News You Can Use - 12/15/2003

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
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003

News You Can Use will return on Jan. 9, 2004.

The North Pole Express holiday shop will be pulling into Arcado Elementary Dec. 13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students may shop for gifts for the entire family, while PTA members and Parkview High students help students make selections and wrap their purchases. Items will range in price from 25 cents to $12. For more information, call Pam Martin at 770-925-2100.

Lynne Gant, J.P. McConnell Middle teacher, co-presented “Using WebCT to Train and Supervise Foreign Language Teachers” at the 37th annual conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Nov. 21-23 in Philadelphia. For more information, call 770-554-1000.

Lori Stone of Creekland Middle co-presented “Misapplied Zero Tolerance: A Call for Professional Discretion: at the annual conference of the National Middle School Association in Atlanta in November. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

On Dec. 3, the Duluth Middle Academic Team competed with tens of thousands of students in the U.S. and countries around the world in the 41st Knowledge Master Open, a computer-based academic competition. The 27 students on the Duluth Middle team scored 1,596 of 2,000 possible points to place 3rd in the state and 9th overall in a field of 815 middle schools in the contest. Among schools with more than 1,001 students, Duluth Middle was 1st in the state and 2nd overall. Duluth Middle’s Academic Team also placed 4th in the Westminster Middle School Academic Quiz Bowl Tournament on Nov. 15. For more information, call Linda Koch at 770-476-3372.

The Five Forks Middle Bronco Band performed at the Fourth Annual Southeastern United States Middle School Concert Band Clinic and Honor Bands on Dec. 5 at Troy State University. The Five Forks Middle band was one of only two bands selected to perform representing the southeastern U.S. At the conclusion of the band’s concert performance, band director Joe Bader was awarded a “Citation of Excellence” award from the National Bandmasters Association and the Five Forks Band received recognition from Director of Bands at Troy State University. For more information, call 770-972-1506.

Emily Jackson, a Creekland Middle 7th grader, has been selected as solo violinist for the Gwinnett County Youth Orchestra for the spring of 2004. Emily was one of two students to win the annual concerto competition. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

The J.C. Magill Elementary community service club, MAGIC (Magill Aiding Good in the Community), is preparing 10 pound packages of books to mail to an elementary school in Kenya. Students start learning English in 3rd grade in Kenya. The MAGIC Club has been collecting new and used books since the spring of last year. The MAGIC club also has completed other service projects, including collecting fleece blankets for children at the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, and stuffing stockings for needy children at the Volunteer Village at Discover Mills. For more information, call Donna England at 770-554-1030.

The Mountain Park Elementary ESOL program received a $750 donation of from the local Masonic Lodge. These funds were used to help needy children in the community. For more information, call 770-921-2224.

Lanier Middle’s Junior Beta Club will sponsor a toy drive in December. The new toys will be donated to the North Gwinnett Co-op to distribute to needy families. For more information, call Mary Sanders at 770-945-8419.

The faculty at Summerour Middle is participating in a toy drive to assist the community. Staff members will share unwrapped toys, which will be donated to the Norcross Co-op for distribution to needy families in the community. For more information, contact a school counselor at 770-448-3045.

K.E. Taylor Elementary is helping families in need of holiday assistance. Interested volunteers may stop by the lobby in December and pick up an ornament that lists gifts to purchase for a needy family. For more information, call a counselor at 770-338-4680.

Each grade level at Sycamore Elementary will adopt a family for the holidays. The Sycamore Care Team will assist teachers in collecting items needed for each family. For more information, call Robin Zorn at 678-714-5770.

The Pharr Elementary 5th grade chorus will present “Santa’s Holiday Hoedown,” a musical showcase including Santa and a country-western cast of characters. The performance will be held Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. For more information, call 770-417-2400.

The Mountain Park Elementary 5th grade classes will present their holiday program, “Once on a Housetop,” on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. For more information, call 770-921-2224.

The K.E. Taylor Elementary PTA holiday program will be held on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Nine kindergarten classes will perform. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

Knight Elementary 5th grade students will present “Paint the Town December” at the Dec. 15 PTA meeting. The program will be held in the Starlight Dining Room under the direction of Sandy Snyder. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

The 5th grade classes at Camp Creek Elementary will perform a holiday musical program on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the gym. The concert will be held in conjunction with the Camp Creek Elementary PTA meeting. For more information, call 770-921-1626.

The GIVE Center will have its award-winning entry in Stone Mountain Park’s Annual Greeting Card Contest on display in front of Crossroads through Dec. 30. This year’s theme was “A Southern Christmas at Stone Mountain Park.” The card won 3rd place in the high school division. For more information, call Mary Bryan at 770-338-4898.

Students in Sylvia Barteaux’s 8th grade PROBE social studies class at Duluth Middle are actively engaged in a unit, called Simulated American Government (SAG). Students researched political parties to determine which one they should belong to as well as positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Students experienced the inauguration of a president and several inaugural “balls.” Now the real work begins. “Congress” must write bills and approve presidential appointments. The “Supreme Court” will review three cases and the “Executive Branch” will try to solve problems in an attempt to give the “president” accurate and timely information for her State of the Union address. For more information, call 770-476-3372.

Beaver Ridge Elementary P.E. teachers J.T. Stewart and Nancy Luker will start an after-school intramural sports enrichment program in January. Immediately following afternoon dismissal, a variety of programs will be offered for students, including volleyball, soccer, floor hockey, basketball, and jump rope. The program will use technology to help students understand their own cardiovascular system while exercising. For more information, call 770-447-6307.

Sycamore Elementary will hold its charter year National Junior Beta Club induction on Dec. 16 in the school lunchroom. Sycamore’s Junior Beta Club members met the following criteria: grade point average of 3.5 or higher, outstanding behavior, responsible, cooperative, and honest. Sycamore Elementary will induct its 30 5th grade members. For more information, call Carissa Bull at 678-714-5770.

Jone Cross of Chattahoochee Elementary is one of two teachers in the country who will travel with students to Antarctica Dec. 16 through Dec. 30. Ms. Cross was selected by People to People Student Ambassadors, an organization Ms. Cross has been involved with as a teacher-leader since 1993. When she makes this journey, Ms. Cross will be the first member of the organization to travel with students to all seven continents. Amelia Sims, a Duluth High student, also will make the expedition. Ms. Sims has been traveling with this overseas educational program since she was a sixth grader. Ms. Sims has traveled with Ms. Cross to China and Africa and with three other GCPS teachers to Europe and Australia and will be the first student in the history of the organization to visit all seven continents. Ms. Cross and Ms. Sims will spend four days in South America before traveling to Antarctica. For more information, call 770-497-9907.

Tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools educational access channel for “GCPS Focus” this week (Dec. 15-21). The show airs at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 11 p.m., and midnight 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. GCPS TV airs “ArtStage,” a new fine arts program, daily at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This new series features music, dance, theater, and visual fine arts programs and performances conducted in schools across Gwinnett County.
GCPS TV cable channels and providers include:
Ÿ Adelphia on Channel 20
Ÿ Comcast on Channel 24
Ÿ BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Ÿ Charter Communications on Channel 22
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--

North Gwinnett High’s Dugout Club will sponsor an annual Christmas tree sale during the month of December. Trees may be purchased at the corner of Alton Turner and Peachtree Industrial, one block from Ga.-20. All proceeds go to support the North Gwinnett Baseball Team. For more information, call Vicki Otting at 770-318-3625 or Ron Walton at 770-945-3458. 

The Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary FOCUS students sponsored an art fundraiser in December. Student artwork was sold at the gift shop. Funds will support the purchase of special learning materials for student use in the FOCUS program. For more information, call Julie Hitt at 678-473-6246.

Students may register for Buchanan High School of Technology 3rd and 4th mini-sessions online at The 3rd mini-session begins Jan. 20, and the 4th mini-session begins Mar. 22. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

Dec. 17-19 are early release days for high school exams.

Dec. 19 is the last day of school before the Winter Break. Students return to school Jan. 7, 2004.

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