System-wide Straight Talk for GSCS Employees
 Dec. 8 - 15, 2017
In This Issue

I used to enjoy snow, but now I'm much more leery about a forecast including frozen precipitation, especially during the school week. Decisions about school closings are among the most difficult to make given that weather forecasts can, and do, change quickly. Our practice is to participate in weather briefings offered by the National Weather Service. As a storm approaches, briefings are held as often as every four to six hours to keep us up to date with the latest information and projections. Some of these briefings are held late at night, but that's OK. We want the best information available with which to make decisions that truly impact the entire county. We also consult with local emergency management agencies and law enforcement. And, as you might expect, we do check with surrounding counties to see which way they may be leaning in their decision process. Safety is always the first consideration but we do want our decisions to be made with the best facts and information available. Whenever we decide to close schools due to inclement weather, we try to call it as early as we can in order to communicate it with our families and staff in a timely manner. Closing information is posted via our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as through ParentLink calls, and local news media outlets. Hopefully this will be a calm winter season, but we will continue to monitor the forecast for the safety of our students and staff.

I want to congratulate the Department of Special Education for launching the district's inaugural celebration of Inclusive Schools Week. Throughout the week, schools participated in classroom activities working and getting to know their peers who come from diverse backgrounds and/or have special needs. On Tuesday night, the Board honored six educators for being "Agents of Inclusion," for leading GSCS to embrace diversity and inclusion inside and outside the classroom.

I do want to end with a story from this past week. On Wednesday, I visited the Enrichment Center and observed work being done by some of our youngest Program Challenge students. Cara Cook's class was dissecting the remains of an owl's meal (regurgitated and sanitized remains) for evidence used to determine what type of meal the owl had. One young girl was having a great time separating hair and bones while using a chart to identify the type of animal and bones she discovered. She looked up at me and said "This is what scientists do." And then she added, "We are being scientists today." Yes, you are -- today and every day. Keep that spirit of inquisitiveness. I want to thank you all for the work you do to inspire our students to learn every day!

James D. Smith
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Click HERE to view the briefs from the December 5, 2017 Board of Education meeting.

2017-18 GSCS Agents of Inclusion

2017 Partners In Education Teacher Tuition Scholarship Recipients
The Griffin-Spalding Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the school calendar for the 2018-19 school year during its December 5, 2017 board meeting.
Classes will begin August 6, 2018 and end May 24, 2019, which is the Friday before Memorial Day. Students and teachers will have week-long breaks during October, November, December, February and April. 
At the beginning of November, two calendar options were presented to the Board of Education. The calendar options, along with a survey to gain feedback, were posted on the district's website and social media outlets. Over 2,000 stakeholders completed the survey with over 80 percent favoring the calendar that was ultimately adopted.

Click HERE to view the adopted 2018-19 calendar.
As part of celebrating Inclusive Schools Week, six GSCS employees were named 2017-18 Agents of Inclusion. These Agents of Inclusion are leading the way by educating the GSCS community to embrace inclusion and diversity, resulting in improved outcomes for ALL students!

Check out this video highlighting our 2017-18 Agents of Inclusion!

Special thanks to Jason Short, GSCS PC/Network Technician, for filming and producing the video!
Great job!  

GSCS has opened both the principal and assistant principal pool processes for the 2018-2019 school year. We are searching for aspiring and experienced leaders. The application deadline is January 2, 2018.

Any/all qualified employees or external candidates seeking a leadership position as a GSCS principal or assistant principal must apply through the pool process to be considered for 2018-19 opportunities. (Exception: candidates who have already been named to a pool during the 2017 process or those transferring to the same job at a different location.)

Note: Specific principal and/or assistant principal positions will not be advertised on an individual basis. Apply now to be considered for any/all potential 2018-2019 job opportunities. Please see the below memo and process documents for more information.

Click HERE to apply!

Click HERE to view the memo.

Click HERE for more information on the principal and assistant principal pool process.
As we are approaching the winter break, please ensure that all professional leave has been entered for approval at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Remember to include the following:

1) Title of event and location in the notes to administrator
Example, Literacy Strategies Conference, Macon, GA.
2) Upload, at a minimum, the agenda or course description
3) Upload the Travel Cost Estimator Form for out of district events
4) Upload the Prior Approval Conference Request as directed by your supervisor
The upcoming Teachers Retirement Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, 2018 in the GSCS Learning Center. The one-on-one sessions will be
held on February 14 and 15. You can register online by following the instructions below. Due to the massive responses in the past, TRS has requested that the one-on-one sessions be open only to those TRS members who are planning on retiring in the next one to three years from now. All who are interested in the workshop are invited to register.

To register for either event, follow these easy steps:
  • Visit
  • Click on Account Log-in at the top of the page
  • Click on Active Member Login (If you experience difficulty logging in, you will need to contact TRS directly, as HR does not have access to your personal account. The number is 404-352-6500)
  • Click "VIEW"
  • Look under: "I WANT TO" and click on "Appointment/Event Registration"
  • Click on "Statewide Events/Appts"
  • There is NO event code, just search for our school system
  • Click Register
  • Once you have registered, you should receive a confirmation email. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Kathy Gossett in Human Resources.

Counselor Bridget Zokovitch
Ms. Zokovitch is dedicated to building positive relationships with students, staff and parents.  She has coordinated several events for students to improve their educational experience.  We appreciate all that she does for us at A.Z. Kelsey!
Mathematics Teacher Pamela Bolden & Paraprofessional John Leaks
Ms. Bolden exemplifies excellence at every turn.  From holding her students to very high standards in math by challenging them with engaging activities, to her warm and inviting personal interactions with colleagues, she is always the epitome of professionalism.  Ms. Bolden displays excellence, accountability, respect and dedication to the students, staff and stakeholders of GHS.
John Leaks serves students with intellectual, physical, emotional and behavioral disabilities. He teaches his students with excellence and respect every day.  He is helpful, resourceful and professional. Thank you, Mr. Leaks, for going above and beyond for GHS.
Program Coordinators: Richard Brantley, Cris Craft and JauNessa Jackson
These three coordinators have taken on additional duties and responsibilities to keep our program running smoothly following the sudden death of one of our outpost coordinators.  From special education paperwork, professional learning, evaluation, supervision, crisis intervention and therapeutic support for students...they are ON IT!!!!

Secretary Crystal McLean
Crystal is the heartbeat of our school. She handles everything behind the scenes ensuring that administrators and staff stay on task. She helps our students and makes sure they have what they need to survive and be successful. She fills the voids and takes care of the stuff that nobody realizes is going on. She keeps the boat afloat!