Georgia Preparatory Academy: 2016 Annual Professional Learning Meeting DJJ Staff  at:  6/21/2016  
Georgia Preparatory Academy: 2016 Annual Professional Learning Meeting

Web story by Lisa Kenn of DJJ Communications

With the recent end of the 2015-2016 Georgia Preparatory Academy school year, the GPA and Office of Education staff particpated in the 2016 Annual Professional Learning Meeting at the Callaway Gardens Conference Center on June 6th through 9th. Hosted by DJJ Commissioner (and Superintendent of Schools) Avery Niles and GPA Associate Superintedent of Schools Dr. Audrey Armistad, the theme of this year's meeting was "Every Student Succeeds: A Spectrum of Opportunities".

During the Annual Professional Learning Meeting, Dr. Armistad highlighted some of the Georgia Preparatory Academy 2015-2016 accomplishments which included graduating the largest of students in the history of GPA, receiving AdvancED Accreditation, and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in GPA schools.

Dr. Armistad also reminded everyone involved in the teaching of GPA youth of work yet to be done in upcoming school years. Among the official goals cited for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year included:

• A clear focus with an urgency regarding “Improving Students’ Academic Outcomes”
• Strong Instructional Leadership and Professional Learning Communities in our schools
• Safe, orderly, and conducive learning environments
• Improving home and community relationships with a focus on parental engagement
• Implementation of seamless Reentry Services for our students

In her closing statements to the assembled crowd, Dr. Armistad stated that GPA will have met their departmental mission if staff and youth alike continue to focus on their everyday commitments including the preparation of students for successful returns to their home communities via local schools, post-secondary options, and through career employment.

During the conference, many topics regarding how to make the upcoming 2016-2017 school year the most successful in Georgia Preparatory Academy history. As part of this discussion, DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles reminded administrators, teachers, and support staff that they each must set good examples for the GPA students each and every day while preparing to make learning exciting and engaging.

A highlight of the conference was the honoring of Dr. Rufus Johnson as a Legendary Educator for his forty-three years of service adn commitment to the youth of Georgia. During a ceremony in his honor, colleagues of Dr. Johnson spoke highly of all his roles throughout his career including those of a Teacher, Principal, Regional Principal, Employee, Co-worker, and, best of all, Friend. DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles presented Dr. Johnson with a proclamation signed by Governor Nathan Deal and the DJJ Education Department presented Dr. Johnson with a memorial plaque.

Dr. Johnson's presence and steady daily leadership will be missed by the Georgia Preparatory Academy family as he enjoys a deservedly happy retirement.

During the conference, attendees heard from many guest speakers with unique inspirational messages. Some of the great speakers who attended included:

• Professional speaker and Award Winning Author Keith Brown
• GPA Teacher of the Year Daniel Sovereign
• Special Needs Teacher and Literacy Coach Delphia Boynton
• Northeast Health Science Magnet High School Teacher Steve Jones
• Atlanta News Anchor and Radio Show Host Monica Pearson
• Motivational speaker and Author Kevin "Chuck" Brown

To learn more about the Georgia Preparatory Academy, visit them on the web at





     Now Showing: PBIS at the Macon Youth Development Campus DJJ Staff  at:  6/21/2016  
Now Showing: PBIS at the Macon Youth Development Campus

The Macon Youth Development Campus (Macon YDC) is a strong proponent of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. The implementation of PBIS is helping to change the culture in DJJ facilities to a more positive environment where youth and staff are reinforced for displaying the expected behaviors posted in the facility’s local operating procedures. Staff and youth alike are enjoying the creativity and fun of PBIS events as seen in facilities like the Macon YDC.

Recently, the Macon YDC held a PBIS Mini Olympics where various teams competed against each other in Olympic-style events. Like the regular Olympics, the sports and events promoted camaraderie and sportsmanship in a fun and healthy environment.

An unusual but interesting PBIS event took place in May at the Macon YDC where several youth participated in a pyramid building exercise. Challenging their minds as well as their sense of teamwork, the Macon YDC youth had to build a pyramid out of cups, making sure to use all the cups while keeping the pyramid from falling. This intellectual and physical challenge proved to be unexpected fun and exciting as the teams carefully raced to the end conclusion.

In April, the Macon YDC sponsored "Movie Night" for youth who had exhibited positive behavior and had the required number of "Gotcha" reward points to attend. Watchin "Alvin and the Chipmunks", the Macon YDC youth were able to relax and enjoy a normal and fun night out with their friends.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. More than 19,000 U.S. schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that continual teaching, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behavior will reduce unnecessary discipline and promote a climate of greater productivity, safety and learning. PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behavior analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve school climate for all students.

To learn more about PBIS at DJJ, visit





     Queenie Burton: Central Office Employee of the Month for June 2016 DJJ Staff  at:  6/6/2016  

Congratulations to Queenie Burton -- Selected Central Office Employee of the Month for June 2016!

The Central Office Nomination Committee is pleased to announce that Queenie Burton has been selected as the Employee of the Month for June 2016.

Queenie has been with the Department for over 2 years performing duties as a Budget Analyst 2 in the Office of Budget Services. Queenie works with the various RYDC facilities and is responsible for the Secure Detention budgetary program. She is an outstanding employee who can always be depended on for a quality product and exceptional customer service. Her role is critical to the success of the Budget Office, Division of Finance, and the Department.

Queenie is the main point of contact for the 19 RYDC facilities across the state and Secure Detention Administration. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of her program’s budget, which includes conducting internal transfers between accounts, object classes, and department IDs, the loading of budgets, as well as creating manual rerates where needed. Additionally, she analyzes and processes Purchase Order chartfield approvals and Personnel Action requests. She also helps to manage the BudgetNet system and enters budgetary changes on a quarterly basis to ensure compliance with the Office of Planning and Budget.

Queenie is a team player and invests herself in the budget team. When she has completed her work, she oftentimes will assist the other Analysts in completing their tasks. Additionally, Queenie goes out of her way by investing many hours in assisting AOCs at facilities with their budgets, projections, and purchase orders. For many facilities, Queenie’s training is paramount to successful completion of their quarterly projections.

Queenie is always willing to assist others and is approachable and patient with all who ask for her assistance. She is an excellent employee and a high performer who is passionate about the quality of her work product. For these reasons, Ms. Queenie Burton has been selected as the Department’s Employee of the Month.


The Nomination Committee


The Employee of the Month Committee

DJJ’s Employee of the Month Recognition Program
– How Nominees Are Selected

Beginning January 2015, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice kicks-off its first “Employee of the Month” program for Central Office employees. Names of nominees are selected by the DJJ Executive Team from members of their units or divisions and submitted to be recognized as the Central Office Employee of the Month. Included with the nomination is a one page write-up detailing why the staff member should be given consideration to be selected Employee of the Month.

Then each month, the Nomination Committee makes their selection for the employee to receive public appreciation the following month. The written nomination is reviewed and signed by Commissioner Avery D. Niles and posted for public recognition on the DJJ “News & Views” website. Each nominee selected by the committee will be recognized at a monthly DJJ Board Meeting and entitled to use the Employee of the Month parking space reserved at Central Office.

The DJJ Central Office Employee of the Month award is intended to recognize and support those stand-out DJJ team members who bring additional motivation, determination and vigor to the workplace through their personal ethics, advocacy, positive attitudes and innovative solutions to impact the professional challenges faced by their dedicated colleagues and the troubled youth they serve.





     Muscogee YDC Coastal Education Study DJJ Staff  at:  5/27/2016  

Muscogee YDC Coastal Education Study

Special thanks to Chrissy Kaczynski for story support and photos

As part of the Department of Juvenile Justice's Rescue 2 Restore national support service education grant sponsored by State Farm/Youth Services America, youth from the Muscogee Youth Development Center (Muscogee YDC) were able to visit the Georgia coast for an educational field trip to Jekyll Island. The theme of the education service project was coastal education with a student-chosen focus on saving sea turtles.

To begin their educational field trip, the youth first visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Taking a guided tour of the center, the youth learned about turtles currently being rehabilitated by the organization. The youth then participated in a guided ecological beach tour where they were taught about Jekyll Island's plant and animal life. Turtle tracks from the previous night could be seen on the beach where the female turtles came to lay their eggs. The turtle nesting sites were marked and covered to protect the future turtles from animal predators and human harm.

After visiting the beach (many of the participaint youth had never seen the beach, ocean, or sea turtles before and were amazed by the experience), the Muscogee youth traveled to the Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resource Division office. Meeting with DNR biologists, the youth boarded four boats to visit a protected bird nesting area. Surveying many different species of birds, the youth also were able to find shells, shark teeth, and fossils.

The information gathered during this trip is helping the Muscogee youth learn about the marine damage caused by debris (plastic in particular) and the need for additional awareness and action. As part of their studies, the youth are designing a reusable bag to encourgage the elimination of plastic bags. Additionally, the Muscogee youth have started advocating for a recycling program to be started at their facility.

The Department of Juvenile Justice is thankful to the Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for their support during this educational trip. To learn more about the Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resource Division office, visit them at To view the Georgia Turtle Center, go to More about DJJ's Rescue 2 Restore program can be found at



     Thomas Community Services Office: Employee Appreciation DJJ Staff  at:  5/27/2016  

Thomas Community Services Office: Employee Appreciation

Special thanks to JPM Shalonda Brinson for the story support

On May 4th, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued a proclamation in support of State Employee Recognition Day and declared the week of May 1st through 7th as State Employee Recognition Week. Honoring thousands of dedicated individuals who make up the state's workforce, State Employee Recognition Week is one way to say "Thank You" to those who serve the nearly ten million Georgia citizens each and every day.

Around the state, the Department of Juvenile Justice has been honoring the hard working employees who are the mainstay of this agency. In Thomas County in southwest Georgia, JPM Shalonda Brinson took some time to thank the staff at the Thomas County Community Services Office (Thomas CSO) with a pizza luncheon that included her specially-made Chef Salad and famous Sweet and Sour Punch. Even better than the meal was the chance for the Thomas CSO Team to come together and share fun times with games and "specialty" Employee Appreciation Certificates that generated many laughs and good memories.

Congratulations to the entire Thomas County Community Services Office for their dedication to the mission and spirit of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Shalonda Brinson, JPM and Lisa Owens, JPPS II

Shalonda Brinson, JPM and Aja Jones, JPPS II

Shalonda Brinson, JPM and Freddie Robinson, JPPS I

Shalonda Brinson, JPM

Lisa Owens, JPPS II; Janie Holton, JPPS III and John Young, JPPS/HITS

John Young, JPPS/HITs and Shalonda Brinson, JPM

Tomekia Hamilton, JPPS II and Shalonda Brinson, JPM

Shalonda Brinson, JPM and Julie Mims, PA

Shalonda Brinson, JPM




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