Husky Hotline

Sycamore Elementary School Has the IT Factor!

In This Issue



Class Pick Up From the Cafeteria

School Affairs

Curriculum and Instructional Support

Gwinnett Effectiveness Initiative

Items Needed

Hook'em and Hold'em Casino Night

Bookkeeper Notes


Read Across America Day

Supporting a Middle School Culture Event

Online Communique

STEMCampATL - Spring 2016

Career Advancement Scholarships

Crystal's Corner

February 15, 2016

Crystal Cooper Thompson, Principal

Aesop Reminders

When you submit a request in Aesop:

  • Please remember to post In/Service-Staff Development when requesting for a staff development day off. Assure that you have gotten clearance to attend from Crystal first so that payment for subs can come from the proper line item.

  • Click “save” and the Aesop system will locate a sub for you.
  • Click “save and assign” when you have already spoken to the sub and you know for certain that he/she will be in your class.

Please remember to update the time in Aesop. A full day is 7:45-3:45, half day is either 7:45-11:45 or 11:45-3:45.


Leila Yousuf February 5

Ashley Miller February 9

Ryan DuPraw February 16

Melanie Brewer February 20

Melanie Mayer February 25

Beth Chiasson February 28

Julie Kuykendall February 28

Staff Calendar-To be updated

Class Pick Up From the Cafeteria

Grade level teachers are asked to please pick up classes from the cafeteria tables on time. The custodial staff needs the allotted time between classes to get the tables clean. Thank you for your help with this matter. Dr. Kim Glass

School Affairs

School Reminders:

1. Please lock up all devices at night and lock your classroom doors when leaving for specials, lunch and recess. Students need to bring everything with them and not come to the classrooms unattended as much as possible. 2 barriers are suggested, however 1 barrier will suffice.

2. Please have students assist with putting chairs on desks when leaving each day.With us eating breakfast and snacks in the classrooms, it causes for more attention to vacuuming. Please help us get your rooms as clean as possible.

Crystal's Corner


Thank you for a great week of WOW days. I enjoyed talking about student progress and our local school plan for improvement that helps us stay the course. We will talk about our data frequently and it is imperative that we have a positive outlook on what it says. Essentially, what is says will shake us to make moves for the better or it will help us stay the course. I congratulate all of you individually and corporately for your outstanding results on your district assessments.

I had several teachers who had all of their students pass in certain areas and to them I send a large KUDO and band of recognition! That is excellent work!! We do have some major improvement to make in some areas and classrooms. Overall, math is an area we need to focus on for improvement and I will use this as a goal for the duration of the year as we spin plates in all subjects.

Accountability is essential in everything we do and in every job in the world. Our job however, is especially important because our job is highlighted in how we make sure that children learn and are mastering the AKS. It is a hard job, but we are here to do it and conquer it! I remind you to continue to have hope and continue to let us know how we can help you on your journey.

I will speak more about my plans for next year at our meeting on Monday morning and hope that you will be able to see my vision for next year and support my path. As always at this time of year, I remind you of your freedom to work and play in a place that fits your personal and professional needs for your career. If you feel you need a shift for the 2016-2017 school year, please come see me so that I can support you. Sycamore is a great place to work and it has wonderful children who rely on us to make them feel special, strong and smart. I am glad that I have educators in our building who are willing to do just that!

Thank you for supporting our faculty cook out on Monday! It is a group effort and everyone who will be cooking, preparing and serving is appreciated.

I hope your Valentine's Day weekend was sweet, loving and fun.

Have a winning week!


Curriculum and Instructional Support

    Balanced Assessment Development Team Nominations
    The Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Accountability and Assessment are developing curriculum embedded performance tasks, beginning in 4th and 7th grade to be piloted in the 2016- 2017 school year. These tasks will be designed to measure AKS that require students to demonstrate mastery by applying significant conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking. Please consider nominating two or three teachers from your school to be a part of this work.
    • More information:
    • Please send your nominations and questions to the GCPS Testing Team mailbox.
    • Teacher applications are due Monday, February 22nd.

Community and Media Relations

The latest posts to the online Communiqué include features on a 'Silver Lining' for entrepreneurial students, a group of student ambassadors for voter registration, opportunities to nominate outstanding educators for recognition, plus calendar updates and Bulletin Board items on bond rating news, scholarship deadlines, registration reminders for GCPS charter schools, and the latest episode of In5ive. Coming up, watch for news on Wonder(ful) robotics, a salute to honored counselors, superheroes in the media center, educators in the workplace, expanded language options, and more.

Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at Please share photos and information about the special events your school has planned for Black History Month and Career and Technical Education Month during February as well as National Counseling Week (Feb. 8-12).

Accountability and Assessment

Schoolnet Reminders for Interim Assessments

As you prepare for interim assessments with Schoolnet, below are a few reminders for each option of administration:

Online - Students login, using a passcode, via our Student Portal.

Schoolnet answer documents

1.An admin user creates answer documents from within Schoolnet.
2.Please remember to use the recommended Adobe print settings.
3.An admin user scans the completed documents using ScanIt. GradeCam answer documents
1.Teachers create and scan answer documents (different than Schoolnet documents).
2.Teachers need to choose the correct section before scoring.
3.It is recommended that teachers use Internet Explorer when using GradeCam.

Please contact the GCPS Testing Team with any questions

SPG Open Previews

Open previews for 2016 - 2017 SPG assessments:

Provides teachers of SPG content areas a one-time opportunity to preview the revised assessments for 2016 - 2017.

Reviews will be held at the ISC in Building 200, Meadowcreek/Brookwood Rooms from 3:30 to 6:00 PM.

Thinking Skills Grades 2 - 5 will be available for preview.

Please forward the Survey Monkey Links to the appropriate teachers. Survey Monkey Preview Sign up dates 2/1/2016 - 2/24/2016.

2015 CCRPI Data Available in the DOE Portal

Re: February 1, 2016 email from Melissa Fincher.

The 2015 CCRPI data is being downloaded for use in calculating CCRPI indicators in parts. This is to allow schools to have access to the data and calculators as it becomes available.

The information for your school is available in the DOE Portal


The points earned for each indicator have not been included in the CCRPI report as yet. You can review your progress using the benchmark provided and your school's performance on the indicator.

All data and information for the 2015 CCRPI is embargoed until the public release. (exception: HS Graduation Rates by subgroup is available to the public for 2015) .

If you need assistance or have questions please contact Georgann Eaton at 678.301.7179.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

The administration of ACCESS for ELLs will resume on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 for the twenty schools with the highest population of EL students who must participate in the assessment.

The following attachment lists the schools which will resume testing on Tuesday. TCs and TSTs at the schools noted in the following attachment will receive additional information today about applying the technology enhancements.

Additional schools will resume testing in the coming days as the technology enhancements are ready to be deployed. Information regarding the second group of schools to resume testing will be shared as the information becomes available.

The ACCESS for ELLs test administration window has been extended to March 11, 2016. Should additional days be needed, the Office of Assessment will work with the GaDOE to secure the necessary days.

Please send questions to GCPS Testing Team.

Curriculum and Instruction

SAVE THE DATE: New Teacher Orientation 2016

What: New Teacher Orientation

When: July 19-20, 2016

Fine Arts Professional Development in February

This Professional Development session will focus on a eCLASS development, resource development, and best practices. This is not a required meeting, as local school professional development takes precedence, but is an opportunity for the Fine Arts teachers from across the district to collaborate on these important aspects of their every day instruction.

What: Fine Arts Professional Development in February

When: February 15, 2016; 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Where: Gwinnett Online Campus

Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons Awareness Session

Teachers interested in learning more about Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons training are invited to attend this informational session. Details regarding the application and interview process will be shared. Classroom, Special Education, ELL, Gifted education teachers, as well as Literacy Specialist/Coaches are encouraged to attend.

What: Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons Awareness Session

When: Monday, February 8, 2016; 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Where: Reading Recovery Training Lab at Benefield Elementary School

2016 Science AKS Review - Save the Date

Following the review of the revised state science standards in March, GCPS plans to review and revise the AKS for Science this summer. Beginning in March, we will be asking schools to nominate teachers to serve on grade specific AKS review teams that will review the AKS and prepare additional teacher resources as necessary. We will be sending out Review Team applications for you to share with your teachers in March 2016. Please note: Any revised or new AKS will not be implemented until Fall 2017 pending GEMS approval.

What: Save the Date - GCPS Science AKS Review Teams

When: June 6-7 & July 20-22 - 8:00am to 3:00pm

Captain Planet Project Learning Garden Grants

The Project Learning Garden application is currently open. Captain Planet is accepting Elementary and Middle Schools from Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett to apply. The application closes February 29th. Click the following Link to apply and learn more:

To help you integrate Black History Month into your schools classrooms, please click on the link below for a selection of lesson plans and activities that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit grades K-5.

Presidents' Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Please click on the links below for a selection of lesson plans and activities that cover a variety of subjects.

2016 Social Studies AKS Review

Following the review of the revised state social studies standards GCPS plans to review and revise the AKS for social studies. The state review is slated to be completed in March, pending State BOE approval of any revisions. We will be asking schools to nominate teachers to serve on grade specific AKS review teams that will review the AKS and prepare additional teacher resources as necessary. We plan to also use the members of the Social Studies Leadership team to assist with this task The process will begin in late July and continue throughout October. Details will be sent at a later date . The survey of the draft of the proposed standards is open until March 14. Encourage all of your social studies teachers to participate.

Please note: New AKS will not be implemented until Fall 2017 pending GEMS approval

Professional Development and Evaluation (PD&E) Training - Beginner's Session 2015-2016

This course is designed to train district and local school persons responsible for staff development on the use of the PD&E tool. Participants will learn how to develop courses in the tool, register participants, and conduct the post-processing steps. Attendees are encouraged to bring sample course information to the training and their laptops (if possible).

To see the full list of PD&E trainings login to the GCPS Portal and select the PD&E icon. To begin registration for the courses, type in PD&E in the search box.

When: February 18, 2016 8:30am – 11:30am, Course# 14984 Section# 22787

When: March 28, 2016 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Course# 14984 Section# 22788

When: April 25, 2016 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Course# 14984 Section# 22789

Where: ISC – Central Gwinnett

*Registration for this course closes three days before course start date.

Gwinnett Effectiveness Initiative

GTES Standards Training Course Offerings

This professional learning is designed to provide a focused learning opportunity for teachers to deepen their understanding of the Gwinnett Teacher Effectiveness System (GTES) Standards.

Participants will engage in interactive activities to aide in defining expectations, building knowledge, and applying that knowledge to practical school-based situations. During these courses participants will: explore the key characteristics of the standards, examine the rubric connected with the GTES, complete a self-assessment identifying current practices, observe teachers in action, and identify next steps for their practice.

To see the full list of GTES Standard Trainings login to the GCPS Portal and select the PD&E icon. To begin searching and registration for the courses type GTES in the Search Box.

SD - GTES - Communication Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: February 29, 2016 - March 14, 2016 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14787 Section# 22852

Where: ISC – 1.106/1.107/1.108

Register by 02/22/16

SD - GTES - Academically Challenging Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: March 28, 2016 - April 12, 2016 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14786 Section# 22855

Where: ISC – 1.106/1.107/1.108

Register by 03/22/16

SD - GTES - Academically Challenging Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Online, Self-Paced)

When: All Year, Until you complete. Course # 15250

Where: Online, Self-Paced

Registration open all year

SD - GTES – Instructional Strategies Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: April 18, 2016 - May 2, 2016 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14785 Section# 22853

Where: ISC – 1.106/1.107/1.108

Register by 04/11/16

SD - GTES – Positive Learning Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: April 28, 2016 - May 12, 2016 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14788 Section# 22854

Where: ISC – 1.106/1.107/1.108

Register by 04/21/16

SD - GTES – Positive Learning Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Online, Self-Paced)

When: All Year, Until you complete. Course # 14926

Where: Online, Self-Paced

Registration open all year

SD - GTES – Differentiated Instruction Standard 2015-2016 (Online, Self-Paced)

When: All Year, Until you complete. Course # 14985

Where: Online, Self-Paced

Registration open all year

Items Needed

Katie Sample and Jill Moore will guide our 5th graders on a "hike up the Sycamore Summit" towards the Milestones in a few weeks.

We would like to transform my classroom into an outdoors environment. We are looking for the following:

Any free-standing pine trees (as in Christmas trees), a small pop-up tent, hiking gear, or a life-sized bear would be great. All items will be returned to you at the end of April. Please advise if you have anything we may borrow!

Hook'em and Hold'em Casino Night

Morten Andersen to Attend Casino Night

Former Falcons kicker and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Morten Andersen will be a special guest Hook'em and Hold'em Casino Night. Tickets are still available at

Monies Collected Tips from Jenifer our Bookkeeper

As you begin planning Field Trips, Club activities, etc., and start collecting money for these activities, I thought it would be helpful to send out some reminders and tips regarding money collections. I’ve included the most common errors that come across my desk, therefore I hope this will be helpful in saving everyone the precious commodity of time.

Forms of Payment

We accept cash, checks made payable to Sycamore Elementary, and credit/debit card payments through MyPaymentsPlus.

If you choose to use MyPaymentsPlus as a method, please let me know ahead of time to set up an “Activity” in MyPaymentsPlus in order for you to collect payments through this resource. I recommend this, because it is less paperwork for the both of us. I can set it up so that you receive an email when someone has paid, and also send you a list of who has paid on a weekly basis when I receive my deposit information. This will keep you informed as to who has paid.

Report of Monies Collected Forms

If you receive cash and/or checks for payments please use the Report of Monies Collected Standard Form found on the shared drive. The path is Sycamore > Teacher Information > Monies Collected Forms > RMC Form Standard. I strongly recommend saving the form to your computer once you fill it out, in case any corrections need to be made later, they can be fixed quickly. However, please use handwritten ink to sign and date the bottom of the form.

Please leave the “Account to Credit Line” BLANK. This is for Bookkeeper and Auditor’s purposes only. You will enter Grade Level and Purpose on the “Reason for Collecting Money Line”.

There must not be more than 1 week between the Date Collections Begin (at the top), and the Date of Your Signature (at the bottom, the date you turn your form into me).

Click here to view an Example Report of Moneys Collected Standard Form.


If you collected cash from a student, and it is $10.01 or more, you must issue them a receipt. You may check out a receipt book from me.

No receipts have to be issued for checks received for any amount, because the check itself acts as their receipt. If however, a person requests a receipt for a check, you may do so upon their request.

Thank you for your help with all of the paperwork. As always, please come see me for any questions. I will be more than glad to help!

Jenifer Reese



Thank you to the office staff and management team for your attention in our training on Friday. I am proud to have you on my team! ~Crystal

Thank you Larry, Jill and Kim for joining me with our discussion on Friday with Mike Reilly. ~Crystal

Thank you Cindy for going to the Daddy Daughter Date Night at Chick-Fil-A for me while I was in class. I appreciate you so much! ~Crystal

Thank you Katie and Jill Moore for our 1st Summit for Georgia Milestones! ~Crystal

Thank you Kim for being my comedian and making me laugh...also for getting everything I need in a blink of an eye. ~Crystal

Thank you to all of our grade levels for being positive and for your hard thoughtful stamina as you worked on the work this past week. I admire you for your professionalism and candor. ~Crystal

Thank you Larry for always going above and beyond for all things Sycamore! You are a great supporter! ~Crystal

Thank you Carolina for being so helpful to us in the front office! You are an amazing lady with an extraordinary team! ~Crystal

Thank you to the Front Office Staff for covering me while I was out. I so appreciate all of you! ~ Carolann

A huge thank you goes out to the 2nd grade team! They have been so very helpful and are a wonderful group to work with! ~ Stephanie Arkema

Thank you Ms. Thompson for giving me the opportunity to be here again in a long term position. Sycamore is so great! ~ Stephanie Arkema

Thank you Dr. Glass for coming by the classroom every morning before school starts! It truly shows how much you care about the teachers! ~ Stephanie Arkema

Thank you Karen Peralta for all of your help in the classroom! I really appreciate the time you spend explaining things to me and helping me get things accomplished! ~ Stephanie Arkema

Kudos to 1st grade for your understanding! You are the most amazing group to work along side! ~ T. Love

Kudos to Chelsea for being an awesome neighbor ~ T. Love

Kudos to Kristan for driving to a fun day filled with dancing and learning ~ T. Love

Kudos to Margaux for helping to make sure my subs had everything they needed while I was out ~ T. Love

Kudos to Julie for always making me feel better about decisions ~ T. Love

Kudos to Ms. St.Aude and Ms. Horne for being good sports with my pictures. I love making you guys smile! ~ T. Love

Kudos to Ms. Thomas and Ms. Mantilla for always making me smile when I pick up my kids from lunch ~ T. Love

Kudos to Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Sample, Mrs. Alverson, Jill, Margorie, and Larry for sharing such valuable information with us during WOW Day. ~ 1st Grade

A big thank you to Dr. Glass, for "boldly going where no man (and few women) has gone before" to retrieve my lost chair. ~ Kim Wyble

Thanks to Jenifer Reese, who is always accommodating and helpful no matter how much is going on! ~ Kim Wyble

Read Across America Day

The Buford Branch of the Gwinnett County Library is participating in Read Across America Day on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016. We will be open 12:00-8:00 that day, and wanted to invite any local school faculty and staff members that are interested in reading aloud to students at our branch. We would be happy to host them at whatever time they are available.

Warm Regards,

Amy Willard | Early Education Library Associate, Buford-Sugar Hill Branch

Gwinnett County Public Library

770-978-5154 |

Supporting a Middle School Culture Event

The Lanier Middle School Student Advisement Committee will be hosting a Culture Night at Lanier Middle School from 6:00-8:00 PM on Tuesday, February 16th. Friends and family members of all ages are welcome to come experience the different cultures in our community. You will be able to immerse yourself in genuine dances, foods, currencies, and religions from places spanning the continents. We hope you can attend this exciting event, and encourage you to sign up using the link below to bring something if you believe you have cultural items/information worth sharing! The Student Advisement Committee can’t wait to see you in Africa, Asia, or even …???

If you have questions, please contact for more information.

Culturally yours,

Lanier Middle School Student Advisement Committee


W. Kyle Jones Ed.S. (ABD)

Academy Coach

Language Arts

Lanier High School

Twitter: @theprofjones


Online Communique

The latest posts to the online Communiqué

include features on GCPS' Teacher of the Year, Career Connections, a salute to veterans, and Milestones results, plus calendar updates and Bulletin Board items. Coming up, watch for news on Principal for a Day, a unique career exploration event, and winter weather reminders.

New items are added each week.

Story ideas? Great photos? Feedback? Let us know at

STEMCampATL - Spring 2016

STEMCampATL - Spring 2016

GCPS is proud to host the 2nd STEMCampATL for metro-Atlanta STEM educators. STEMCampATL is designed to provide access to high quality, personalized professional learning for K-12 educators. Embracing the belief that fellow STEM educators can provide some of the most valuable professional development resources for their colleagues. This learning will be driven by teachers for teachers. Come prepared to share and learn about innovative practices in STEM education. If you are not familiar with an edcamp-style learning opportunity, check this out:


When: Saturday March 12, 2016; 8:00am - 12:00pm

Where: Peachtree Ridge HS

To Register:

Career Advancement Scholarships

It’s scholarship time at Peach State Federal Credit Union! For our 2016 Scholarship Program, we are awarding a total of $138,200 in scholarships and educational grants.

Our Career Advancement Scholarships, which honor the founders of Peach State, are a part of this program. Recognizing the importance of education as a lifelong experience, we will award 16 $2,000 Career Advancement Scholarships to eligible members of our credit union. All scholarship winners will be chosen by the end of April 2016 and notified shortly thereafter.

To be considered for the scholarships, all applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

· Must be a credit union member in good standing

· Must currently be enrolled in an accredited program of study at a college, university or technical institute with the goal of career advancement (proof of paid registration documents for current term or class schedule from accredited institution must be included)

Please share this information along with the attached scholarship application with your faculty and staff. Completed applications and supporting documentation must be received by Peach State no later than March 18, 2016. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Deborah Fancher

Business Development

Peach State Federal Credit Union

Phone: 770.513.6394

Fax: 770.963.4066



Application Link:

2016 Career Advancement Scholarship Application