for those who teach and those who support teachers
February 3, 2023
Coffee with Calvin
Dr. Watts chats with Walt Martin, GCPS’ Chief of Business Operations, about the importance of a one-cent sales tax to the school district, and he visits schools where teachers are putting this vital funding to innovative use.
GPEE identifies top ten issues to watch in 2023
First published by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) in 2005, the GPEE's Top Ten Issues to Watch report has been Georgia's go-to publication for identifying the key public education issues facing the state for nearly 17 years. To view the 2023 Top Ten Issues to Watch in Georgia Education Report, click here.
February is Black History Month
“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.” —Carter G. Woodson, African American historian, educator, and the modern day “Father of Black History.” In accordance with his life’s work, in 1976, under the authority of President Gerald Ford, “Negro History Week” officially became “Black History Month."
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
When we think of change, we usually think of challenges, our limitations, and the potential roadblocks that we often confront along the way. Change is never easy, but always necessary. Change is an even harder pursuit when addressing our own notions of justice, equality, equity, privilege, power, and biases. In order to achieve change in these areas, we must be intentional and have a plan. This 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge is a helpful resource to support your pursuit of becoming a more effective player in the quest for equity and justice. The Plan includes suggestions for readings, podcasts, videos, observations, and ways to form and deepen community connections.
“There is no social change fairy. There is only the change made by the hands of individuals.” –Winona LaDuke
Midcourse Corrections to Policy JCDI
In December 2022, Phase I of the GCPS Discipline Task Force brought together a cross-section of internal and external stakeholders to provide recommendations for midcourse corrections to Policy JCDI’s implementation.
Special thanks to all participants on the Task Force, and those who provided feedback, or had staff, community members, parents, and/or students represent your schools and clusters. The insights provided were highly beneficial and solution-oriented, and it was a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we make intentional efforts to work together! We have included a list of top themes from the Phase 1 Task Force Recommendations on our website. To view GCPS Policy JCDI Midcourse Correction Plan for Second Semester, click here.
Gwinnett County offers Education Week as a District-wide Resource
As the premier source of news, information, and analysis in K-12 education, Education Week believes that an equitable– and excellent– education for all students is possible. And more importantly, it empowers its readers to make that goal a reality through in-depth reporting, research, and actionable insights you can put to work in classrooms right away. GCPS offers domain-based access to all faculty, staff, and leadership within the district. Learn more about Education Week here. Learn about using your profile here (video).
HOW TO ACCESS EDWEEK
Easy instructions for instant access to Education Week – the premier K-12 news and professional learning resource.
1. Go to www.edweek.org – if you’re a new user visiting the site, you will be prompted immediately to create an account. If you have an existing account, please proceed to step 2.
2. If not prompted to create an account or automatically logged in, go to the top right – “Sign In.”
3. The “Sign In” box will pop up – sign in if you’ve already created an account; if not, go to “Create Account” using the link underneath (using your authorized district email).
Don’t forget to subscribe to Education Week newsletters here.
Coming in March: A new health and community resource celebration for families
There's a new opportunity to get outside with your community! On Saturday, March 4, GCPS will host a health and community resource celebration at the Central Gwinnett High School stadium. Gwinnett families and students are invited to "come to the Castle" on March 4 for games, giveaways, resources, and connections with health and community resources. Save the date and stay tuned for more information!
How are you taking care of your heart?
February is American Heart Month, a time when everyone can focus on their cardiovascular health.
According to the American Heart Association, 1 in every 3 deaths in the United States is related to cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure is often called the silent killer. While the symptoms are not always obvious, high blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and stroke. This #HeartMonth, explore shareable resources from the CDC to help you and your peers make heart-healthy choices and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Take the CDC’s Blood Pressure 101 Quiz today!
Do you inspire imagination in the classroom? Win a chance to attend the Disney Imagination Campus
In honor of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary, Disney Imagination Campus is hosting an essay contest and sweepstakes especially for elementary, middle, and high school teachers.
The contest will help with the selection of 100 teachers, based on a written essay submission, to be treated to a four-day, three-night stay at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort in California. During the celebration, teachers will hear from Disney leaders, receive an exclusive inside look at Disney Imagination Campus workshops and network with fellow attendees. Participants will also be offered the opportunity to experience Disneyland theme parks as well as some magical surprise moments. In addition, 100 teachers will win a $100 Disney Gift Card. Hurry! Teachers have until Feb. 11 to submit their entry. Click here to learn more.
GCREA Teacher Scholarship application information
Are you pursuing an advanced degree? The Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association (GCREA) is providing the following scholarship opportunity for Gwinnett County teachers. The purpose of this scholarship is to honor GCPS educators who are currently accepted into an accredited graduate program. The submission deadline is Feb. 16. Click here for application, criteria and general information.
Smithsonian is Open Access!
Do you need an image to illustrate a lesson in science, social studies, or art? Check out Smithsonian Open Access, where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, no special permission needed. With new platforms and tools, access is open to more than 4.5 million 2D and 3D digital items from the collections. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 21 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.
Rely on natural phrases to create a calendar event
Instead of scrolling through the calendar to pick a specific date for an appointment or meeting, type phrases like “next Saturday” or “two weeks from now” into the date field and let Outlook do the rest.
Students begin their winter break on Thursday, Feb. 16, and return to school on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Buses will not be distributing meals during this time. Click here if you or someone you know needs help with basic needs (including food, personal care items, clothing, shelter, utilities, etc.). Or visit this website and enter your ZIP code to find free food pantries near you.
New Board appointments
On Thursday, January 19, the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) held its regularly scheduled work session and business meeting. The Lanier Cluster was featured during the January 19 BOE meeting. Click here to enjoy Lanier High’s Chamber Orchestra performance prior to the meeting.
During the BOE’s regularly scheduled Board meeting, the board approved the appointment of Capucina “Cappy” Douglass as the new principal at Couch Middle School, Dr. James “Jimmy” Lovett as the new principal at Harbins Elementary School, and Tawanda Sanks as the new principal at Taylor Elementary School. In addition, the board also approved the appointment of Patrick Burke as Executive Director of Facilities and Operations.
Semi-Monthly Payroll Survey
We recently conducted a short district-wide survey designed to solicit your feedback on moving payroll to be paid semi-monthly (i.e., twice a month) instead of monthly. The results are in and your voice matters!
The district received nearly 12,000 staff responses and the results were clear: 41% of all respondents did not want to change the current monthly payroll cycle. Another 18% were neutral and did not have a strong desire to change the current payroll schedule. The remaining 41% of respondents were in favor of moving to a semi-monthly payroll cycle. With nearly 60% of all responses expressing non-support or not strongly supporting a change, the district will NOT be making changes to the current payroll schedule – no changes will be made at this time. All employees currently on a non-monthly payroll schedule will continue to remain on their current pay schedules.
Please know your feedback is important and we value your input as we continue to strengthen GCPS' position among the best places to work in Georgia!
It is Tax Time Again!
Keep an eye out for important tax documents that are headed your way. The GCPS Payroll department has issued all W-2s for tax year 2022. An electronic copy of your W-2 is available on the Employee Portal under About Me > W2. Paper copies were mailed out on January 27 to those employees who have not opted to go ‘paperless’. The Payroll department will also be issuing 1095-Cs this month to all eligible employees. As a reminder, the 1095-C is provided to all employees eligible for healthcare coverage through their employer. The sending of the 1095-C is as a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. However, you do not need to have received your 1095-C to file your taxes. Questions about your W-2 or 1095-C? Email Payroll.Support@gcpsk12.org for assistance.
2023 School Resource Officer Appreciation Day
Wednesday, February 15 is National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day. Our school resource officers serve as important bridges between youth, law enforcement, and the communities they serve. GCPS recognizes the important role they play in maintaining our school safety.
2022 “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams to avoid
For the past few years, the IRS has published this list of twelve scams that taxpayers should watch out for during tax season. Don’t forget that the IRS offers free tax help. See what services — like “Where’s my Refund?” and free filing software — the IRS offers to taxpayers for free.
We want to share your good news with our community!
Want to share a success story about your school or department with the entire GCPS community?
Are you looking for a way to recognize a teacher, student, or team member for their work? Do you want to share an upcoming event or opportunity?
Do you have GCPS Good News to share? Click here to let us know.
Catch up on all the Focus Moments from GCPS TV
In Case You Missed It...
- Coffee with Calvin (previous episodes)
- Connected (January 27)
- Board meeting and work session (January 19)
- GCPS Links (January 20)
- News Releases
- Student Calendars
- News You Can Use
Looking Ahead in GCPS...
- Keep Connected with news from GCPS TV… the next episode airs February 10!
- The next regular Board meeting is February 23. (Online, find links to sign up for the public comment sections of the meeting.)
- Watch for the next issue of GCPS Links on February 17!