Volume 2, Issue 5

April 2005

Sycamore ES educator wins national teaching award

Sycamore ES FOCUS Teacher Leanne Luttrell is a winner in the prestigious 2004 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation’s highest honor for teaching these subjects. Ms. Luttrell is the only math teacher from Georgia, and one of only 95 elementary and middle school teachers nationwide, to win the award this year. In a citation given to Ms. Luttrell, President George W. Bush commended her "for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest."

Leanne Luttrell
Sycamore ES Teacher Leanne Luttrell receives her award from John Marburger (left), director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Arden Bement (right), director of the National Science Foundation. (Photo provided by Daniel J. Splaine Photography/Tricom Associates.)

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“The Superintendent’s Recommended FY2006 Budget is a budget that is sensitive to the public’s concerns about taxes and realistic about the strain on future budgets. However, most important, this is a budget that allows us to continue providing quality programs and services for students.”
J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent

money art

Click here for budget highlights and an executive summary of the FY06 budget and here for remaining dates on the budget calendar.

AKS-CQI model supports all students, helps close gaps

When you think about it, a student’s K–12 education is a little like a skyscraper. Knowledge and skills mastered in early grades make up the foundation, and the penthouse is the student’s highest academic potential. Click here to learn more about the Academic Knowledge and Skills-Continuous Quality Improvement (AKS-CQI) Model. Using the eight research-based instructional steps of the model, Gwinnett schools help students build from the “ground floor” to their highest academic potential.

About Teaching and Learning… Science and Social Studies

GCPS science curriculum builds inquiring minds

GCPS students are actively engaged in science experiences that build and enhance their academic knowledge and skills. Developing key science skills allows students to participate in the scientific process while learning essential academic knowledge. You’ll find four important elements running through all levels of science instruction in the school system — incorporating real-world applications, integrating reading and writing strategies, emphasizing critical-thinking skills, and structuring lessons that are inquiry-based. Click here for 10 ways to keep inquiring minds curious.

Minor science photo

Rebecca Minor ES students test water from a nearby creek in their outdoor classroom.

Prepared for the future: The economics of learning about finance

“Students’ understanding of economics, personal finance, and making good decisions is critical as they become the consumers, workers, investors, and citizens of tomorrow in a pretty complex financial world,” says Debbie Daniell, GCPS social studies coordinator. “Throughout GCPS’ K–12 social studies curriculum, our teachers introduce and expand on economics concepts, showing students the economic impact of historical events, people, and places, and the impact of history on the economy.” Gwinnett’s AKS curriculum begins this focus with the youngest students, building on that knowledge up to the economics course they’ll take as high school seniors. Click here for five strategies to enhance economic and financial education at home.

Click here to download a PDF of the spring issue of Communiqué to read science program profiles and more about GCPS’ economics and financial education programs.

School Board updates community in area board meetings

The Gwinnett County Board of Education meets monthly in Lawrenceville, but in April, the Board members go out into their districts to share information about proposed budget plans for 2005-06, and discuss education topics with citizens and staff in public forums. An Area Board Meeting is scheduled in each of the five Board members’ districts. Berkmar HS hosted the District V meeting with BOE representative Louise Radloff on April 12. Click here for remaining dates on this year’s Area Board Meeting schedule.

Curriculum and assessment news
  • Spring tests measure learning… Georgia students in grades 3-8 will take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) April 20-26. Younger students in grades 1 and 2 take the CRCT April 26-28. Attendance is important every day; students can’t learn when they’re not in class. Attendance is especially important on test days, when students get an opportunity to “show what they know.” Click here for sample CRCT questions from the state Department of Education, here for test-taking tips for your child, and here for suggestions for parents at test time.
Testing photo
  • BOE gives thumbs up for new instructional materials… HS language labs, “crime scene” teaching materials, and a reading intervention program for older students are just a few of the new instructional materials recommended by staff and recently adopted by the School Board. Click here for details.

Project Child Find identifies
children needing special education services

A free, appropriate public education is the right of every child with a disability, ages 3 to 21. But how do families determine if their children are in need of special education or related services? Through Project Child Find, Gwinnett County Public Schools raises awareness in the community of available resources and offers free evaluations to determine a child’s needs. Working with the medical community and service agencies throughout the county, the school system seeks to identify children diagnosed with, or in need of further evaluation for, mental, physical, or emotional/behavioral disabilities. Here are ways to learn more:

  • On May 21, GCPS will host a Child Find Screening and Information Fair at GCPS’ Lawrenceville East facility (723 Hi-Hope Road) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A Spanish interpreter will be on hand. Representatives will conduct vision, hearing, and speech screenings.
  • Through the Babies Can’t Wait Program, infants and toddlers with special needs can receive early intervention services. Call 770-339-5048 to learn more.
  • Families needing information about transition into GCPS’ 3-year-old special needs program may attend a community gathering on April 26. Click here for details.
  • For more information about special education services for Gwinnett County residents, click here or call 770-277-4475.

GCPS seeks input on draft calendars for 06-07 and 07-08

Check out draft calendars for 2006-07 and 2007-08 online. GCPS is seeking your input on the proposals. Suggest changes or simply let us know that you like the calendars proposed. Click here to download the calendars and get information about submitting your feedback.

Job fair yields highly qualified teachers, candidate pool

They flew in from as far away as Texas and Michigan, and drove in from nearby towns and cities. Just as quality schools attract families to Gwinnett, those same well-regarded schools are a draw for teachers who are interested in a dynamic learning community, a high level of professional support, and a strong curriculum and assessment program. Consider turnout for the Certified Teacher Employment Fair. At the spring event, nearly 1,300 applicants interviewed for teaching positions for the 2005–06 school year. That’s good news for a growing school system that will need more than 1,200 new teachers for the start of school and an estimated 200 teachers during the school year. Know a potential candidate for a teaching position? Interested in driving a school bus or serving in another support role? Click here for career opportunities and an application.

Students preparing for finals can get Live Homework Help

Students can get Live Homework Help (LHH) online in core subjects through a continued partnership between GCPS and the Gwinnett County Public Library. The service is free, easy to use, and available to students when they need homework help the most… between 2 p.m. and midnight, seven days a week. Also, Spanish-language tutoring in math and science is available between the hours of 4 and 10 p.m, Sunday through Thursday. Click here for LHH details. In addition, the library site now connects to SAT practice exams.

Recent GCPS honors

The honors and awards keep on coming… from region-winning STAR students and teachers to the state’s top athletic director, from award-winning principals to top academic teams in the state, from top regional and state athletes to winners in science and media fairs, from student honorees in foreign language and music to top bus managers and monitors and industry-certified programs. Click here and here for more honors and awards. Award lists are updated periodically as schools, staff members, and students are honored at the state and national levels. “News You Can Use” is a weekly collection of honors and upcoming events submitted by local schools.

Community invited to join curriculum review committee

June 1 is the deadline to apply to be part of the school system’s GEMS Oversight Committee. The committee meets annually for one to two days to review input from educators and community members on suggested revisions to Gwinnett’s curriculum, the Academic Knowledge and Skills, or AKS. The group then makes recommendations to the Board of Education on any changes. Click here for an application.

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for GCPS TV Programming.

GCPS calendar dates take us through the end of 04-05 school year

Through the end of the school year and into the summer, we’re celebrating education holidays and staff recognitions, going to proms and graduations, registering for kindergarten, and attending summer school. Click here for a list of GCPS dates in May and June. If you need next year’s calendar, click here.


We would like to hear your suggestions for topics to cover in future issues of this publication, or ways we can keep in touch if you do not wish to receive this e-mail publication. Thank you for your continued support of public education and of Gwinnett County Public Schools' efforts to become a system of world-class schools. Please e-mail GwinnettSchoolsE-News@gwinnett.k12.ga.us with your feedback and suggestions.



©2005 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 4/05

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2005 Gwinnett County Board of Education
Daniel Seckinger, Chairman; Dr. Robert McClure, Vice Chairman;
Carole Boyce; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; and Louise Radloff
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks