Volume 41 , Number 4December 8, 2020


Six TOTY finalists named in surprise classroom visits
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The six TOTY finalists are Lena Alonso of Lilburn ES, Katie Blum of Sugar Hill ES, Kelley Donovan of Coleman MS, Julianne Purnell of Five Forks MS, Philip Peavy of Paul Duke STEM HS, and Danielle Swaby of South Gwinnett HS
The district's top teacher will be named Dec. 10.

Your typical day in the classroom doesn’t involve balloons, celebratory signs, and a photographer and film crew. However, Nov. 9 wasn’t a typical day for these teachers who learned that they were among the six finalists for the district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year honor.

Congratulations to our
2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists!
Lena Alonso
Lilburn ES
Special Education
Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 5)
Katie Blum
Sugar Hill ES
2nd Grade Teacher
Kelley Donovan
Coleman MS
Humanities Teacher (Grade 6)
Julianne Purnell
Five Forks MS
Health Teacher (Grades 6-8)
Philip Peavy
Paul Duke STEM HS
Cybersecurity and Game Design Teacher (Grades 10-12)
Danielle Swaby
South Gwinnett HS
Work-based
Learning Teacher
(Grades 11 and 12)


The finalists were selected from a group of
25 semifinalists honored last month. The TOTY contest began with a field of 139 local school TOTYs named Oct. 2.

Before the break, the six finalists participated in interviews and hosted classroom observations by a selection committee made up of former TOTYs, administrators, and central office staff. And now they wait…

Level winners and the county Teacher of the Year will be announced at a special event on Dec. 10.

Watch for a special TOTY issue!

Thank you to our TOTY sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor: Peach State Credit Union

Platinum Sponsors:
AIG Retirement Services
Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep
IBM
Lifetouch
Scholastic Images

Gold Sponsors:
Coca-Cola Bottling
Company UNITED, Inc.
Emtec

Silver Sponsors:
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Foundation Fund, Inc.
J. Smith Lanier & Company
Kroger

Bronze Sponsors:
Celia Brien
Classworks


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GCPS shares 2021–22 calendar, adjusts 2nd semester for 2020–21
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The 2nd semester calendar (2020-21) was adjusted to include more planning days for teachers, including an additional day at the start of the semester (Jan. 6) and four planning days (Jan. 26, March 2, March 16, and April 20) when all students will learn at home (DLD).
Students will return one day later (Jan. 7) and will learn at home on the designated DLDs.
The approved 2021-22 calendar features a start date of Aug. 4, seven days of pre-planning for teachers, the staggered return of students, and six digital learning days.

ICYMI… Here’s the latest calendar news shared at the Nov. 19 Board meeting:

District shares calendar changes for spring
Teachers will have more time and resources for planning instruction this spring as they work to support both in-person and digital learning for their students. District leaders recently shared two changes to the calendar for 2nd semester. The calendar now calls for students to return to learning (in the classroom or online) on Thursday, Jan. 7, a day later than originally planned. Teachers will participate in planning/staff development on two days—Jan. 5 and 6—before classes begin. This change will give teachers an extra day for planning and staff development. In another calendar change designed to extend planning opportunities for teachers, four days in the spring—Jan. 26, March 2, March 16, and April 20—have been designated as Digital Learning Days (DLD). On these school days, all students, both in-person and digital learners, will learn at home. Learning will be asynchronous, meaning that students will not have a scheduled log-in time or planned “Zoom” session. Instead, they will complete assigned work at their own pace. Students who are unable to complete assignments on DLDs will be given the opportunity to complete assignments when they return to school. On Jan. 6 and on the four Digital Learning Days in the spring, GCPS will provide meals for curbside pick-up at schools and will deliver along all middle school bus routes countywide.

Calendar for 2021-22 now available
Looking ahead to the coming school year… the approved
2021-22 calendar features a start date of Aug. 4, seven days of pre-planning for teachers, the staggered return of students, and six digital learning days. The six digital learning days are scheduled throughout the year, with three occurring in 1st semester and three in 2nd semester. Next year’s calendar also features a fall break in October, a two-week winter break, the addition of a break in February, a week scheduled for spring break, and an end date of May 25.


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Share feedback on GCPS procedures in equity review
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The GCPS Talks Educational Equity series explores the district’s equity efforts and work of six equity teams reviewing current procedures with an eye toward equity.
GCPS stakeholders are invited to give feedback on proposed changes to procedures and equity issues in an online survey, open through Jan. 11.

Last month, GCPS launched GCPS Talks Educational Equity, a series of programs on GCPS TV that explores the district’s equity efforts and the work done to date by six equity teams reviewing current procedures with an eye toward equity.

GCPS stakeholders—students, staff, families, and community members—are invited to watch the GCPS Talks Educational Equity sessions (live or on-demand) and give their feedback on proposed changes to procedures and equity issues in the district. An online survey to gather feedback has been extended through Jan. 11.

“As a district, we are committed to addressing and reducing educational inequities that exist and to providing students and staff with programs and support that increase opportunities for success,” says Dr. Tommy Welch, GCPS chief equity and compliance officer. “The feedback we receive during the live GCPS Talk sessions and via our online survey will be very helpful as we continue our work in this critical area of educational equity.”


The GCPS Talk Educational Equity series is available via the GCPS TV app, on the school district’s web page, and via your cable TV provider. The first few sessions that aired are available on-demand—Educational Equity Overview, Student Meeting, and Community Engagement Meeting.

The remaining sessionEducational Equity Summary (Live)— is set for Jan. 11.

What is Educational Equity?
Providing access to ensure that all students have
the knowledge and skills to succeed as contributing members of a global society, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background,
English proficiency, faith, socioeconomic status, or disability.

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November appointments approved by School Board
The School Board approved the following leadership appointments at its regular monthly Board Meeting on Nov. 19.

Name
New Position
Current/Previous Position
Tameika Turner-
Haynes
Principal,
Jenkins ES
Assistant Principal,
McConnell MS
Scott
Wilbanks
Director of Accountability–
Student Accountability,

Curriculum and Instructional Support
Coordinator of Accountability–
Student Accountability,

Curriculum and Instructional Support
Lt. Tony Lockard
Director of Safety
and Security,
School Improvement and Operations
School Resource Officer III,
School Improvement and Operations
Beth Autrey
Coordinator of Academies,
Technical Education, Computer Science, and
Work-based Learning,
Curriculum and Instructional Support
Instructional Coach–Academies, Technical Education, Computer Science, and Work-based Learning, Curriculum and Instructional Support
Steve
Pinkston
Coordinator of
Enterprise Directory Services,
Information Management
and Technology
Directory Services Administrator,
Information Management
and Technology

Ms. Turner-Haynes becomes principal at Jenkins as
Dr. Michele Smith moves to Human Resources and Talent Management. Mr. Wilbanks fills a vacancy left when Miranda McLaren was named executive director of accountability and assessment. Chief Lockard takes command of the district’s safety operations with the retirement of Chief Wayne Rikard.



November Leadership Appointments

Tameika
Turner-Haynes
Scott
Wilbanks

Chief Tony
Lockard

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Resources available to support concurrent teaching
Teachers have access to a wealth of resources in the district’s Concurrent Instructional Toolkit, available in the Employee Portal. The toolkit includes quick tips, templates, and support documents from our eCLASS instructional specialists. C&I Digital Frameworks and Lesson Plan Templates help teachers develop and implement instruction for a balanced approach to the learning day. In addition, teachers will find Social-Emotional Learning strategies and intervention support and resources as well as a catalog of recorded training sessions and self-paced modules to support digital tools.
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GEMS Oversight Committee recommendations approved
The Gwinnett County Board of Education recently approved changes to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum for 77 courses in five content areas. The changes were recommended by the Gwinnett Educational Management System (GEMS) Oversight Committee—comprised of 51 parents, community members, teachers, and school administrators—who met virtually this year. The group meets annually to provide input in the district's curriculum. Included in the review were two courses—Critical Literacy and Ethnic Studies—for which new standards will be piloted, beginning in January.
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We have liftoff! District launches new website
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
The district’s website has a new look and a new home… www.gcpsk12.org.
The site’s redesign and new structure are hosted on the Blackboard platform that is used by all of our schools.
Channels at the top of the page allow users to navigate the site easily.
The site features content in top languages spoken by GCPS families as well as a "Translate" button.

The district’s website has a new look and a new home… www.gcpsk12.org. The site’s redesign and new structure were created with our users in mind, transitioning to the Blackboard platform that is now being used by all of our schools.


In reviewing the updated site, users will find the new features listed below to be helpful:

Top news items appear in the slider at the top of the page with additional news items appearing in the GCPS News section.

Channels at the top of the page allow users to navigate the site easily. They provide access to information in the following categories: Academics, About Us, Students and Families, Community, Staff, Careers, Schools and Quick Links.

Users have easy access to the student, employee, and parent portals. Buttons for all three are found in the right-hand corner of the page, right where they were located on our previous site.

Access to the Return-to-Learning Hub, including COVID-19 reports, also remains on the new site’s home page.

Not sure where to find something? Check out the “Quick Links” channel where you will find links to some of the most frequently accessed pages. You also can access the “I want to…” or “Search” buttons. All three options are found in the Channel bar at the top of the page.

Global icons provide easy access to School Locator, New Student Enrollment, Menus, MyPaymentsPlus, Transportation, GCPS Foundation, Calendars, and GCPS TV.

Check out the Let’s Connect section at the bottom of the home page to easily access the district’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts, and Communiqué, our online magazine.

The site also features content in top languages spoken by GCPS families as well as a "Translate" button.
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#GCPSCS4ALL… Computer science for every student
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
GCPS is launching its Computer Science 4 All (CS4ALL) initiative to expand access K-12.
All schools will work toward providing computer science education opportunities to all students by the 2024–25 school year.
Computer science instruction will be offered in a variety of settings—as a semester course, a multi-year sequence, or incorporated into other content-area courses.

As technology changes the way we live and work, it’s more important than ever that students in our schools have opportunities to grow as tech users and innovators. During Computer Science (CS) Education Week (Dec. 7–11), Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is rolling out plans for a multi-year initiative to ensure that every student at every school has equal access to an inclusive, welcoming, and high-quality CS experience throughout their educational career.

GCPS has long taught computer science classes but is launching its Computer Science 4 All (CS4ALL) initiative to expand access. CS4ALL in Gwinnett will empower Gwinnett students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science concepts and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators, not just consumers, in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Computer science is now recognized as a new “basic skill” necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility. CS4ALL will ensure that every GCPS student has access to these skills.

“In our rapidly shifting global economy, learning computer science is critical for today’s students,” says Tim Hemans, executive director for Academies, Career, and Technical Education. “We believe that CS is a tool that every graduate can take into the work world to expand options, no matter the career path.”

Making sure that students graduate with strong CS skills starts at the earliest grades and builds across the grade levels. As part of the CS4ALL initiative, all Gwinnett County public schools will work toward providing computer science education opportunities to all students by the 2024–25 school year.

Computer science instruction will be offered in a variety of settings—as a semester course, a multi-year sequence, or incorporated into other content-area courses.

CS Exposure in Elementary School: Students will gain exposure to computer science through STEM or CS specials, engaging with ideas related to data analysis, algorithms and computing, robotics applications, and the design process. At the elementary level, computer science instruction will be integrated into core subjects as well as classes like art, music, and technology.

CS Exploration in Middle School: Students will build on their elementary school exposure to build a foundation by exploring computer science concepts in one (or more) of three computer science classes that will be offered—Computer Programming, Secure Information Systems, or Interactive Design.

CS Experience in High School: Students will apply their CS skills to real-world scenarios through CS courses such as Introduction to Digital Technology and Advanced Placement CS Principles. Students who want to extend their learning further can take a specialized IT pathway, including higher-level courses in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Game Design, Web Development, and Artificial Intelligence.

In addition, the district’s robust robotics program allows students at all levels to apply their knowledge and interest in computer science and collaborate with peers to solve real-world problems. Districtwide, teams compete in FIRST LEGO League Explore (grades 2–3) and Challenge (grades 4–8) divisions, VEX Robotics (grades 6–8), and FIRST Robotics Competition (Grades 9–12).

Watch for more about the district’s Computer Science 4 All initiative as GCPS expands access to high-quality computer science instruction for every student at every school.
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Eye on Quality: Shiloh MS salutes ‘Five Star Generals’
“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.

At Shiloh MS, the connection between the school and its community is clear. The faculty and staff at Shiloh are committed to meeting, and often exceeding, the expectations and needs of their students and families. Faced with new challenges during the pandemic, school leaders and staff were determined to maintain a strong bond with the community and build on positive momentum in shaping the school’s culture.
“At the beginning of the year, we realized that a majority of our students were virtual, and we did not want to lose the connection with our students and families,” says Dr. Tereka Williams, the school’s principal.

As the school sought ways to connect with their families and the greater community, Dr. Williams turned to her stakeholders for input. At Shiloh, staff, students, and parents are key to the decision-making process and instrumental in the implementation of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). And, that CQI focus has helped fuel plans for connection and celebration.

Shiloh’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program was identified as a vehicle the school could use to strengthen and extend existing connections. PBIS provides schools with a framework to support proactive strategies that result in positive student behavior, fewer disciplinary incidents, improved academic outcomes, and a more positive school climate. (PBIS is in place in 104 GCPS schools.)

“We wanted to ensure that we maintained a schoolwide focus of acknowledging positive behaviors because we had gained so much momentum around PBIS the previous school year,” says Dr. Williams.

The school’s PBIS council made adjustments to their Five Star Generals Student of the Month recognition to reflect the new learning environment. Teachers and staff award point to students—both in-person students and digital learners— who display their Shiloh P.R.I.D.E (Prepared, Respectful, Integrity, Disciplined and Engaged). As points accumulate, the Five Star General of the Month emerges in each classroom. Honored students and their families receive a phone call with the exciting news, then a visit to the classroom or the home.

Dr. Williams explains “We, our PBIS Council Members and members of our administrative team, deliver yard signs to the families to acknowledge the student and their families for a job well done! This initiative has shaped a more positive school culture within our building and across our school community.”

She says this team effort has generated amazing moments and has enhanced the already strong relationship between the school and its stakeholders.



Generals, salute!

Teachers and leaders at Shiloh MS are taking P.R.I.D.E. celebrations to classrooms and neighborhoods as they celebrate their students of the month—called Five Star Generals. The honored students receive points for being Prepared, being Respectful, having Integrity, showing Discipline, and being Engaged. This CQI practice focuses on the characteristics that support student success. Join in the fun with this GCPS TV video.
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BOE approves reassignment of schools to new Seckinger Cluster
The year 2022-23 will bring a new themed cluster—with a focus on Artificial Intelligence or AI--which will be anchored by the new Seckinger HS. With Board approval of the superintendent’s recommendation, feeder schools for the cluster will be Harmony ES, Ivy Creek ES, and Patrick ES, and Jones MS. The new high school relieves crowding at Mill Creek HS, with the feeder schools reassigned from the Mill Creek and Mountain View clusters.

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Be smart. Be safe. Be responsible.
With just a few weeks left before winter break, it is important that we all do our part to keep ourselves and others healthy.
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.

In addition to getting your flu shot, follow these four important steps to stay safe and help keep others in the community safe…

Maintain social distancing when feasible,

Wear a mask that covers nose and mouth,

Wash your hands, and

Stay home if you do not feel well or have been exposed to illness.

Check out the Thanksgiving issue of Torch for ways to make the holiday season safer for your family.
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Stay cybersecure this holiday shopping season
The holidays are fast approaching and you’re probably already gathering gift ideas and creating shopping lists as you anticipate one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are anticipating the coming holiday season as well… and they’re ready. While you’re planning your wish list, cybercrooks are planning how to steal your information any way they can. The last thing you need on your plate this year is a stolen credit card number or compromised bank account, so follow these tips for stress-free and cyber-savvy shopping online:

— Don’t click links or open attachments in emails. If the email is advertising an unbelievable deal or a once-in-a-lifetime discount, or even a gift card or voucher, this is a “call to action” and is specifically designed by cybercriminals to get you to click. Be especially suspicious of free offers. A good practice is to close the email and go directly to the retailer’s website to verify the deal.

— Create unique usernames and passwords. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. When creating your strong, unique passwords, consider using a passphrase. A passphrase is a sentence-like string of words that is longer than a traditional password, easy to remember, and difficult to guess. A passphrase could be several meaningful but seemingly unrelated words such as Tailgate Varsity United Bulldogs. This has meaning to you and is easy to remember, but it would take 3,244 centuries for a cybercriminal to guess, even with technology designed to guess passwords.

— Set up multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Multi-factor authentication, often referred to two-factor authentication or 2FA, makes it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to your online accounts and personal information. Many email clients and online shopping websites such as Amazon have this option available now. With multi-factor authentication, a stolen password is now less of a liability because the cybercriminal does not have all factors needed to access your account or information.

— Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi. While it’s convenient to log into the coffee shop Wi-Fi and knock out a few items on your shopping list, remember that public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being insecure and could open you up to malware or hacking. If you want to shop on your mobile device, be sure to use mobile data or VPN.

— Monitor your bank account. A lot of theft and fraudulent orders go unnoticed. Set up alerts and monitoring for your bank account so you can be made aware if any suspicious activity occurs. Also, keep an eye out for any new accounts or queries you didn’t initiate.

Happy and safe cybershopping!
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Have a voting plan for Jan. 5 runoff
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Registered voters can vote in statewide runoffs set for Jan. 5.
Voters can vote absentee/advance by mail (request ballot now), advance in person (Dec. 14-31, except Dec. 24-25), and in person on Election Day (Jan. 5).
Students who will be 18 By Jan. 5 can register through Dec. 7 to participate on Election Day.

Georgia voters have one more opportunity to have their voices heard during this election season. Candidates for both U.S. Senate seats and Public Service Commissioner are in runoffs, which will be held Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Registered voters have three ways to vote:

1. Absentee/advance by mail: To vote by mail, request an absentee ballot—by phone (Gwinnett Elections Office, 678-226-7210); by mail (download the application, sign, and return); by email (Absentee@GwinnettCounty.com); or online at https://ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov/. The deadline to request a ballot is Dec. 31, but election officials recommend requesting as soon as possible to avoid mail delays. Deposit your completed ballot at one of the county’s official ballot drop boxes, which feature 24-hour surveillance and are available 24/7 through Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.

2. Advance in person: Eligible voters may advance vote in person every day, including weekends, from Dec. 14 to Dec. 31, except Dec. 24 and 25. Find a list of locations and hours online.

3. Election Day in person: Vote at your regular polling place.

Be sure to check your status on the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page (MVP) before the Dec. 7 voter registration deadline to ensure your information is up to date. On MVP, you also can find mail-in application and absentee ballot status, poll and advance voting locations, and more.

Online, check out FAQs on absentee voting from Gwinnett County Board of Elections.



Did you know…
In Georgia, it’s not required that you vote in the General Election in order to vote in a runoff? Young people who will be age 18 by Jan. 5 are eligible to vote in the runoff as long as they registered to vote by the Dec. 7 registration deadline.

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Employees have access to behavioral health resources
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.

The holiday season can be a difficult time for those coping with some of life’s challenges—from dealing with the loss of a loved one or a divorce to a terminal medical diagnosis or financial hardship—or the ongoing stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
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Benefits reminder on FSA accounts
Dec. 31 is the deadline to incur expenses against your Health Care and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Claims for qualifying 2020 expenses must be made no later than March 31, 2021. FSA funds that are not used by the end of the calendar year (and claimed by the March 31 deadline) will be forfeited. If you have a balance on your Health Care FSA that will go unused, consider purchasing over-the-counter products that are FSA eligible. Find a searchable list of Health Care FSA-eligible products and services online. For more information about FSA benefits, visit the Benefits Center  online.
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Spread the word… GCPS is hiring
Substitutes
Substitutes work in our schools on daily or longer assignments, providing instruction through an in-person, digital, or concurrent format. Subs choose the assignments they want to accept and determine their own schedule. Compensation ranges from $98 a day up to $120 per day for on-call subs. Online, prospective substitutes can find information about virtual job fairs and an online application (Posting #66797). Learn more at GCPSjobs.org. Email substitutes@gcpsk12.org for assistance.

Drivers
GCPS bus drivers enjoy competitive wages, excellent benefits, paid training, and a great work schedule. They work the student calendar year and enjoy the benefit of time off on student holidays and summer vacation! Prospective drivers don’t need to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to apply to become a school bus driver. Our Transportation Department trains and supports new drivers through the process! Applicants must be 21 or older, have a good driving record, and have a high school diploma or GED. Learn more and apply online (Posting #66966) at GCPSjobs.org.

Custodians
The district’s custodians ensure our schools provide a safe and clean learning environment for our students and a pleasant workplace for the district’s employees. GCPS is hiring full- and part-time staff members for custodial staff positions at schools and offices. Candidates can learn more about qualifications and responsibilities and apply online (Posting #67262) at GCPSjobs.org.


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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.


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Special programs and schools announce registration plans for 2021–22
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
Registration is open for GSMST through Jan. 22.
Open enrollment for the two charter schools—New Life Academy of Excellence and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts—begins Dec. 14 and Jan. 1, respectively.
Registration for the Grayson HS Technical Education Program and Maxwell HS of Technology opens online on Jan. 12.
Gwinnett Online Campus holds registration in February.

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:

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST)
GSMST
registration for next school year is open through Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. The final information session for rising 9th graders and their families is set for Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the school. The registration lottery will be held at 9 a.m. on Feb. 9 at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center.
New Life Academy of Excellence
Open enrollment for new students is set for
Dec. 14 through Feb. 5.
North Metro Academy of Performing Arts
Open enrollment for new students begins Jan. 1.
Maxwell High School of Technology
Registration for the 2021-22 school year begins online on Jan. 12, 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.
Grayson HS Technical Education Program
Online registration opens Jan. 12, with the Winter Open House 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. Virtual information sessions will be conducted on the website on Jan. 12 and Feb. 11.
Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC)
Students in grades 4–12 interested in attending GOC full time for 2021–22 must complete the registration process during the month of
February. Interested families are encouraged to attend an in-person information session and tour at the school’s campus. Visit the “Interested in Attending GOC web page to register for an information session.
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Include GCPS Foundation Fund in your end-of-year giving
As you consider your end-of-year giving and the impact of your charitable donations, please consider a donation to Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to providing financial resources to enrich and enhance education in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). Since its beginning in 2006, the Foundation has provided resources and support to improve the educational future of all students.

As a donor, you have a number of choices when you decide to
give to the Foundation. You can make a one-time contribution or elect to give a recurring monthly donation. You can give to support a scholarship fund or to a district-level program like the Community-Based Mentoring Program or the GCPS Book Mobiles. You can designate your gift to an established fund for a school or cluster, or, you can make a contribution “where the need is greatest.”

Whatever you give and however you designate your gift, know that your donation to the GCPS Foundation is appreciated and will make a difference for Gwinnett County schoolchildren and staff members!
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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… an extension for United Way giving, mentoring, the latest GCPS podcasts, a scholarship deadline, a community honor, Spotlight submissions, recent online Communiqué stories, and Perks.
United for our community… GCPS’ 2020 United Way campaign has been extended through Dec. 15. 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, it’s easy to make your pledge. 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.
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. GCPS' Community-Based Mentoring Program has served hundreds of young men, and now, young women, 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.
Check out the latest episodes of ‘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. The latest episodes include a conversation with district and health officials on GCPS’ response to COVID-19, and a visit with GCPS counselors about their support for students during the pandemic. 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!
TodayDec. 7is deadline for Foundation 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. The deadline for scholarships managed by the Foundation is Dec. 7. For a complete list of these scholarships opportunities, visit https://gcps-foundation.org/scholarships/.
SGHS stadium press box to bear name of longtime supporter… South Gwinnett HS’ Local School Council has names the school’s stadium press box for Jim Rhodes, the “Voice of the Comets” for more than 40 years. Mr. Rhodes is a lifelong member of the Snellville community who has coached recreation league sports and dedicated his life to supporting SGHS athletics.
Something to celebrate?… Share your good news with your colleagues in Spotlight. If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send an email to the Spotlight mailbox, or send the information to the Communication and Media Relations Department through the courier. Submissions for the next issue are due Jan. 14.
Find the latest from Communiqué… Recent and upcoming posts to the online Communiqué include a look at computer science in Gwinnett, CTE opportunities, butterfly gardens, and more. Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
Prepare for 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 01/27/2021