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This week marks several celebrations for GCPS employees in our Transportation Department, including state and national School Bus Safety Week and Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
For six Gwinnett teachers, the day started like any other… students arrived, the bell rang, and lessons commenced. But then, the visitors arrived. And by visitors, we mean folks with cameras, balloons, and congratulatory signs like you might see with the “sweepstakes prize patrol.”
On Oct. 12, the selected teachers were surprised with the news that they had been named one of half a dozen finalists for GCPS Teacher of the Year (TOTY).
Congratulations to these honored teachers:
- Ebony Flott, Camp Creek ES, 4th Grade Teacher
- Dr. Doug Doblar, Head ES, Mathematics and Science Teacher (Gr. 4 and 5)
- Cheri Nations, North Gwinnett MS, STEM Teacher (Gr. 6–8)
- John Chvatal, Brookwood HS, AP and Gifted Biology Teacher (Gr. 9-12)
- Michelle E. Jones, Gwinnett Online Campus, Mathematics Teacher (Gr. 9-12)
- Amy Crisp, Norcross HS, English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher – Language Arts (Gr. 9–12)
For the six finalists, the next step includes interviews and classroom observations by a selection committee made up of former TOTYs, administrators, and central office staff. On Nov. 9, at a gala banquet, the district will announce the county TOTY and level winners. Stay tuned!
A tasty and nutritious school lunch is a recipe for success for our students!
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation tells us that inexperienced teen drivers should follow these five rules to stay safe behind the wheel.
For recent graduates, the foundation they built at Sweetwater MS prepared them for success at Berkmar HS and beyond.
Get to know the TOTY Semifinalists.
Last month, Harmony ES honored the grandparents of its students by welcoming them in for games, pictures, and fun with their grandchildren.
In this “Focus Moment” from GCPS TV, learn how accelerated instruction and targeted support are helping Lilburn MS studentsget back on track toward their goal of on-time graduation.
On Oct. 11, GCPS 10th graders will take the PSAT/NMSQT.
So what does STEM/STEAM look like in Gwinnett schools?
“STEM and STEAM engages all types of students in integrated math and science, which prepares them for college and career opportunities,” says Bonnie Brush, GCPS’ mathematics director and part of the district’s STEM Team. She notes that this instructional approach takes students from knowledge to application to innovation, adding “By expanding STEM and STEAM learning opportunities, our schools are encouraging students at all levels to apply their learning as they creatively solve real-world problems, think in innovative ways, and engage with their community.”
With seven designations, GCPS has the largest number of state STEM/STEAM-certified schools and programs in Georgia, including:
- Gwinnett School of Science, Mathematics, and Technology (GSMST)— STEM school certification
- Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) at Lanier HS (STEM program certification)
- White Oak ES (STEM school certification)
- STEM Program for Innovation Rigor Excellence (SPIRE) at Peachtree Ridge HS (STEM program certification)
- Teamwork With Innovative Skills and Technology (TWIST) at Lanier MS (STEM program certification)
- Mason ES (STEM school certification)
- Coleman MS (STEAM school certification)
The path to STEM certification involves a partnership between the school, the district’s STEM team, and the Georgia Department of Education over the course of three years. During that time, regular site visits allow district content experts to observe and support the development of rigorous and integrated STEM instruction, ensuring that teachers have opportunities for professional development and collaborative planning with colleagues.
In addition, the school must meet specific criteria, including evidence of teacher collaboration, business and industry partnerships, high levels of math and science instruction, and an integrated, project-based STEM curriculum. The process culminates with a final visit by a team from the Georgia Department of Education to observe these instructional elements in action.
STEAM is the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics infused with meaningful arts integration. STEAM utilizes the arts as a vehicle for demonstrating what has been learned, while increasing creativity and teaching “habits of mind” that can be applied to any subject. The STEAM Georgia certification program aligns with the STEM Georgia certification program and the two programs share a common vocabulary, timeline, and design.
The school district is a model for STEM/STEAM instruction and has a number of statewide distinctions. Here are just a few GCPS “firsts” in the area of STEM/STEAM:
- Coleman MS is the first certified STEAM middle school in the state, and just the second in Georgia to earn STEAM School Certification.
- With the certification of White Oak ES and programs at Lanier MS and Lanier HS, the Lanier Cluster has the distinction of being the first public schools with vertical STEM articulation, meaning that a student in the Lanier Cluster could participate in a STEM-certified program at every school level, K-12.
Dr. Jeff Mathews, Peachtree Ridge HS principal, is the first administrator in the state to lead two schools through the STEM Certification process. He also led GSMST’s certification bid in 2012-13.
Some high profile visitors are putting the spotlight on environmental and STEM education at a GCPS elementary school.
Play matters! Thanks to KaBOOM! and a generous donation from Newell Brands, students from Beaver Ridge ES will have a new space where they can play, have fun, and thrive.
Oct. 2 is National Custodial Workers Recognition Day, and a great time to say “thank you”!
The annual review of the AKS curriculum runs through Oct. 5.
Recently, Maxwell HS of Technology was featured in a new trade-focused video series, called “Great Georgia Jobs.”
Berkmar students are getting a head start on their high school careers by taking accelerated courses in 8th grade.
Gwinnett’s Class of 2017 posted strong results on the redesigned SAT.
Congratulations to our semifinalists for Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year (TOTY)! The field of 138 local school TOTYs has been narrowed to this group of 25 semifinalists. (Watch for more on our semifinalists in the coming weeks.) The next difficult step for a team of judges will be selecting just six finalists for consideration for the district title. We'll learn who those finalists are in October, then, we wait. On Nov. 9, at a gala banquet, the district will announce the county TOTY and level winners. Stay tuned!
Congratulations to these top-notch educators!
- Dr. Maxine T. Amritt of Simonton ES 5th Grade Teacher
- Paige Brandon of Level Creek ES – Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Grades K-1)
- Jenny Chambless of Chattahoochee ES – Music Teacher (Grades K-5)
- John Chvatal of Brookwood HS – AP and Gifted Biology Teacher (Grades 9-12)
- Amy Crisp of Norcross HS – English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher – Language Arts (Grades 9-12)
- Dr. Doug Doblar of Head ES – Mathematics and Science Teacher (Grades 4 and 5)
- Anthony Dramis of Hull MS – Mathematics Teacher (Grade 8)
- Ebony Flott of Camp Creek ES – 4th Grade Teacher
- Tracey Gatling of Baggett ES – 5th Grade Teacher
- Heather Glenn of McKendree ES – 4th Grade Teacher
- Amy Howell of Burnette ES – 2nd Grade Teacher
- Michelle E. Jones of Gwinnett Online Campus – Mathematics Teacher (Grades 9-12)
- Dr. Regan Jubirt of Meadowcreek ES – English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 1-3)
- Tonya May of Lawrenceville ES – Kindergarten Teacher
- Tammy McIntyre of Moore MS – Media Specialist (Grades 6-8)
- Becca Menchaca of Winn Holt ES – 4th Grade Teacher
- Garnet Messer of Couch MS – Social Studies Teacher (Grade 7)
- Michelle Morea of Lanier HS – Theater Teacher (Grades 9-12)
- Cheri Nations of North Gwinnett MS – STEM Teacher (Grades 6-8)
- Nora Neff of Mill Creek HS – Language Arts, Journalism, Newspaper, and Yearbook Teacher (Grades 9-12)
- Chanda Robinson of Richards MS – Language Arts Teacher (Grade 7)
- Kathy Spruiell of Norton ES – Instructional Coach and Specialist – Mathematics (Grades K-5)
- Melissa Tijerina of Chesney ES – 3rd Grade Teacher
- Sarah Tiller of Puckett's Mill ES – Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 5)
- Lynn Walton of Mulberry ES – Special Education Teacher (Pre-K)
Twice a year, Gwinnett County elementary and middle schools set aside time for parents and guardians to meet with their child’s teachers to talk about the student’s academic progress.