Volume 39 , Number 1September 12, 2018

Local school Teachers of the Year honored by peers
Need-to-know highlights of this story:
A group of 137 educators were named as local school Teachers of the Year.
Semifinalists will be announced later this month.

Congratulations to Gwinnett’s 137
local school Teachers of the Year (TOTYs)! These award-winning educators were honored by their peers, selected to represent their school in the district’s annual TOTY contest. (TOTYs were not selected for New Life Academy of Excellence and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts.)

Next up in the TOTY process? A panel of former TOTYs and administrators will determine Gwinnett’s 25 semifinalists who will be named toward the end of September. A second panel will review applications of the semifinalists to determine the six finalists, with an announcement set for mid-October. Level winners and the county Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet on Nov. 8.

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

Congratulations to
GCPS’ 2018-19 Local School Teachers of the Year!
Rebekah Yoder of Alcova ES
Ashley Stanton of Alford ES
Ashley Joseph of
Anderson-Livsey ES

Deborah Sears of Annistown ES
Dr. Janie Avant of Arcado ES
Kim Dyer of Archer HS
Falicia O’Mard of Baggett ES
Mallory Fannin of Baldwin ES
Theresa Palmer of Bay Creek MS
Rose Beyea of Beaver Ridge ES
Vanessa Zebrowski of Benefield ES
Dawn Frazer of Berkeley Lake ES
Jessica Layana-Mugan of
Berkmar HS

Tracey Runcie-Williams of
Berkmar MS

Brynne Lee of Bethesda ES
Denise Brown of Britt ES
Lori Bonn of Brookwood ES
Stephen Beall of Brookwood HS
Sandi Star of Burnette ES
Jennie Packard of Camp Creek ES
Dr. Aisha Joi House of Cedar Hill ES
La’Keshia Y. Kafunda of
Centerville ES

Dr. Vivian S. Daniel of
Central Gwinnett HS

Cheryl B. Fletcher of
Chattahoochee ES

Micheal S. Barron of Chesney ES
Chandra Harmond Brandel of
Coleman MS

Donna Ahlswede of Collins Hill HS
Mary Spears of Cooper ES
Kathy Newman of Corley ES
Lindsey Saa of Couch MS
Allyson Clark of Craig ES
Linda Littlejohn of Creekland MS
Debbie Avis of Crews MS
Laura Larson of Dacula ES
James E. Williams III of Dacula HS
Derek Tuthill of Dacula MS
Danielle Malcom of Discovery HS
Jordan T. White of Duluth HS
Melissa Dorsey of Duluth MS
Jamie Frix Cofer of
Duncan Creek ES

Kathryn Montelin of Dyer ES
Ashley Booker of Ferguson ES
Keith Oldknow of Five Forks MS
Claire Durbin of Fort Daniel ES
Julie Massey of Freeman’s Mill ES
Vernita M. Moore of GIVE Center East
Chris Magne of GIVE Center West
Evan Korth of Grace Snell MS
Sarah Hoeflin of Graves ES
Janice Rials of Grayson ES
Stacy Kenyon of Grayson HS
Sandra Bratescu of Gwin Oaks ES
Sandy Frierson of
Gwinnett Online Campus

Collyn Milsted of
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

Cheryl Hall of Harbins ES
Courtney Benton of Harmony ES
Inna Arroyo of Harris ES
Terri Odum of Head ES
Kimberly Robinson of Hopkins ES
Shuanita S. Cochran of Hull MS
Sara Tyrrell of Ivy Creek ES
Julie Bell of Jackson ES
Chris Fendley of Jenkins ES
Kanika Battle of Jones MS
Sandra Chedwick of Jordan MS
Elizabeth Lyons of Kanoheda ES
Heather K. Cox of Knight ES
Christy Battle of Lanier HS
Holly Hall of Lanier MS
Aishah Cochran of Lawrenceville ES
Shaila Khaki of Level Creek ES
Taresa Choe Lee of Lilburn ES
Tia Milhouse of Lilburn MS
Nyemadé Baker-Marsh of Lovin ES
Sheresa Kendricks of Magill ES
Katie Vosburgh of Mason ES
Jennifer Mundy of
Maxwell HS of Technology

Holly Hahn of McConnell MS
Kaitlin Tewksbury of McKendree ES
Lasandra Cobb of Meadowcreek ES
Twania A. White of Meadowcreek HS
Sabrina Hancock of Mill Creek HS
Joyce Munzwandi of Minor ES
Dr. Donna M. Domenech of
Moore MS

Katie Macdonald of
Mountain Park ES

Darryl Colley II of Mountain View HS
Hannah Randall of Mulberry ES
Jasmine Lundy of Nesbit ES
Bobbie Adamczyk of Norcross ES
Darrell Cicchetti of Norcross HS
Erin Mitchell of North Gwinnett HS
Katie Noordhoorn of
North Gwinnett MS

Elin Tomov of Northbrook Center
Dr. Dana Griffith of Northbrook MS
Michele E. Jones of Norton ES
Brittany Stanley of
Oakland Meadow School

Tammy Martz of Osborne MS
Heidi Campbell of Parkview HS
Ashley Bailey of Parsons ES
Aquanda Barber of Partee ES
Jennifer Burel of Patrick ES
Lauren O’Connor of
Paul Duke STEM HS

Amanda A. Eady of Peachtree ES
Meredith White of
Peachtree Ridge HS

Ashley Dunlop of Pharr ES
Cheryl D. Deas of Phoenix HS
Charlene R. Jackson of
Pinckneyville MS

Sarah Hunnicutt of Puckett’s Mill ES
Julie Scharnell of Radloff MS
David Gray of Richards MS
Kelly Specht of Riverside ES
Celia Ramos of Roberts ES
Kimmey Battles of Rock Springs ES
Stephanie Cowman of Rockbridge ES
Lien Vo of Rosebud ES
Kerry Nemetz of Shiloh ES
Paige Lutes of Shiloh HS
Albert D. Hicks of Shiloh MS
Kimberly A. Lynch of Simonton ES
Amy Cordova of Simpson ES
Jacqueline Thompson of
Snellville MS

Shelly Collins of South Gwinnett HS
Alicia Teague of Starling ES
Allison Sundberg of Stripling ES
Chris Wood of Sugar Hill ES
Becca Rackley of Summerour MS
Maurine Parker of Suwanee ES
Kelly Riley of Sweetwater MS
Frank Torres of Sycamore ES
Renee Long of Taylor ES
Karissa Davenport of Trickum MS
Lisa McKenna of Trip ES
Natalie Mattson of Twin Rivers MS
Kim Crews of Walnut Grove ES
Amy Reeves of White Oak ES
Laura Mobley of Winn Holt ES
Emily Greenblat of Woodward Mill ES
New Life Academy of Excellence and North Metro Academy of Performing Arts are not participating this year.
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Community-Based Mentoring Program:
One caring adult can change a child’s life

Need-to-know highlights of this story:
One caring adult can change a student's life through the GCPS Community-Based Mentoring Program.
The district is expanding both the size and the reach of its mentoring programs for 2018-19.
Employees are encouraged to apply to be a mentor. The next informational session for prospective mentors is set for Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the program’s offices at Northbrook Center, located at 1225 Northbrook Parkway, Suite B, in Suwanee.

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.

    With the support of community members and GCPS employees, the district’s Community-Based Mentoring Program is building on the Power of One to mentor hundreds of students in grades 4-12, providing guidance, encouragement, and support to help them reach their potential, both in and out of school.
    Why Mentor?
    Studies show that successful mentoring programs help students develop social skills, improve their school achievement and graduation rates, build character, and many other benefits. While school counselors, teachers, and family members all play
    a role in keeping students in school and learning,
    the involvement of a
    community mentor can make a meaningful connection.

    Families around the district can attest to the success of mentoring for their students. Parent Winifred King says her son’s four years in the mentoring program have resulted in improved grades and behavior. Of her son, she says, “He is growing with respect, integrity, and wisdom, all because of his participation in this program. Thank you for instilling positivity and strong moral values for my son.”

    In addition to one-on-one and small-group activities for mentors and mentees, district activities include Life Lesson Workshops, such as a virtual job shadowing experience, field trips, STEM summer camp, and sessions on dual enrollment, financial literacy, social media, and self-esteem. An annual Career Summit provides networking opportunities with more than 25 business and community organizations. The program also provides workshops and meetings for parents and guardians. A number of activities— including college visits, application support, and help with scholarship resources— promote a college-going culture and place an emphasis on graduation. In fact, $8,000 in scholarships was awarded to graduating mentees in 2018 through the program.

    The district launched the program in 2008 to provide community-based mentoring services to 57 identified African-American males in middle schools. Over time, the program has grown to include on-site mentoring services at local schools, adding a program for African-American girls in January 2018 and expanding to include Hispanic/Latino students in January of 2019. At the close of the 2017–18 school year, the program had 268 trained male volunteers who served as mentors and role models for 578 male students in 62 schools. Last spring, 135 female mentors were trained as the program expanded to support 6th grade African-American females at Grace Snell MS, Shiloh MS, and Snellville MS.

    The district is expanding both the size and the reach of its mentoring programs for 2018-19. Recruitment goals include:
  • 200 new mentors, 220 returning mentors, serving 900 African-American male students in grades 4-12 at 75 schools across the districtJames Rayford, director
  • 200 new mentors, 132 returning mentors, serving 300 African-American female students in grades 6 and 7 at 11 middle schools (returning to Shiloh and South Gwinnett clusters, expanding to Archer, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Grayson, and Norcross clusters)Janice Warren, director
  • 65 new mentors, serving 65 Hispanic and Latino male and female students in 6th grade at four middle schools (launching in the Berkmar and Meadowcreek clusters)Nury Crawford, director

    Could you be the one?
    If you’re ready to learn more about how you can be the one adult who makes a difference for one of our students, consider attending the next informational session for prospective mentors on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the program’s offices at Northbrook Center,
    located at 1225 Northbrook Parkway, Suite B, in Suwanee.
    Adults, 21 and older, are welcome to
    apply to become mentors.
    (Note: Mentors do not need to be bilingual to serve in the new Hispanic/Latino program.)
    Mentor Chigozie Anum says he’s had a great experience as a mentor and values the opportunity to develop relationships with students and their families. “I am grateful for the opportunity to touch lives and contribute to our communities,” he says.

    Students appreciate those relationships as well. Isaiah, a mentee, says he hopes to maintain the strong relationships he’s developed with both mentees and mentors. He says “My participation in the Community-Based Mentoring Program has been an excellent journey for me. I have learned numerous things on how to live in society as a young black man.”

    James Rayford, director of Academic Support, says the mentoring team will host several recruiting events this fall and they look forward to sharing the mentoring experience with interested adults, including GCPS employees.

    #GCPSMentoring #PowerOfOne
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  • Review underway for proposed Fine Arts instructional resources
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    GCPS is holding a review of proposed instructional resources for Fine Arts.
    The review will be held through Oct. 5 at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center (ISC).

    Staff, parents, and members of the community are invited to participate in a review of proposed curriculum resources for Fine Arts to provide their input. The public review runs until Oct. 5. GCPS holds an extensive review before adopting resources for classroom use. Resources submitted by publishers were reviewed prior to the pilot by parents, community members, teachers, and administrators for alignment with the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. During the next phase of the district’s review process, a public review will take place allowing all GCPS staff and members of the Gwinnett community to review student textbooks, digital resources, and associated teacher resources for Fine Arts for grades K-12.

    The review is scheduled at the following times at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center (ISC) in Suwanee:
  • Weekday Hours: Through Friday, Oct. 5, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Evening Hours: Thursday, Sept. 13, 5–8 p.m.
  • Saturday Hours: Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

    Both print and digital resources are available for review in the hallway between Buildings 100 and 200 at the ISC during review hours. Based on all input gathered from this multi-step review, a recommendation will be made to the Gwinnett County Board of Education for adoption of resources. For more information about the instructional review process, contact Jadd Jarusinski, director of Instructional Resources and Support, at 678-301-6828 or by email.
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  • Assessments scheduled for fall
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Norm-referenced assessments are scheduled this fall, including CogAT, Iowa, PSAT 8/9 and PSAT/NMSQT.
    These assessments are not used for grading or promotion; however, they help schools and teachers gain further insight into student learning.

    During the fall, GCPS students participate in norm-referenced assessments that give students, parents, and the school an opportunity to see how each student is performing compared to a hypothetical “average” student, based on data collected from students taking the same test in the same grade throughout the nation. These assessments are not used for grading or promotion; however, they help schools and teachers gain further insight into student learning.

    Here are planned assessments this fall:
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT): Administered Sept. 12-14 for students in grades in grades 1, 2, 5, and 8, CogAT assesses students’ reasoning abilities in three areas closely tied to school success: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning.
  • Iowa Assessments: These diagnostic assessments monitor academic progress over time, offering parents and teachers a look at the degree to which a student has mastered core learning standards in key academic areas— language arts and mathematics for grades 2 and 5 as well as science and social studies for 5th graders. The Iowa tests are scheduled for Sept. 24-28.
  • PSAT 8/9: The first test in the SAT suite of assessments, PSAT 8/9 will be administered to GCPS 8th graders on Oct. 10. This assessment establishes a baseline of college and career readiness, helping to determine what students need to work on most so that they are ready for college when they graduate from high school.
  • PSAT/NMSQT: Also scheduled for Oct. 10, the PSAT/NMSQT is a shortened version of the SAT. At no charge, Gwinnett 10th graders take the test as a preview of the SAT. Juniors may pay a fee to take the PSAT/NMSQT, a requirement for students to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship program.
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  • Dedications set for new school, program
    Our newest facilities invite families, staff, School Board members, and community members to celebrate the official dedication of their facilities:
    Paul Duke STEM HS,
    Sept. 30
    at 2 p.m.

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    Coleman MS to host Rep. Coleman’s retirement reception

    State Rep. Brooks Coleman,

    chair of the House
    Education Committee and
    a retired GCPS educator,
    is retiring after a 26-year career
    in the Georgia General Assembly.
    The school that bears his name— located at 3057 Main St. NW, in Duluth— will host
    a retirement reception on
    Sept. 16, from 3 to 5 p.m.

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    Oct. 9 deadline approaches to register to vote
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
    Citizens can register online, by mail, and at any Gwinnett school.
    A number of local and statewide offices and ballot measures are on the Nov. 6 ballot.
    Advance voting runs Oct. 15 through Nov. 2.

    The primary, runoffs, and recounts are behind us. Ahead? Registration deadlines, early voting windows, and Election Day 2018 are the next dates on the electoral calendar. A number of statewide and local offices— including governor, state school superintendent, U.S. Senate and House seats, and other state and local officials— and ballot measures are on the ballot for Nov. 6.

    For folks wanting to cast a ballot in the General Election, Oct. 9 is the last day to submit a voter registration application online or by mail. Citizens also can register at any Gwinnett school. On the Secretary of State’s website, log on to MVP— My Voting Page— for voter registration status, mail-in application and absentee ballot status, sample ballot, poll and advance voting locations, and more.

    Advance in-person voting at Gwinnett County’s election headquarters in Lawrenceville starts Oct. 15 and continues through Nov. 2, available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday during this window, plus Sunday voting on Oct. 28 from noon to 6 p.m. Additional advance voting opportunities are scheduled for satellite sites around the county on the following dates during the advance voting period— Oct. 20, Oct. 22-27, and Oct. 29-Nov. 2. Voters who can’t make it to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day also may apply for an absentee ballot. (The last day for the Voter Registrations and Elections Office to accept completed absentee applications is 3 p.m. on the Friday before the election, Nov. 2.)

    Call the Gwinnett County Office of Elections at 678-226-7210 with questions about voting in Gwinnett.
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    Block cyber-attackers with a healthy level of skepticism
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Cyber-attackers use social engineering to hack into devices and networks.
    The attacker may seem legitimate.
    Attacks may be initiated by email, text, social media, and even in person.
    You can prevent these attacks by knowing red flags and knowing what to do with a suspicious email or text.
    Forward any suspicious email messages to Phishing_SPAM@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.

    Cyber-attackers don’t need highly advanced technology and tools to hack into personal devices and computers networks. They know the easiest way to gain unauthorized access is by tricking victims into giving them the information they desire or installing malware. That’s Social Engineering.

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

    So how can you prevent Social Engineering attacks?

    When you receive a suspicious email or text

  • Do not reply, reply to all, or forward the message to any other person.
  • Do not open any attachments.
  • Do not click any website links provided in the message.
  • Carefully examine the message.
  • Beware of unknown senders or sensational subject lines.
  • Look at the hyperlinks in the message carefully to identify fraudulent URLs. For instance, they might use bankofamerica.co versus bankofamerica.com. To view the hyperlink, hover your mouse over the link until a pop-up shows you the true destination.

  • Recognize the red flags

  • Misspelled words and poor grammar.
  • Urgent subject lines.
  • Promises of free gifts or prizes.
  • Requests to verify your username, password, account number, or other sensitive information.

  • Take action

  • Report suspected social engineering attempts to your TST/LSTC or contact the Customer Support Center at (678) 301-6547.
  • Forward any suspicious email messages to Phishing_SPAM@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
  • Delete the email from your Inbox, Sent Folder, and Trash Folder to permanently dispose of the message, or delete the text message/SMS.

  • Know these common social engineering attacks…
  • Phishing: A fraudulent email, often purporting to be from a trusted source, meant to trick the recipient into sharing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link or attachment that installs malware.
  • Spearphishing: A form of phishing targeted at a specific individual or organization.
  • Business Email Compromise: An email scam in which fraudsters impersonate district leaders requesting wire transfers or access to sensitive information such as W-2 records.
  • Smishing: Known as SMS phishing, this fraudulent message is sent via text message.
  • Scareware: An attack method that tricks the victim into thinking computer is infected with malware or has inadvertently downloaded illicit content. The cyber-attacker then offers the victim a solution that will “fix” the bogus problem. In reality, the victim is simply tricked into downloading and installing malware.
  • Tailgating: “Piggybacking” into a secured area by following someone with an authorized access card. This in-person attack presumes the person with legitimate access to the building is courteous enough to hold the door open for the person behind them.
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  • District close to forecast in final enrollment count
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    The district's final enrollment count after Labor Day was 179,719 students, just 601 below projection.
    The official October FTE count will be held Oct. 2.
    The district’s largest schools, by level, are Jackson ES, North Gwinnett MS, and Mill Creek HS.

    Every year, GCPS’ final enrollment count the day after Labor Day is within an incremental fraction of the projected enrollment. The Planning Department’s forecasting talent continues to hold as this year is no exception. The post-Labor day count of 179,719 students on Sept. 4 was just 601 below the projection. That’s just one-third of 1% (0.33%) below the expected 180,320 count! Since the district’s first count on Aug. 7, GCPS enrollment has grown by 7,000 students. Student enrollment typically fluctuates throughout the year. The official October FTE count will be taken Oct. 2. The district’s largest schools, by level, are Jackson ES, North Gwinnett MS, and Mill Creek HS.
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    Obey traffic laws to keep kids safe
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    State officials have clarified a new law regarding passing and center lanes.
    Drivers who travel on a three- or five-lane road divided by a center or turning lane do not have to stop for a stopped school bus in an oncoming lane.
    Only traffic coming behind the bus would have to stop.
    Drivers in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus on a two-lane road.
    To stop or not to stop…
    In the past few weeks, state officials clarified a recent change in Georgia law regarding passing and center lanes. Drivers who travel on a
    three- or five-lane road divided by a center or turning lane do not have to stop for a stopped school bus in
    an oncoming lane. Only traffic coming
    behind the bus would have to stop. (Previously, all traffic stopped unless a median was present between lanes of opposing traffic.) However,
    drivers in
    both directions must
    stop for a stopped school bus
    on a two-lane road.
    While safety is the #1 priority for our Transportation Department, we all play a role in keeping kids safe as they travel to and from school. Whether on neighborhood drives or multi-lane roadways, drivers should remain vigilant and follow traffic laws to help keep schoolchildren safe. The start of the school year is a good time for motorists to remember these safety tips around schools and school buses:
  • Make sure to give GCPS buses plenty of room and time to pick up and drop off students before and after school.
  • Watch for amber and red flashing lights that indicate a stopped school bus.
  • Be aware of reduced speed limits in school zones during designated hours.
  • Stop for crossing guards and children at crosswalks near our schools
  • Be alert when driving around schools, through school parking lots, and when using “car rider” lanes.

    Online, learn school bus safety tips for students and visit the Transportation web page for FAQs, transportation contact numbers, and other helpful information.

    Obey traffic laws… help keep students safe!

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  • HR and Benefits Briefs

    Open Enrollment window opens Oct. 15
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    The window for Open Enrollment is open Oct. 15 to Nov. 2.
    OE changes are effective Jan. 1, 2019, and will be in effect for the calendar year.

    Open Enrollment (OE) for Plan Year 2019 runs from Monday, Oct. 15, through Friday, Nov. 2. Changes made during OE are effective Jan. 1, 2019, and will be in effect for the 2019 calendar year. OE changes to health insurance are made through the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) OE website. OE changes to GCPS benefits are made via the Online Benefits System, located in the Employee Portal. Before making your benefit selections, be sure to review SHBP and GCPS plan information, available later in the fall. In the coming weeks, look for further information from the Benefits and Leave Administration office and your Local Site Benefits Representative (LSBR).
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    State mandates reporting of suspected abuse by staff, volunteers
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    School personnel and volunteers are required to report known or suspected abuse or neglect.
    The mandated reporter has fulfilled his or her lawful obligation upon reporting.
    Mandated reporters are immune from liability, even if a "good faith" report is proven incorrect.

    Under Georgia law, all school personnel and school volunteers— including community coaches and parents helping in the classroom— are required to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect of children and youth (18 and under) to authorities for investigation. Staff members and volunteers must report suspicions to their principal, supervisor, or volunteer contact who is required to make a report within 24 hours to the appropriate agency for investigation. A staff member or volunteer who makes an initial report to the appropriate personnel has fulfilled his or her obligation under the law. Failure to report is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of jail time and a fine. That said, mandated reporters are immune from civil or criminal liability if their report was made in “good faith,” even if proved incorrect. Staff members can find training for mandatory reporters in the PD&E tool in the Employee Portal. On the Georgia DOE website, find additional resources to help prevent child abuse and combat sex trafficking.
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    Access portal for compliance training, ethics reminders
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    All GCPS employees are required to complete online training on ethics, harassment, and other key policies and procedures, no later than Oct. 31.
    Training is available in the Employee Portal.
    Each month, staff receive a pop-up on the Portal covering ethics topics.

    Each year, GCPS staff members are required to participate in online training on district guidelines and legal requirements when it comes to ethics, sexual harassment, and other key policies and procedures. The videos and sign-offs are found in the Employee Portal. Click on the blue PD&E icon in the center of the page. On the “Welcome” page, you’ll see “HR Compliance 2018–2019” listed under “My Courses.” The deadline to complete is Oct. 31.

    In addition, GCPS staff members entering the Portal get a monthly review of the ethical guidelines under which district employees operate. Posted on the first Monday of each month, a new pop-up appears the next time an employee logs into the portal. The monthly review will focus on one of the 10 standards that make up the The Code of Ethics for Educators adopted by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The standards cover subjects including professional conduct, conduct with students, legal compliance, alcohol/drugs, honesty, gifts and remuneration, required reporting, testing, confidentiality, and use of funds and property.
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    Earn bonus for referrals
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    A tight labor market makes it more difficult for GCPS to fill some key positions.
    Current employees may qualify for a referral fee by recommending a prospective employee who is hired as a teacher in a high-need field, speech-language pathologist, or bus driver.

    Ensuring that we have qualified staff members in every role is a key focus of GCPS’ Human Resources and Talent Management (HRTM) team. With a tight labor market, HRTM is finding it a challenge to fill some positions. That’s where you come in. Employees can earn a referral incentive bonus by recommending qualified candidates who are hired by the district in these high-need areas:

  • Teachers: GCPS will pay a referral incentive of $250 to GCPS employees who refer a teacher candidate for the 2018–19 school year in the fields of Mathematics, Science, Special Education, and Foreign Language. The referral incentive will be in the referring employee’s paycheck once the teacher candidate is hired for the 2018–19 school year and has worked a minimum of 60 days. Referrals should be emailed to Human Resources at GCPSteach@gwinnett.k12.ga.us. Please type GCPS TEACHER REFERRAL in the email subject line and include the name and contact information (email address and/or telephone number) of the referral. The teacher candidate must list the name of the referring employee in the referral section of the online application. A GCPS employee who refers a teacher candidate may be asked to present proof of referral. A GCPS employee who submits a referral after a candidate is hired will not qualify for an incentive.

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

  • Bus Drivers: GCPS will pay a $125 referral fee to current employees who refer prospective drivers who are hired, complete training, and have 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.

    If you have questions about the referral program, contact Patrice Pendergast by Lotus Notes or call 678-301-6076.
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  • Free behavioral health resources available to employees
    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Benefits-eligible employees and retirees qualify for free, short-term behavioral health and counseling services to support those experiencing a major life change such as a death, major illness, or divorce.
    Five free sessions are offered face-to-face, by phone, or via video chat.
    Additional sessions may be available for a fee.
    Those covered under a State Health Benefit Plan may have other options for additional sessions or services not covered by the free benefit.

    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. The service— provided by LifeWorks, a nationwide company that employs more than 30,000 licensed counselors— provides support for those dealing with the loss of a loved one, a divorce, serious illness, a terminal medical diagnosis, financial hardship, or other major life changes.

    Five free sessions are provided per event, offered 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.

    For additional counseling sessions or for services not covered by the free benefit, employees may have other options if they are enrolled in the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). Learn more about support for behavioral health concerns through these SHBP plans:
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield: Dial 1-855-679-5722, select option 2, and follow prompts.
  • UnitedHealthcare: Dial 1-800-888-2998, and follow prompts.
  • Kaiser Permanente: Dial 1-855-512-5997, select option 2, and follow prompts.

    Questions? Contact MetLife at 1-888-319-7819, then press 1; or email the Benefits Administration Team at benefits@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
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  • Find 2018-19 Personnel Handbook online
    The 2018–19 edition of the GCPS Personnel Handbook is now available online. (The handbook is accessible on the GCPS website under Employment > Get a copy of…. > Personnel Handbook.) The Personnel Handbook contains important information about GCPS processes, policies and procedures. If you have questions about the handbook, please contact Susan Patterson at 678-301-6037 or by email for assistance.
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    Need-to-know highlights of this story:
    Check out Bulletin Board items with the latest on.. the Atlanta Families' Awards for Excellence in Education, the Mentoring program's golf fundraiser, exhibitors for Career Connections, JA volunteers, access to resources on the Communications Database, the next Spotlight, recent online Communiqué stories, the latest from GCPS TV, Perks, Ready Georgia reminders, and commute alternatives
    Shout-out for outstanding educators… Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education aims to elevate public education by identifying excellent educators and administrators, then empowering them to expand their impact. Several GCPS teachers and leaders have earned this recognition in the past so make sure to nominate an exceptional educator or apply yourself before the deadline on Sept. 28. Each award winner receives funding for a school project, funding for professional development, and a personal stipend. The multi-round process includes a video submission, an essay, a classroom observation, and a final interview during which finalists present a proposal for the project they’d like to fund with their winnings. Winners will be notified in the spring.
    Calling all golfers!… Whether you’re part of a foursome or golfing solo, a novice on the links or a scratch golfer, circle Oct. 8 (a student holiday) on your calendar and plan to hit the course for GCPS’ Community-Based Mentoring Program's 9th Annual Golf Tournament! Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course in Buford will host the event. The money raised will go toward college scholarships, resources, enrichment activities, and background-building experiences for students in the mentoring program. Registration for golfers is open through Sept. 28. Learn more about district’s mentoring program online.
    Looking for a few great exhibitors!… Community members from across the career spectrum are needed for “show and tell” interviews and activities at the upcoming Career Connections event, set for Oct. 16. The event supports college- and career-readiness for the district’s College and Career Academy 8th graders from the 11 middle schools that feed into our seven College and Career Academy high schools: Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett. Share this opportunity with prospective exhibitors who can find information about the event and a sign-up form online. There's no cost for exhibitors to participate in the event. To learn more, contact Billy Sayers in the Office of Academies and Career and Technical Education at 678-301-7050 or by email.
    Share your ‘adulting’ experience with students at JA Discovery Center… A partnership with Junior Achievement (JA) launched the JA Discovery Center at Gwinnett, now in its fourth year. Annually, more than 50,000 GCPS middle schoolers take part in day-long simulations as part of the JA BizTown and JA Finance Park programs to learn how to navigate the workplace and manage money. More than 4,000 volunteers have supported the Center since its inception. Email VolunteerGwinnett@georgia.ja.org if you’re interested in volunteering at the Center this year.
    Find useful GCPS resources on Communications Database… The Communications Database (on IntranetLN04) holds hundreds of system-level communication pieces, such as handbooks, parent tips, K–8 AKS brochures, calendars, translated pieces, and more. Items in the searchable database are organized by category and keywords. Access to some documents is restricted to principals or other employee groups, but most are available to all GCPS users. See instructions below for adding the database to your desktop, or request this Database icon by contacting Laura Nurse via Lotus Notes.
  • In the Lotus Notes workspace, click <File>, then <Database>, then <Open>;
  • In the “Open Database” window, select the server (PikeLN03) in the drop-down list;
  • Scroll through the list of databases and highlight (click once) the database you want to open;
  • Click the <Open> button. A database icon will be placed on your Lotus Notes workspace.
  • Something to celebrate?… As the year winds down, don’t forget to 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 next issue are due Coming soon… back-to-school honors in the fall issue of Spotlight.
    Find the latest from Communiqué… Communiqué is the district’s digital magazine, sporting new content every day or two. Recent posts include local school TOTY winners, a summer teaching experience to remember, kudos for national awards for students including speedy sport stackers and young entrepreneurs, and back-to-school updates, plus calendar updates, dates and deadlines on the Bulletin Board, and the latest episode of In5ive. Coming up? The next round of TOTY honorees, a “delicious” win, an out-of-this-world honor, and more! Check the magazine frequently for the latest news! . Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at communique@gwinnett.k12.ga.us.
    Find latest Focus Moments on GCPS TV… These are just a few of the recent videos from GCPS TV:
    Student Entrepreneurs: Check out some of the programs that cultivate student entrepreneurs in our schools.
    Jump Rope for Heart: The American Heart Association honored 10 Gwinnett County elementary schools for their support of and focus on heart health. 
    Feeding Minds and Bodies: This summer, GCPS Media Services teamed up with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to help prevent the Summer Slide.
    The 30-Time STAR Teacher: Last spring, Mountain View HS celebrated Billy Jones, who has been honored as a STAR Teacher 30 times in his teaching career! 
    Stretch your budget with employee discounts… Put ‘GCPS Perks’ at your fingertips with the Foundation’s mobile app. GCPS employees have easy access to employee perks and discounts via their smartphone! Perks include special offers and discounts from local and national businesses. With the app, users also can make a donation, purchase event tickets, catch up on Foundation news, and contact the Foundation team. Download the app today for your iOS or Android device.
    Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.… When disaster strikes, there’s no time to prepare. The folks at Ready Georgia help Georgians prepare for the unexpected and want you to be ready with a Ready Kit, a communications plan to connect with family and friends in an emergency, and pertinent preparedness information. Add the updated Ready Georgia app to your smartphone to be Ready, Georgia!
    Check out Georgia Commute Options… Sign up for Georgia Commute Options programs, find carpool partners, and log your commute trips to earn cash and win prizes online. On the Commute Options website, you can:
    Find out how much you’re spending on your commute by using Georgia Commute Options Commute Calculator.
    Manage everything, from ride-matching to incentives;
    Use easy “drag and drop” features to log your commute;
    Set text or e-mail log reminders for any day of the week and any time;
    Set alerts via text or e-mail when new carpool or vanpool matches become available;
    Check current enrollment status in any of the Georgia Commute Options incentive programs;
    Find Park and Ride locations and transit routes in the Atlanta region; and
    View or share public pages through Facebook or Twitter log-in.

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

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        GCPS    Employment    Back Issues   
        Last modified on 08/13/2019