News You Can Use - 02/05/2007

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
02/05/2007 - 02/11/2007

Simonton Elementary is hosting the Witzzle Pro Math Tournament on Feb. 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. Students from Cedar Hill, Simonton, and Margaret Winn Holt elementary schools will compete in solving challenging math puzzles called Witzzles. For more information, call 770-513-6637.

Two GCPS school counselors, recognized as the state’s school counselors of the year, will be honored by the Georgia Board of Education during National School Counseling Week. Meadowcreek Elementary’s Kelly Cowart is the 2006 State Elementary School Counselor of the Year. Brent Henderson, from Norcross High, is the 2006 State Secondary School Counselor of the Year. Both educators were selected by the Georgia School Counselors Association at their annual conference in November. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 8, at Twin Towers in Atlanta. For more information, call Dianne Thompson at 678-301-7063.

Pharr Elementary student Mirela Vojnikovic is one of 25 winners in the Scholastic Book Club Holiday Gift Book Card Contest. Mirela’s card was selected from more than 3,500 submissions from around the country. She will receive two 50-book library sets, one for her classroom, and one will be donated to a local charity or organization. For more information, call 770-985-0244.

Pharr Elementary student Mikatl Sampson won the Scholastic Book Club National Be Healthy Poster Contest. Mikatl’s poster was chosen from among 3,500 entries nationally, and he will receive two 100-Book Healthy Reading Libraries. One set will be for his home and the other set will be for his classroom. In addition, he received 500 copies of his poster to distribute and display. For more information, call 770-985-0244. To view Mikatl’s poster visit

Several GCPS groups performed at the recent state conference of the Georgia Music Educators Association. The groups include the Duluth High Chamber Orchestra, directed by Peter Lemonds, and the Duluth High Women’s Ensemble, directed by Greg Smith and Reid Smith; the Duluth Middle Boys Chorus, directed by Dan Mitchell and Kim Maugans; the J.P. McConnell Middle Mixed Choir, directed by Renee Costigan; and the Norcross High Wind Symphony, directed by Rudy Gilbert and Matt Koperniak. For more information, call the local school.

Lilburn Middle will induct 15 students into the National Junior Thespian Society at a ceremony on Feb. 9 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. These students have participated in at least 50 hours of Theatre Arts performances or had technical theatre involvement. These students are Caylen Campbell, Hai Giang, Shelby Haney, Alexander Johnson, Aaron Knight, Marina Mehrtens, Anthony Morgan, Ashleigh Oliver, Bryan Perez, Amir Resto, Khaleef Resto, Noel Roblero, Stephen Sandoval, Diego Serna, and Alice Vasquez. Mr. Nykki Starr is the troupe director and Lilburn Middle theatre arts teacher. Seventh and eighth grade students may participate in the Honors Theatre class if they maintain an appropriate grade point average and positive behavior. Honor students received a “Proclamation” from the Mayor of Lilburn. These students volunteer in the community and have received Superior Ratings and numerous individual awards during the Central Georgia One-Act Competition. For more information, call Yesenia Carreon at 770-638-2378.

Shiloh Middle teachers Cindy Apley-Rose, Alice Erickson, Keith Oldknow, and Michael Savage were selected as the Georgia Middle School Association/Pearson Prentice Hall Metro Region Team of the Year. They will be recognized during the GMSA conference Feb. 5 and 6 where the team will present how learning objectives-- Gwinnett Academic Knowledge and Skills and Georgia Performance Standards-- are presented to students, as well as the programs the team has initiated, including morning and afternoon tutoring, no zero heroes, and parent meetings, etc. Data documenting individual successes will be shared with conference members. Their application was selected from many due to the quality and variety of instruction on the team. The winner of the Georgia Middle School Team of the Year will be announced on Feb. 6. For more information, call 770-972-3224.

GCPS had 47 high school entries and 15 middle school entries in a variety of categories place in the Regional Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition on Jan. 24 at Peachtree Ridge High. The majority-- 38 high school entries and all the middle school entries-- will advance to the state FBLA competition in March. For more information, call Jody Reeves, director of technical education, computer science, and apprenticeships, at 678-301-7050.

A total of 17 GCPS students are competing for the Technical Education Student of the Year award. The winner and two student runners-up will be selected at a banquet on Feb. 28 at the Busbee Center at Gwinnett Technical College. The 17 GCPS finalists are winners at their local schools. Each student will be honored at the banquet along with his/her teacher. The competition is sponsored by The Gwinnett Tech Prep Consortium, which includes GCPS, Buford City Schools, and Gwinnett Technical College. Below is the list of the student finalists. For more information, call Jody Reeves, director of technical education, computer science, and apprenticeships, at 678-301-7050.
Berkmar High Domonique SolomonLisa Lankford
Brookwood High Morgan Blouin Gordon Parker
Central Gwinnett High Emily ClarkElaine Elliott
Collins Hill High Nicole Kronenberger Cynthia Proctor
Dacula High Eric HeissCara Norton
Duluth High Adnan VadriaJoanne Woods
Grayson High Thomas PulliamRobert O’Keefe
Meadowcreek High Jia Yi LiuDeborah Grant
Mill Creek High Dale HolmerGlenn Burrows
Norcross High Barbara VuBeverly Mayes
North Gwinnett High Alan BentsenRobert Culpepper
Parkview High Claudia RiveraBarbra Jackson
Peachtree Ridge High Himali PatelSarah Heath
Shiloh High Khiry JonesLessie Houseworth
South Gwinnett High Jamila BellNancy Head
Maxwell High School of TechnologyAnastasia CoferShalesia Kelly
Grayson Technical Education ProgramKaryn HughesJanet Felts

Trickum Middle will host a visit from author Neal Shusterman on Feb. 5. Mr. Shusterman will answer questions from students while visiting classes. His presentation is interactive, informing students about his writing and the process of writing. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

The Dacula High Band and DECA Club are sponsoring a “Taste of Dacula” on Feb. 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dacula Middle cafeteria (due to construction at the high school). Tickets may be purchased for $10 at the high school, children five and younger are free. Food will be provided by more than 17 local restaurants and a ticket holder may sample food from all the restaurants. For more information, call Doug Harkness or Tammi Maness at 770-963-6664

Berkmar High will host the 2007 Gallaudet University High School Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students, Southeast Region, on Feb. 15-18. This is the first time a public school has been selected to host this Academic Bowl. The purpose of the annual Academic Bowl is to foster the pursuit of academic excellence, promote a spirit of academic competition and good sportsmanship, and encourage social opportunities for students. Teams made up of five players answer questions in eight academic categories. In addition to hosting the event, a team from Berkmar will compete. For more information about the competition, call Eva Parks, deaf and hard of hearing program coordinator, at 678-301-7121.

Parkview High will host a College Fair on Feb. 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the commons area and old gym. This PTSA-sponsored event is open to all Gwinnett high school students. More than 60 college representatives will be on hand to share brochures and answer questions about their programs. For more information, call Nancy Hamel at 770-921-4355.

G.H. Hopkins Elementary will host a visit from author David Lopez on Feb. 16. Mr. Lopez will answer questions from students while visiting classes. He will inform students about his writing and the process of writing. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

The Duluth Center Stage Alliance presents “Harvey” on Feb.16 and 17 at 7 p.m. in the Duluth High theater. For more information about the play visit may be purchased for $6 from Vanette Vedder at Duluth High or at the door. For more information, call 770-232-3336.

The Peachtree Ridge Foundation will sponsor the Miss Peachtree Ridge Scholarship Pageant on Feb. 17 in the school theater. This year’s theme is the Wild, Wild, West.The Miss Freshman/Miss Sophomore pageant will be held at 3 p.m., and the Miss Junior/Miss Peachtree Ridge High School (PRHS) pageant begins at 7 p.m. The winner of the Miss PRHS Scholarship Pageant will receive a $1,000 scholarship. For more information, call Lynn Brunatti at 678-957-3166.

The Duluth High baseball team will sponsor a “100 Inning Game and Dinner” on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Duluth High old gym. Tickets may be purchased for $12 and all proceeds benefit the Duluth High Baseball Dugout Club. For information and tickets, email Coach Bobby Link at or Sally Southerland at

GCPS will host the 2007 Gwinnett Reading Rally on Feb. 24 at Mill Creek High from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Gwinnett Readers Rally is a quiz-bowl competition for readers in grades 4-12. Forty-six teams will compete for the countywide championship. Readers will compete in ten-man teams using their knowledge of literature to answer questions based on a given list of books. Two winning teams from both the middle and high school levels will proceed to the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, a regional competition on March 3 in Augusta. The state playoffs will be held April 21 during the Children’s Literature Conference at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens. For more information, call Leslie Greer at 770-232-3255.

Frank N. Osborne Middle will celebrate “Love a Book” during the month of February as the media center strives to add to the school’s book collection. Students, parents, and staff members may purchase a book for the media center collection in honor or in memory of a loved one for a tax-deductible donation of $10 per book, s. A bookplate will be placed in each donated book. Books may be selected from a list provided by the media center, or selected based on type, such as fantasy, mystery, history, biography, etc., or a donation may be made without specifying a title and the media committee will purchase additional copies of the most popular books. Books will be ordered at the end of February. For more information, call Louise Doughty at 770-904-5400.

Five Forks Middle was represented by four Robotics team members at the State Capitol during Capitol Tech Days. Lexi Atkins, Eli Jones, Joey Moore, and Marc Sporn presented “Making the Connection,” a presentation highlighting improvement in student academic areas due to involvement in the FIRST Lego League Robotics competition. For more information, call Jerry Paxton at 770-972-1506.

“GCPS Focus” Coming up on GCPS Focus…a look at industry certification in high schools, job applicants enjoy a new online process, some A+ report cards in the news, and Camp Creek Elementary PTA receives national recognition– don’t miss these stories and more on this week’s GCPS Focus. This 30-min. program airs Feb. 5-11 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.

“Telling Stories: Patricia McKissack - Prince William/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series” Patricia McKissack grew up as an African American in segregated southern Tennessee during the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, McKissack grew up hearing and telling stories, which is evident in her writing and the absorbing topics about which she writes. During this program, Ms. McKissack will discuss her novel, “Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, The Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919.” The author will highlight its important themes, how stories can be shared, and her interest in the history of African Americans. This 60-min. program airs Feb. 6-10 at 1 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators, Level 2” This video telecourse is an advanced Spanish language class designed to help educators learn words and phrases relating to school rules, school personnel, giving directions, parent-teacher conferences, and more. This series airs in hour-long segments at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday - Sunday, through March 18 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

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 678-301-6460, or e-mail A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
01/26/2007GCPS seeks feedback on curriculum during review (pdf)

Each year, the Gwinnett County School Board reserves key dates relating to the development of the next year’s budget. Budget dates for FY 2008 include:
Feb. 26 and 27, 2007-- Superintendent and Cabinet meet to discuss FY 2008 requests
March 29 and 30, 2007-- Superintendent’s Recommended budget to Board
April 14, 2007-- Board budget work session
April 17, 2007-- Board budget work session and adoption of tentative budget
May 4, 2007-- First public hearing on budget
May 10, 2007-- Second public hearing and final adoption
June 2007-- Adoption of millage rate
Sept. 2007-- Transmit adopted budget to State Department of Education

February is Black History Month, and National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Feb. 5-9 is National School Counseling Week.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 8, 2007, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

Feb. 14 and 15 are early release days for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences.

Feb 19 is a student teacher holiday OR snow make-up day.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during February. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Annistown Elementary
Arcado Elementary
B.B. Harris Elementary
Berkmar Middle
Camp Creek Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Central Gwinnett High
Corley Elementary
Creekland Middle
Dacula Elementary
Dacula Middle
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Duluth High
Five Forks Middle
Freeman's Mill Elementary
Henry Partee Elementary
J.E. Richards Middle
J.G. Dyer Elementary
Jackson Elementary
Kanoheda Elementary
Knight Elementary
Level Creek Elementary
Meadowcreek Elementary
Meadowcreek High
Mountain Park Elementary
Norcross Elementary
Norcross High
Parkview High
Peachtree Elementary
Pinckneyville Middle
R.D. Head Elementary
Richard Hull Middle
Rockbridge Elementary
Shiloh Elementary
Snellville Middle
Summerour Middle
Suwanee Elementary
T. Carl Buice School
Walnut Grove Elementary