Volume 39 , Number 4January 17, 2019

Education issues front and center as 2019 session begins
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The 2019 legislative session is underway.
A number of education issues will be considered by lawmakers.
Resources are available online to help you keep up with the latest Gold Dome news.

On Jan. 14, Gov. Brian Kemp was sworn in as Georgia’s 83rd chief executive. During his inaugural address, Gov. Kemp mentioned education issues several times, including a call to fully fund education, invest in early education, and ensure that children can read on grade level by 3rd grade. Capitol watchers say education priorities— including campaign promises for funding of school safety improvements and increased pay for teachers— likely will be reflected in the governor’s budget recommendations. (In a future newsletter, watch for more on the governor’s Jan. 17 State of the State remarks and related budget details.)

Keep a close eye on Gold Dome proceedings with these resources.
— 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.
— Find a link to GCPS’ legislative program and see a rundown of priorities in the next story.
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GCPS shares priorities with county’s legislative delegation
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The legislative session will run 40 days.
In December, district leaders met with the county's legislative delegation to share key concerns.
GCPS' legislative priorities center on funding, governance issues, local BOE control, fiscal and school improvements efforts, and other key concerns.

All eyes will be on the Gold Dome in Atlanta for 40 days as Georgia lawmakers will meet in the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly. On Dec. 6, the Gwinnett County Board of Education and district leaders met with the Gwinnett legislative delegation, including several new members, to share key issues and concerns that affect our schools and programs, students and staff, and finances and governance. Following are highlights:

On Funding…
Ensure full funding of the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula to allow: for quality educational services.

Review the current QBE formula.
Make certain that any new formula is quantitative, student-based, adequate, and equitable.
Ensure that a new funding formula generates no fewer dollars than does the current formula.
Review costs associated with the state’s health benefit plan(s).

On Governance/Local Control…
Support the Constitutional authority of local boards of education:
Maintain local control of public education, including decisions about instructional resources, local revenue sources, student discipline, curriculum, and school-year calendar.
Sustain Title 20 flexibility for Strategic Waiver School Systems.
Pursue innovative assessment options at the local, state, and/or federal levels.
Ensure sovereign immunity of local boards of education.
Allow operational control of social issues that have an impact on school climate and instruction.

On Fiscal and School Improvement Initiatives…
Sustain improvements in these areas:
Fund the First Priority Act to ensure continuation of the Governor’s School Leadership Academy.
Fund Math and Science endorsement supplements that ensure recruitment and retention of teachers in these critical-need areas.
Provide funding to hire and train school counselors to allow students greater access to services that address academic preparation, college and postsecondary planning, and career readiness.
Support the recommendations of the “Vision for Public Education in Georgia.”

On Continuing Positions…
Allow local school boards to provide and allocate resources as needed:
Maintain a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning, encouraging legislation that focuses on facilities, staffing, students and parents, and technology as means to maximize school safety.
Resist efforts to provide contracts for classified employees.
Protect public education funding by opposing vouchers and/or tuition tax credits.
Require impact statements for any new legislation before enactment.
Fund capital outlay at the maximum levels.
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2018 closes with action-packed Board meeting
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The service of retiring Board members Daniel D. Seckinger and Dr. Robert McClure was celebrated on Dec. 20.
New BOE members Steven B. Knudsen and Everton Blair, Jr., were sworn in at the meeting.
The Board honored the retiring members by naming new schools for them— McClure Health Science HS, opening in 2019-20 in the Meadowcreek Cluster, and Seckinger HS, a new school planned for the Mill Creek Cluster.
The next Board meeting will be Jan. 24.

Meetings of the Gwinnett County School Board typically are full of special recognitions of award-winning students and staff as a prelude to the Board conducting its regular monthly business.

The events before the Dec. 20 meeting of the Board were something altogether different as district leaders, employees, and community members gathered to honor two outgoing Board members and welcome two new members who were officially sworn in before the meeting.

A special program celebrated the legacy of service of Daniel D. Seckinger (District II) and Dr. Robert McClure (District IV), featuring tributes from student musicians, and school, district, and community leaders. Both Mr. Seckinger and Dr. McClure retired at the close of 24 years of service to the schoolchildren of Gwinnett County as members of the Board.

Following a reception, the two incoming Board members were officially sworn in by Judge Christopher Ballar in front of a large crowd of family, friends, and supporters. Steven B. Knudsen was sworn in to serve District II, while Everton Blair, Jr., took the oath of office as the Board representative for District IV. Mr. Knudsen and Mr. Blair officially take on their duties this month.

During the business meeting, a more lasting tribute was made to the pair of long-serving School Board members when their colleagues adopted names for two new high schools. The new theme high school opening in the Meadowcreek Cluster in August of 2019 will be called McClure Health Science HS. Dr. McClure has served patients through his dermatology practice in Lilburn since 1980. The new high school bearing his name is located at 3921 Club Drive in Duluth. The new theme high school that will serve students in the Mill Creek Cluster will carry the name of the School Board member who has served that area for six terms. Plans for Seckinger HS, which will be located at 3621 Sardis Church Road in Buford, are under development at this time.
A BOE Calendar Note…
The January meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held on Jan. 24. Note that this is the fourth Thursday of the month instead of the usual third Thursday. Find a
schedule of Board meetings online.
Above: From left to right, Dr. Robert McClure and Daniel D. Seckinger listen to a speaker at their retirement program.Below: The Board's newest members— Steven B. Knudsen (left) and Everton Blair, Jr. (right) take the oath of office.

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GCPS’ FY2020 budget calendar kicks off in spring
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The FY2020 Budget Calendar is set.
The first public session is set for March 23 and adoption of a final budget is expected on May 16.

Last fall, the Board of Education (BOE) adopted the FY2020 Budget Calendar, reserving certain critical dates relating to the FY2020 budget process. In coming weeks, departments and divisions will develop 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. However, for operational purposes, GCPS adopts a new budget by the regular Board meeting date in May.

Key dates in the process include:
— March 23, 2019, Budget work session (Saturday)
— April 9, 2019, Budget work session and adoption of tentative budget (District II Area Board Meeting)
— May 9, 2019, First public hearing on budget
— May 16, 2019, Second public budget hearing, final budget adoption, and adoption of tentative millage rate
— June 2019 (date TBD), Final adoption of millage rate
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School and district leaders approved by Board
The following appointments were announced in December:

New Position
Current/Previous Position
Gwenda N. Nimmo-Smith
Principal, Annistown ES
Assistant Principal, Rockbridge ES
Dr. Barbara
M. Tucker
Principal, Fort Daniel ES
Assistant Principal,
Bethesda ES
“Patrick” Kane
Executive Director of
Special Education and Psychological Services, Curriculum and
Instructional Support
Interim Executive Director
of Special Education and Psychological Services, Curriculum and
Instructional Support
Dr. Kevin
R. Wood
Director of Federal and Special Programs,
School Improvement
and Operations
Associate Principal, Meadowcreek HS

Transfers for two current principals— Dr. Steve Frandsen who moved to the International Transition Center and Paul Willis who transferred to Cooper ES— created leadership openings for Ms. Nimmo-Smith and Dr. Tucker in their new schools. Mr. Kane’s interim position becomes permanent with the Board’s approval. Dr. Wood steps into a position left vacant when Lynn Howard became the department’s executive director.

Gwenda N. Nimmo-Smith
Dr. Barbara
Patrick Kane
Dr. Kevin Wood

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Compensation system implementation continues
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The school district is implementing the new Performance-Based Compensation System for Teachers
The new system is being implemented in two phases— a Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule (completed) and Performance-Based Awards (first awards to be distributed in November or December of 2019)

One key to recruiting, developing, and retaining teachers and administrators is to recognize and reward great performance. The school district has begun the process to implement the new Performance-Based Compensation System for Teachers— a fair, flexible compensation system that will provide opportunities for teachers to be rewarded and recognized for exceptional performance rather than solely years of service. The system will reward individual teachers who meet expectations on their performance evaluations and will reward top performers with additional financial awards.

Teachers are encouraged to submit further questions via Lotus Notes to the
Performance Based Awards mailbox.

The new system is being implemented in two phases— a Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule and Performance-Based Awards:

— Performance-Based Teacher Salary Schedule: In 2017, GCPS rolled out the new schedule. Teachers advance one “performance step” each year upon achieving a rating of “Proficient” or higher on the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) or equivalent evaluation tool. Employees earning TAPS ratings of “Needs Development” or “Ineffective” do not move a performance step, but remain on the current step for the next contract year.

— Performance-Based Awards: The first awards will be distributed in November or December of 2019, based on data from the 2018–19 school year. The awards framework will give top-performing teachers— both veterans and those new to the profession— the opportunity to earn a financial award above and beyond what they earn on the teacher salary schedule. Approximately 3,000 Gwinnett teachers will be rewarded every year for their outstanding work under the new awards.

Watch for answers to frequently asked questions in the next few weeks.
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Are you privacy literate?
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
It's important for educators to take care of their students' information.
Teachers and students need to follow sound practices for online privacy.
When considering the use of a digital tool, teachers should be aware of both laws and policies regarding the use of educational products and services from educational technology vendors and the use of student data.
Check the third-party vendor list on the Employee Portal to see if a digital tool is approved for use in GCPS.

Educators take care of their students... It’s just as important to take care of their students' information. Online privacy is a new literacy that educators and students need to learn and practice.
But what should teachers consider before adopting a digital tool? Teachers should be aware of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and applicable state laws, along with GCPS policies regarding the use of educational products and services from educational technology vendors and the use of student data. Check the third-party vendor list on the Employee Portal to see if the digital tool is approved for use in GCPS.

What constitutes student data?
Information that is tied to individual students is referred to as directory information and non-directory information:
--Directory information is educational records that are generally not considered harmful to students if publicly released, such as name, age, address, and grade level.
--Non-directory information is educational records that are more sensitive than directory information, such as social security number, student ID, grades, disciplinary history, and attendance record.

Personally identifiable information, or PII, can be either directory information or non-directory information. PII is information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a person, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty. Under FERPA, you cannot share non-directory, PII information without parental consent. Generally, you can share directory information without parental consent, unless parents have told the school otherwise.
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During Tax Time, beware of tax-related scams
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
— During tax Time, scammers may use emails, texts, or social media to gain access to personal or financial information.
Be alert for suspicious requests and do not click on links or download information.
If you receive a suspicious email on your GCPS email, forward it to the Phishing Spam mailbox vis Lotus Notes. Remember to delete the suspect email from your in box, sent folder, and trash folder.

As Tax Time approaches— Tax Day is April 15 this year— the number of tax-related scams continue to rise. Criminals may pose as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a tax accounting service, such as TurboTax or H&R Block, in order to gain access to personal information and steal your tax refund.

What should you look out for?
Be on alert for anyone asking you for personal or financial information via emails, phone calls, letters, social media accounts, and even text messages. The IRS will not initiate contact with you via email, text message, or social media. They will not threaten or demand immediate payment. Beware of websites claiming to be the IRS or other tax-related sites. Don’t click on links or download information contained in a suspicious email or post. When providing your personal information on a website, look for the lock icon beside the URL as this symbol indicates that the website owner has secured the site and your information can be safely sent.

What should you do if you receive a suspicious email requesting personal or financial data?
Do not reply or click on any links. Don’t download attachments as they might contain malware that could infect your computer or smartphone. Forward any suspicious emails sent to your GCPS email inbox to the Lotus Notes “Phishing Spam” mailbox (phishing_spam@gwinnett.k12.ga.us) and then delete the email from your in box, sent, and trash folders. Whether received through your personal email or your GCPS email, suspicious IRS-related email should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov. Learn more about IRS scams on the IRS website.
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Alert for Remind users: No more texts for Verizon subscribers
Remind, the communication platform used by many teachers to connect with families, recently announced that the company will be discontinuing the text message option for subscribers who use Verizon Wireless as their carrier, effective Jan. 28. The change comes as Verizon has increased the fee it charges Remind to deliver text messages. Note this change affects only those who use Verizon wireless services, and Remind is not discontinuing text message delivery for other wireless carriers. In-app push notifications and email notifications will continue to be available for Verizon subscribers. Online, learn more about users can enable push and email notifications and find apps for Android and iPhone.

Special Note: Ed Surge is reporting that Verizon has reversed its decision and will not charge the additional fees that had caused Remind to drop the notification option. However, at this time, this story is not yet being reported by other outlets. Watch for an update.

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It’s no joke… ‘Think Before You Post’ campaign
aims to halt online hoax threats

Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS has teamed up with the FBI to launch "Think Before You Post" to raise awareness about the consequences of posting hoax threats online and to educate students on the importance of being good digital citizens.
— Even if the threat is a hoax, those who post or send threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, face state or local charges, and have school disciplinary consequences
— Hoax threats in Gwinnett schools more than doubled between 2016–17 and 2017–18 and are on track to increase this school year as well
— The campaign will feature presentations for students, resources for parents, videos promoting good digital citizenship, and a social media presence that includes posts from student ambassadors

In just a few seconds, a student can tap out a short message to send by social media, via text message, or through an email. However, if that message is an alarming threat, angry words that seem threatening, or a menacing meme or photo, those few seconds could lead to a lifetime of consequences for a young person.

And, here’s the thing. A kid doesn’t have to mean it or be able to carry out their threat for it to be a very serious offense. Just like a verbal or written threat, issuing a digital threat— over social media, via text message, or through email— is a federal crime. Even if the threat is a hoax, those who post or send threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, face state or local charges, and have school disciplinary consequences.

“Schools across the nation have become the main targets of hoax threats of violence,” says Chief Wayne Rikard who heads GCPS’ police department. “Even here at home, we have seen an increase in these hoax threats.” In fact, hoax threats in Gwinnett schools more than doubled between 2016–17 and 2017–18 and are on track to increase this school year as well.

In an effort to reverse this trend, GCPS has teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch the agency’s “Think Before You Post” campaign to raise awareness about the consequences of posting threats online. The anti-threat campaign began in North Carolina last year, and Gwinnett is the first Georgia district to use “Think Before You Post.” A Jan. 3 launch event brought together representatives from GCPS’ School Police, the FBI, and state, county, and city law enforcement agencies.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker says awareness is a key component of the campaign as many students (and their parents) don’t realize the serious consequences of making a hoax threat. The campaign helps ensure that “youth don’t get themselves in trouble and face a federal felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison.”

Chief Rikard notes one reason for the upswing in hoax threats is coverage of high-profile cases, like last year’s school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Tex. Ready access to social media without adult oversight and immaturity also contribute to the problem as high school students, and even younger kids, say things online without thinking through the consequences.

Too often, students don’t understand that their “joke” can create a disruption to the school community and require law enforcement and administrative resources to investigate and resolve the issue. “We take every threat seriously,” says Chief Rikard. “There is a thorough investigation to find the suspect, as well as the motivation behind each threat. This is a huge drain on a police force, as each investigation is time-sensitive and requires extra officers at the school.” In addition, these online threats create fear among students and parents, resulting in high levels of absenteeism and angst. In addition, as the threats are online, they tend to circulate and recirculate long after they have been addressed by school officials.

The new “Think Before You Post” campaign will feature presentations and materials for students, tipsheets and resources for parents about monitoring their child’s social media use, videos promoting good digital citizenship, and frequent tips and reminders on the school district’s social media channels. The Gwinnett campaign also will focus on educating students on the importance of being good digital citizens.

District leaders and law enforcement believe that getting kids to think about the consequences before they post online will lead to better online behavior and a reduction in online hoax threats. The campaign also will encourage students to say something to law enforcement and school officials if they see something disturbing online.

“We often say that we all have a role to play when it comes to keeping our schools safe,” says CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “This campaign brings together students, parents, employees, and law enforcement, to raise awareness about the use of social media and specifically that making threats— whether they are real or not— is no joking matter.” He notes that young people will be key players in the campaign. Student ambassadors from every GCPS middle and high school will support the campaign with posts and tweets on the subject aimed at peers on their own social media accounts.

Jared, a senior at Collins Hill HS and student ambassador for the new campaign, says that the partnership with the FBI will help keep schools safer and fellow students out of trouble. “It will definitely get the students more aware of the seriousness of cyberbullying and posting threats,” he says.

Watch for more about this campaign in coming months and, online, learn more about how we keep our schools safe and secure.

Gwinnett’s ‘Super Kids’ donate to help their peers
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
— Super Kids-Super Sharing is a community service initiative tied to the upcoming Super Bowl.
GCPS students have been collecting books, school supplies, sports equipment, and games to share with other children.
— An event was held at Infinite Energy Center on the morning of Jan. 17 to gather, sort, and distribute the donations.

Metro Atlanta’s stint as host to Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 has brought the area a “host” of opportunities— from the Together We Rise Girls Flag Football Championship Summit in December to public art installations. Gwinnett students will be on both the giving and receiving ends of Super Kids-Super Sharing, a community service initiative sponsored by the National Football League, the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, Verizon, and Infinite Energy Center.

Super Kids-Super Sharing provides local students with an opportunity to be involved in the Super Bowl excitement by donating new and gently used items to help other children.

Participating donor schools and YMCA branches from around metro Atlanta have been conducting collections drives in recent weeks, gathering books, school supplies, sports equipment, and games to share locally with registered schools and organizations that work with children in need.

Representatives from each participating donor school brought donated items to a collection event on Jan. 17 at Infinite Energy Center’s Forum. Atlanta Falcons players, cheerleaders, and team mascot Freddie Falcon were on hand to greet and thank students and provide play activities after donated items are sorted. (The Collins Hill HS Chamber Choir will kick off the event with a performance.)

GCPS’ donating schools include Cooper ES, Craig ES, Creekland MS, Hopkins ES, McConnell MS, Mountain View HS, Mulberry ES, Parkview HS, Radloff MS, Suwanee ES, and Twin Rivers MS. Students from North Metro Academy of Performing Arts, Radloff MS, and Rockbridge ES will receive items collected through the initiative.

Super Kids-Super Sharing is one of several projects created by the NFL to respond to the environmental impact of Super Bowl events and to leave a positive, “green” legacy in the host communities. The program also promotes NFL PLAY 60, the league’s youth health and wellness campaign, by sharing sports equipment among children in the community.

At the Super Kids-Super Sharing event on Jan. 17, students from participating donor schools helped sort donated items that will be shared with children around the metro Atlanta area.

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Campaign raises awareness of trafficking of children for sex
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
As many as 3,600 Georgia children are sold for sex each year
— Street Grace, a nonprofit that mobilizes communities to fight domestic minor sex trafficking, recently conducted an anti-trafficking awareness campaign on wheels that featured 72 GCPS buses representing children trafficked in Georgia each year.
— Anyone who observes possible sex trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (24/7 national hotline) or call 9-1-1 if the victim is in immediate danger.

On Jan. 2, 72 GCPS school buses— emblazoned with messages about human trafficking— queued up in district lots in the early hours of the morning, then made their way through metro Atlanta traffic to their final destination, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This anti-trafficking awareness campaign on wheels was spearheaded by Street Grace, a nonprofit that mobilizes communities to fight domestic minor sex trafficking. The 72 buses represented the 3,600 Georgia children who are sold for sex each year. (Street Grace covered the costs for the event, including fuel, drivers, and signage.)

“Every day in Atlanta, people talk about our traffic problem. Today, we urge you to talk about our more serious ‘traffick’ problem,” Bob Rodgers, president and CEO of Street Grace, said at the event. “Child sex trafficking is an industry that thrives in darkness. Our goal is to develop a network that will continually shine a light on this issue and put an end to the abuse.”

As attention focuses on Atlanta as the city prepares for the Super Bowl, organizers and state officials hope a spotlight on the underground business of sex trafficking of children will help put a stop to the practice and help community members identify and report sex trafficking.

GCPS takes an active part in keeping children in our community safe. In partnership with Street Grace, GCPS counselors have been trained to recognize signs that a child or teen is being sexually exploited. All employees and volunteers in our schools, including bus drivers, are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect.

Anyone who observes possible sex trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (24/7 national hotline) or call 9-1-1 if the victim is in immediate danger.
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2019 retirees need to schedule meeting with retirement counselor
Thinking of retiring this year? Then it’s important to schedule an appointment with a retirement counselor. The Gwinnett Retirement Services Department is scheduling retirement counseling appointments for sessions 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.
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DLI programs seek bilingual and biliterate teachers
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS is looking for elementary school teachers who are bilingual and biliterate in French, Korean, or Spanish.
The district will have nine Dual Language Immersion programs in 2019-20, including a new Korean program.
Teachers interested in learning more can attend information sessions set for Jan. 22 and Jan. 28.

Do you hold early childhood education or special education certification for elementary grades? Are you bilingual and biliterate in French, Korean, or Spanish and interested in teaching the AKS in your native language?

Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs will be available in nine elementary schools in Gwinnett County Public Schools in 2019–20. Annistown ES, Baldwin ES, Bethesda ES, Camp Creek ES, Ivy Creek ES, Level Creek ES, and Meadowcreek ES offer a Spanish program and French is offered at Trip ES. Next August, Parsons ES is launching the district’s first Korean DLI program.

If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to teach DLI in GCPS, you are invited to an informational session:

Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center (ISC) in the Cafeteria meeting room 2.021 (Building 200)

Monday, Jan. 28, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the ISC in the Cafeteria meeting room 2.021 (Building 200)

Please RSVP to Dr. Virin Vedder if you’d like to attend. If you’re not yet certified but are interested in pursuing certification for DLI, contact Dr. Vedder with questions about what steps to take toward DLI certification.
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Nominate innovative media specialist
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS is accepting nominations for Media Specialist of the Year through Jan. 25.

Each year, the Gwinnett County Media Specialist of the Year (MSOTY) award recognizes a school library media specialist whose service has resulted in an exemplary media program. If you know an innovative and enthusiastic media specialist who plans collaboratively, promotes literacy, and integrates technology, please nominate him or her for GCPS Media Specialist of the Year. Email nominations by Friday, Jan. 25, to Cindy Weaver in Media Services and Technology Training.

Nomination emails should include the media specialist’s name and a brief explanation about why you are nominating this candidate. Nominees will receive an application packet that will offer them the chance to provide additional information about themselves and their media programs.
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2019–20 registration deadlines coming up for programs, schools
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
— GCPS' special schools, programs, and charter schools have scheduled registration for 2019-20.
— Registration for GSMST, Grayson HS Technical Education Program, Maxwell HS of Technology, New Life Academy of Excellence, and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts is underway. Watch for upcoming deadlines.
Gwinnett Online Campus will register students in February.

Registration continues for students interested in attending one of GCPS’ special school programs or charter schools during the 2019–20 school year. School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) registration for next school year is open through Jan. 25. GSMST’s registration lottery will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center.

Online registration for both Maxwell HS of Technology and the Grayson HS Technical Education Program is underway. Open House events will be held Feb. 7 (Grayson) and Feb. 21 (Maxwell) between 5 and 7 p.m. Information visits will be held at GCPS high schools in January and February. Students may access an application via their Student Portal account.

New Life Academy of Excellence holds open enrollment for new students through Feb. 1. A school tour is available on Jan. 19. Current students can re-enroll though Jan. 19. Registration for North Metro Academy of Performing Arts is open, and tours are offered daily.

Gwinnett Online Campus opens registration for full-time students in grades 4–12 during the month of February. Open house events and campus tours will be available to families on several dates in January and February, with an informational meeting set for Feb. 27. GOC does not offer mid-year enrollment.

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EB Bulletin Board

What's new on the Bulletin Board?
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Check out Bulletin Board items with the latest on... Health Care Tax Statements, an upcoming job fair, the need for mentors, Science Fair volunteers, a flu update, Communiqué stories, recent GCPS TV videos, the next Spotlight, Perks, and commute alternatives

Update: 2018 Health Care Tax Statement 1095-C… The IRS has extended the distribution date for 1095-C forms to March 4. GCPS anticipates mailing 1095-C forms to employees in late February. The IRS notification states “Because of the extension granted under this notice, some individual taxpayers may not receive a form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2018 tax return. Taxpayers do not need to wait to receive Form 1095-C before filing their returns and may rely on other information received from their employer or other coverage provider for purposes of filing their returns.” For more information about the extension and this form, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov.
Special Education Teacher Career Fair set for Jan. 26… Pass the word… GCPS is holding an invitation-only job fair for special education teachers on Jan. 26, and the district will be offering contracts at the event for the 2019–20 school year! Jan. 23 is the last day for prospective teachers to register online. Candidates eligible to attend must be certified (or will be by July of 2019) in any field of Special Education.
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 10th 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. This month, the program will expand to serve Hispanic/Latino students as well. 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.
See how you can support the 2019 Science Fair!… Create. Inspire. Explore. Innovate. That’s the goal for Gwinnett students who will participate in the 2019 Gwinnett Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair on Feb. 22. And you can be a part of it! Contact the event’s planning team if you’d be willing to serve as a judge or have a potential sponsor in mind.
Fight flu… Georgia is experiencing very high flu activity this winter. The Department of Public Health encourages families to know the symptoms of the flu, which include fever (though not everyone with flu has a fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, tiredness, and, sometimes, diarrhea and vomiting. In addition to getting an annual flu vaccine, remember to take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of germs, including:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when you sneeze.
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay home if ill with flu-like symptoms for at least 24 hours after no longer having fever.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often.
Find the latest from Communiqué… The latest posts to the online Communiqué  include a new initiative to halt online hoaxes, a Board meeting wrap-up, and features on holiday service project and Thursday Night Lights, plus calendar updates, dates and deadlines on the Bulletin Board, and the latest episode of In5ive. Coming up? A look at mentoring, Super Kids sharing with peers, the 100th day of school, a visit from the Atlanta Opera, digital citizenship, 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:
Retirement Celebration: A celebration of 24 years of service on the School Board.
Media Clerk and School Library Advocate of the Year: Celebrate with the 2018-19 honorees from Burnette ES and Jones MS.
Think Before You Post: Meet the partners in this initiative to educate students about the dangers and consequences of posting hoax threats online.
Girls Flag Football Championship Summit 2018: Nearly 1, 500 fans and players gathered at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Together We Rise Girls Flag Football Championships.
JROTC - More Than Meets the Eye: Check out JROTC in Gwinnett County Public Schools!
Reach Scholarship 2018: See how this state scholarship program is helping young people REACH their potential!
Something to celebrate?… Share your good news with your colleagues in Spotlight. If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send the information to the Spotlight mailbox  via Lotus Notes, or to the Communication and Media Relations Department through the courier. Submissions for the spring issue are due April 12. Coming soon… 1st semester honors in the winter issue of Spotlight.
Stretch your budget with employee discounts… Special offers and discounts from local and national businesses are as close as a computer or smartphone for GCPS employees. They're easy to find online at the Employee Perks tab on the GCPS Foundation web page or via the new app for your phone, available from Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
Also, watch for occasional “perks” newsletters with rundowns on special offers and the latest deals.
Check out Georgia Commute Options… Sign up for Georgia Commute Options programs, find carpool partners, and log your commute trips to earn cash and win prizes online. On the Commute Options website, you can:
Find out how much you’re spending on your commute by using Georgia Commute Options Commute Calculator.
Manage everything, from ride-matching to incentives;
Use easy “drag and drop” features to log your commute;
Set text or e-mail log reminders for any day of the week and any time;
Set alerts via text or e-mail when new carpool or vanpool matches become available;
Check current enrollment status in any of the Georgia Commute Options incentive programs;
Find Park and Ride locations and transit routes in the Atlanta region; and
View or share public pages through Facebook or Twitter log-in.

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

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Problems with the feedback link? If you recently upgraded your Microsoft Office software, you may get a message to set up Microsoft Outlook in order to send your feedback by e-mail. This occurs because the upgrade defaults your e-mail preference to Outlook. To reset your e-mail preference to Lotus Notes, with your browser open, go to Tools/Internet Options/Programs/Internet Programs/Set program access and computer defaults. Toggle Custom, and using pull-down menu, select Lotus Notes as e-mail default. Select OK and save. You may have to close your browser and reopen to update your e-mail default.
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    Last modified on 01/23/2020