News You Can Use - 03/06/2006

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
03/06/2006 - 03/12/2006

Two Grayson High School of Technology teams will participate in the Regional Envirothon Competition. They will be traveling to the Newman Wetlands Center in Clayton County on March 3. The top four teams from each regions competition will advance to the state competition March 24-25 at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia. Team Woodpecker members are Michael Coté, Joel Marquis, Eric Martin, Bruce Self, Justin Smith, and Austin Waters. The Twigs and Berries team members are Seth Binns, Jacob Fortner, Bailey Garner, Justin McNeill, Blaine Smith, Everett Thompson, and Jack Wilson. For more information, call Patricia White at 770-554-7093.

GCPS will host the 2006 Gwinnett Reading Rally on March 4 at Mill Creek High from 9 a.m. to noon. The Gwinnett Readers Rally is a quiz-bowl competition for readers in grades 4-12. Twenty-six teams will compete for the countywide championship. Readers will compete in five-man teams using their knowledge of literature to answer questions based on a given list of books. Winning teams at the middle and high school levels will proceed to the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, a regional competition on March 11 in Carrollton. The state playoffs will be held April 21-22 during the Children’s Literature Conference at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens. This is the initial year of what promises to be an annual event for Gwinnett. For more information, call Meg Reed at 678-377-8918.

The Gwinnett County Elementary Honor Chorus will present a concert on March 4. Marilyn Humphreys, nationally known music specialist from Pace Academy, will conduct the 155-member chorus. There will be a special presentation by the Trickum Middle School Chorus. This outstanding choral group is under the direction of Dr. Marc Beaver. The concert will be performed at Mount Carmel Christian Church, 6015 Old Stone Mountain Road, Stone Mountain, at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call Rebecca Smith at 770-972-4500.

Grayson Elementary PTA will host a “Bicycle Rodeo” on March 4th at 9 a.m. to promote bicycle safety awareness in the community. The Gwinnett County Police Department will guide children through a bike safety course. There will be a tricycle riding course for younger visitors as well. Lifetime Bikes of Loganville will provide a five-point safety check for children to walk their bike through before participating in the bike safety course. Snellville Pediatrics will provide information about bicycle safety and first aid awareness, and the local fire department will be available for safety questions as well. For more information, call 770-963-7189.

Ken Almon, Norcross Elementary teacher and Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winner, published “Finding Favor With Your Students: National Award Winning Educator Shares Strategies on Becoming the Teacher Your Students Would Choose.” For more information, call 770-448-2188.

Chris Fail of Meadowcreek High earned first place at the local level of the National Shakespearean competition. For more information, call Tahra Chatard at 770-381-9680.

Caitlyn Martin of Meadowcreek High received “Excellent” scores from all three judges at the Georgia Thespian Conference. For more information, call Tahra Chatard at 770-381-9680.

Ken Simpson of Brookwood High and Laura Magner of Rebecca Minor Elementary each received $2,500 grants from Best Buy.

The Berkmar High Decathlon Team, coached by IV Bray, won the state’s 2006 PAGE Academic Decathlon Championship (Division I) sponsored by Professional Association of Georgia Educators. The team will represent Georgia at the United States Academic Decathlon National Finals in San Antonio, Texas, in April. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Mill Creek High student Lauren Gann won the “To Kill A Mockingbird” cover re-design contest sponsored by the Gwinnett County Public Library. For more information, call Nora Neff at 678-714-5850.

Arlana Stamatiou, Miss Mill Creek High, won the Miss Congeniality award, the Interview Award, and 2nd runner-up at the Miss Georgia Teenager Pageant held Feb. 26. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

The Mill Creek High Redhotz Dance Team won two trophies at the Georgia State Dance Team Championship held at Salem High School in Conyers. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

Three members of the Mill Creek High Equestrian Team earned enough points to qualify for nationals. They are Alexa Bertolini, Kelsi Cunningham, and Katie Perkins. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

Alton C. Crews Middle will host the school’s “8th annual Technology Fair’ on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. This event is for the whole family. For more information call 770-982-6940.

Mill Creek High will host several events in March.
· The Tri-M music honor society will hold a charity dinner on March 24 at 7:15 p.m. at Mill Creek High. The dinner benefits the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which provides instruments to needy students in the U.S. Tickets are $30 per person and $55 for a couple. Dinner will be served in the Commons area with food provided by The Fieldhouse.
· The talent show will be held on March 25 at 7 p.m. in the school theater.
· The Mr. Mill Creek contest will be held on March 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.
For more information on any of these events, call 678-714-5850.

The Dacula Community will benefit when the Gwinnett Gladiators host the South Carolina Stingrays on the ice at the Arena at the Gwinnett Center. The puck drops at 4:05 p.m. on March 26. The Dacula High Marketing department is planning activities for the4 event. Discounted tickets ($12 for regular$16 tickets) are available at the school or order on-line at The Gladiators are donating $2 per discounted ticket to benefit the Dacula Relay for Life/ Dacula Academic Foundation/ Student Council. In addition, March 26 is Public Safety Night at the arena. Police cars, police motorcycles, fire trucks, a smokehouse trailer, and more will be on display. 770-338-4748 as soon as possible. For more information, call Tammi Maness at 770-963-6664.

Proposed revisions to Gwinnett County Public School curriculum are available for review by parents, staff, and community members. The revisions were developed to align the AKS with the state’s new curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards. Comments will be accepted through March 15. Find the AKS revisions on the GCPS Web site (

Read Across America is a national celebration of literacy. Many schools plan activities on March 2, the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Here are just a few of the activities in Gwinnett schools.

Rebecca Minor Elementary students sang “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Seuss on the March 2 morning announcements. The media specialist taped staff members reading Dr. Seuss’ books to broadcast throughout the day on March 2. A group from the Hawks and Thrashers are coming to present their program “Read to Achieve” to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at 9:30 a.m. Throughout the day, a variety of faculty and staff read to various classrooms. At the end of the day, a “reading chain” activity took place and the entire school read for 20 minutes. For more information, call Elizabeth Blakley at 770-925-9543.

Gwin Oaks Elementary held a Dr. Seuss celebration on March 2. The media center invited guest readers to read Dr. Seuss books with the children throughout the day. Readers included current and past principals, parents, and CEO/Superintendent Mr. J. Alvin Wilbanks. Throughout the week, the media center has run a trivia contest about Dr. Seuss and the books he wrote. Students who complete the contest will receive a Dr. Seuss bookmark and the winner at each grade level will receive a Dr. Seuss journal. Finally, the cafeteria will serve green eggs and ham for lunch along with Dr. Seuss-shaped chicken nuggets. For more information, call Sharon Amolo at 770-982-6903.

On March 2, Shiloh High hosted an eight-hour read-a-thon featuring works from different cultures and traditions, including African-American, English, Vietnamese, Bosnian, Iranian, and African. The works read were related to the school's theme for the event, “A Fork in the Road.” Highlights of the day included:
· Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech, accented with a video about Dr. King produced by “Today at Shiloh”
· A reader's theater production of the play, “The Music Lesson,” performed by Elisabeth Cooper’s Theater Workshop
· Multinational poetry— read both in both the native language and English translation— by Rhonda Brocket's ESOL class
For more information, call 770-736-4345.

Centerville Elementary hosted a breakfast program for readers and parents on March 2. The school provided each student a goody bag with a free book. For more information, call 770-972-2220.

Annistown Elementary sponsored a variety of activities during Reading Celebration Week which runs through March 3. A Family Reading Night was held on March 1 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the media center. There were guest readers, refreshments, and door prizes. For additional information, call 770-979-2950.

The Grayson High Mixed Chorus performed in New York City's Carnegie Hall in February. For more information, call Renee Wilson-Wicker, choral director, at 770 -554-1071.

“GCPS Focus” This week on “GCPS Focus”... we celebrate Gwinnett's Counselors of the Year and learn more about the counselor’s important role; highlight music in a feature on the fine arts curriculum, music, art, dance, and theater; and take a look at a new show— produced for students, by students. This 30-min. program airs March 7-12 at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., and 11 p.m.

“Meet the Author - Sharon Draper” A National Teacher of the Year, this award-winning author offers a insight into the complex issues many teenagers face. “Tears of a Tiger” was honored as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. “Romiette and Julio” was selected by the International Reading Association as a 2000 Notable Book for a Global Society. “The Battle of Jericho” was a 2004 Coretta Scott King Honor Book. This 30-min. program airs March 6-11 at 2 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators” A GCPS TV original series, this 10-part program is an introduction to the Spanish language and is tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Viewers will learn key phrases and basic vocabulary for use during the school day and in the community. Each Monday, a new segment will air at 11 a.m., repeating daily through Sunday in that time slot. The series runs through March 19.

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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March is Music in Our Schools Month, National Middle Level Education Month, National Nutrition Month, Social Work Month, Women’s History Month, and Youth Art Month.

National Foreign Language Week, National School Breakfast Week, Exceptional Children’s Week and Newspaper in Education Week start the week of March 6 and 7.

The Gwinnett Center will be the site of GCPS’ Certified Teacher Employment Fair on March 6 from 8:30 to 4 p.m. The school system expects to hire 1,200 teachers for 2006-07. Critical need areas include all areas of special education, ESOL teachers, speech language pathologists, and teachers for upper-level math and science. Both veteran and new teachers may attend the fair, including student teachers and those currently enrolled in an alternate certification program. While appointments are encouraged, walk-ins will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Those seeking walk-in slots should bring a copy of their teaching license and/or their Praxis II scores.
· Elementary School Staffing at 678-301-6122, 678-301-6085, or 678-301-6121
· Middle School Staffing at 678-301-6058 or 678-301-6052
· High School Staffing at 678-301-6125 or 678-301-6082
· Special Education Staffing at 678-301-6068 or 678-301-6050
Applications are available online at the GCPS Web site or may be requested by calling 678-301-6073.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held March 9 at 7 p.m., at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

March 10 is a student holiday and teacher planning/professional learning day.

March 13 is a snow make-up day and school will be in session.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during March. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Sycamore Elementary
Dacula High
Fort Daniel Elementary
Lanier Middle
Duncan Creek
Jackson Elementary
Norcross Elementary
Snellville Middle
North Gwinnett
Riverside Elementary
South Gwinnett
Alcova Elementary
Chesney Elementary
Grayson Elementary
Gwin Oaks Elementary
Mason Elementary
Osborne Middle
Parsons Elementary
Bethesda Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Creekland Middle
Collins Hill Elementary
McConnell Middle
Harris Elementary
Britt Elementary
Jones Middle
Sweetwater Middle
McKendree Elementary
Simpson Elementary