If wintry weather keeps your child indoors during the break… Remember, there’s something for everyone at the library! With BRANCH OUT!, a partnership between GCPS and the Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) a student's school ID doubles as a GCPL library card, giving access to the county's extensive collection of digital and print resources and a range of activities for students who opt into the program. Even better, overdue library fines are a thing of the past for Branch Out participants. If parents are unsure if their student has an account or if a student is new to GCPS, it’s easy to opt in on the Parent Portal (edit preferences on the Student Information screen) or complete a form to return to the school. To access library resources, participating students need their GCPS ID number and a PIN (preset for birth month and day as MMDD). Students may change their PIN anytime via the GCPL website or by calling or visiting any library branch. So, happy reading (playing, surfing, building, listening, and learning) during the Winter Break!
If you have a student at your house, you probably know what Wednesday, Dec. 20 is… the last day of school before Winter Break, of course! High school students will be released from school early on the last three days of the semester—Dec. 18, 19, and 20— as they take final exams. Elementary and middle school students will follow their regular school schedule those days.
While schools will be closed, the district’s central office locations will remain open on Thursday, Dec. 21. (The Gwinnett County Board of Education meets that evening at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center at 7 p.m.)
All schools and offices will be closed from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1. Students return to school on Jan. 4, but their teachers report back to work the day before for professional development and district offices reopen on Jan. 2.
Coming soon to your elementary student's backpack or your mailbox… The most recent issue of Essentials will bring you a look at how innovation is transforming our classrooms, a profile of the district's top teacher for 2017-18, the latest on calendars, our rapid notification system, assessment results, jobs for bus drivers, volunteer opportunities, honors, and more! You'll also find a special insert that takes you into schools in two clusters as we explore the Promise of Innovation.
Hours and hours of practice result in those spectacular halftime shows that fans see during Friday night football games. In this episode of artSTAGE, GCPS’ fine arts program, catch a glimpse of your favorite band as we capture highlights from each performance at this fall’s Marching Band Exhibition. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at all the preparation and support that goes into making these bands shine!
If you have a 4th grader at home, here’s a nice holiday gift to keep the family entertained (and learning) during the upcoming Winter Break… free access to our nation’s natural and historical treasures that make up the national parks system! From sea to shining sea, our country is home to inspiring landscapes, vibrant waterways, and living history that all Americans can enjoy. And, with the “Every Kid in a Park” program, America’s 4th graders can visit our federal lands and waters for FREE! All 4th graders in the U.S. are eligible to receive a free Interagency Annual Pass and can bring their families with them! A number of sites are in the metro Atlanta area, and dozens more are within a few hours by car. With the free pass (good for their 4th grade year), kids can see protected animals, visit the woods or water, explore a park or recreational area, learn about our heritage at historical sites, and take an American outdoor adventure. Just follow these three easy steps: 1.) Fill out a short Adventure Diary on the Every Kid in a Park website. 2) Download and print your personalized voucher. (You can exchange your paper pass for a plastic pass at some locations.) 3) Plan your trip and go!
Are you a certified (or soon-to-be certified) special education teacher interested in teaching in Gwinnett? Join our award-winning Special Education team!
You're invited to register to attend the school district's Special Education Teacher Job Fair on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 8 a.m. to noon at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center in Suwanee.
The fair is by invitation only for those who have a pre-scheduled interview. Registration to attend the fair will close on Jan. 22, or when all interview times have been filled.
Candidates eligible to attend must be certified (or will be by July of 2018) in any field of Special Education. GCPS will be offering contracts for the 2018-19 school year at the event, so make plans to secure your teaching position early for the 2018-19 school year!.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the Gwinnett HEAT on the program’s 10-year anniversary!
The Gwinnett HEAT is the district’s coed, adapted sports program for students in grades 1-12. The program gives students with physical disabilities or orthopedic impairments an opportunity to participate in athletic competitions.
The HEAT fields three teams— wheelchair handball in the fall, wheelchair basketball in the winter, and wheelchair football in the spring. Participating student-athletes may or may not use a wheelchair on a day-to-day basis. However, wheelchairs—both manual and power—serve as a tool that allows students to play competitive sports.
Over the last decade, the program has won five state championships and teams have been state runner-up 15 times. Most recently, the HEAT placed second in the 2017 Georgia High School Association Wheelchair Handball state championship tournament in early November.
"Throughout the past 10 years, we have seen many of our athletes go onto college and into successful careers,” says Mike Phillips, area coordinator for the Adapted Sports Program. Mr. Phillips cites a Gwinnett HEAT student-athlete who went on to graduate from the University of Georgia and is now teaching and coaching at Mill Creek HS. “The adapted sports program has been very successful in giving students with a physical disability an opportunity to participate in competitive sports, and, in return, we're able to make a difference in their lives and future," he says.
Interested students, parents, and family members should contact Mr. Phillips at 678-301-6885 or by email at email@example.com.
The Gwinnett HEAT is a member program of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs.
Archer HS students have plenty for which they are thankful during this Thanksgiving season. A “Thankful Chain” that spans the school’s commons area represents those heartfelt sentiments as the students shared their thanks for family and friends, health and home, and more. The idea for the chain started with Archer Peer Leaders who visited guided study classes last week and asked their classmates to create their own link, sharing something for which they are thankful. The peer leaders collected more than 2,400 links, stapling the links into two chains that are more than 300 feet long combined.
School communities are most successful when students, staff, and parents are connected and all feel supported. During School Psychology Awareness Week (Nov. 13-17), our school psychologists encourage everyone to “power up” and serve as a “positive charge” to reinforce those critical connections and to spark positive change. The awareness campaign emphasizes that every individual— child and adult— can use his or her talents, skills, behaviors, and mindset to grow and contribute to the quality of the school and the wider community.
Families, teachers, school psychologists, administrators, and all school staff can work together to create a culture where making positive connections and taking action is the norm, simply by modeling and embracing the expectation. Small, positive steps taken each day can have a profound impact on our students and the culture of our schools.
So, every day (and this week especially), look for ways to pass along a “positive charge”… be kind, show gratitude, offer help, include others, celebrate creativity, work hard, be curious, explore ideas, try new skills, and support a team effort.
We thank our school psychologists for what they do to help our school communities to “power up” and provide the positive school culture in which our students thrive.
As the 2018 Gwinnett Science, Engineering + Innovation Fair approaches, learn how you can participate in the Feb. 23 event. District leaders are looking for sponsors, judges, career exhibitors, and volunteers. Check out this GCPS TV video of last year’s fair to see what you can expect! Need more information? Contact the event’s planning team online.
A $35,000 donation from Iconex, a Duluth-based company, gives a boost to the engineering and robotics programs at Duluth HS. In this video from GCPS TV, see how this generous gift will support professional development, purchase needed equipment, and expand STEM opportunities for Wildcats as they prepare for college and careers.
Past and present students, staff, and community members are invited to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of South Gwinnett HS. Alums will take part in special activities on Nov. 10 and 11, with a community celebration set for Sunday, Nov. 12. A reception starts at 2 p.m., followed by a formal program in the school's Performing Arts Center. Online, find details on the Alumni Event, including an email address for RSVPs. Alumni also can lend school memorabilia and share their Comet stories for the celebration. Learn more on the school website.
GCPS is now accepting applications for school bus drivers! The hourly wage for drivers is competitive, and bus drivers have excellent benefits and paid training as well as summer vacation and holidays off. Qualifying candidates can earn credit for past commercial driving experience (CDL). Applicants are required to hold a good driving record and a high school diploma or GED. Learn more and apply today at GCPSjobs.org. Call 678-225-7670 with questions.
Gwinnett Great Days of Service (GDOS) is one of the largest community volunteer events in the nation. And you can be a part of it!
Here’s how you can help to support of our community and our schools:
- Donate to the You Can Do It Drive: Between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19, drop off your donation at a school or the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center. Requested items include canned proteins (tuna, ham, ravioli, etc.); canned soups and fruits; boxed macaroni and cheese; peanut butter and jelly; personal care items, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and soap; toilet paper; and laundry detergent pods. The donations will be delivered to Gwinnett shelters, group homes, and food pantries.
- Sign Up for a Service Project: As part of GDOS, volunteers are fanning out across the county to help with community- and school-based service projects on Oct. 20 and 21. Volunteers are still needed for projects. You can volunteer with a group or as an individual, even with your family. (Look for age requirements and specifics on what type of work the project entails.) Register to volunteer today! GDOS is coordinated by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services.
Are you interested in gaining valuable teaching experience while getting paid? Join the Substitute Teaching Program!
GCPS is seeking qualified substitutes for the 2017-18 school year. Serving as a substitute is a great way to make connections for future, full-time employment and to gain experience in a variety of educational settings. Subs can determine the days and hours they’ll be available for assignments as well as the locations where they’re interested in serving. Substitute teaching can be an especially good fit for someone who is working toward a teaching certificate.
Substitute teachers do not have to be certified to teach. However, they must have completed a minimum of 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours from a college approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Candidates also must complete the GCPS Substitute Teacher Training Program (if they do not possess a valid or expired professional teaching certificate).
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the school year, and substitute teacher orientation sessions are conducted weekly at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center in Suwanee.
Pay rates for substitute teachers have increased for the 2017–18 school year to $89 per day for regular substitute teaching and $99 per day for long-term substitute teaching.
Learn more by calling 678-301-6140 or visiting www.gcpsjobs.org for information and an application.
Looking for an opportunity to support Gwinnett students and help prepare them for their future? At Gwinnett’s Junior Achievement (JA) Discovery Center, 6th and 8th grade students participate in an immersive simulation that helps them develop skills to better navigate today’s complex economic environment and discover how decisions made today can have an impact on tomorrow.
No matter your profession, your life experiences qualify you to be a successful volunteer to serve as a mentor and coach for students in these simulations:
- JA BizTown: Students interact within a simulated economy and take on the role of citizen, consumer, and employee. (6th Grade)
- JA Finance Park: Students make the connection between their education and career, career and income, and ultimately their income and future lifestyle. (8th Grade)
This month, we have the need for volunteers on Oct. 16, Oct. 17, Oct. 18, and Oct. 26. Online, find more information and register as a volunteer! Share this volunteer opportunity with friends and family or consider volunteering yourself. Questions about volunteering at the JA center? Contact Kyle Redner by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The JA Center on the campus of Discovery HS, located at 1333 Old Norcross Road in Lawrenceville.
If you’re a member of the Class of 2018, you may be working on your college applications this fall. While you’re at it, don’t forget to apply for scholarships to pay for your postsecondary studies.
Annually, the GCPS Foundation Fund awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to GCPS seniors, funded through the support of local businesses and organizations and contributions from generous staff and community members. Last year, more than 80 graduating seniors earned $115,000 in district and school-specific scholarships administered through the Foundation.
The Foundation is now accepting applications from members of the GCPS Class of 2018. Find the 2018 GCPS Foundation Scholarship Catalog online. Scholarships range in value from $300 to $6,000 and most are one-time awards. The deadline for scholarships managed by the Foundation is Dec. 11. (All scholarship deadlines are included in the scholarship information and clearly noted on each application.) The Foundation will announce scholarship recipients in May.
If you’re a current or former student, parent, or staff member of one of these schools, join us to celebrate an upcoming milestone.
Walnut Grove Elementary School's 25th anniversary festivities are planned for Oct. 20. Part of the annual EagleFest, the program starts at 5 p.m. RSVP online by Oct. 3.
To better prepare our students for a smoother transition from high school to college and career, GCPS will conduct the district's 4th annual Career Connections Exhibition for the district’s Career Academy 8th graders on Nov. 16. The event will bring together close to 200 exhibitors from across the career spectrum for “show and tell” interviews and activities. GCPS is seeking business people who can provide engaging presentations about what they do and what it takes to pursue a successful career in their field. There's no cost for exhibitors to participate. If you know of potential exhibitors, point them to an exhibitor registration form online. They can learn more about the event by checking out this video from the first Career Connections event and an article about the 2016 event. Nearly 5,000 middle schoolers will participate this fall. Students from 11 middle schools feed into our seven College and Career Academy high schools: Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett. Questions? Contact Billy Sayers in the Office of Academies and Career and Technical Education at 678-301-7050, or email email@example.com.