News You Can Use - 03/12/2007

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
03/12/2007 - 03/18/2007

The Duluth High Chamber Orchestra will compete in the high school division of the National Orchestra Festival, sponsored by the American String Teachers Association, March 8-10 in Detroit, Mich. The Duluth Chamber orchestra was selected to compete against other top orchestras in the country. The chamber is under the direction of Dr. Peter Lemonds and Reid Smith and has 26 student members. Their program will include pieces by Ricciotti, Piazzola, and Wiren. Performances will be held at Max Fisher Hall, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Meadowcreek Elementary will hold a Family Fitness Day at the school’s playground on March 10. The event will begin with a covered dish luncheon at 11 a.m., followed by academic and athletic games, fitness demonstrations, health screenings, summer activity sign-ups, and a visit from storyteller Akbar Imhotep. For more information, call Amy Valverde-Jensen at 770-931-5719 or Anita Canada Egwim at 678-442-7794.

The Brookwood High Dance Department and Peachtree Ridge High Dance Company recently attended the 7th Regional High School Dance Festival in Norfolk, Va. Student dancers participated in adjudicated performances and master classes. Participating schools submitted eight dancers each to perform in scholarship auditions. These students were among the more than 600 dancers who were evaluated in jazz, modern dance, and ballet. Through the auditions, colleges and universities, summer intensives, and professional schools choose dancers for acceptance into their programs. For more information about the Dance Department, the Festival, and auditions, contact Anna D’Antonio, Brookwood dance team sponsor; or Courtney Chitwood Ondre, Peachtree Ridge High dance team sponsor.

The Duluth High Competition Cheerleaders were awarded the Georgia Cheerleading Coaches Associations Sportsmanship Award at the state cheerleading competition. The cheerleading coach will receive a banner at this year’s spring cheerleading coach’s conference to display at the school. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Duluth High student Elaine Shin auditioned and made it to the finals of the Curtis Institute of Music-- widely considered one of the most prestigious conservatories in the world. Competition for admission is international and very rigorous as only 1 or 2 cellists are accepted each year. It is an honor to be invited to apply and audition. If Elaine passes the next audition, she will receive a full-tuition scholarship. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

GCPS social worker Len Duncan will be honored by the School Social Workers Association of Georgia as the 9th District School Social Worker of the Year for his contributions to schools, students, and families. Mr. Duncan was selected by the School Social Workers in the 9th District, and will compete for the state title awarded at the School Social Workers of Georgia’s 60th Anniversary Conference in Savannah on March 20-23. The 9th District is comprised of social workers from 25 school systems in Northeast Georgia counties. For more information, call David Johns, director of health services and school social workers at 678-301-7270.

The Duluth High Mock Trial Team participated in the Regional Mock Trial Competition in February. Students Lexi Anderson and Roger Ou received Outstanding Attorney Awards. Kayla McKenzie and Jeff Tinsley received Outstanding Witness Awards. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Duluth High ninth grade swimmer Hailey White participated in the 14 and under Georgia State Year Round Championship and placed 1st in the 200 freestyle competition with the second fastest time in Swim Atlanta history. Hailey also placed 1st in the 500 freestyle competition. She placed 2nd in the 1000 freestyle. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Brookwood High student Juilian Bernard Barton has been selected to emcee the 18th Annual Junior Achievement of Georgia’s Atlanta Business Hall of Fame black-tie fundraiser on March 17 at 6 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. Julian auditioned before a panel of three judges for the role and he will represent the Junior Achievement Fellows Program with over 300 prominent business leaders from the Atlanta community. All proceeds will help provide Junior Achievement K-12 business and economics programs to 73,000 students across Metro-Atlanta. For more information, call Audrey Treasure, director of the Junior Achievement Fellows Program, Junior Achievement of GA, at 404-257-1932 ext. 219.

Peachtree Ridge High student Kiersten Williford was named 2007 Miss Peachtree Ridge at the 4th annual Peachtree Ridge High Scholarship Pageant in February. Kiersten was awarded a $1,000 scholarship donated by businesses in the community. Anna Dotson was crowned Miss Freshman, Lauren Ness was crowned Miss Sophomore, and Hannah Oliver was crowned Miss Junior. These winners received crystal frames. For more information, call Dianne Clausen at 678-957-3132.

Duluth High will participate in the Duluth Police Department and Gwinnett County Rescue Services Ghost-Out Program the week of March 12-16. Early in the week, students will organize and present a simulated car accident involving drivers playing the role of being under the influence of alcohol. As part of the program, students will receive updates throughout the week about related events. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Bethesda Elementary will celebrate Youth Art Month by hosting a student Art Exhibit on March 13 after the 6:30 p.m. PTA meeting. The artwork will be framed and available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the art department at the school and Relay for Life. In addition to the artwork, the Bethesda Chorus will perform. For more information, call 770-921-2000.

Parents of rising 5th graders are invited to attend the Five Forks Middle Parent Articulation Night on March 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Information will be shared about ESOL, PROBE, Connections, and Special Education classes at the school. There will be a General Meeting in the cafeteria from 6 to 6:25 p.m. followed by a time to meet with 6th grade teachers. For more information, call 770-972-1506.

Berkmar Middle will host an author visit from Jacqueline Woodson on March 14 at 9:30 a.m. Ms. Woodson has written several books and has received the Newberry Honor, the Correta Scott King Award, the Correta Scott King Honor, the Caldecott Honor, as well as being a finalist for the National Book Award. Ms. Woodson will discuss her latest book, “Feathers,” a fast-moving novel that introduces big issues such as faith, class, color, prejudice, family, disability, and friendship. Those attending will receive a free book. For more information, call 770-638-2300.

Norcross Elementary will host a visit form the award winning author of children’s literature, and storyteller Carmen Deedy on March 15 and 16. For more information, call 770-448-2188.

Rockbridge Elementary will celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary on March 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school. Former and current staff, students, administrators, and community members are invited to the celebration. Each grade level will highlight a decade of memories from 1960 through 2000. Entertainment will be provided by students, teachers, and community members. For more information, call 770-448-9363.

Brookwood High will sponsor “Taste of Brookwood” March 24 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the Commons Area at the school. Participants are invited to taste food items from local restaurants. Entertainment will include performances by the Brookwood Jazz Bands, students, and special guests. Items for the silent auction may be viewed by visiting auction. Tickets may be purchased from band students or online at for $10, and include 5 taste tickets, a beverage and dessert. All proceeds benefit the Brookwood Band Program. For more information, visit The Taste of Brookwood Web site.

The Peachtree Ridge Foundation will sponsor the Fourth Annual Lions Golf Classic to be held at the Tournament Players Club at Sugarloaf on March 26. For more information and a registration brochure, visit or call Lynn Brunatti, executive director of the Foundation at 678-957-3166.

GCPS honors the system’s top bus manager and monitors at an annual banquet. The 2007 Bus Managers and Monitors banquet will be held on March 26 at 7 p.m. at Winfield Hall in Duluth. For more information, call Tammy Coogler in the transportation office at 770-513-6692.

The Duluth High Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets represented the school at the annual American Cancer Society Survivor Fashion Show, held at the Ritz-Carleton in Buckhead on March 5. The male Cadets were escorts for the models and survivors on the runway. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

The Duluth High Band and Tri-M-- an honors music group with members from Band, Chorus, and orchestra-- collected plastic eggs, small trinkets to put inside the eggs, and hard and soft candy for its annual Easter Egg Hunt for the foster children of Gwinnett County. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Duluth High students and staff will raise money for Enterprise High in Ala. recently damaged by tornados. Former Duluth teacher and coach Brent Harrison is currently teaching at Enterprise High. Duluth students want to lend support to Coach Harrison and his students by donating money in his honor to help in the rebuilding process. NJROTC cadets will be manning collection receptacles in the cafeteria during all lunches for one week beginning March 7. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Part science and nature center, part energy institute, and part history center, the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center is a collaborative educational initiative. Partners are Gwinnett County Public Schools, county commissioners, the University of Georgia, and the Center’s foundation. The Center is dedicated to student field studies and activities weekday mornings and is open to the public weekday afternoons and weekends (closed Mondays). Learn more at or call 770-904-3500.

March 17, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Leopold Educator Workshop (LEP), $30.00 per person
LEP is a hands-on, interdisciplinary resource that uses the Sand County Almanac as a foundation combining an ecologically sound understanding of science with literary prose for teachers of 6-12th graders. Bring a sack lunch and snack. Call Kathy Barrett at 770-904-3500.

March 17, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Club Method, $10.00 per person
High and middle school kids bring your friends and join us for cool science experiments and fun. Dues vary depending on activity. For questions or to register, email

March 22, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., SpineCrackers Book Club, $7 person, free to GEHC members
Join this monthly group to explore the story of the life of Will Cooper in Charles Frazier’s “Thirteen Moons.” Email to register or pay at the door.

March 24, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Greenway Gurus, (3rd-5th grade kids), $10.00 per child
Make “tracks” and join us in some serious detective fun. We’ll “track” down the clues to discover wildlife in our area as this environmental club learns about deer, raccoons and other critters. Club dues are $10 per meeting. For questions or to register, email

March 24, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m., Hawks, Falcons & Owls—Oh My!
Join the Georgia Falconry Association as they teach visitors about the importance of protecting these animals and their habitats. Free with paid admission.

March 31, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Boy Scout Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge, $7.00 per Boy Scout
Come dressed in comfortable attire and bring a sack lunch. Pre-register at

“Telling Stories - Jon Scieszka” PW/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series-- Author of such whimsical children’s books as “The Time Warp Trio” and “The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales,” Jon Scieszka discusses his humorous approach to rethinking academic subjects as well as his “updating” of classic myths and fairy tales for modern young readers. This 60-min. program airs March 12-17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Teaching Multi-Cultural Literature - A Workshop for the Middle Grades” This Annenberg CPB series introduces teachers to ethnically diverse American writers and offers dynamic instructional strategies and resources to make works meaningful for students. This workshop includes eight one-hour videos in which teachers model effective approaches - based on reader response, critical inquiry, cultural studies, and critical pedagogy - for using multicultural works in the classroom. In units that unfold over time, they also demonstrate activities and practices that engage students in critical discussions of race, class, and social justice, and empower them to take action for change. Programs five through eight of this 8-part workshop air March 12-15 at
1 p.m.

“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 1)” This video telecourse designed to teach English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 is scheduled to air through April 3 on GCPS TV. A new 60-minute class airs daily Monday–Thursday at 9 p.m., and repeats at 1 a.m. On Sunday, viewers can see the week’s programs from noon to 4 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 airs 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.
03/05/2007North Gwinnett High’s school store operation receives National Gold Certification (pdf)
03/02/2007GCPS co-sponsors a college fair for special needs students (pdf)
03/02/2007School naming process begins for schools opening in August 2008 and 2009 (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:
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

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.

March 19 is a student holiday and teacher planning day.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during February and March. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Alton C. Crews Middle3/13
B.B. Harris Elementary3/27
Berkeley Lake Elementary3/15
Berkmar High3/27
Bethesda Elementary3/20
Brookwood Elementary3/12
Cedar Hill Elementary3/15
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary3/16
Collins Hill High3/20
Dacula Elementary3/16
Dacula High3/30
Duluth Middle3/13
Glenn C. Jones Middle3/15
Grayson Elementary3/16
Harbins Elementary3/20
Harmony Elementary3/30
Ivy Creek Elementary3/16
J.P. McConnell Middle3/26
Lawrenceville Elementary3/20
Level Creek Elementary3/15
Lilburn Elementary3/22
Lilburn Middle3/29
Louise Radloff Middle3/15
McKendree Elementary3/16
Meadowcreek High3/15
Nesbit Elementary3/22
North Gwinnett High3/13
Peachtree Elementary3/15
Pinckneyville Middle3/15
Riverside Elementary3/13
Rock Springs Elementary3/29
Simpson Elementary3/30
South Gwinnett High3/20
Summerour Middle3/13
Sweetwater Middle3/29
T. Carl Buice School3/20
Trickum Middle3/13