News You Can Use
November 14, 2022
HONORS & RECOGNITIONS
Harbins Elementary School teacher wins Staples #ThankATeacher contest
Jenny Ethridge, a 4th grade teacher at Harbins Elementary School was one of this year’s 2022 Staples #ThankATeacher contest winners. Ms. Ethridge is known for her commitment and enthusiasm. She does monthly room transformations to get the children engaged to make learning fun, and teaches songs that go along with the content she is teaching to help students remember. She understands that each child learns in different ways and believes that every child deserves to be taught in a way that they can understand. She greets them with "I love you" and ends the day the same way, truly making her classroom a family. She attends their ball games, cheerleading competitions, and other activities. Teaching is her passion; she has an amazing love for her students and that was evident in her nominations.
The contest aims to give parents, students, supporters, and fellow teachers a platform to recognize an outstanding teacher who has made a positive impact inside and outside of the classroom. A record-breaking number of heartfelt nominations were submitted that gave accolades to teachers who, despite the uncertainties of the past few years and adjusting to a new normal, have continuously gone above and beyond to give students a successful and positive learning experience.
“We’re thrilled to be recognizing some outstanding teachers through the #ThankATeacher contest, helping them to outfit their classrooms with everything they need for the year,” said Marshall Warkentin, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer, Staples U.S. Retail. “Teachers consistently go above and beyond for their students, leaving a lasting impact on their lives. The record-breaking entry response this year is a testament to just how much communities are looking to give back to their teachers.”
Staples awarded $5,000 in Staples Gift Cards to each winning teacher’s school to restock essential supplies for their classrooms. For Images of the event, click here.
Norcross High School graduate, Marc "Gem" Collins graces the Big Screen in the movie, Till
Norcross High School graduate, Marc “Gem” Collins is leaving his “Marc” on the big screen as one of the stars of the movie Till. Marc was born to Garton and Hesbon Collins on January 10, 2001 in Snellville, Georgia. He found his love for acting on a GCPS stage, starting when he was 13 as an understudy in the play, "Beware the Jabberwock", at Lilburn Middle School. “He was not the best understudy, as he did not learn the blocking or the lines...but my son has always been adventurous. As the Prince in the play, he came on stage with his own shield, and in that shield he had his script. As the play began, he went on stage and the audience loved him. Whether it was his beautiful energy or him looking at his script, it was clear he made a connection with the audience that night. Ever since, he has followed his love for acting,” Mrs. Collins commented.
Hesbon Collins is a 4th grade teacher at Baldwin Elementary School and is a proud mom. “Seeing Marc on the big screen for the first time made me cry and scream at the same time. I am so very proud of my son and all his accomplishments. My sincere advice to Marc is to continue to put God first in everything he does, great or small, and remain as humble as he can,” added Mrs. Collins.
When asked about his role in the movie, Marc commented that "The most meaningful project I have worked on is Till, which tells the story of Mamie and Emmett Till. I am blessed to say that I got to help this relevant story through Emmett’s cousin, Wheeler Parker Jr.” He continued to explain why this story is relevant because, "it shows 'the Culmination of What Systematic Racism Looks Like', as Whoopi Goldberg describes it. Systematic racism is an issue we deal with in the modern day, and I feel that one can watch this film and get inspired by the Till story to seek more change in the world. The heroism of Mamie and Emmett needed to be acknowledged numerous times before now. But I am thrilled that the movie came to life as a blessing to humanity. Mothers need this story. Young black boys need this story. I needed this story."
Marc shared this important message for GCPS kids with big dreams. "BE YOU. People do not want to see a generic copy of a human. They love the introvert, the know-it-all, the extrovert, the loud one, the talkative one, the patient one, the sweet one, and the down-to-earth person. Be you, whoever you are, and your big dreams will belong to you. See you on set."
RECENT EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS
Mill Creek EPIC Program receives STEM Certification and a visit from State School Superintendent, Richard Woods
Recently, the Mill Creek High School EPIC program was honored to receive a STEM certification banner from the Georgia Department of Education during the STEM Certification Recognition Ceremony. During the ceremony, attendees heard the EPIC journey from Principal, Mr. Jason Lane, and Assistant Principal, Ms. Lacey Jakes. Dr. Calvin Watts, Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, congratulated the EPIC program and spoke about the STEM outlook for the future. State School Superintendent Richard Woods presented our State of Georgia STEM banner and applauded the work of the EPIC program, aligning with his focus on communication, collaboration, and supporting children in their learning.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Woods, Representative Chuck Efstration, and multiple visitors from Gwinnett County Public Schools were escorted through EPIC classrooms by EPIC Ambassadors. The EPIC Ambassadors are students who were nominated by their peers and selected by interview to represent the EPIC program. The visits to the EPIC classrooms included an interactive tour in our STEM lab where sophomores were working on an analysis of prosthetics, an experience in the engineering space with freshmen who were brainstorming and creating logos using geometric constructions for their upcoming "It's Electric" project, and reflection time with juniors who were updating their digital STEM portfolios documenting their EPIC STEM journey.
EPIC, the Mill Creek STEM program, is built upon learning strategies that are experiential, project-based, innovative, collaborative, and cross-curricular. The program is a response to the STEM industry's calls for employees who have both a solid academic foundation and “soft” skills (e.g., interpersonal communications, working with others on a team) along with critical-thinking skills. Students take four classes within the EPIC program --their Science, Math, and Language Arts academic classes as well as an engineering elective. The engineering design process teaches students to learn through the process and is used throughout all academic EPIC classes.
The STEM banner represents not only earning STEM certification in December of 2020, but truly rewards the experiential, project-based, innovative, collaborative, and cross-curricular experiences of the EPIC program. We are thankful for the recognition and grateful to the EPIC students, teachers, parents, and community members for their contribution towards EPIC’s STEM certification.
Families of K-5 students invited to session 2 of virtual AKS at Home sessions to support their child’s learning
Parents and caregivers are important education partners in their child’s education. With the school district’s quarterly AKS at Home initiative, families of students in grades K-5 are able to learn ways to help their children practice the key skills they are learning in Language Arts and Math through live, grade-specific Zoom sessions, recorded sessions, and helpful tip sheets.
The next round of live virtual K-5 sessions is planned for Nov. 15-17 to support learning in the 1st semester of the year. (See the schedule below.) Each nine weeks, the district rolls out new Zoom sessions and tip sheets to support a key concept for each elementary grade level in the content areas of Language Arts and Mathematics. Sessions are hosted by Parent Instructional Coordinators who staff Family Engagement Centers in the district’s Title I schools and work with teachers throughout the district. Interpretation will be provided in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese. The sessions are open to all GCPS families.
Register for the grade-specific Zoom sessions on the AKS at Home webpage.
UPCOMING LIVE VIRTUAL SESSIONS (Nov. 15-17)
We invite our families to join us for a virtual session to learn more about how they can help their children with key skills they will learn during the 1st semester of the school year.
Wednesday, November 16, 12:15-1:15 p.m. (Register)
Wednesday, November 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Register)
Wednesday, November 16, 9:00-10:00 a.m. (Register)
Wednesday, November 16, 10:15-11:15 a.m. (Register)
Tuesday, November 15, 12:15-1:15 p.m. (Register)
Tuesday, November 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Register)
Tuesday, November 15, 9:00-10 a.m. (Register)
Tuesday, November 15, 10:15-11:15 a.m. (Register)
Thursday, November 17, 9:00-10:00 a.m. (Register)
Thursday, November 17, 10:15-11:15 a.m. (Register)
Thursday, November 17, 12:15-1:15 p.m. (Register)
Thursday, November 17, 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Register)
All for Lunch helps helps clear student lunch debts
Recently, Dr. Mary Taylor, principal of Suwanee Elementary School, went on a local radio show to discuss school lunch program and the primary objective of talking about All for Lunch, an organization that pays off student lunch accounts across the district. All for Lunch was founded on one simple concept: EVERY CHILD SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO LUNCH AT SCHOOL.
Supporting more than 100 schools to date, All for Lunch works diligently to identify school lunch debt and make sure children at schools have lunch debt wiped off their plates. All for Lunch has no paid employees or staff, putting 100% of donations directly towards the mission of eliminating school lunch debt, funding reserve accounts to pay for lunches if a child does not have funds, and raising awareness of childhood food insecurity.
All for Lunch relies 100% on donations to help support schools within the community to keep kids lunch debt free.
Check out These Focus Moments from GCPS TV…
GCPS TV cameras were rolling when the six top 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year (TOTY) finalists learned the good news.
- In case you missed it, check out how Superintendent, Dr. Watts interviews the top 6 TOTY Finalists in our last episode of Coffee with Calvin: Teacher of the Year.
Looking Ahead in GCPS...
- Watch for the next episode of Coffee with Calvin on Dec. 2!
- Keep Connected with news from GCPS TV… the next episode airs Dec. 9!
- The next regular Board meeting is Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. (Online, find links to sign up for the public comment sections of the meeting.)
We want to share your 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? Click here to share your Good News with us!