News You Can Use - 02/09/2004

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
02/09/2004 - 02/15/2004

Shiloh High junior Corry McNamara earned a 2004 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This national program honors young people for exemplary volunteerism, selecting one high school student and one middle school student from each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for recognition. More than 20,000 students applied for this year’s competition. Ms. McNamara will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in May, where the 104 top honorees from around the country will take part in several days of recognition activities.

The Special Olympics State Winter Games were held last weekend in Marrietta, and students from a number of GCPS schools won awards. Students from schools throughout the county compete on several award-winning after-school teams. The after-school gymnastics team won seven gold medals, one silver medal, and two bronze medals. The after-school bowling team won five gold medals and one silver medal. Several after-school basketball teams competed and won gold and silver medals and fourth-place ribbons. Dacula Middle and Dacula High students won second place in floor hockey, and the after-school floor hockey team won third place. Brookwood High’s basketball team was awarded a bronze, and the school’s team skills group performed very well. Lanier Middle’s basketball team skills group won fourth place. Lynnette Swanson, Special Olympics coordinator for Gwinnett County, coordinated the weekend for the GCPS athletes. For more information, call Ms. Swanson at 770-513-6800.

Jayla Hood and Katie O'Connell, both R. D. Head Elementary 5th graders, were accepted to participate in the People to People Student Ambassadors Program, traveling to the Canadian West this summer. Their trip is scheduled for June 8-21, 2004. This 14-day exchange consists of meetings with government officials, interaction with other students their age, and educational activities. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

Richard Marshall, Collins Hill High band director, received the Citation of Excellence Award from the National Bandmasters’ Association. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

The Grayson High science team placed third in regional competition Jan. 31 at the University of Georgia. The team qualified to participate in the state competition. Team members included Wryen Meek, Anne Miller, Keyan Rahimzadeh, Logan Weaver, and Josh Wilkinson. For more information, call Billy Jones at 770-554-1071.

More than 800 students from Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett schools participated in the 2004 Metro Foreign Language Forum in January at Chattahoochee High in Fulton County. Twenty-five GCPS foreign language program teachers assisted with judging this year's contest, including Shelley Pickens and Jennifer Schultz, both of Dacula High. Ratings for GCPS’ students included 90 superior, 78 excellent, and 25 good ratings. For more information, call David Jahner at 770-513-6861.

The North Gwinnett High cheerleaders' competitive squad won first place in the 8AAAAA competition held Jan. 31. Members of this squad are Sarah Avery, Rachel Bomholt, Lexie Brinkman, McKenzie Burns, Brittany Copeland, Kati Graiser, Betsy Hill, Kristin Huch, Natalie Huch, Ashley Iero, Taylor Martin, Ginger Morgan, Sarah Munteanu, Shea Newman, Christine Sciota, Jessica Smith, Megan Stecher, Ashley Sweetnam, Brittni Westfall, and Kayla Yale.

The North Gwinnett High girls swim team recently placed second in the region. Team members are Lauren Barnes, Haley Bramble, Amanda Brehm, Emily Buch, Lee Clark, Ally Cralley, Danielle Crowley, Megan D'Urso, Megan Haney, Brittany Hicks, Katrina Lane, Sarah Looney, Ellie McGinley, Erica Rhodes, Kiersten Spoerke, and Rachel Whitaker.

North Gwinnett High students Min Kim, Ji Yeon Yoo, and Drew Weber were chosen as members of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Amy Rioux, a Walnut Grove Elementary teacher, entered her 1st grade class in the “Season's Readings” poster contest for “Scholastic Magazine.” Enrique Mendez' was one of 100 winners whose posters were framed and displayed in the Scholastic News Headquarters in New York City. For more information, call 770-513-6892.

Seventeen GCPS programs were among the 31 winners of mini-grants of up to $250 awarded by the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton. Teachers apply to receive the grants for programs at their schools. A judging panel of league and community members and teaching professionals selected winners from 180 applicants from North Fulton, Gwinnett, and South Forsyth schools. Gwinnett winners are from Arcado Elementary, Berkmar High, Centerville Elementary, Central Gwinnett High, W.J. Cooper Elementary, Dacula High, J.G. Dyer Elementary, Gwin Oaks Elementary, Lanier Middle, Norcross Elementary, Oakland Center, Peachtree Elementary, Summerour Middle, and K.E. Taylor Elementary. For a full list of teachers and programs, call 770-822-6508.

A group from the British Virgin Islands and IBM will visit Alton C. Crews Middle on Feb. 16, for a tour focusing on the ways that technology can improve student achievement. The group will include the Minister of Education for the British Virgin Islands, the Chief Education Officer, a minister’s personal assistant, a representative from the IT department, and a client representative and industry executive from IBM. Principal Jonathan Patterson, along with the school’s Technology Team, will present an overview of how the school integrated instructional technology with the support of teachers and the community. The visitors will tour the computer labs and media center, view sample student projects, and visit classrooms to see first-hand how active, motivated and challenged the students are when using technology. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

In honor of Black History Month, Peachtree Elementary parents and teachers will prepare and serve soul food in the cafeteria. A program of African American dance, music, and culture will be presented during the students' lunch time. Parents are invited to dress in African attire and join their children for the program. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

The week of February 9-13, Peachtree Elementary will work with Junior Achievement and volunteers from EMS Technologies. The Junior Achievement Elementary Program is an economics and business curriculum for students in K-6. Volunteers from EMS Technologies teach the curriculum for an hour each day in classrooms. This collaborative effort supports and enhances students' understanding of life in the business world and provides an opportunity for the business community to be involved in the world of teaching. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

Fifth grade students at Peachtree Elementary will explore the massive accomplishments of African Americans and their impact on American culture and society during Black History Month. Teachers and students will create a museum, to share their discoveries with other students, looking at all aspects of the stories of black Americans. Exhibits will include a trip on the Underground Railroad, a walk through a Black History Timeline, hear African American folktales, and view a display of African American scientists. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

Tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for:
-“In Focus” this week (Feb. 9-15). The show airs 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.
-“In Five,” a five-minute news update, airs at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily.
Last Fall, GCPS TV, in partnership with Gwinnett Technical College, produced and aired a beginning English class for adult learners, called "English. . . Yes, I Can!" (Series 1). To help viewers extend their learning, GCPS TV has produced the next level class of English instruction--“English...Yes I Can!” (Series 2). The class will be aired in hour-long segments four nights a week between Jan. 12 and Feb. 12. The shows will be aired at 9 p.m., then repeated at 1 a.m. the same night. The week’s programs will be reaired in a four-hour block from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
-In addition to these shows, a new series of “BookTales” starts featuring the nominees for the 2003-2004 Georgia Children's Picture Book Award. This week will feature Janice Gibson, media specialist at R.L. Norton Elementary, reading “Henry Hikes to Fitchburg” and "Widget." The show will air daily at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
GCPS TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Charter Communications on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or send an email to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

Peachtree Elementary will sponsor its annual Valentine service project "Hearts that Help." Student ambassadors from each class will sell Valentine items— including flowers, candy, and pencils— for $1 each. To promote this project, representatives make morning announcements, mount posters, and visit classrooms. In past years, more than $1,200 has been raised for the Peachtree Care Team, which provides emergency aid for the school’s families in need. For more information, call 770-448-7810.

Knight Elementary is sponsoring a breakfast in the Starlight Dining Room on Feb. 9 and 10 for grandparents and friends. Kindergarten, 1st, and 5th graders will be served at 7:35 a.m. on Feb. 9. On Feb. 10, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders will be served at 7:35 a.m. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

Sycamore Elementary will hold a book fair during the week of Feb. 9-13. Students will visit the fair throughout the week, and parents may accompany their children before or after parent-teacher conferences on Feb. 11 and 12. For more information, call Margaret Beville at 678-714-5770.

Norcross High will present “African Odyssey: A Journey from the Past to the Present” in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in the theater. For more information, call Michael Woodward at 770-448-3674.

CORRECTION: Maxwell High School of Technology will hold a spring open house on Feb. 12. Information sessions will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 770-963-6838.

The K.E. Taylor Elementary Charm Club will be featured in a fashion show Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. outside Nordstrom's department store inside the Mall of Georgia. The show will highlight proper personal presentation. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

North Gwinnett High will sponsor an information night for the parents of freshman parents, "I've Made it to High School, Now What?," on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the theater. Topics will include freshman progress, diploma options, the Signs of Suicide prevention program, school curriculum, and school climate. Major Alan Doss of the Gwinnett County Police Department will be the guest speaker. For more information, call Joyce Ricks or Stayce Johnson at 770-945-9558.

“River of Words,” initiated by the former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, is a project designed to nurture respect and understanding of the natural world. Students in grades K-12 are invited to submit poetry and art focusing on the importance and preservation of America’s watersheds for entry into this international competition. The entry deadline is Feb. 15. An exhibition that includes Georgia’s winning entries in poetry and art will travel to libraries, schools, and nature centers around the state for a year, beginning in July. For more information or to receive a 2003 Georgia Teacher’s Guide, contact Petey Giroux at Georgia Project WET, Environmental Protection Division, 4220 International Parkway, Suite 101, Atlanta, GA 30354, 404-675-16368, The River of Words national Web site is

Knight Elementary 4th and 5th grade drama students will perform “Let Freedom Ring” at the Feb. 16 PTA meeting at 7 p.m. The play depicts three historical events-- the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the encampment at Valley Forge, and Paul Revere’s Ride. For more information, call Johnsie Cooper at 770-921-2400.

The K.E. Taylor Elementary 4th and 5th grade chorus will perform a concert on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The concert will include songs, stories, and poems honoring President’s Day, Black History Month, and Valentine's Day. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

Duluth Middle and Duluth High will cosponsor an educational seminar for Spanish-speaking parents on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the theater. The topic is Gang Awareness and the seminar will be presented in Spanish by Sergeant José Diaz from the Gang Task Force unit of the Gwinnett County Police Department. The seminar aims to educate parents and faculty on ways to keep gang activity out of the lives of students. The program is part of the schools' ongoing commitment to fostering involvement and positive interactions in the community. For more information, call 770-476-3372.

W.C. Britt Elementary is sponsoring a dads’ breakfast in the cafeteria on Feb. 18 for grades K-1, Feb. 19 for grades 2-3, and Feb. 20 for grades 4-5. Breakfast will be served from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. The price is $1.25 for adults and $1 for children. No reservation is required. For more information, call Deanna Chastain, PTA president, at 770-972-4500.

K.E. Taylor Elementary will sponsor a Family Fun Bingo Night on Feb. 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the PTA. For more information call 770-338-4680.

K.E. Taylor Elementary will host the fifth annual Witzzle Pro Tournament on Feb. 21.  Teams from Chattahoochee Elementary and Simonton Elementary also will participate in this mathematical competition. For more information call 770-338-4680.

Lawrenceville Elementary will host several parenting workshops on selected Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Material will be available for parents to use at home with their students. Lunch and childcare will be provided. Following are the dates and topics. For more information, call 770-963-1813.
February 21 Homework Help
March 20 Testing Strategies
March 27 Fitness and Nutrition
April 24 Building Self-Esteem/Discipline
May 15 Summer Learning Strategies

The Gwinnett County PTA Council, in conjunction with the Gwinnett County Extension Service and GCPS, will present “Accessing Resources for College-Bound Special Needs Students” on Feb. 23 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville. The College Fair will be conducted from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and a program will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. For more information, call the Gwinnett County Extension Service at 678-377-4010.

Pharr Elementary will hold a Writing Round-Up at the Feb. 23 PTA meeting. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Children can attend writing sessions, and parents will learn strategies to help their students become better writers. Teachers, students, and parents are invited to wear their cowboy attire. For more information, call 770-985-0244.

The Gwinnett County Elementary Honor Chorus will present a concert on Feb. 28. The Elementary Honor Chorus is a select group of 5th grade students from schools throughout Gwinnett County. These students were selected by their music teachers based on their musical ability, interest in singing, and overall good citizenship. Christa Joy Chase, the former conductor of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, will conduct the 195-member chorus. There will be a special presentation by the North Gwinnett High advanced choir. These outstanding choral groups are under the direction of Leigh Ann Wearne. GCPS Fine Arts Coordinator Robert Andrews and the teachers of Gwinnett County invite you to attend. The concert will be performed at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1525 Scenic Highway, Snellville, at 3 p.m. For more information, call Rebecca Smith at 770-972-4500.

Berkmar High students are collecting Valentine's Day cards to send to U.S. troops in Iraq, which the soldiers can send home to their loved ones. Berkmar students also will deliver Valentine's Day cards to a local senior citizen center in appreciation for what they have done through their lives: working, raising families, and building a better America. For more information, call Diana Preston 678-924-5328.

Berkmar High Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will celebrate children's author Dr. Seuss and the “Read Across America” program by holding a children's book drive Feb. 2-27. FBLA members will visit an elementary school and read a Dr. Seuss book, distribute paper Dr. Seuss hats, and share a birthday cake commemorating the 100 year anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Students will discuss the importance of reading and distribute bookmarks with Dr. Seuss book titles. For more information, call Diana Preston 678-924-5328.

Donna Gwyn’s PROBE math classes at Richard Hull Middle will hold a Math-a-Thon in February to benefit the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Students will collect pledges for completing a booklet or CD with more than 200 math problems. Pledges may be made on a per-problem basis or as a flat donation for completing the booklet. By supporting the participants, donors raise funds to help St. Jude’s in its ongoing fight against cancer and other catastrophic diseases. The Math-a-Thon is sponsored by Six Flags Theme Parks, which provides free passes to the parks for every student raising $35 or more. For more information, call 770-232-3200.

J.C. Magill Elementary’s Outdoor Classroom will sponsor a fundraiser through Feb. 11. Human-i-Tees (T-shirts) will be sold at school for $15-$24. Funds raised will help maintain and preserve the rain forest. Samples of the shirts, which come in various sizes, will be on display at the school. The 4.5-acre outdoor classroom is one of the largest certified National Wildlife Federation schoolyard habitats in Gwinnett County. Community members are invited to visit the nature trail, watch the birds, and look for animal tracks. For more information, call 770-554-1030.

G.H. Hopkins Elementary's after-school winter tutoring session will begin on Feb. 16. The program meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. through April 19. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

Students may register online for the fourth mini-session at Buchanan High School of Technology at The fourth mini-session begins Mar. 22. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

February 11-12 are early release days for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 12, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville. Prior to the regular meeting, a public forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. to allow persons not on the agenda an opportunity to address the Board.

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