GCPS wins award for school bus safety

Gwinnett County Public Schools was one of 16 districts in the state honored with a Pupil Transportation Safety Award. The school system transports nearly 130,000 students to and from school daily.

Each year, nearly 1 million students and their parents rely on Georgia’s school buses — and the professionals who operate them — to provide safe and dependable transportation to and from school.

To emphasize the importance of safe school buses and recognize pupil transportation professionals, State School Superintendent Richard Woods has announced the winners of the Georgia Department of Education’s second annual Pupil Transportation Safety Awards. Gwinnett County Public Schools was one of the 16 Georgia school systems recognized for going above and beyond to ensure safe and efficient student transportation. The award is sponsored by Blue Bird, Georgia’s school bus manufacturer, and Yancey Bus Sales & Service.

GCPS received the Green Award in its division, according to a news release. The winning districts were selected by a panel of judges, based on an application which evaluated a number of factors that impact bus safety. Those factors included but are not limited to: completing safety training, evacuation drills and other safety initiatives with students; evaluation of accidents and internal practices to prevent accidents; and innovative initiatives used to inspire safe practices, hire and retain drivers, and enhance student safety.

“Our pupil transportation professionals are entrusted with precious cargo, and work incredibly hard each day to make sure Georgia’s students arrive at school safe and ready to learn,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in the news release. “These sixteen districts are going above and beyond to ensure student safety and recognize the school bus as an extension of the overall climate and culture of a school. I thank them for their efforts and commend them for their work.”

To keep the focus on safety, GCPS requires 55 hours of classroom training, 28 hours of classroom special needs training, 20 hours of range driving without students and 20 hours of road training with students. A Puppeteer Team helps deliver school bus safety training to special needs students.

To stay ahead of the demand for bus drivers, the district’s transportation and information management departments are working together to develop recruiting videos.

The district offers paid training, excellent benefits and a guarantee of six working hours per day, the news release states. For more information, visit www.gcpsjobs.org/careers/support/bus-drivers.

Ga. DNR offers $1,000 teacher grantThe Georgia Department of Natural Resources is offering a $1,000 grant to a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade public or private school teacher in the state who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences. Science specialists covering those grade levels can also apply.

The Conservation Teacher of the Year grant is coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Section of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, according to a news release. Funding is provided by the section’s friends group, The Environmental Resources Network, better known as TERN.

Through education, research and management, the Wildlife Conservation Section works to safeguard Georgia’s native diversity of wild animals, plants and their habitats, while also striving to increase public enjoyment of the outdoors. The purpose of the grant is to recognize and help an outstanding teacher who uses Georgia’s native wildlife and habitats as the context for learning, said Linda May, DNR environmental outreach coordinator.

“Georgia is home to an amazing diversity of wildlife,” May said. “We want to support a talented teacher who highlights these natural wonders with his or her students in creative ways.”

Previous recipients covered state curriculum standards through innovative lessons, scientific research and outdoor investigations. For example, after teacher Karen Garland taught her third-graders at Clark Creek Elementary STEM Academy about the amazing lives of butterflies, she led them through a habitat survey. To the students’ dismay, they realized the Acworth school lacked pollinator habitat. They even noticed that migrating monarchs flew overhead but never stopped at their campus.

To give the butterflies a place to refuel along their journey, students created a garden with native flowering plants that provided rich sources of nectar. In addition to drawing a variety of beneficial insects, the new habitat attracted songbirds and other wildlife. Grant funds were used to buy butterfly field guides and all supplies needed for the garden. Master naturalists, high school agriculture students and other community partners contributed to the effort.

This fall, another teacher will be selected to receive funding based on project design, evaluated through applicant answers to grant proposal questions. Projects that are especially creative and teach about Georgia’s rare or endangered species, as well as solid projects that have no other means of funding, will earn bonus points.

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/TeachingConservationGrant. The deadline to apply is Sept. 6. DNR will notify the grant winner by Sept. 27.

New GCPS student registration taking place in JulyThe new school year in Gwinnett begins Aug. 5, and there is no time like the present to register if you are a student new to Gwinnett County.

In fact, summer is the best time to get ready, get set and get registered if you are new to Gwinnett or changing schools due to a move. Gwinnett County Public Schools will hold new student registration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all local schools on the following Tuesdays and Thursdays in July: July 9, 11, 16, 18, 23 and 25.

Schools may have other registration opportunities available; contact your local school for additional registration dates and hours.

Parents and guardians should visit their local school websites to begin the registration process online. If you are unsure of which school your child will attend, you can visit the “School Look-up” online at bit.ly/GCPSSchoolLocator.

Parents and guardians will need to visit their local school to complete registration. In addition to bringing your child, the following documents are needed to complete the process:

♦ An official document showing proof of birth date

♦ Proof that you live in attendance zone

♦ A valid Georgia certificate of immunization (GA Form #3231)

♦ Evidence of Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition Screening (GA Form #3300-Rev. 2013)

♦ A photo ID for the adult registering the child

♦ Proof of authorized person to enroll

♦ Child’s social security number (or you may sign a waiver at the school)

For more on registration in Gwinnett County Public Schools, go to www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.

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