The Panda Post

Arcado's School Newsletter - December 2021

Arcado's New Principal, Dr. Paula Thompson

On November 18, 2021, the Gwinnett County Public Schools Board of Education appointed Dr. Paula Thompson as the new principal for our school beginning January 1, 2022. We welcome Dr. Thompson to Arcado and look forward to her leadership.

Dr. Paula Thompson's resume

GCPS Employment:

2012-Present Assistant Principal, Harbins Elementary School

2006-2012 Gifted Teacher K-5, Alcova Elementary School

1998-2006 5th Grade Teacher and Gifted Teacher (Grades 2-5), McKendree Elementary School


Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education—Kennesaw State University

Master’s degree in Foundations in Education—Troy University

Specialist’s degree in Teacher Leadership—Walden University

Doctorate in Teacher Leadership—Walden University

Educational Leadership Certificate—Georgia State University

Dr. Thompson is a graduate of the 2021 Quality-Plus Leader Academy, Aspiring Principal Program, Cohort 14 and the 2012 Quality-Plus Leader Academy, Aspiring Leader program Cohort 3.

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Safety & Security

Safety and security are equally as important as teaching and learning in a school! Keeping our school a safe place to learn and grow means that we must practice how to respond to emergency events. Each month we have a fire drill, in November and February we have a tornado drill, and twice a year we practice a hard lockdown. The purpose of the hard lockdown drill is for our staff and students to know how to respond in the event an intruder or threat was inside the school.

On Monday, December 6 we will practice a hard lockdown. Teachers teach students the procedures for a hard lockdown and on Monday we will practice. Our local School Resource Officers will be on campus assisting us with the drill.

It is important for you to be informed in the event your student wants to talk about it at home. Lockdowns are just like drills that help the adults make sure that the students are safe.

Here is a good article for you as a parent to use as a reference for understanding hard lockdown drills.

Parents Can Update Student Name to Preferred Name

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) recognizes that some students would prefer to use a different name to identify themselves rather than their legal names. We see it every day in our schools as students ask to be called by a nickname, go by their middle name, or use a preferred English/Western name or one that better reflects their identity.

GCPS is taking steps to ensure that students are called by their preferred name at school. With that in mind, the district is transitioning away from using the “Nickname” field in its student information system to using a new “Preferred Name” field. Families of students who wish for their child to be called by a “Preferred Name” other than their legal name will need to go into ParentVUE (in the GCPS Parent Portal) to provide that information. (Please note that if you had provided a Nickname to your child’s school previously, that name has been cleared out of the student information system and you will need to go into Parent VUE to complete the process of adding that name as your child's Preferred Name.)

Need-to-Know Information:

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Talking To Your Child About Current Events

With social media all around for students to see, explaining what is going on in the world can be a difficult task. You may wonder what to tell them or how much of a topic should be shared. You may also wonder if you should discuss what is going on in the world with them at all. As the parent, you definitely want to be sure they get information from you, rather than their peers.

Here are some tips to help explain news to your child.

Consider your own reactions. Your kids will look to the way you handle the news to determine their own approach. If you stay calm and rational, they will, too.

Take action. Depending on the issue and kids' ages, families can find ways to help those affected by the news. Kids can write postcards to politicians expressing their opinions; families can attend meetings or protests; kids can help assemble care packages or donate a portion of their allowance to a rescue/humanitarian effort.

Carefully consider your child's maturity and temperament. Many kids can handle a discussion of threatening events, but if your kids tend toward the sensitive side, be sure to keep them away from the TV news; repetitive images and stories can make dangers appear greater, more prevalent, and closer to home.

Be available for questions and conversation. At this age, many kids are in the process of developing their moral beliefs. You may have to explain the basics of topics. Be careful about making generalizations, since kids will take what you say to the bank.

Talk about -- and filter -- news coverage. You might explain that even news programs compete for viewers, which sometimes affects content decisions. If you let your kids use the Internet, go online with them.

​When talking to your child about news, the most important thing might be to let them know they are in a safe space and that you care about their thoughts. Take time to listen-from the heart.

Congratulations to our November PAWSitive Pandas!

Pawsitive Panda winners for Nov 12th were:

Amina - Bourdonnay - 1st grade

Bianca - Dooley - 1st grade

Camille - Reyes - 3rd grade

James - Wang - 3rd grade

Noah - McGhee - 5th grade

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We wish our Arcado Family a very Happy Holidays!