News You Can Use - 03/29/2004

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
03/29/2004 - 04/04/2004

News You Can Use... will return on April 16, 2004.

Daniel Holmes, an 8th grader at Alton C. Crews Middle, was the first runner-up at the State Spelling Bee contest held at Georgia State University. Daniel won a check for $500 and was presented with a trophy. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

Zach Jones, a 6th grader at Alton C. Crews Middle, won the state competition of the National Geographic Bee and will represent the school at the state National Geographic Bee on April 2. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

GCPS Foreign Language Coordinator David Jahner recently served on the Testing and Award Committee during the convention of the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. For more information, call 770-513-6861.

South Gwinnett High boy’s and girl’s track team members participated in the Georgia Tech Invitational on March 20. Highlights of the meet include: Katie Alman broke a 20-year school record in the 1,600-meter race; Ryley Miller won first place in the 1,600-meter race; and Shannan Dawda, David Montgomery, Dreek Smith, and Andre Thornton ran the second fastest time in school history in the sprint medley relay. For more information, call 770-972-4840.

Ninety-four Creekland Middle students participated in the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Program) by taking the SAT. Based on their scores, 43 of these students will receive State Awards. One student will be invited to Duke University to receive a Grand Award. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

Brookwood High Latin teacher Keith Toda served as a panelist during National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week at the University of Georgia. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Brookwood High senior Gregory B. Newberry was one of two Georgia students, out of approximately 6,500 who took the ACT in December, to achieve a perfect score of 36 on the assessment. He was one of only 38 students in the nation to earn a 36 out of some 332,000 who took the test that month. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

The Brookwood High yearbook staff has been recognized by Taylor Publishing Company with an Honorable Mention Award for their overall dedication, effort, and accomplishments. Taylor Publishing recognizes only the top five percent of yearbook staffs for outstanding yearbook achievement. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Four Sycamore Elementary teachers were awarded grants from the North Gwinnett Schools Foundation. Reading Specialist Pam Wilson was awarded $500 to fund the development of a leveled book room for students. Third-grade teacher Jillian Forrest was awarded $527.60 to fund a math and language arts program, called "Mountain Math" and "Mountain Language Arts," for 3rd grade students. 3rd grade teacher Emily Heck received approximately $200 to purchase literature and manipulatives to reinforce telling time. Media specialist Margaret Beville was awarded approximately $500 to purchase additional books for the Accelerated Reader Program for the media center. For more information, call 678-714-5770.

E.J. Gibbs was voted “Citizen of the Week” at Oakland Center. E.J. is in Holly Jones' preschool class. E.J. does a wonderful job of communicating, using activating devices and vocalizing. He enjoys music time and turning pages while listening to stories. He loves art activities and is very creative when given a crayon. He also likes to make fun snacks during cooking activities. For more information, call 770-513-6800.

Several R. D. Head Elementary students had stories published in the “Northeast Metro Atlanta Budding Authors 2003 Edition.” These students attended Mercer University's College for Kids last summer. The students who had published stories are Leila Choucair, Maya Choucair, Grant Cowan, Tanner Forbes, Krystal Ly, and Katie O'Connell. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

Norcross Elementary is hosting an Empty Bowls dinner on March 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Proceeds will support the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, a food bank that serves area families. Norcross Elementary students made clay bowls, which will be distributed to attendees. The Student Council and Junior Beta Club will participate in the dinner, and the chorus will perform at the event. Tickets may be purchased at the door. The cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more information, call Lauren Phillips at 770-448-2188.

Walnut Grove Elementary students are participating in the “Moo-ve the Cow for a Cure” program, from now through April 30, to raise money for Relay for Life. If the school donates $1,000 or more, Principal Bron Gayna Schmit will kiss a real cow. For more information, call 770-513-6892.

Representatives of the Collins Hill High Volunteer Center will present at the National Service Learning Conference for the third year in a row. The conference will be held in Orlando March 29-31. Students attending are Sherri Alexander, Ronald Alonso, Whitney Perry, Kristina Stafford, Candrisse Watkins, and Jaime Winterton. The students will present “Creative Classroom Connections to Your Community.” For more information, call 770-628-4100.

Ricoh Electronics, Inc. presented Donna Torbush, principal of J.G. Dyer Elementary, with a check for $2,000. Ricoh plans to sponsor Dyer for the 2004-05 school year with activities involving Dyer Elementary students and Ricoh employees. For more information, call 770-963-6214.

J.C. Magill Elementary will hold its annual field day on April 1 for grades K-2 and on April 2 for grades 3-5. Activities will include skill-testing stations, wacky relay races, and parachute activities. Parents are invited to attend. For more information, call Mike Tontillo, physical education teacher, at 770-554-1030.

The Brookwood High Performing Arts department will present the following plays in the theater. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the designated nights.
“You Can't Take It With You”— April 14-17
“Fiddler on the Roof ”— May 6-8
Tickets are $6 for adults, and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Lawrenceville Elementary will host 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.
April 24 Building Self-Esteem/Discipline
May 15 Summer Learning Strategies

The G.H. Hopkins Elementary chorus will hold a concert on March 30 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

The North Gwinnett High Student Government Association and PTSA will co-sponsor The Operation Drive Smart Expo on March 30. The goal of the Expo is to educate as many teens as possible on the different aspects of safe driving. The Expo is held on the football field for the duration of the school day. Self-contained driving simulators will allow students to get behind the wheel in a 3-D unit, and they also can try driving a DUI cart. Student Government officers will guide students through the stations with their social studies classes. For more information, call Laura Beth Galletly at 770-945-9558 or e-mail

The Creekland Middle Ensemble will perform the musical comedy “Bye Bye Birdie,” on March-31 at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Admission is $5. For more information and tickets, call 770-338-4700.

Dr. Janet Blanchette, local school technology coordinator for Alton C. Crews Middle, recently visited Curacao to train teachers and students on how to use technology to improve student achievement. A video-conference was held between a class in Curacao and Eleanor Ridley's second-period class. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

As part of a unit on flight, 3rd graders at Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary learned about how helicopters work and were able to watch a helicopter land on the school playground. The helicopter was piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Bayne Walker. Mr. Walker flies the helicopter for the National Guard RAID program, which helps fight the U.S. war on drugs. For more information, call 770-232-3370.

This week (March 29-April 4), tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for:
“Teachers Up Close,” featuring Test-Taking Strategies, airing 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, airing at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily.
“Kids Can Cook: Perfect Pastabilities,”
“English...Yes, I Can,” (Series 1) Programs 17-20 of a 34-part series.
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 e-mail to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

April is School Library Media Month, National Poetry Month, and Keep America Beautiful Month.

Gwinnett County Public Schools will be closed for spring break April 5-9. All GCPS offices will be closed April 9.

April 12 begins Young People’s Poetry Week.

April 18 begins Public School Volunteer Week, National Library Week, and Week of the Young Child.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 15, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville.

GCPS’ Area Board Meetings will be held in April. The meetings are held in each of the Board member’s districts and give staff and community members an opportunity to get an update on school system issues. In addition, a public forum at each meeting allows for participants to discuss education topics with their elected officials. Following is a listing of the meeting dates. The program will begin at 7 p.m. in the host school’s theater. Refreshments will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m.
April 13-- District III at Norcross HS
April 20-- District IV at Shiloh HS
April 22-- District I at Dacula HS
April 27-- District II at Peachier Ridge HS
April 29-- District V at Meadowcreek HS

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