News You Can Use - 08/23/2004

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
08/23/2004 - 08/29/2004

Thirty GCPS students recently earned “Excellence in Media Production” awards in the 2004 International Student Media Festival (ISMF). The winning entries represent live-action video, animation, mixed media, and sequential-still productions. For more information, call Greg LaHatte, director of the Broadcast and Distance Learning department, at 770-822-6460.
TitleProducersSchool Name
Aladdin and the Golden LampMorris BrattsBerkeley Lake Elementary
MermalenaRaven HinsonBerkeley Lake Elementary
My Personal PastimeDaniel Espeut, Frank FerrerCollins Hill High
Stride for Strength: The Keaston White StoryDaniel EspeutCollins Hill High
The Time to ShineDaniel EspeutCollins Hill High
The Axe EffectDaniel EspeutCollins Hill High
Mission to Mars: Craig News ShowNatalie Flood, Matthew Townsend, Steven SlaughterCraig Elementary
Kidnapping of Matthew MadoxRachel Foster, Jaime Van Scooter, Kelly HarringtonCreekland Middle
Acts of KindnessHaley Holcombe, Katie LeCompte, Taylor Callaway, Will Smith, Mark DunnCrews Middle
From Volcano to TsunamiKeri LauCrews Middle
Ocean ZonesStephen SwanCrews Middle
My Fantastic DadJaclyn McSpaddenCrews Middle
Safe SexLyndi MitchellGrayson High
Oh CanadaNancy Hayes' 1st Grade ClassGwin Oaks Elementary
Welcome to Japan Land of the Rising SunMs. Babel's 2nd Grade GroupGwin Oaks Elementary
Studying is ImportantGrace Lui, Katie Rice, Hans Louis, Omar PachecoHarbins Elementary
Og: The Island CavemanPatrick BarnhartRichard Hull Middle
A Mid-Winter's DaydreamSammi SaadRichard Hull Middle
Animals Should Definitely Not Go To SchoolMrs. Linda Morgan's 2nd. Grade ClassMcKendree Elementary
Living in AmericaMrs. Schaefer's E.S.O.L. Kindergarten StudentsMcKendree Elementary
The Solar System (B)Mr. Stortz' 4th Grade ClassMcKendree Elementary
The Big, Good WolfRachel Ehrlich, Leanne Francis, Derek CrabtreePeachtree Elementary
Fantastic FliersKendall Jennings, Matthew Forchetti, Ryan PurvisPeachtree Elementary
Mexico For 1st GradersMarques Solomon, Lily Zaycheck, Derek Crabtree, Amin Chatoui, Aditya GoodalaPeachtree Elementary
Thurgood MarshallWhitney Trower, Chip ScarboroughPeachtree Ridge High
Viral ReproductionFelicia Yang, Tyler JenningsPinckneyville Middle
Wonder, Ponder, LoveErinn Waldo, Emily Hackett, Hannah EvansPinckneyville Middle
All About Ishanl!Ishani Podder and Miss Weck's Cool Class Susan Stripling Elementary
Out-of-this-World Facts about Outer SpaceMiss Weck's Cool 2nd Grade ClassSusan Stripling Elementary
A Man of Peace: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Miss Weck's Cool 2nd Grade Class Susan Stripling Elementary

Anne Granville of Norcross High, Constance Sharpe of Meadowcreek High and Christ Ponraj, formally of Lilburn Middle were named 2004 Fellows in the Georgia Industrial Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) program, sponsored by Georgia Institute of Technology. For more information, call Donna Barrett, program director, at 404-894-7530, or visit

Lennie Hsiao, Brookwood High senior, participated in an eight-week summer program, co-sponsored by the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and the Science National Honor Society, Inc. The program featured hands-on activities discussions, and research experiences in laboratories. For more information, call Poul Olson of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at 404-463-9433.

Ivy Creek Elementary will celebrate the school’s second annual Patriot Day on September 9. Student assemblies will focus on patriotism and heroism. The Gwinnett County Honor Guard will present the colors. Local police and firefighters have been invited. The Patriot Choir from North Georgia College also will perform. Grade-level programs will run for 20 minutes at different times. For more information, call 678-714-3655.

Arcado Elementary classes will sponsor a Grandparents Week celebration September 7-10. Grandparents are invited to eat lunch with students and commemorate the visit with a photograph. For more information, call 770-925-2100.

The classes of Angela Kilburn, Sally Murray, and Libby Sawyer-- Margaret Winn Holt Elementary teachers-- will study an Olympic unit over the next two weeks. Students will participate in a Mini-Olympics at the end of the unit on August 27. Parents are invited to visit the playground from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. to watch their students compete. For more information, call 678-376-8600.

Rosi Beckman’s class at Knight Elementary has been researching Olympic history. Students selected a country to learn about and tracked medals earned by their chosen country. The collected data will be put into an Excel spreadsheet. Students will compare how each country did with U.S. results. The unit will allow students to brush up on research skills while learning Excel.

Tina Toney’s class at Camp Creek Elementary will study a unit on the Olympics the week after next. They will have their own Olympics with medals, a torch, etc.

Students in Nicole Allison’s Riverside Elementary class will pick a summer Olympic sport out of a hat and write a research paper on the origins of the sport. Students will begin their reports with a brief history of the Olympics, and then move into the history of the sport. Students also will complete a study of current events, noting daily medal counts won by various countries for different sports. This unit of study is tied in with social studies geography lessons.

Marilyn Reed's class at Riverside Elementary will discuss the origin of the Olympic games and the symbols associated with the games. Students will complete an activity book, and make up a new Olympic event.

Anne Haddox’s teaches gifted math and science classes at J.P. McConnell Middle. Her 6th graders will learn about the Olympic ring symbol, the history of the ancient games, the symbolism of the Olympic torch, and the renewal of the modern day games. Students will estimate distances, volume and area of various "sports" results at six stations. The class will measure their results using metric measurements and calculate the percentage of error in estimates. In addition, the class will review newspaper articles relating to the Olympics.

The classes of Larry Block, Helen Nixon, and Robin Tillotson of Peachtree Ridge High plan to incorporate the speeds of the swimmers and runners, the distances of the shot putters and discus throwers, the trajectories of the pole vaults, the rotational dynamics of the gymnasts, etc. into college prep physics classes.

Betsy Marinacci of Trickum Middle will teach her 6th grade ESOL class about the Olympics and Greece. Using the written word, research, and video, the students will improve their writing and listening skills, and their English comprehension.

Jessica Houck and Jody Norwood of Brookwood High will teach a unit together on graphing the medal totals, based on the countries. Students will chart the gold, silver, and bronze medals earned the previous day. The students will find this information from the news, newspapers, and the Internet. The unit also includes reading comprehension activities about the Olympic games.

Julie Weir, a fourth grade teacher at Craig Elementary, is the mother of Amanda Weir-- an Olympic swimmer. Upon her return from Greece, Ms. Weir plans to incorporate her experiences at the Olympics into her classes.

Kimberly Lipe, International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator at Pinckneyville Middle for the 6th grade IB team, is teaching an interdisciplinary IB unit on the Olympics. In the unit students will focus on the official languages of the games, the promotion of internationalism, problem solving and statistics in Math, and the physics involved in different Summer Olympic events.

Susan Pugh, computer science teacher at Pinckneyville Middle, plans to have her 6th and 7th grade students create PowerPoint slide shows that relate to the Olympics. The 6th grade slide shows will be titled “Voicing Our Values.” Students will present character traits and values, such as teamwork and perseverance, and relate this to Olympic athletes or sports. Ms. Pugh plans on having the 7th grade students research Olympic athletes and their countries. The slide shows will contain information about the culture in each athlete's country.

Mary Anne Anderson of Trickum Middle School will cover the Olympics in her 8th grade language arts classes.

Rock Springs Elementary P.E. teachers are using an “Olympic theme” this year. A bulletin board will feature the Olympic schedules and sports. Olympic "terminology" will be incorporated in instructional units.

Kathy Traylor of Shiloh Middle will have her Algebra classes use Olympic medal counts and swimming times to create charts and graphs in the computer lab, using Excel.

“The Author In You”Inspiring students to find their own creative voices, “The Author In You,” GCPS TV's newest educational series, airs August 23 through August 28, at 2 and 7 p.m. Featuring award-winning authors and illustrators from across the country, this innovative new series provides students throughout Gwinnett County with an opportunity to learn about the writing process and ways to improve their writing skills. The first episode of “The Author In You” features noted poet and author Nikki Grimes. Best known for Bronx Masquerade, and Jazmin's Notebook, Ms. Grimes discusses how she overcame personal obstacles and developed her unique writing voice. Audience: Grades 4-12
“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 1)”Back by popular demand! 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 August 23-October 19 on GCPS TV. Watch Monday through Thursday, at 9 p.m. with a repeat at 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“GCPS Focus”This 30-minute educational news and information program showcases Gwinnett County Public Schools’ ongoing commitment to academic excellence. This edition includes a look at continued growth in Gwinnett County, new school openings, and teacher orientation. Airs daily at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. each day.

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 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--

Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary will host curriculum night at 7 p.m on August 23 for grade K-2 parents, and August 24 at 7 p.m. for grade 3-5 parents.

Berkmar Middle will hold a PTA/Curriculum night on August 29 at 7 p.m.

Berkmar High will host an Open House on August 31 in the commons area. The music department will perform from 6 to 6:45 p.m. and concessions will be available. The PTSA meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by classroom visits and informational meetings. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month.

September 6 is Labor Day, a systemwide holiday.

September 8 is International Literacy Day.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., September 9, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville.

Patriot Day is September 11.

September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during August. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.