Your connection to all things in GCPS...
Your connection to all things GCPS. | February 17, 2023
Portrait of a Graduate
Graduation is an important milestone in the lives of our students that acknowledges the successful completion of 13 years of education. However, we know that the demands on students and teachers, the advances in technology, and the changing populations, particularly in GCPS, warrant a fresh look at what it means to graduate school successfully, and be prepared for college and career. In the winter of 2022, Gwinnett County Public Schools joined forces with Battelle for Kids to make 21st century learning a reality for all students. To learn more about our Portrait of a Graduate Competencies, click here.
What’s all the “Buzz” about Security Vestibules?
Throughout the 2022-23 school year, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been hard-at-work installing a new layer of security at its schools. The new feature is called a vestibule: a small room between the outer door to the building and the entrance to the interior of the building. Since 2015, all new school construction has included security vestibules as part of initial school design and construction. The work underway now involves retrofitting the remaining schools without vestibules, beginning with elementary schools, and completing middle and high schools before the end of the calendar year 2023.
Security vestibules make schools safer by creating a secured double-entry system. Visitors must first get “buzzed in” to the vestibule through a pair of locked doors via the school’s Visitor Management System. They will remain in the vestibule until they are “buzzed in” through a second set of doors which lead to the lobby of the school. Once inside the school, all visitors must proceed to the designated sign-in area.
This enhanced security measure and additional check-point increases the safety of students and staff in our schools, lengthens the amount of time required to enter schools from the outside, and enhances our ability to have safe, secure, successful schools.
Are you prepared for severe weather?
Last week was "Severe Weather Preparedness" week in Georgia. This came about as a result of the severe weather that plagued the state in 2022. As a result, the state now encourages communities to educate themselves on how to stay safe during severe weather conditions like tornados, freezing temperatures, thunderstorms and flooding. We encourage all of our families to take time to make a safety plan together. To view how GCPS’ amazing transportation department handles various severe weather scenarios, click here.
Here are some quick links that can guide you as you create a Ready Kit and build a preparedness plan:
- Family Preparedness – Purchase a life-saving NOAA Weather Radio and choose an out-of-state friend as a “check-in” contact to call if your family gets separated.
- Thunderstorm Safety – Learn the difference between a thunderstorm watch and a thunderstorm warning.
- Tornado Safety – Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning. For more information on tornado drill procedures, visit gema.georgia.gov/tornado-drill-procedures.
- Lightning Safety – Learn the 30/30 rule. If after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder, go indoors. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- Flash Flooding/Flood Safety – Copy important documents, seal them in a watertight container and add them to your Ready kit.
Families, we invite you to take the Educational Effectiveness Survey!
Download the GCPS Mobile App
Students, families, and staff can download the free GCPS Mobile app to stay on top of the latest news, calendar events, and emergency information. You can enable notifications and choose your preferred language.
Why download the app?
Receive alerts for school closures or delays and important districtwide information.
Check school and district events calendars.
Access your school’s lunch menu and add money to your student's account..
Access districtwide digital resources.
Read the latest district news.
Search for Gwinnett County Public Schools in the App Store or Google Play to download our app for free.
Learn about what our county and schools are doing to combat food waste
Watch these amazing videos to learn more about the county and district initiatives to become “Food Waste Warriors”.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month
Smile! February is National Children's Dental Health Month—the perfect time of year to educate children about the benefits of good oral hygiene like brushing, flossing, limiting sugary foods, and visiting the dentist. Did you know that the best time to start an oral hygiene routine is during infancy? To learn how to get started, click here. Take advantage of this reminder to make your family’s dental appointments for the year today. Here are some resources on how to obtain low cost or free dental care in your community.
Ready! Set! SEL Goals for 2023!
The beginning of the year is a time for reflection and a time to recommit to old goals while setting new ones. This year, let’s be intentional about setting social-emotional learning (SEL) goals to promote healthy relationships and personal growth. SEL goals can help you and your students develop skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship-building, and responsible decision-making.
How do we accomplish these SEL goals? How do we overcome the internal obstacles that will prevent us from taking action? Try this research-proven method known as “WOOP”: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. It is most effective as a daily, 5-minute reflection.
Follow these 4 easy steps to achieve your goals this year:
Wish: First, reflect on your hopes, dreams, and wishes that you can work towards over the next four weeks. Choose one.
Outcome: Next, visualize the best possible outcome for your goal over that time. If you achieve your goal, what will it look and feel like?
Obstacle: Then, think about what internal obstacle (within you) will prevent you from taking action towards your goal.
Plan: Finally, develop a simple “if…then” action plan to overcome the obstacle. (Use this sentence frame: If the (insert obstacle) happens, then I will take (this action) to overcome it.)
For more practice and information about the WOOP goal-setting strategy, click here.
Common Sense Media Parents' Ultimate Guides
Keep up with the apps, games, and websites your child is using with Parents’ Ultimate Guides from Common Sense Media.
Tap into Upcoming Community Resources and Events
Community Health Fair
Gwinnett County is hosting a Free Community Health Fair on Saturday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Lenora Park on 4515 Lenora Church Road in Snellville, GA. Participate in free health screenings, visit with local vendors, learn about ongoing community wellness activities for all ages, and win giveaways.
Free Food Distribution
Gwinnett Serves invites families in need to pick up fresh and shelf-stable foods at no cost throughout the county. No identification required. Drive-thru, contactless distribution is available. See flyers in English and Spanish for details, dates, locations and times.
Spring Into Health 2023: A new health and community resource celebration for GCPS families
There’s a new opportunity to get outside with your community! On Saturday, March 4, GCPS hosts Spring Into Health 2023, a health and community resource celebration at the Central Gwinnett High School stadium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Gwinnett families and students are invited to “come to the castle” for kids yoga on the lawn, parent versus kids races, Building Babies’ Brains games and tipsheets, opportunities to learn about the details on nutrition labels, giveaways, raffles, resources, food trucks, and connections with health and community resource organizations in our district. Please plan to join us!
Gwinnett County Government is Seeking Input from County Residents
Gwinnett County Government has contracted with Health Management Associates to complete a Comprehensive Human Services Needs Assessment. As a part of this process, Health Management Associates is distributing a survey to help understand how Gwinnett County residents experience health and human services.
This survey is collecting feedback to help understand how services address community needs related to food and nutrition, transportation, housing, youth programming and education, workforce or employment, seniors or aging populations, veterans’ services, and other human services needs in Gwinnett County. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your responses are completely anonymous. Click here to access the online survey via Bit.ly/AssessmentSurvey2023. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will be open until February 27, 2023.
Transition Fair 2023 - Save the Date!
Save the date for the in-person 2023 Transition Fair, an opportunity for families and educators of students with disabilities of all ages (elementary, middle, and high) to connect with resources to support the journey to adulthood. The Fair will feature local agencies that specialize in the areas of: Vocational Training & Employment Services, Day Programs & Community Living, Recreation & Leisure, and Funding & Community Resources. It is never too early to start planning for the future! No registration is required.
Questions? Email Transition.Fair@gcpsk12.org.
Who: For Educators & Parents of Students with Disabilities
When: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 9 a.m.—noon
GCPS invites you to apply for the Instructional Resource Review Committee
Gwinnett County Public Schools is inviting parents and community members to apply for the district’s Instructional Resources Review Committee (IRRC), a group charged with evaluating print and digital instructional resources. Feedback from the IRRC and teacher reviews will be considered in the selection of resources to pilot in the district. This year’s IRRC will convene on Friday, March 3, at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road, NW, in Suwanee. Instructional resources will be reviewed for courses in the areas of Physical Education (grades K-12), Mathematics (grades 6-12), World Languages (select courses in grades 8-12), Social Studies (select elective courses in grades 9-12), English as a Second Language (6-12), Special Education support classes (K-12), and Language Arts (6th grade Reading). Learn more about the IRRC and complete the application online. The deadline to submit completed applications is today, Friday, February 17.
Join our amazing team!
Gwinnett County Public Schools will host a Spring Career Fair on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at Gas South Convention Center from 8 a.m.—noon! We are hiring all staff, including teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, school nutrition workers, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and others, for the 2023-24 school year.
Candidates must submit an online application and register to attend the fair for interview consideration. Not everyone who registers will receive an interview; however, all candidates are welcome to attend. We will be accepting registrants through February 28 or until all interview times have been filled.
Please share this information with any colleagues, classmates, friends, and family that may also be interested in working for GCPS. We look forward to meeting you at the fair!
Playground Safety…it’s not just all fun and games!
As spring approaches and the temperatures warm, the GCPS Business Operations division is performing safety inspections of more than 1,000 pieces of playground equipment across the county. While school playgrounds provide a great way for students to stay active and enjoy time outdoors, playground safety is a critical part of ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students every day.
The GCPS Grounds Maintenance department has two Playground Safety Technicians, and they are responsible for conducting quarterly safety inspections of all playground equipment. They hold mandatory certification from the National Playground Safety Institute in order to be qualified to serve in this capacity. The GCPS Grounds Maintenance department follows a strict schedule of preventative inspection and maintenance on all playground equipment, adhering to standards endorsed by the National Playground Safety Institute, and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Whether you are a community member, parent, staff member or student, when you see a GCPS school playground you can rest assured of the safety of our students.
Catch up on all the Focus Moments from GCPS TV
In Case You Missed It....
- Coffee with Calvin (February 3)
- Connected (February 10)
- GCPS Links (January 20)
- Board Meeting and Board Work Session (January 19)
- News Releases
- Student Calendars
- News You Can Use
And much more at www.gcpsk12.org!
Coming soon in GCPS....
- Keep Connected with news from GCPS TV… the next episode airs on February 24!
- Watch for the next issue of GCPS Links on March 17!
- The next regular Board meeting is February 23. (Online, find links to sign up for the public comment sections of the meeting.)