News You Can Use - 09/19/2005

During the school year, the Department of Communication & Media Relations produces a media tip sheet called "News You Can Use, which is distributed to metro Atlanta news outlets electronically. This publication provides school and system news, including recent honors, upcoming events, calendar items, and photo opportunities at local schools and central office locations. The tip sheet is sent out at the end of each week, and covers news and GCPS items of interest for the coming 7-10 days.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
09/19/2005 - 09/25/2005

Intel Corporation and Scholastic named J.P. McConnell Middle one of 20 “Schools of Distinction for Academic Achievement and Innovation.” McConnell Middle will serve as an exemplary model for success in the area of literacy achievement. As a “School of Distinction,” McConnell will receive a $10,000 cash grant from the Intel Foundation. Representatives from the school and school system will go to Washington, D.C., to participate in an awards gala on Oct. 6. At the gala, one primary and one secondary school, selected from among this year’s honorees, will be named “Best of the Best.” These winners will receive an additional $15,000 grant. For information on McConnell's achievements and initiatives in the area of literacy, please contact Assistant Principal Debbie Klug or Principal Dan Hicks at 770-554-1000.

GCPS announces 105 local school Teachers of the Year TOTY, completing the first step in selecting the 2005 GCPS Teacher of the Year. All local school honorees will be considered for the districtwide honor. From the 105 local winners, twenty semifinalists will be chosen in early October. Six finalists will be named in mid-October. The annual TOTY banquet and the announcement of this year’s GCPS TOTY will be held on November 3, 2005. Media inquiries about the Teacher of the Year program are directed to Dr. Lea Arnau, director of professional learning, at 770-513-6652.

Forty-nine GCPS seniors are among the 16,000 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists are selected based on their scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test in the fall of their junior year. These students will be considered for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards. For a list of semifinalists, contact Sue Peterson at 770-822-6508. For more information about the program, contact the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at 847-866-5100.

Dr. Cindy Loe, associate superintendent for Organizational Advancement, presented “Best Practices in the Economics of Education” at Oxford University, England, in July. The international conference included speakers and attendees from countries throughout the world, including Russia, Japan, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. For more information, call 678-377-3890.

Cindy Apley of Shiloh Middle will visit Tokyo as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program. Ms. Apley was selected from a national pool of more than 2,500 applicants, and will be among 200 educators visiting Japan in October. For more information, visit or call 1-888-527-2636.

Tina Duncan, cluster coordinator and program coordinator for the Intellectually Disabled Mild Program, received the Council for Exceptional Children Metro Administrator of the Year award. For more information, call 770-277-4475.

The Norcross High Philharmonic Orchestra has been invited to perform at the University of Georgia High School Orchestra Fest on Oct. 1, in Athens at Hodgson Hall. For more information, email, or call Cathie Hudnall, orchestra director at 770-723-0114.

Berkmar High students Monica Huynh and La Tisha Jackson have been published in the summer 2005 “Creative Communications” anthology. Monica is a student of language arts teacher Donna Fisher, and La Tisha is a student of Cynthia Vander Ven, also a language arts teacher. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

The first session of the Grayson Elementary Parent Academy– titled “Reading Strategies,” will be held on Sept. 20 from 7 to 8 p.m. All parents are invited. For more information, email Lora Thompson at

Students from the Central Gwinnett High softball team will visit 1st grade students at Lawrenceville Elementary on Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. The team will read books and share stories with the students. For more information, call 770-963-8041.

Summerour Middle will host an International Fall Festival on Sept. 24 from noon to 4 p.m. The festival theme is “Bringing Unity to the Community.” For more information, call Michelle Ransom or Jennifer Goodwin at 770-448-3045.

The Duluth High Korean Club will meet on Sept. 28. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Creekland Middle students will participate in the 10th Power Over Prejudice Summit on Sept. 28 at the Georgia Institute of Technology campus. The Summit is conducted each year by the Anti-Prejudice Consortium. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

Cedar Hill Elementary will host the school’s 4th annual Math Carnival on Sept, 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Math games and activities have been planned for parents and students. There will be an inflatable slide and “moon walk.” For more information, call 770-962-5015.

Brookwood High will sponsor the Maroon and Gold Forensic Classic Tournament on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The tournament generally attracts more than 30 schools from several states. This event is open to the public on Friday evening. For more information, email Leslie Watkins at

The Mill Creek High band will hold an art auction on Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. in the commons area. There also will be a silent auction conducted for items and services donated by local businesses. Tickets are $5 per family, including food and drinks. The band will perform during intermission. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

A group of 25 Pharr Elementary students will visit Grayson High School of Technology on Oct. 6. The students will participate in a biotechnology activity. For more information, call Michael Garrett at 770-554-7094.

Grayson Elementary held a Community Outreach Food Drive on Sept. 12. Each grade level was asked to bring a different food to donate. Those who donated food received a sticker. For more information, call 770-963-7189.

Following is an updated list of the projects and fundraisers planned by GCPS schools. For more information on these specific projects, contact the local school. (A list of school phone numbers is available on the GCPS Web site--, or by calling Sue Peterson at 770-822-6508.) Contact Sloan Roach, executive director for Communication and Media Relations, at 770-822-6506 for recent additions.
Berkmar High students are collecting nonperishable food items, clothing, baby items, and school supplies for evacuees of Hurricane Katrina through Sept. 26.
Dacula High peer leaders are selling Mardi Gras beads in a “Beads for the Big Easy” fundraiser. Proceeds go to the Red Cross, as well as the local evacuees.
The Duluth High Red Cross Club raised more than $700 through collections from teachers and the student drop-off drive last Thursday and Friday. The club hopes to raise more than $1,500 by the end of the day on Friday. All checks and cash raised will be donated to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The Duluth High faculty raised $440 for the Red Cross.
Dacula Middle is donating $100 Wal-Mart gift cards for each new student affected by the hurricane, along with a goody bag of school supplies and a list of local resources. A schoolwide collection was taken for the Red Cross and the school’s Care Team.
J.G. Dyer Elementary sponsored a “Kuddles for Katrina” day. Students donated $1 to bring a stuffed animal to spend the day with them at school. $2,112.20 was collected to donate to the American Red Cross.
Five Forks Middle will hose a Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert at Grace Fellowship Church on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. Students and teachers from the performing arts department will showcase their talents. All proceeds will benefit the victims of Katrina.
Grayson Elementary asked students to donate $2 for victims of Hurricane Katrina the week of Sept. 5-9 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Children who brought in $2 were allowed to wear their favorite hat on "Hat Day.” Faculty members Darlene Bartik, Donna Ward, and Susan Wilson led the effort, and the school's Safety Patrols actively participated by making posters to advertise the event.
Lanier Middle and the PTSA in Buford sold Chick-fil-A biscuits in the carpool line on Sept. 16 to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. The profits from the sale were donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Signs were posted along the carpool route, and posters were hung throughout the school reminding families to bring $2 for a biscuit. Students and teachers also collected change during homeroom.
“America’s Wave of Hope” is Mill Creek High’s fund drive for Hurricane Katrina victims. Our goal is to raise $30,000 over the next two weeks and 100% of all funds collected will go directly to the American Red Cross to be used as aid for the Katrina victims. If you cannot make your contribution to America’s Wave of Hope during school hours, you may mail your financial contribution to Mill Creek High School at 4400 Braselton Highway, Hoschton, GA, 30548 or drop it off in the front office.
Parkview High students donated 2,778 canned goods/nonperishable food items, 29 cans of baby formula, 105 jars of baby food, 29 packages of diapers, 2,204 toiletry/personal hygiene products, 139 basic first-aid items, 42 shirts, 7 pairs of shorts, 8 pairs of pants, 12 baby outfits, 4 pairs of socks
3 teddy bears, 1 blanket, and misc. baby supplies and household cleaning supplies for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

“Education News Parents Can Use: High Schools - Expanding the Promise of No Child Left Behind” The September broadcast of “Education News Parents Can Use” features special back-to-school tips from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and the 2005 National Teacher of the Year, Jason Kamras. The program will include discussions on how U.S. high schools need to change to meet the demands of the 21st century, and which high school strategies are showing measurable results in positively affecting the achievement gap. This 60-min. program airs live Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. and is rebroadcast Sept. 21-25 at 8 p.m.

“Telling Stories: Linda Sue Park - PW/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series” Born in Illinois to Korean immigrant parents, author Linda Sue Park has always enjoyed writing poems and stories. In this program, Ms. Park talks about her Newbery Medal-winning book “A Single Shard” and her newest book, “Project Mulberry.” This 60-min. program airs live Sept. 23 at 11 a.m.

“Developing Writers” Annenberg/CPB “Developing Writers: A Workshop for High School Teachers” presents practical and philosophical advice for teaching writing, while examining issues every teacher faces, such as high-stakes assessments and dealing with differently abled students. This eight-part 60-min. program airs Sept. 19-22, Sept. 26-28, and Sept. 30 at 11 a.m.

“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 3)” English...Yes, I Can!, a GCPS TV production, returns to the air on Sept. 19 with the premiere of Series 3. This final installment of the program is designed to further enhance the English literacy skills of adult learners. The 16 one-hour shows in Series 3 are scheduled to air Sept. 19-Oct. 13 on GCPS TV. The 60-minute program airs Monday-Thursday at 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tune in to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for education programs and information. TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 (Ch. 97 without converter) BellSouth on Channel 21
Charter on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or e-mail A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month.

September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.

Constitution Week begins September 17.

September 17-23 is Georgia School Bus Safety Week.

October is Computer Learning Month.

October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week.

October 10-14 is National School Lunch Week.

October 16-22 is National School Bus Safety Week.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during September. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Phone Number
Alton C. Crews Middle
Berkmar High
Berkmar Middle
Bethesda Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Chattahoochee Elementary
Collins Hill High
Corley Elementary
Creekland Middle
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Five Forks Middle
Fort Daniel Elementary
Frank N. Osborne Middle
Freeman's Mill Elementary
GIVE Center
Grayson Elementary
Gwin Oaks Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Ivy Creek Elementary
J.C. Magill Elementary
J.P. McConnell Middle
Louise Radloff Middle
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary
McKendree Elementary
Meadowcreek Elementary
Mountain Park Elementary
Norcross High
Parkview High
R.D. Head Elementary
R.L. Norton Elementary
Rebecca Minor Elementary
Riverside Elementary
Shiloh High
Shiloh Middle
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
South Gwinnett High
Sugar Hill Elementary
Susan Stripling Elementary
Sweetwater Middle
Sycamore Elementary
W.C. Britt Elementary