GCS Monday Morning
A weekly update for Gaston County Schools employees and parents   •   January 4-10, 2016
"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals." - Melody Beattie

Weekly Message

W. Jeffrey Booker
Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent Booker
   Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday break with family and friends. As we focus our attention on the second semester, all of us look forward to a time of achievement for our schools.
   Planning for 2016 and beyond is underway. This week, we are hosting the first of four Parent Focus Group meetings. The meetings are designed to give parents an opportunity to sit down with me and discuss topics about their child’s school and our district.
   The Parent Focus Groups are a continuation of our outreach and engagement efforts that began two years ago with the “Community Talks with the Superintendent” program. More than 1,200 parents, employees, students, and civic leaders participated in the “Community Talks” to provide their thoughts about the future of our schools.
   Since first hearing from the community in 2014, we have made improvements in a number of areas including school safety, academic programs, instructional technology, and communication.
   It is important for our parents to have a voice in the process to plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Through the Parent Focus Groups, we will gain ideas from our parents to share with the Board of Education during the Board’s upcoming retreat.
   Thank you for your commitment to Gaston County Schools. Working together, we will continue to experience success and have many reasons to celebrate in 2016.
Class of 2015

On the Calendar

January 2016
School Board Recognition Month
National Mentoring Month 
January 9
Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair
Schiele Museum
8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
January 11
Board of Education Work Session
Central Office 
5:30 p.m. 
January 13
Mentor Training Session
9:00 a.m. 
January 13-20
End-of-Course Tests (Grades 9-12)

January 18
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

January 20
End of Third 6-Week Grading Period
End of Second 9-Week Grading Period

January 21-22
Mandated Teacher Workdays 
January 22-23
Board Retreat
Rader Staff Development Center 
January 28
All Report Cards Distributed 
Click here for our calendar.
We have the Regional Teacher of the Year!
Bobbie Cavnar, an English teacher at South Point High School, is the Southwest Region Teacher of the Year. We are proud of Mr. Cavnar, who will compete against eight other regional winners for the 2016 North Carolina Teacher of the Year recognition.  Click above to watch the Regional Teacher of the Year Announcement and click here to read our press release about Mr. Cavnar.  The video will air on Channel 21 this week at 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.. 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

5 to Know

1. Board of Education meetings for January
The Board of Education will conduct a work session on Monday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Central Office Board Room. The Board's annual retreat will be held Friday evening, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 at the Rader Staff Development Center in Cramerton. The meetings are open to the public.

2. Gaston Science and Engineering Fair is Saturday
The Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair is this Saturday, January 9 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Schiele Museum. The event features some of the most outstanding science, technology and engineering projects by students in grades 4-12. Judging takes place during the day with the awards ceremony at 1:00 p.m. If you would like to serve as a judge or volunteer, please contact Tammy Mims, who coordinates the science fair: (704) 866-6241. The science fair is sponsored again this year by FMC Lithium.

3. Finalists for Gaston County Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to the following educators who were chosen as finalists for Gaston County Teacher of the Year, 2016-2017. The winner will be announced during the annual Evening of Excellence ceremony in May. The five finalists are:

• Leanna Cook, Kindergarten Teacher, Rankin Elementary
• Elizabeth Crosby, Fifth Grade Teacher, McAdenville Elementary
• Shelly Gibson, Math Teacher, Ashbrook High School
• Cole Hairston, Music Teacher, Highland School of Technology
• Leigh Davis, Fifth Grade Teacher, Sherwood Elementary

4. Bus drivers across the state using hand signals

You may notice our bus drivers using hand signals at the bus stop. That's because new state guidelines took effect January 1 that require drivers to use hand signals to let students know it is safe to cross the road and board the bus. The three signals are easy to remember. First, the driver holds up the palm of his/her hand until it is safe to cross. Second, the driver gives the "thumbs up" to the student, and third, the driver points to the direction in which the student should proceed across the road. The hand signals are in place to make the bus stop safer for students. Click here for more information.

5. Take time to thank our school mentors

Schools across the country are celebrating January as National Mentoring Month. Our school mentors in Gaston County give their time to make a difference in the lives of children. Please take a moment this month to honor and thank the mentors at your school and let them know how much you appreciate what they do for our students. Click here for more information about National Mentoring Month. To become a mentor in Gaston County Schools, contact our Business Partnerships Office, (704) 866-6329, or click here for information.

5 to Remember

1. Training session to become a school mentor
Want to make a difference in a child’s life? Then consider becoming a mentor. Gaston County Schools will conduct a mentor training session on Wednesday, January 13 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gaston Chamber of Commerce, 601 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia. To register and learn more about our mentoring program, call the Business Partnerships Office, (704) 866-6329.

2. Upcoming volunteer orientation sessions
Orientation sessions for adults wishing to serve as school volunteers will be held on the following days: January 8, 8:30 a.m., January 14, 12:15 p.m., January 21, 8:30 a.m., and January 25, 4:00 p.m. All sessions will be held at the Central Office. For more information, call the Business Partnerships Office, (704) 866-6329.

3. Inclement Weather Policy
It is the time of year when we keep an eye on the forecast for wintry weather. Click here to review our Inclement Weather Policy. Make sure you have downloaded our mobile app to your device to receive inclement weather notifications. Click here for information about our app. Please note that if inclement weather forces us to close schools, the Board of Education reserves the right to use early release days and Saturdays to make up missed time.

4. Register for Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
The next administration of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is Saturday, January 23 at Hunter Huss High School. Additional SAT dates include March 5, May 7 and June 4. For more information, visit www.collegeboard.org or contact your high school counselor.

5. Workshop presenters wanted for regional conference
Teachers from Gaston County have the opportunity to serve as workshop presenters at the N.C. Association of Elementary Educators spring regional conference on Saturday, March 12 in Concord. Presentations should appeal to a general elementary education audience and highlight successful programs and activities going on in the classroom. Click here for information about submitting a proposal. The submission deadline is January 21.

Points of Pride

The East Gaston High School automotive program received a $10,000 grant from Ingersoll Rand.
A team of students from the Highland School of Technology won the Stock Market Game Fall Challenge. Teacher Dan Froehlich advises the team. East Gaston High School had two teams to finish second and third in the Challenge. Teacher Tammy Travis is their adviser.
W. Blaine Beam Intermediate School students and staff collected more than $4,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  
Stuart W. Cramer High School received a $5,000 Hometown Huddle grant from the Carolina Panthers to purchase physical education equipment including individual fitness trackers. Health and physical education teacher Ashley Cloninger submitted the grant proposal.
Click here for Good News.
Class of 2015
Class of 2015

Communication Tip

Remind parents about your school’s successes
Research indicates that parents are most concerned about a school’s ability to prepare their child for a successful life. With so many messages out there about public schools, it is important for principals, teachers and other school employees to remind parents about how their school is meeting their child’s needs. Take advantage of every opportunity to tell parents about your school’s successes, outstanding teachers, unique programs, and services available to students. Doing so will reassure parents that our public schools are the best place for their child.

Source: National School Public Relations Association

Class of 2015

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This week's GCS Monday Morning is produced by the Communications/Public Information Department for the Stock Market Game Fall Challenge teams at Highland School of Technology and East Gaston High School and everyone who cares about Gaston County Schools.  
Please e-mail information for GCS Monday Morning to Todd Hagans, Chief Communications Officer:  tthagans@gaston.k12.nc.us
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