia and the 32nd Academy in the nation. (Today, 42 SYF Academies are located in 15 states.) Phoenix HS at Sugarloaf Mills is designed for students who have committed to finishing their education, but need additional support in the classroom and as they transition to the workplace or college. Flexible schedules, individualized learning plans, and a blend of online and teacher-led instruction are among the features that support student success. SYF has formed partnerships with other corporations to provide work-based and other learning opportunities for students in their academies.

“The partnership between GCPS and the Simon Youth Foundation has created another way for Phoenix HS to serve our student population,” says Niki Ross, the school’s principal. “Students at Sugarloaf Mills have a sense of autonomy surrounding their learning and strong relationships with their teachers, which makes it easier for many students to stay in school and achieve graduation.”

Thanks to those strong relationships, Gwinnett’s SYF Academy students are more engaged in their learning, and value the positive school culture and academic rigor that helps prepare them for college or career, according to survey data. While the approach is non-traditional, students attending Phoenix at Sugarloaf earn a regular GCPS diploma not a GED. In 2019-20, the graduation rate for the Gwinnett program was 100%, above the national average at SYF Academies of 90%.

As an engaged partner, SYF provides $1 million in scholarship opportunities for students each year as well as grants for program improvements. Gwinnett students have earned $62,000 in scholarships in the first two years of the program. Academy graduates also become members of the SYF Alumni Network, a national network of nearly 22,000 SYF graduates who have earned their diplomas. Through the SYF Alumni Network, SYF graduates can connect with their fellow alumni, explore professional and event opportunities, and share important milestones with SYF.

The mall-based program has been so successful, SYF and district and school leaders were eager to apply the same concepts to a school-based program to reach even more students. This fall, SYF “adopted” the main campus of Phoenix HS into the SYF network of academies, giving students access to scholarships and program grants. SYF Academy at Phoenix HS increases the types of educational delivery models available at the main campus. Academy students on the main campus have access to blended course offerings similar to those offered at the Sugarloaf campus and a unique environment for learning, including two specialized rooms that are being renovated to support the program with flexible learning spaces, movable furniture, and more. Students can take all of their classes online or receive assistance from teachers.

“We are excited about our SYF partnership and believe that it is making a difference for students,” says Dr. Steve Flynt, associate superintendent for school improvement and operations.
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Cybersecurity awareness and education info has a new home
Earlier this school year, GCPS Information Security launched its new Cybersecurity Awareness and Education microsite within the Employee Portal.

In addition to being a gateway for employees to access the annual Cybersecurity Awareness Training, the microsite also acts as a one-stop shop for cybersecurity news, the Term of the Month, custom-developed awareness videos, and print resources. Employees can access the new microsite by clicking the Security Awareness Icon after they log into the Employee Portal.

This new website is designed to provide staff members with the requisite knowledge and skills needed to remain cyber-savvy while at work and at home.

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Know voting options, ballot contents as we approach Election Day
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Oct. 30 is last day for in-person advance voting for the General and Special Election.
If you are voting by absentee ballot, make sure to follow instructions carefully. To avoid mail delays, return your ballot to an official ballot drop box by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Find a sample ballot and your Election Day poll location online.

In Gwinnett, the last day for in-person advance voting for the General and Special Election is this Friday, Oct. 30. Find schedules for the nine advance voting locations around Gwinnett County and current wait times online. If you’re voting by absentee ballot, check out these FAQs to ensure that your ballot is completed correctly. This close to Election Day, officials recommend that you deposit your ballot at one of the official ballot drop boxes, which feature 24-hour surveillance and are available 24/7 through Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

Remember, Election Day—Tuesday, Nov. 3—is a holiday for Gwinnett students. Adults and older students (age 18 as of Election Day) who are registered to vote and haven't advance voted or returned a mail-in ballot should make their way to their regular polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day. Find your Election Day poll location on the Secretary of State’s (SOS) website at MVP (My Voting Page). Online, learn more about what to expect as an in-person voter in Gwinnett.

So, what’s on the ballot? Gwinnett voters can expect a lengthy ballot—from the presidential contest to important state and local races, as well as GCPS’ E-SPLOST and a transit question, some statewide measures, and contests in some municipalities. (Find a sample ballot online.) Registered voters are encouraged to learn more about both issues and candidates under consideration this election cycle, and to be certain to complete the entire ballot.

Call the Gwinnett County Office of Elections at 678-226-7210 with questions.
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Select Open Enrollment benefits through Nov. 6
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS' Open Enrollment window extends through Nov. 6.
Changes are effective Jan. 1 and will be in effect for the 2021 calendar year.
Employees will see no changes to providers or plans for 2021.
Learn more in this Open Enrollment FAQs document and check out this OE video from GCPS TV.

Be sure to make any needed additions or changes to your benefits during Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Open Enrollment (OE) window before it closes Friday, Nov. 6. Changes are effective Jan. 1 and will be in effect for the 2021 calendar year. Employees will see no changes to providers or plans for 2021. 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.)
Choose the benefits package that’s right
for you!

Employees who do not currently have health coverage and do not wish to enroll for the 2021 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 portal to confirm or update their contact information, add dependent information (if applicable), and confirm elections. For the 17th consecutive year, GCPS was able to hold the rates with no increase in costs for Board-provided benefits, including dental, vision, short-term disability, legal services, and more. New this year, GCPS employees will have options to increase their supplemental life insurance, and add spousal and child life insurance—all without medical underwriting. Learn more on the portal.

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 2021 must enroll or re-enroll during Open Enrollment. FSAs do not automatically renew each year.

- 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 Open Enrollment 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 this OE video from GCPS TV.

Plan Year 2021 Vendors for State Health Benefit Plan

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
  • High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Kaiser Permanente
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), for members who live or work in the 27-county metro Atlanta service area.

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Recommend a friend, earn incentive for referral
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
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, or a bus driver.

Ensuring that GCPS has top-quality employees doesn’t happen by accident. Our Human Resources and Talent Management (HRTM) team is committed to recruiting, developing, and retaining the very best, but recruitment can be difficult during these challenging times. So, we’re looking to you—our employees—for help. We’ve found that staff members are some of the district’s best “recruiters.” In fact, about 20% of new teachers hired are referred by a current employee who already knows GCPS is a great place to work. To sweeten the deal, 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 who is hired for the 2020-21 school year in one of the following: Language Arts (4–8, 6–12), Mathematics (4–8, 6–12), Science (4–8, 6–12), Special Education, Technical (Engineering, Health Occupations, IT Programming, Computer Science), and Foreign Language (Spanish, French). 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. There are two ways to make a teacher referral:

    1. Email your referral to Human Resources at gcpsteach@gcpsk12.org. Please type GCPS Teacher Referral in the subject line, and include the name and contact information of the candidate in the email.
    2. The teacher candidate may list the name of the person who referred him or her in the referral section of the online application.
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@gcpsk12.org 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. Drivers can apply (Posting #66966) at gcpsjobs.org. Have your friends call 678-225-7670 with questions, or complete this interest form if they want to hear back from someone from GCPS’ recruitment team.

If you have questions about the referral program, contact Patrice Pendergast via email, or call 678-301-6076.

GCPS Virtual Teacher Career Fair set for Nov. 17
Spread the word… Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) will host a Virtual Teacher Career Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. The fair is by invitation only for those who hold certification in a range of fields. GCPS principals will be offering Letters of Intent for the 2020-21 school year. Prospective teachers can learn more about the event and register online.

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Roll your #SleeveUp to fight flu this fall
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
This fall, getting a flu vaccination is more important than ever to reduce the risk of flu for yourself and others.
By getting a flu shot now, you have a better chance of avoiding flu altogether, especially while both flu and COVID-19 are spreading in the community.
Do your part when you mask up and social distance, lather up to wash your hands frequently, and roll your sleeve up for your flu shot.

This season, getting a flu vaccination is more important than ever to reduce the risk of flu for yourself, your family, your co-workers and students, and the community. When we and our neighbors get a flu shot, we’re helping to reduce the burden of flu illness on the healthcare system and to save medical resources for those who are exposed to COVID-19.

The flu, COVID-19, and the common cold are all contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because COVID-19 and the flu have symptoms in common—like fever, chills, cough, aches, sore throat, and fatigue—it may be difficult to tell them apart without a diagnostic test. Use this Coronavirus Self-Checker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you decide when to seek testing and medical treatment.

By getting a flu shot now, you have a better chance of avoiding flu altogether, especially while both flu and COVID-19 are spreading in the community. While COVID-19 is the more concerning illness, seasonal flu is nothing to sneeze at and a flu shot can make a big difference. By
CDC estimates, last fall and winter, flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million flu illnesses, 3.7 million flu medical visits, 105,000 flu hospitalizations, and 6,300 flu deaths.

Help prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory illness
- Mask Up: Cover your nose and mouth with a mask when out in public.
- Lather Up: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Sleeve Up: Roll up your sleeve to get a flu shot.

In addition to getting a flu shot, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones by continuing to wear a mask correctly, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and maintaining social distance as much as you can.

CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and people with certain chronic health conditions are among those at high risk for flu complications.
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Commit your support to United Way and our community
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS' 2020 United Way campaign goal is $500,000, with increased staff participation.
Making a pledge via the Employee Portal is easy.
Pledges are fulfilled via tax-deductible payroll deduction, starting in January.

GCPS—one of the biggest United Way campaigns in the state—has a strong legacy of support for United Way. For the 2020 campaign, the district has committed to a goal of raising $500,000 in staff and student campaigns and increasing staff participation to support our community. The district hopes to increase staff participation to 100%—whether you pledge $5 a month ($60 for the year), offer support at the leadership level ($84 or more per month), or make a one-time donation of any amount.

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. 20.

When you pledge, selecting the Child Well-Being 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. New this year, United Way has launched the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund. The new fund will help to reduce and prevent racial inequities across systems that have an impact on the well-being of children in Gwinnett and Greater Atlanta.
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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… new apps for GCPS TV and the Parent Portal, Season 2 of GCPS' podcast, Q12 survey, financial planning, Foundation scholarships, mentoring, online Communiqué stories, Spotlight submissions, and Perks.
Stream GCPS TV with new app… If you’ve cut the cable “cord” or watch satellite TV at home, the new GCPS TV app will allow you to stream district programming on your devices! The GCPS TV app is available for download in the Apple App Store (phone, tablet, and AppleTV), in the Google Play Store (Android devices and smart TVs), and on Amazon Fire devices. The app also can be added as a channel on Roku devices. Kevin Tomlinson, GCPS’ director for broadcast and AV media, says, “Whether you are inside or outside of the county, as long as your device has access to the internet or mobile service connection, you can watch GCPS TV.” He notes that streaming via the app is a great way to see GCPS TV offerings in high-definition (HD) quality. On the app, users can watch the district’s 24/7 broadcast channel as well as videos in our on-demand library.
New tool gives parents easy access to student info… GCPS families have a new tool that makes it even easier to access their student’s information on the Parent Portal. New this fall, GCPS parents can use their smartphones to access ParentVUE to find their student’s schedule, grades, assignments, and more! The ParentVUE mobile app is available in Google Play for Android devices and the App Store for Apple (iOS) devices. If you don’t have a Parent Portal account yet, now’s the time to get one. Learn more and register for an account online.
GCPS launches Season 2 of ‘Teaching Gwinnett’ podcast… “Teaching Gwinnett,” a district-produced podcast, is back for Season 2! Each episode—hosted by Bernard Watson, GCPS’ director of media and community relations—features in-depth and informative interviews. The latest episodes include a fun conversation with Rebecca Carlisle, GCPS’ 2020 Teacher of the Year, and a revealing discussion with Dr. Tommy Welch, the district’s chief equity and compliance officer. 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!
Respond to Q12 survey… District employees have until Wednesday, Oct. 28, to participate in GCPS’ Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, conducted by our partner, the Gallup Organization. You should have received an email link (and reminders)for the survey, which is designed to create a stronger workplace by identifying areas of strength and growth within our schools and at the district level. The short survey— made up of 12 general engagement questions and two questions specific to GCPS— is taken online via a secure website maintained by Gallup, a trusted and independent research organization that has been around for more than 70 years. The survey is accessible online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from work or home. With 100% participation, district leaders hope to identify what is working in the organization as well as challenges facing the district.
Plan ahead for your financial future… Whether retirement is around the corner or still a few years away, meeting with a GCPS Retirement Specialist is an important step in ensuring a smooth transition. The GCPS Retirement Department can help you navigate your retirement options through Gwinnett Retirement System (GRS) and the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) or the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) as well as retirement benefits through State Health, Social Security, and optional defined-contribution plans from AIG/VALIC. To set up your appointment, call (678) 301-6267 (last names starting with A–K) or (678) 301-6269 (last names starting with L–Z). Please note that appointments currently are being set four to eight weeks ahead.

AIG Retirement Services is offering a series of FutureFit Financial Wellness Webinar Series in October and November. Check out offerings and reserve your spot for a live event or watch on-demand webinars when it’s convenient for you.

Foundation accepting scholarship applications… Remind the high school seniors in your life to put scholarship applications on the to-do list! The GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc., is accepting applications from members of the GCPS Class of 2021 through Dec. 7. Find links to applications in the Foundation Scholarship Catalog. A list of other scholarships and their application deadlines also is available online.
Could you be the One?… In Gwinnett County Public Schools, we believe in the Power of One…
— One caring adult can change a child’s life;
— One hour a week can make a difference in a student’s future; and
— One-on-one support can help a student on his or her path to becoming a successful and responsible young adult.
Studies show that
successful mentoring programs help students develop social skills, improve their school achievement and graduation rates, build character, and many other benefits. Since 2009, 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.
Find the latest from Communiqué… Recent and upcoming posts to the online Communiqué include a glimpse into the classrooms of our local TOTYs, more on the AKS at Home initiative, an out-of-this-world field trip, a new playground for Oakland Meadow, and more. Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
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. Watch for the Fall issue soon. Submissions for the next issue are due Dec. 10.
Head into the holidays 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.

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    Last modified on 12/08/2020