News You Can Use - 10/24/2005

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
10/24/2005 - 10/30/2005

Mill Creek High students Allan Ruiz and Kenneth Taganajan were awarded second and third places, respectively, for their essays on Hispanic Role Models. The competition was sponsored by the Gwinnett Hispanic Advisory Committee and Wal-Mart in Lawrenceville. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

Ernie Blankenship of Grayson High was named one of three Educators of the Year, chosen from among 24 BellSouth 2005 Excellence in Education Award winners. As the High School Educator of the Year, Mr. Blankenship received a $1,000 grant for use by his school. Other GCPS staffers honored as Excellence in Education Award winners were Laura Henderson of Sugar Hill Elementary, James Rayford of Lilburn Middle, and Dr. Terry Williams of Meadowcreek High. For more information, call 770-554-1071.

Maxwell High School of Technology earned industry certification for its Graphics Arts program. The program teacher is Mark James. For more information, call 770-963-6838.

The field of teachers in the running for the 2006 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year (TOTY) title has been narrowed to six finalists. One of these six will be named Gwinnett’s Teacher of the Year at a banquet on Nov. 3, 2005, at the Gwinnett Center. All 105 local school winners from Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) will be honored that night. The finalists for this year are Carol Issa of Meadowcreek Elementary, Melissa Lawley of K.E. Taylor Elementary, Linda Koch of Duluth Middle, Dr. Anne Beatty Crain of Lanier Middle, Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi of Collins Hill High, and Dr. Jeff Mathews of Parkview High. For a full list of local and semi TOTY winners, call Lea Arnau at 770-513-6652 or visit

The Gwinnett County Public Library sponsored a writing contest in conjunction with Teen Read Week in October. Six winners were chosen from among 700 plus entries submitted by middle and high school students. One student was selected from each level as a grand prize winner and received a computer provided by Sonic Drive-in Restaurants. GCPS high school winners include Jessica Thai (grand prize winner) of North Gwinnett, Johnny Bud of Meadowcreek, Anna Ofsa of Parkview, Melissa Plyler of Norcross, Ansley Deese of Shiloh, and Devin Alphin of South Gwinnett. Middle school winners include Doyoung Park (grand prize winner) and Emily Summerbell, both of Creekland Middle; and Liz Dyer, Patrick Massey, and Trey West, all of Trickum Middle. Photos available upon request. Winning entries may be viewed on the library’s Website at

On Oct. 15, the GCPS Transportation department held its Bus Safety Road-e-o for regular education bus drivers and bus managers and monitors for special needs students. Winners of the regular education Road-e-o are Jennifer West (1st place) and Amy Kemp (2nd place). Both drivers will move on to district competition. Special education road-e-o winners are manager Jack Capps and monitor Donald Rodriquez in 1st place; and manager Susan Sisson and monitor Rita Pardo in 2nd place. Mr. Capps and Mr. Rodriguez will compete in state competition. For more information, call Bonnie Pinson at 770-271-5057 or Joyce Kennedy at 770-271-5055.

Several Mill Creek High art students will have their work on display at the Hamilton Mill Starbucks for several weeks. These students are Erin Gladstone, Lauren Grainger, Stephanie Hawkins, Sue Kim, and Young Park. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

The Alton C. Crews Middle PTSA will host a Career Fair on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Parents and students are invited to find out more about career opportunities. For more information call 770-982-6940.

The annual Gwinnett County Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Cystic Fibrosis Bowl for Breath Bowling Tournament will take place at Oasis Bowl in Buford on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. Pizza, soft drinks, and snacks will be available for purchase. RSVP to Nancy Head of South Gwinnett High, Bob Hickey of Brookwood High, or Tammi Maness of Dacula High.

Gwinnett County Reflections entries will be on display to the general public at the Hudgens Arts Center from Oct. 26 through Nov. 12. Display times are from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The Gwinnett County PTA Council will hold a special exhibition for all Gwinnett Council finalists and their families on Nov. 5. For more information, call Donna Berger at 678-714-9265, or e-mail

Statewide “Community Conversation” to focus on setting budget priorities for education
If you could create an education budget, what would you put in it? What would you leave out?
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Governor’s Education Finance Task Force will explore these difficult questions with residents locally and statewide. Governor Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox will lead the second statewide “Community Conversation” that aims to create Georgia’s definition of educational excellence. The conversation will take place simultaneously at 16 sites across Georgia. Locally, residents will participate at Peachtree Ridge High School, located at 1555 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee.
The program will open with a presentation by the Governor and the Superintendent, which will be broadcast from Georgia Public Television. Participants will then be given different scenarios and be asked to build budgets around those circumstances. Participants will get a peek into the difficult decision-making process that goes on at the state and local levels when determining budgets for schools.
There are two ways to actively participate in this conversation.
In person: Area residents are encouraged to arrive at Peachtree Ridge High by 6:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6:45 p.m. and last until 9 p.m.
Online: Residents can log-on to and participate by webcast.

Brookwood High will host a financial aid meeting on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Commons Area. The meeting is open to all GCPS high school students. Information will be provided by a speaker from the Georgia Student Finance Commission. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

The Trickum Middle 6th grade orchestra will host a strings concert on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria. For more information, call 770-321-2705.

Caron Burnette’s class at Suwanee Elementary will host The Butterfly Ball on Oct. 28 from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. In preparation of this event, students will practice ballroom dance steps, learn about manners, and plan what they will wear to the Butterfly Ball. This event will run in conjunction with the Great Days of Service. Students are encouraged to donate personal hygiene products for the Foster Children's Foundation. For more information, call 770-945-5763.

Mill Creek High theater students will perform “Macbeth” Oct. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $5. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

W. J. Cooper Elementary has many activities planned for Career Month in October. Lessons on careers will be taught in the classroom. Each grade level will sponsor a career contest. On Oct. 28, 2nd grade students will explore and learn about different careers at hands-on Career Centers. For more information, call Christy Armstrong at 770-554-7050.

Sycamore Elementary will host a Fall Festival on Oct. 29. For more information, call 678-714-5770.

Annistown Elementary will sponsor a fall carnival on Oct. 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Activities include a silent auction, baskets for purchase, games, booths, and refreshments. Parents, students, and the community are invited. For more information, call Arthur Williams at 770-979-2950.

Lawrenceville Elementary joined with Junior Achievement to form a partnership with Gwinnett Health Systems. During the week of Oct. 31 students will learn the basics of city planning and business structures using hands-on activities supervised by Gwinnett Health Systems employee volunteers. On Nov. 4, closing activities will include a volunteer breakfast, parade, and a video. For more information, call Lawanna Caudle at 770-963-1813.

The annual GCPS Peer Leadership Conference will be held on Nov. 4 at Hebron Church in Dacula. Dr. Billy Britt, former Board member, will welcome peer leaders to the conference at 8:45 a.m. There will be break-out sessions on a variety of topics, and Hollywood Brown, former Harlem Globetrotter and motivational speaker, will address the students, beginning at 11:45 a.m. For more information, call Carol Lane at 770-982-6951 or e-mail

“The Author in You - Aimee Buckner” GCPS TV is proud to feature a Brookwood Elementary teacher and recently published author, Aimee Buckner, on the season premiere of “The Author in You.” Ms. Buckner’s book, “Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook,” provides the tools middle school teachers need to make writers’ notebooks an integral part of their writing programs. Students tuning in will learn the why and how of keeping a writer's notebook to improve their writing. This 30-min. program airs Oct. 24-29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

“Connections: History & Music - Prince William Network” What do Mozart, Marie Antoinette, and Benjamin Franklin have in common? That question and many others will be answered in this fast-paced, multimedia program— developed by National Symphony (NSO) Orchestra cellist Yvonne Caruthers— the program explores the connections between history and music. An ensemble of NSO musicians brings to life the history and music of colonial Jamestown, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the post-Civil War era, and the turbulent twentieth century. This 60-minute program airs Oct. 24-27 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 -30 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Meet the Author - Gail Karwoski” - Gail Karwoski writes “to learn things... about the world and about myself. When I do research for my books, I learn things about topics that interest me.” “Surviving Jamestown” in an excellent introduction to our nation's earliest days, told through the eyes of 12-year-old Samuel Collier. This fictionalized biography of Jamestown makes for a fun read and is “a great learning tool for middle school teachers to use as a supplement to the study of early settlers and settlements.” This 30-min. program airs live Thurs., Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.

“Artifacts and Fiction” Annenberg/CPB - This video workshop for high school American literature teachers introduces techniques for reading cultural, political, and religious artifacts and connecting them to the literature they teach. This 60-min. program airs Oct. 24-27 at 11 a.m.

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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Instructional Materials Review through Oct. 29— Parents, staff, and community members are invited to review and provide input on proposed curriculum materials. This review covers instructional materials for grades K–12 fine arts and grades 6–12 career and technical education. The review will run through Oct. 29. All materials can be reviewed at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville, during the times listed: Monday–Friday, through Oct. 28, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.; and Thursday, Oct. 27, 5–8 p.m.

AKS review runs through Oct. 28— The annual review for the continuous improvement of the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum is underway. Submissions are due to the Curriculum Development Office by Oct. 28. Curriculum directors will review suggestions and provide comments. On March 16, the GEMS Oversight Committee will review both the suggestions comments before making its recommendation to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the school Board of Education. AKS Review Forms are available at

October is Computer Learning Month.

Oct. 22-31 is Red Ribbon Week.

Oct. 24 is Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

A Certified Teacher Job Fair will be held on November 5 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Mill Creek High School, 4400 Braselton Hwy./Hwy. 124, in Hoschton, Ga. Applications may be downloaded at or by calling the GCPS Application Line at 678-377-8909.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during October. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Phone Number
Alcova Elementary
Alford Elementary
Berkmar High
Brookwood Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Chattahoochee Elementary
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary
Craig Elementary
Alton C. Crews Middle
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Duluth Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
Fort Daniel Elementary
Grayson High
Gwin Oaks Elementary
Harmony Elementary
B.B. Harris Elementary
R.D. Head Elementary
Richard Hull Middle
Ivy Creek Elementary
Jackson Elementary
Glenn C. Jones Middle
J.C. Magill Elementary
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Meadowcreek High
Norcross High
North Gwinnett High
Frank N. Osborne Middle
Parkview High
Parsons Elementary
Riverside Elementary
Shiloh Elementary
Simonton Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
Sugar Hill Elementary
Summerour Middle
Suwanee Elementary
Sweetwater Middle
Sycamore Elementary
K.E. Taylor Elementary