Your connection to all things in GCPS...
Your connection to all things GCPS. | August 19, 2022
It’s More than Meals… Complete meal application by Sept. 14 to continue meal benefits, ensure added support for your school
Throughout the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allowed school systems across the country to provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge to families. However, the USDA waivers expired during the summer, and students are required to pay for meals based on their individual eligibility. In order to receive free or reduced-price meal benefits, families must complete the Free and Reduced-price Meal Application and meet eligibility requirements.
While eligibility ensures that qualifying students have access to free or reduced-priced meals, completion of the application does so much more! In addition to meals, confirmed eligibility establishes a number of benefits for individual students such as discounted or no fees for college-admissions exams and AP tests, discounted or free college applications, scholarship opportunities, and no- and low-cost access to technology and internet plans. In addition, the percentages of qualifying students at a school are used as a measure to secure additional federal funding (Title I) to support students and their education, promote family engagement, and provide additional technology and internet access. Title I funds pay for additional teachers, Parent Centers, additional learning opportunities for students, extra resources, and more.
So, if your family qualified for free or reduced-price meals in previous years, or your family’s circumstances have changed, make sure to complete the application by September 14. Note that families that currently receive these benefits must reapply so that their benefits continue beyond the Sept. 14 deadline.
Conduct code is available on the web
As we begin the school year, it’s important for you and student to know and understand expectations, rights, and responsibilities when it comes to behavior at school. Handbook information for students and families is available on the GCPS website. Click here for information about safe schools for families, and click here for the elementary school student conduct behavior code. Important student discipline information and the conduct behavior code for middle and high school students is here.
Don’t forget all those great resources in the Virtual Backpack
Remember, the conduct code and other key information can be found in GCPS’ Virtual Backpack
on the website. Our back-to-school backpack includes resources:
Apply for Superintendent's Student Advisory Council through Aug. 31
Students in grades 6-12 have an opportunity to help shape the conversation and share their voice with GCPS Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts. Applications for the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) are open through Aug. 31! Learn more about the application process, plans for the council this year, and more in this story on the GCPS Links News Hub. Check out this Focus Moment from GCPS TV with coverage of the first meeting of the SAC last school year.
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Making space for conversation with your child
Now that school is back in session, you and your student probably have developed a regular afternoon or evening routine that goes something like this… You: “How was your day?” Your Student: “Good,” or “I don't remember.” But you want to know more, right? You really want to know what happened during the school day, at lunch, and on the bus ride, and how you can support your child. In the article 3 Words That Reframe, “How Was Your Day?,” the author reminds us to make space for conversation that acknowledges the ups and downs that we all may experience throughout the day.
Here are three tips to help you make space for an after-school conversation with your child:
- Remind your child that days aren’t all “good” or all “bad.” Every day has ups and downs, and all of us—children and adults—experience a variety of feelings over the course of a day. Children sometimes feel unsure about how and when to share difficult emotions. Try modeling this expression for your children by sharing the ups and downs of your own day.
- Make room for meaningful sharing. Instead of simply asking “How was your day?” which may prompt a single-word answer, restate the request to get a full response. For instance, try “Tell me about your day.” Asking your child to tell you about their day invites them to share and normalizes the expression of happy moments, mistakes or missteps, and challenges or upsets.
- Ask your child additional questions to expand on their responses. Asking follow-up questions expresses interest in what your child is saying. Try, “That’s interesting! Can you tell me more about that?” or “Really? How did that make you feel?
Find more great advice and resources from PBS Kids for Parents, and watch for the “Caring for our Students and Families” feature each month in GCPS Links.
School Board welcomes feedback
The Gwinnett County Board of Education encourages, families, students, staff, and community members to share their input, experiences, and ideas to help ensure that our school district pursues excellence for each and every student.
You have many ways to connect with the School Board:
- Call or send an email. Find contact information for individual Board members online, or send an email to the full Board at MySchoolBoard@gcpsk12.org.
- Sign up to address the Board at a monthly business meeting. Constituents can sign up to speak during either the "Public Comment on Agenda Items" section or the "Public Comment on School Policy or Operations" section during the 7 p.m. monthly business meeting. (Find the Board Meeting schedule here.) Learn more about the procedure to address the Board.
- Review policies tabled for feedback. GCPS has an established process for reviewing and revising Board policies and procedures. The Board routinely places draft policies “on the table” for public input. Citizens may provide input on the proposed policy revisions by emailing MySchoolBoard@gcpsk12.org.
- Participate in feedback opportunities such as a ThoughtExchange or survey. Throughout the year, watch for surveys or ThoughtExchange opportunities to share your feedback. ThoughtExchange is a discussion management platform that allows participants to share their thoughts and ideas and/or indicate their level of satisfaction with specific educational programs and initiatives found in our schools and district. Check out Open Exchanges and results from previous exchanges online.
Here’s a list of GCPS Schools by Board District. However, the address for your residence, not the school your child attends, determines your Board district and your Board representative.
GCPS Tech Tips for Families: Check out these tech tips for the new school year
A new school year may bring questions about new technology or how to access available resources. Contact technology personnel at your child’s school if you have trouble accessing these and other tech resources:
- 1:1 Chromebook Introduction—If this is your student’s first year working with a Chromebook, check out these tech tips on getting started with a GCPS-issued device.
- Visitor Access to GCPS Wi-Fi Network Communication—The Wi-Fi network for visitors is accessible in all GCPS schools. This network is hidden from view and must be manually added to the visitor’s device, using instructions provided by school personnel. Registering a new account on the Wi-Fi network for visitors provides the user with access for up to 24 hours.
- Family Resources from GALE—GCPS provides a host of additional resources through the Student Portal. GALE SEL Student Resources include age-appropriate online books, tips, and conversation starters to support mental health, wellness, and healthy interactions with others. When on the GCPS network at school, students will find these resources are accessible through the Student Portal with no additional password. Away from school, students will be prompted for a password when they log on. (Refer to the password list located under the Online Research Library button on the Student Portal for the GALE SEL Student Resources password.)
Gwinnett Grads and Gridiron: So, this is pretty cool...
Former Gwinnett student athletes who had success at the high school, college, and even professional levels are finding success on television as ABC and ESPN sport shows gear up for the upcoming college football season. Check out this feature from Gwinnett Daily Post about these athletes-turned-broadcasters.
BOE Highlights: Aug. 18 Board Meeting
On Thursday, Aug. 18, the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) held its regularly scheduled work session and business meeting. Here are a few highlights from the meeting.
The Board honored student and staff award winners, including
- 2022 Georgia Marketing Education Association Administrator of the Year—Beth Autrey, a coordinator in the Academies and Career and Technical Education Department
- 1st Place in National Economics Challenge-Georgia Division—Team from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST), including Keshav Parthasarathy, Keane Reynolds, Randal Tart, and David Tran, all 2022 graduates
- 1st Place at the 2022 Anne Smedinghoff Academic WorldQuest HS Global Affairs Challenge—GSMST team of Abhi Kapaganty, David Phan, Aevero Sanchez, and Ngan Tran
- 1st Place in the Georgia State National History Day Contest (Junior Group Website category)—Loc Trinh and Fayyad Mahdi who were Lilburn MS students when they won their award, and now attend Meadowcreek HS
In other Board news…
The BOE voted unanimously to approve a new plan of action to create a safe, secure, and supportive learning environment in GCPS schools by addressing the behavioral, social, and emotional needs of students via changes to the district’s disciplinary code. Between July 29 and Aug. 10, students, families, staff, and members of the community participated in a ThoughtExchange regarding the proposed policy for the Board's Theory of Action for Change to Improve Student Behavior and Outcomes. Find the results, including participation, top thoughts, and themes.
The Board also approved the appointment of several new leaders at the district and school levels, including Dr. Jared Lancer as the district’s new Chief Equity Officer, Cindy Moffett as the new principal of Crews MS, and Stephanie Stewart as the new principal of Mountain View HS. Dr. Lancer 's position reflects a new title due to a reorganization of the district’s divisional structure. Ms. Moffett takes on her new role as Dr. Brett Savage moves to the leadership position at Brookwood HS. Ms. Stewart will transfer to Mountain View's principalship as Keith Chaney prepares to retire on Sept. 1. Learn more in a news release about these appointments.
You can’t vote Nov. 8 if you’re not registered!
This fall, Georgia voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a number of federal, statewide, and local races and issues during Georgia’s General Election, set for Tuesday, Nov. 8. The deadline to register to vote in Gwinnett County (or make changes to an existing registration) is Tuesday, Oct. 11. Citizens can register to vote by mail, online, or in many public buildings, including Gwinnett schools and the Instructional Support Center in Suwanee. On the Secretary of State’s (SOS) website, log on to MVP—My Voter Page—for voter registration status, mail-in application and ballot status, polling locations, and more. (Note that visitors now must complete a Captcha security screen to access the SOS website.) Voters who can’t participate in advance voting (Oct. 17-Nov. 4) or make it to the polls on Election Day also may apply for an absentee ballot by Oct. 28 by 5 p.m.
Learn more about elections on the Gwinnett County Government website, or call the Gwinnett County Office of Elections at (678) 226-7210 with questions.
2022-23 GCPS by the Numbers!
If you’ve wondered how GCPS stacks up when it comes to statistics, wonder no more! You probably already knew GCPS has the largest student enrollment of any school district in Georgia, but did you know our students and their families speak nearly 100 different languages at home and our cafés served 16.3 million servings of locally grown produce last year? Check out GCPS by the Numbers for the 2022-23 school year.
In Case You Missed It....
- Coffee with Calvin…In the first episode, take a trip with Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts and our Transportation team. (Aug. 5)
- Connected (Aug. 12)
- Board Meeting and Board Work Session (Aug. 18)
- News Releases
- Student Calendars
- And much more at www.gcpsk12.org!
Coming soon in GCPS....
- Keep Connected with news from GCPS TV… the next episode airs Aug. 26!
- Learn more about the International Newcomer Center in the next Coffee with Calvin on Sept. 2.
- The next regular Board meeting is Sept. 15. (Online, find links to sign up for the public comment sections of the meeting.)
- Stay tuned for our next issue of GCPS Links coming to you on Sept. 16!
Check out These Focus Moments from GCPS TV…
- Check out the Berkmar HS Construction Construction Academy Showcase and some special guests from the Today Show!
- Tour the new Seckinger HS with our student correspondent Peyton and Principal Memorie Reesman.