News You Can Use - 05/15/2006

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
05/15/2006 - 05/21/2006

On May 11 at 7 p.m. local businesses will present the preschool program at Fort Daniel Elementary with contributions to build a playground. Preschool teachers and parents have teamed up to raise money and construct the playground for the preschool students. Several community business leaders have donated funds to support this project. Among them are Chuck Warbington, executive director of Gwinnett Village ($2,000), Mark Richardson of the Richardson Housing Group and Lowell Pratt of Lowell Pratt Communities ($2,000); Fort Daniel PTA ($500); Ron Wylie of Nortap Associates ($100.00). Home Depot is donating a storage shed to house outside toys. For more information, call 770-932-7400.

During National Nurse Week, a number of GCPS school nurses were honored for their contributions. Ann Bonislawski R.N. of Lilburn Elementary was one of three outstanding nurses selected from a field of 237 statewide nominees for the AJC Nursing Excellence Award. In addition, the Georgia PTA named Phyllis Barnes R.N. of J.C. Magill Elementary as the state’s Outstanding Elementary School Nurse. Claudia Walters R.N. of Jackson Elementary and Regina Slide R.N. of Oakland School earned honorable mentions for the AJC award. For more information, call the local school.

Beth Guilbert, a French teacher at Norcross High was honored with the K-12 Teacher of Promise Award by the Foreign Language Association of Georgia. The award recognizes an educator with three or fewer years of teaching experience who shows tremendous potential to contribute to the profession. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Lorena Cazares of Collins Hill High was named Georgia German Student of the Year by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. Lorena will attend a three-week study course in Germany, courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines and the Goethe-Institut. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

Jill Tweedy of Collins Hill High is the state’s German Teacher of the Year, honored by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. Lufthansa is providing her with a flight to Germany in recognition of her award. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

Two Gwinnett students had the highest score in Georgia on the National German Exam. Patrick Najjar, a 2nd-year German student at Parkview High, had the highest score among the 275 students in Georgia who took the Level 2 exam. Of the 203 Georgia students who took the Level 3 exam, Stephen Joiner, a 3rd-year German student at Collins Hill High, had the highest score in the state and one of only 23 perfect scores in the nation. This year, the German exam (for Levels 2-4) was administered to more than 26,000 students in the United States, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German. For more information, call the local school.

Twenty-four GCPS students were 1st or 2nd place winners in statewide technical education competitions sponsored by, SkillsUSA, Technology Students of America, and Family, Career, Community Leaders of America. For more information and a list of winners, call Jodi Reeves at 678-301-7050.

Craig Lynberg of Parkview High was selected to the post of Sergeant at Arms in the Georgia chapter of Technology Students of America.

GCPS sent 220 student entries to the state Media Festival and 110 of the entries received a superior score of 96-100. These top entries will be judged at international competition over the summer. Winners at the International Student Media Festival are recognized at an award ceremony to be held in October in Dallas, Texas. For more information, call Deborah Gray at 678-301-6428.

The Berkmar High student newspaper, “The Liberty” won top honors at both the Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s (GSPA) High School Journalism awards and the Gwinnett Daily Post awards. The newspaper won 1st place at Division AAAAA for Newspaper General Excellence, Best Layout in State, and The All-Georgia Award, which recognizes the “best of the best” newspapers in the state at GSPA. “The Liberty” won 1st place in photography, editorials, and Newspaper General Excellence at the Gwinnett Daily Post awards. In addition, several students brought home individual awards. Chris Canter is the journalism adviser for the school and was selected by the American Society of Newspaper Editors to participate in the summer Adviser’s Institute. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Six $1,000 Gwinnett PTA Council College Scholarships are awarded each year to deserving seniors to be used for their college education. Four are named scholarships, honoring individuals who have made a significant contribution to the PTA in Gwinnett County. Students receiving the 2006 scholarships are:
· Kyle Harman of Norcross High-- Mary Root Scholarship
· Pavel Pshichenko of Maxwell High School of Technology-- Janice West Scholarship
· Scott Johnson of Berkmar High-- Louise Radloff Scholarship
· Janet Oi Yi Lui of Mill Creek High-- McCleskey/Spellman Scholarship
· Rabeea Khan of Duluth High
· Solomon Manmektew of Meadowcreek High

Two GCPS students earned scholarships sponsored by the Snellville Commerce Club. Whitney Blan of Brookwood High won the 2006 Distributive Education Clubs of America scholarship and Clayton Still of South Gwinnett High won the Future Business Leaders of America scholarship. Both students are involved in their community and will pursue higher education upon graduation. For more information, call the local school.

Three teams of students from Brookwood High won highest honors in year-end standings of the WordMasters Challenge, a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry. Participating with 559 high school teams from across the country, the Brookwood High 9th-grade team tied for 13th place in the nation in the cumulative standings at the end of the four meets held this year. The Brookwood High 11th grade team placed 9th in the nation, and its 12th-grade team tied for 5th place in the nation. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

GCPS math teachers recently organized a countywide Witzzle Pro tournament at Harbins Elementary. 5th grade winners were Michael Rayalu, 1st place; Janelle Tong, 2nd place; and Kishan Bhut, 3rd place, all from Chattahoochee Elementary. 4th grade winners are Eileen Li of Simpson Elementary, 1st place; Edil Nour of Margaret Winn Holt Elementary, 2nd place; and Jamaal Roberts of Annistown Elementary, 3rd place. For more information, call Lyunda Luckie at 678-301-7037.

Visual Arts Teachers Lauren Christine Phillips of Norcross Elementary and Barbara Willis of Brookwood High were among 12 teachers selected for a summer 2006 Teacher Residency Program to learn about architecture at Falling Water, the Pennsylvania house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. For more information, call the local schools.

Bob Tucker of Dacula Elementary was honored with GCPS’ Marilyn Brackett Award for excellence in physical education. Runners-up were Kathi Abraham of Simonton Elementary, Clarence Davis of Henry Partee Elementary, Brian Garner of Brookwood Elementary, and Jeff Peterson of Mountain Park Elementary. For more information, call 770-963-7174.

David Ferguson, Norcross maintenance foreman, contributed to two textbooks used nationally for the Building Owners and Manager’s Institute. The books are “Building Design and Operations Part I” and “Building Design and Operations Part II. For more information, call 770-417-2439.

The Berkmar Middle PTA will host a performance by Full Radial Dance Company on May 17 at 2:30 p.m. This innovative dance company offers professional dance by performers with physical disabilities, demonstrating for the audience the limitless determination of the human spirit. Douglas Scott, Radial Dance founder, received his inspiration while volunteering at the Atlanta’s Shepherd Center teaching dance. The program is designed for middle school students. For more information, call 770-638-2800.

The Mountain Park Elementary chorus students in Mandy Papenbrock’s class and the Richard Hull Middle fiddle ensemble will perform for Armed Forces Day on May 20. The event will take place at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to make cards, write letters, and record messages in support of veterans and troops currently serving in Iraq. For more information and a list of the day’s events, visit

Mill Creek High’s engineering and technology program is “Flying Low!” Students in Glenn Burrows’ class are among five high school teams in the country building a fully functional hovercraft. A hovercraft is a vehicle that rides on a cushion of air over land or water. While other schools are building small-scale models powered by “shop-vacs” or “leaf blowers,” Mill Creek’s Engineering students are building the real thing. Their craft will be 13-feet long, 6-feet wide and will be powered by twin, gasoline engines, totaling 15 horsepower. With its projected 500-pound payload capacity it will easily carry two passengers. The project will be finished by the end of the school year. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

Math students at Lanier Middle participated in the St. Jude's Math-A-Thon to Fight Childhood Diseases last month. Students raised $2,100. For more information, call 770-945-8419.

Mill Creek High student Ariana Stamatiou recently led a program at the school to raise awareness about teenage drunk driving. “A Day with Miss Mill Creek – Fighting Teen Drunk Driving,” allowed students to gain knowledge and ask questions about drunk driving. Students learned myths and facts about drinking, viewed a presentation with photographs of drunk driving accidents, and listened to a speaker, Sandra Coffey, tell a moving story about being hit by a drunk driver on the way to her own prom and the long-term effects the accident has had on her life. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

“GCPS Focus” This week on “GCPS Focus” an emergency drill teams school officials with county agencies to keep students safe, environmental education in Gwinnett, the class of 2006 and this year’s retirees move on to new adventures, and summer programs encourage reading for Gwinnett students. This 30-min. program airs May 15-20 at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 11 p.m.

“ArtStage: Tapestry” Join GCPS TV for a virtual tour of the 2006 Tapestry Art Exhibit, featuring exemplary student art work from schools across Gwinnett County. Hosted by Debi West, Level Creek Elementary art teacher, “Tapestry” includes performances by the Brookwood, Collins Hill and Mill Creek dance groups. Tune in and be inspired by our talented students! This 60-min. program airs May 15-20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Musical Theater: Stephen Schwartz - Prince William/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series” At this session, meet composer/lyricist and Academy Award and Grammy winner Stephen Schwartz as he talks with Musical Theater director Michael Kerker about his most recent Broadway musical, “Wicked.” “Wicked” has been described as “the most complete-- and completely satisfying-- new musical in a long time” in USA Today. Mr. Schwartz also discusses his other musicals, including “Godspell,” “Pippin,” “Working,” and “The Magic Show.” This 60-min. program airs May 15-20 at 1 p.m.

“English... Yes, I Can! (Series 1)” English...Yes, I Can (Series 1) is a video telecourse designed to teach beginning English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 is scheduled to air through May 23 on GCPS TV. A new 60-minute program airs daily Monday–Thursday at 9 p.m. and again at 1 a.m., with the week’s shows rebroadcast on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators” This GCPS TV original series is an introduction to the Spanish language and is tailored especially for educators and other school employees. However, the community is invited to watch and learn as well. The 10-part series will air in hour-long segments through May 28. Each week, a new show will premiere at 8 p.m. on Monday, then be rebroadcast in that same time slot Tuesday through Sunday.

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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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, National Sight-Saving Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

GCPS high school students may register online (through June 3) for both face-to-face Summer School classes and the summer session of Gwinnett County Online Campus. The 2006 face-to-face summer school session for high school students will take place June 7-July 11. Classes are available at Brookwood High, Collins Hill High, and Norcross High. Online classes will be conducted June 6-July 12. Check the GCPS Web site for more information on dates, fees, and available classes.

Remaining Dates in the FY2007 Budget Process
Monday, June 5 First public hearing on millage rate, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC
Monday, June 12 2nd public hearing on millage rate, 11:45 a.m., Board Room, ISC
Monday, June 12 3rd public hearing on millage rate and final adoption, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC

Visit for information on GCPS prom dates, graduation dates, and high school summer school.

May 14–20 is Reading is Fun Week.

State Board of Education Member José Perez, serving the 7th Congressional District, will hold a listening session on May 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Norcross HS. Students, staff, parents, and community members are invited to the event to discuss student achievement for Georgia’s students. Those wishing to speak at the public forum are asked to sign in when they arrive. For more information or to request auxiliary aids, contact Lynn Roberts of the state Department of Education at 404-657-7410 or by e-mail at

Early release is May 22-24 for high school student final exams.

May 24 is the last day of school for students.

Memorial Day on May 29 is a systemwide holiday and all locations are closed.

June 2 is the deadline to apply for openings on the GEMS Oversight Committee. The committee meets annually for one to two days to review input from educators and community members on suggested revisions, deletions, and additions to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. The group’s recommendations are presented to the superintendent for adoption by the Board of Education. Applications are available online.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held June 22, 2006, at 7 p.m., at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during May. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Bethesda Elementary
Britt Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Chesney Elementary
Corley Elementary
Creekland Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
Fort Daniel Elementary
Give Center
Grayson High
Harbins Elementary
Lanier Middle
Mason Elementary
Mountain Park Elementary
Norcross Elementary
North Gwinnett
Osborne Elementary
Radloff Middle
Riverside Elementary
Simonton Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
South Gwinnett
Stripling Elementary
Sweetwater Middle