for those who teach and those who support teachers
November 2, 2023
Coffee with Calvin
Friday is the last day of Open Enrollment!
Open Enrollment (OE) for Plan Year 2024 runs through 11:59 p.m. Friday, November 3. Changes made during OE are effective January 1 and will be in effect for the 2024 calendar year. OE changes to health insurance are made through the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) OE website. OE changes to GCPS benefits will be made via the Online Benefits System, located in the Staff Portal. As a reminder, you must re-enroll each year if you have a Health Care or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. Before making your benefit selections, review the SHBP and GCPS plan information available during OE.
November 3 is a Digital Learning Day
November 3 is a scheduled Digital Learning Day (DLD) for all students. To ensure that students have a nutritious breakfast and lunch to fuel their learning, our bus drivers will be on the road and at every bus stop to deliver meals prepared by the School Nutrition Program staff. Families can expect buses to run their routes from approximately 10:45 a.m. to noon, beginning at the first stops on the route. These delivered meals are provided at no cost to families and to anyone 18 years old and under.
Don’t forget about your extra hour of sleep
On Sunday, November 5 at 2 a.m. local time, clocks fall back an hour and we will gain an extra hour of sleep, marking the end of daylight saving time for 2023.
November is Native American Heritage Month
- The Library of Congress,
- The National Archives and Records Administration,
- The National Endowment for the Humanities,
- The National Gallery of Art, The National Park Service, and
- The Smithsonian Institution
for ideas on how to pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.
2025 Teacher of the Year Finalists
The field of teachers in the running to become the 2025 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year has been narrowed to six finalists. Learn more about Heather Kane of Lovin Elementary School, Michelle Ruhl of Sugar Hill Elementary School, Michael J. Payen of Five Forks Middle School, Treva Coates of Osborne Middle School, Jenna Cloninger of Central Gwinnett High School, and Halie Rios of Paul Duke STEM High School.
Each month of the 2023-24 school year, we will spotlight one of our strategic priorities or Portrait of a Graduate competencies by sharing the stories of two clusters—highlighting their classrooms, notable events, community insights, achievements, community service projects, student organizations, volunteer efforts, and more.
In November, we'll focus on Student Voice in the Shiloh, South Gwinnett, and Lanier clusters.
Gwinnett County Public Schools is CharacterStrong
We are happy to announce that we have adopted the CharacterStrong resources this school year, which takes on a Whole School, Whole Child approach! This curriculum includes staff and student activities around social-emotional skills that have proved to help us be productive, empathetic, and successful individuals.
Each month, we will include “Staff CharacterDares” that are low burden, high impact (LoHi). These dares help to strengthen relationships from staff to students, staff to staff, and staff to families. If you complete the monthly dares by the end of the school year, you will have engaged in thoughtful conversations, relationship-building activities, and character development at home.
GCPS School Bus Roadeo: Where Precision Meets Excitement!
The extraordinary driving prowess of our GCPS school bus drivers was on full display at the annual GCPS School Bus Roadeo, held on October 12 at the Suwanee Safety and Training Center.
At the heart of the Roadeo is a demanding obstacle course, meticulously designed to put drivers' precision and expertise behind the wheel to the test. Bus drivers compete head-to-head with their peers, earning points for their mastery of various driving skills. The winners of this local showdown advance to the state-level competition, where they compete for the coveted title of the best school bus drivers in the region.
Beyond the thrill and camaraderie of the event, the School Bus Roadeo emphasizes a critical message: the importance of safe driving habits and strict adherence to federal and state driving laws. It underlines our commitment to safety in school bus transportation, GCPS best practices, and the district's operating procedures.
Congratulations to Alex Molinet, Lisa Dekranes, and Dennis Walker, first place winners of the Roadeo - and a big round of applause to all who participated!
Translation tools available to GCPS staff
This video from GCPS Tech Tips highlights various translation tools that are available for GCPS staff. Tools highlighted include subtitles in PowerPoint, Microsoft Translators, and PowerPoint Live.
Support for GCPS School Leaders
Each month, look here for answers to frequently asked legal and policy questions. These questions and answers are directly from Special Assistant to the Superintendent Jorge Gomez. You can also find this information and additional resources in your Local School Legal Issues Update 2023 that you received via email in July.
Who can enroll a child?
Question/Scenario: Who can enroll a child, and what right does the enrolling parent/person have?
In accordance with OCGA 20-2-150, any individual who is a parent, guardian, or any person in control and possession of a child (Kinship Caregiver) can enroll the child in the school for which their address is zoned.
Upon enrollment, a person is designated the enrolling parent/person by their signature on the enrollment forms (this is the enrolling parent/person)
In cases where a conflict arises due to a divorce, two biological parents not getting along, or any other reason – the school takes the lead of the enrolling parent/person.
When parents go through a divorce, they normally bring divorce papers/parenting plan to the school. Please know and understand that school officials do not interpret nor mediate these documents. School officials default to the enrolling parent/person.
The enrolling parent/person must put in writing to the school what limitations they want to place on the non-enrolling parent/person (this letter/email is kept in the student’s permanent folder and can be provided to the non-enrolling parent/person upon request).
The non-enrolling parent/person who is a biological parent or legal guardian NEVER loses the following three rights unless there is a court order specifically terminating their parental rights:
Access to the educational records of his/her child
Access to a Parent Portal account
Access to teachers for the purpose of the explanation of the educational records (teacher conference)
Some Gwinnett municipalities will hold elections on Tuesday
On November 7, a general municipal election will take place for certain municipalities in Gwinnett County. Please note that most municipalities in the county manage their own elections. To access the election schedule, find your polling place, or view a sample ballot for your city's election, please reach out to your city hall or find more municipal information online.
We want to share your good 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 celebrate an honor and recognize a teacher, student, or team member for their work? Do you want to share an achievement, upcoming event, or opportunity?
Do you have GCPS Good News to share? Let us know through this online form.
Awards and Honors
Looking Ahead in GCPS...
- Keep Connected with news from GCPS TV… the next episode airs November 9!
- The next regular Board meeting is November 16. (Online, find links to sign up for the public comment sections of the meeting.)
- Watch for the next issue of GCPS Links on November 16!