Jordan Journal

March 23, 2015

Welcome to Jordan!

Congratulations on being a charter member of the Jordan Team! I'm excited to begin this journey with each of you and know that we will have many wonderful moments as we transform teaching and learning. I know that you are excited to begin the work and have many questions related to the process of opening a new school. The Jordan Journal will serve as our tool to keep everyone informed of processes, procedures, and important dates.

Jordan MS Vision Statement

Please make sure you have had the opportunity to have your voice heard. Please use this link to select your favorite vision statement generated by your peers!

We will review the results April 1, 2015, so hurry up and let your voice be heard!

Jordan MS Retreats

The new Jordan MS Leadership Team will meet this week to begin identifying our retreat dates and upcoming events. We face many scheduling challenges such as summer school, GCPS professional learning opportunities, graduate school courses, availability of meeting space, and personal vacation plans. We will do our best to offer a variety of opportunities, so that everyone can participate.

Our first gathering will be on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. We can use the Ivy Room from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM. More information will be communicated prior to Spring Break.

Staff Information

Please complete the staff information sheet with your contact information and gmail account information. At this time, do not complete the bottom portion in regards to summer retreats and professional learning opportunities. We will update following our leadership meeting.

Stay informed

How do you stay abreast of happenings at JMS? Begin by generating a gmail account to link to our school wide calendar. You will need to accept a link via gmail to be added to the calendar. Our LSTC, Tim Keag, is currently working on adding everyone to the calendar.

We also have Remind text messaging. This is my main mode of communication to staff outside of Lotus Notes email. Please go to communities, files and select the Staff Remind file.

The Jordan Journal will communicate updates as information becomes available. The link will be sent via email and posted in communities under bookmarks. For individuals who are not currently GCPS employees, you will be sent the link via email.


Please make sure to log into GCPS employee portal and navigate to Jordan MS Community. Use your collaboration tool bar to select profile. Then, select edit profile to add a picture of yourself. We can begin identifying each other through our profiles.

We have discussions and files being shared in communities. Please make sure you are checking in and responding. If you don't want individual emails about every update, you can select a daily newsletter option. Go to collaboration drop down menu and select settings. This is where you can customize your notifications.

NEW! UGA and GCPS ESOL Endorsement Partnership

The UGA College of Education (COE) invites GCPS middle school teachers to take part in the Georgia ESOL for Content-Area Teachers (GECAT) program, a federally funded initiative to provide FREE UGA ESOL endorsement courses to high school teachers. This is a 9-hour, three course UGA graduate program especially designed with practicing educators in mind. It will begin in August 2015, and participants will earn the endorsement in December 2016.

Participating teachers will receive all tuition, fees and course materials free. In addition, they will earn a $200 stipend for each course completed in the program. Course work is offered on-site at your school or at a nearby school. The grant prioritizes teachers in math, science, physical education and health, but the COE will accept applications across subject areas. Teachers are strongly encouraged to sign up with colleagues from the same subject area at their school to optimize the professional learning community model of instruction. Only 45 slots are available statewide for this cohort.

Flyer posted in communities

What: Georgia ESOL for Content-Area Teachers (GECAT) program

When: Application Deadline: April 1, 2015

Where: On-site at your school or at a nearby school

Principals are encouraged to actively recruit teachers to participate. Interested teachers should email the UGA College of Education at to begin the application process. Application deadline: April 1, 2015.

JMS Clubs & Activities

We are required to publish any clubs or activities prior to the start of school. We are required to publish this information on our school website and provide the information in multiple formats to our communities. Therefore, we will have a deadline of April 30, 2015 to submit a club or activity proposal for review. The JMS Leadership Team will review and communicate approval to the sponsors.

A club and activity Google form has been generageted for each sponsor to complete. I apologize that I originally set it up via communities. I cannot access the information to generate the needed document from this format. If you suggested a club or activity in communities, please use this link to input your information, thanks!

Agenda Books

We need volunteers to begin the work on our agenda books. The cost per student to print is $3.00 thus a minimum of $3,000 for one book per student, not including replacements and new students. The deadline for submission is the end of April.

If we decide to proceed with the publication of an agenda book, we will need to convene a committee meeting of individuals who want to produce the agenda book. I propose we meet on Thursday, April 16th immediately after school dismissal. We can meet at Benefield Elementary in the front office conference room. Please email me if you are interested in serving on this committee.

Jordan MS Budget

I wanted to share with everyone that we have a very limited budget to begin our school year. We will have to prioritize our purchases. For instance, we have to purchase every classroom a supply set up which includes stapler, stapler remover, tape dispenser, dry erase markers, staples, scissors, etc. These items are not included and require expenditure of local funds. We will also have to purchase storage bins for our materials like testing, science, math, etc. This is just two examples of the items we must purchase to begin our school year.

Please know that our priority is to have the instructional materials you need to be successful in your classroom. By prioritizing our instructional needs, we will have limited funding to purchase teacher recognition items for our team.

Better Learning

Every classroom teacher will receive a copy of the book by Fisher & Frey. If you already have a copy, please email Nakesha Brown. This will reduce the cost associated with purchasing a book for every teacher.

The lesson study for the book will be sent via email. Please begin reading the book for summer professional learning.


I believe in identifying teacher talents and working with our strengths. I believe it is important for each individual to be able to know their own personal strengths as we grow together and continue to cultivate ourselves. Unfortunately, I do not have the funds to purchase a book for each individual. If you are interested in identifying your strengths, optional, please purchase the book and complete the self assessment. You can report your strenghts on the staff information sheet in Google forms.

6th Grade Orientation

We had our first orientation for rising 6th graders at Jenkins ES on Thursday. Thank you to Ms. Bean and Ms. Thompson for representing Jordan MS. Our next opportunity will be on Tuesday, May 5th at Simonton ES. Please consider joining us as we work to recruit students to join our clubs and activities. I have generated a sign up sheet for the following:

Orchestra, Band, Chorus, Peer Leaders, Readers Rally, and STEM. Please let me know if you would like to add your club or activity.

7th & 8th Grade Orientation

I am working to identify a date/time for an orientation for our students currently attending Richards MS. I will communicate this date/time by the end of the week.

GCPS Moving Service Information

Schools that have five or more staff members moving to Jordan will "qualify" for GCPS moving services. Each staff member moving from a school with five or more members will be provided up to ten (10) moving boxes and one (1) roll of tape. Mrs. Brown will provide via courier 10 labels per teacher with teacher name and Jordan room number. Please use these labels to identify your boxes. I am working with your current principal to identify a "drop off and pick up" location at your current school.

The following schools qualify for GCPS moving services: Moore Middle, Radloff Middle and Sweetwater Middle

All boxes and other GCPS owned materials to be moved must be clearly labeled. The boxes, tape, and moving services noted above are provided for moving GCPS owned materials and equipment only. Staff members are responsible for moving all personal property. If personal property is packed with GCPS materials, GCPS will accept no liability for any loss or damage that occurs to any personal item. No pressurized or flammable materials, such as aerosol adhesives, paints, rubber cement glue or thinner, should be moved to a new school! It is dangerous, typically illegal, and such items generally were purchased by, and belong to, the current school. Other items such as candles, crayons, and glass containers should be left behind, because they subject to breakage during transport, or melting due to uncontrolled temperature conditions while in transit or storage. There are some “grey area items” such as lesson plans, resource documents and related files, which are usually personal property but used almost exclusively in the classroom. Inclusion of such items with GCPS owned materials is acceptable within the 10 box limit, but wholly at the staff member’s own risk of damage or loss.

When can I move in?

Plan for the midnight showing of " Jordan Move In Day!" opening 12:01 AM on Friday, July 3, 2015. We will plan on having snacks, breakfast, light refreshments, and coffee. We will work until you decide we can go home or until 6:00 PM Friday, July 3, 2015.

The moving day will be very much like a "college day" in which we all pitch in and help move items into each other's rooms. We will need to borrow hand trucks from you to assist with the move. Please begin networking to borrow hand trucks from your family, friends, and neighbors. Please label the handtrucks as they all look alike!

What can I bring to the classroom?

In our vision to instruct in a gradual release model, we want our classrooms to be free of additional items so we can make collaborative work areas and small group instructional space. Please take this into consideration when making decisions about what to bring to the classroom. You may want to consider establishing a teaching area which includes an easel, teacher chair, carpet/rug area, or other such items. Other personal items you may want to consider: additional book shelves and/or alternative seating for laptop work or small groups.

Each classroom will be set up with the standard equipment list for GCPS which includes: teacher desk, book shelves, rolling cart, student desks/chairs, lockers, filing cabinet (2), computer table, and a storage cabinet. Every item will be labeled with classroom number and items are to remain with assigned classroom.

Please be reminded that the following items cannot be in classrooms: microwaves, refrigerators, lamps, coffee pots, hot water pots, hot plates, toaster ovens, or other such items. We can furnish the teacher workrooms with items such as coffee pots, microwaves, refrigerators, water coolers, etc.

Summer Professional Learning

If you know of specific offerings aligned with your teaching position, please feel free to register and attend. If you need a principal recommendation to participate, please let me know so I can support you in this endeavor.

I am encouraging everyone to sign up for the Digital Learning Conference and Summer Learning Conference via the PD&E Tool. I currently do not see the release of the Summer Learning Conference for June 16-18, 2015.

14593 ME - Gwinnett Digital Learning Conference 2015