News You Can Use - 01/21/2008

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
01/21/2008 - 01/27/2008

Creekland Middle will partner with the Anti-Prejudice Consortium to host a Mini Power Over Prejudice Summit on Jan. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school. Twelve 7th grade students were trained at Georgia Tech by Creekland counselors last fall to be Peace Ambassadors/Stand Up Kids. These student facilitators will work with parent and teacher facilitators to train 50 more student participants. For more information, call Counselor Carla Winkler at 770-315-0980.

Students from Monarch School will perform at the opening of the Special Olympics Indoor Winter Games at the Cobb Civic Center on Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 678-542-2330.

Grayson High student Sophia Sanford was chosen to represent the Grayson High Technical Education Program at the annual Career and Technical Instruction Fall Leadership Conference. Sophia was awarded 2nd place in the Current Events quiz bowl. For more information, call 770-554-1071.

Students from Margaret Winn Holt Elementary had perfect scores at this year’s WordMasters Challenge— a national language arts competition. Carolina Hinojosa, Chelsey Murphy, and Susannah Speagle all earned a perfect score in the year’s first meet in December. Other students who also achieved outstanding results were Matea Blazevic, Thomas Brito, Devon Brunswick Mitchell Buckner, Angel Coulibaly, Chinye Ijeli, Nyima Ken-Piaro,Staci McGhee, Caleb Merritt, Taylor Reynolds, and Gavin Zoeffel. For more information, call 678-376-8600.

The State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) awarded Margaret Winn Holt Teacher Misty Pickenbrock the National Citizenship Education Teacher award. Ms. Pickenbrock won the VFW Post 5255 award and the District 9 award. For more information, call 678-376-8600.

David Gray of Collins Hill High and Elizabeth Arnold of South Gwinnett High are among the top 10 finalists for the 2008 Georgia High School Drawing Competition. The top 50 finalists, families, and their teachers are invited to attend the awards ceremony on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. The student exhibit will open Jan. 28 and run through Feb. 9. For more information, call Maya Rivera of SCAD- Atlanta at 404-253-2700.

The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton awarded Margaret Winn Holt Elementary Teacher Felicia Coney a $750 grant for literacy materials for her classroom. For more information, call 678-376-8600.

Duncan Creek Elementary student Brittaney Battiste won the New World of Coco-Cola’s Name the Robot Essay Contest. The name “Fizzy Bot” was chosen for the robot by Brittaney. For more information, call Jacquie Wansley at 404-676-3886 or email Photo available upon request.

The 2008 Gwinnett County Spelling Bee will be held on Jan. 26 in the Central Gwinnett High Theater with registration from 7:15-8:15 a.m. One winner from the 76 participating GCPS elementary and middle schools will compete in the Written Bee beginning at 8:30 a.m. The top 12 spellers will compete in the Oral Bee immediately following the Written Bee, and also will represent GCPS in the District 3 Bee on Feb. 23. Spectators may attend the Oral Bee. For more information Carey McDurmon, the Gwinnett County Spelling Bee Coordinator, can be contacted at The Gwinnett County Spelling Bee is co-sponsored by the Gwinnett County Association of Educators and The Gwinnett Daily Post.

Math specialists from Corley Elementary will host a Math Strategies Night for grades 2-5 students on January 29. Parents and students will learn math games and receive game pieces to practice at home. Pizza will be served at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 6 p.m. and babysitting will be provided. A translator will be available. For more information, call 978-924-5330.

Rebecca Minor Elementary will host the 4th annual International Night on Jan. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. Activities include sampling traditional foods, making arts and crafts, viewing demonstrations and clothing from around the world, and a performance by the chorus. For more information, call 770-925-9543.

The Shiloh Middle counselors will host a “No Parent Left Behind” Resource Fair on Jan. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. Students and parents from the Shiloh Cluster are invited to attend. Information will be provided regarding graduation requirements, career and college choices. Activities will include a performance by the Shiloh High choir and free refreshments, pizza and door prizes. For more information, call 770-972-3224.

The Gwinnett County Extension Service and the Gwinnett Council of PTAs will sponsor “Growing Up and Understanding It” on Jan. 29 and 31 for girls ages 9-13, and on Feb. 8 for boys. The program is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center Auditorium. Topics include the physical and emotional aspects of human growth and development, puberty, Hygiene, exercise, and taking care of yourself. The program is designed for parents to attend with their child. For more information and to make a reservation, call 678-377-4010.

Rock Springs Elementary students will participate in a Japanese Tea Party on Jan. 31. Teacher Caroline Whitten will teach the students the proper etiquette for the ceremony. The students will also eat fried rice with chopsticks and ramen noodle soup. Parents and teachers will cook the food for the event. For more information contact Teacher Peggy Hernandez at 770-932-7474.

The Duluth Center Stage Alliance will perform “Godspell” on Feb. 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and on Feb. 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the Duluth High Theatre. Tickets may be purchased for $8 at the school and the door. For more information, visit

GCPS will host the 3rd annual Readers Rally on Feb. 2 at 8:30 a.m. at Collins High. The Gwinnett Readers Rally is a quiz-bowl competition for students in grades 4-12. Registration will be followed by an opening ceremony and recognition of teams. Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris (a former principal) will stand in as Master of Ceremonies. The two winning middle and high school teams will move on to the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, a regional competition, scheduled for Feb. 9 in Augusta. State playoffs will take place March 1 during the Children’s Literature Conference at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens. For more information, call Media Specialist Leslie Greer at 770-232-3255.

Peachtree Ridge High recently sponsored a Science Fair at the school. Of the 97 projects that competed, 30 earned 1st place awards and will advance to District level competition on Feb. 8 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Archit Bhise earned the top honor for his project. For more information, call Teacher Rosemarie Placek at 678-957-3100.

The Peachtree Ridge High Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students will sell personal cakes for Valentine’s Day in February at the Mane Event school store. They may be purchased for $7. This student-run business will bake and ice cakes every Monday after school. The goal is to support organizational needs, while empowering students to participate in a real business world endeavor. For more information, call Linda Brimmer at 678-957-3100.

R.D. Head Elementary recently held a drive for soldiers collecting nonperishable supplies and baked goods for the holidays. A staff member at the school has a son-in-law serving in Afghanistan. Snack items, books, games, candy and baked goods were donated. By the final day of the drive, 187 pounds of “goodies” were collected. Donations for postage came from local business partners, staff and their families to donate $175 for shipping. The boxes were packed and mailed and arrived in Afghanistan on the same day that a winter snowstorm hit that country. Future mailings are planned and the staff has set a goal to exceed the first amount sent by at least 25 pounds. A holiday project at R.D. Head Elementary has turned into an ongoing project to support our troops in Afghanistan. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

Part science and nature center, part energy institute, and part history center, the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (GEHC) is a collaborative educational initiative. Partners are GCPS, Gwinnett County Government, the University of Georgia, and the Center’s foundation. The Center is dedicated to student field studies and activities Mon.-Fri. from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center is open to the public Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at or call 770-904-3500.

Jan. 26, 10:30 a.m. - noon, Bluebird Habitats, free
Come help set up bluebird houses. Our beautiful feathered friends will be looking for good homes in early February. We will set up boxes in our open grassy edge habitats. The use of wooden, man-made nesting boxes has made a wonderful difference in the survival of bluebirds. Please dress warm and bring binoculars.

Jan. 26, 3 - 4 p.m., Nature Kids (Grades 2nd-4th), $5 per child
Nature Spies: Visit our center and learn how to sneak up and spy on wildlife. Your observation skills will definitely sharpen and you may spot some evidence of animal activities. Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes and bring water.

“ArtStage: Brookwood High Special Event Performance” Tune in to GCPS TV for a special presentation of “ArtStage” featuring the Brookwood High Honors Orchestra and Choruses. Highlights of this performance include selections from Holst’s “Saint Paul’s Suite for String Orchestra” and Handel’s “Messiah.” This 60-minute program airs Jan. 21-27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Telling Stories: Patricia McKissack - Prince William/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series” Patricia C. McKissack, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King award-winning author, storyteller, and writer of “Color Me Dark”, a title from Scholastic’s popular “Dear America” series, talks about this inspiring story with moderator Maria Salvadore. Ms. McKissack reads from the book; highlights its important themes of family love, racism, and inner strength; and compares the different ways stories are shared through books, on stage, and through oral storytelling. This 60-minute program airs Jan. 21-24 at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., and January 25-27 at 1 p.m.

“A Biography of America - The Sixties” Get a sense for the times in which the Civil Rights Movement took place by exploring “The Sixties”, Program #24 of “A Biography of America”. This 30-min. program airs Jan. 21-27 at 11 a.m.

“Engaging with Literature: A Video Library” A combined class of fourth and fifth graders works in small groups to explore historical fiction. Texts include “I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” by Margaret Davidson; “Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story About Sojourner Truth,” by Jerie Ferris; “Which Way Freedom” by Joyce Hansen; and “A Family Apart” by Joan Lowery Nixon. This 30-min. program airs Jan. 21-27 at 11:30 a.m.

Tune in to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for education programs and information. TV cable channels and providers include: AT&T on Channel 21, Charter on Channel 22, and Comcast on Channel 24 & 26. For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-301-7800, 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
01/17/2008GCPS students up for the spelling bee challenge (pdf)
01/15/2008GCPS students to participate in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations (pdf)
01/15/2008GCPS to work with community on review of middle and high school advisement materials (pdf)

Parents, staff, and community members are invited to review and to provide input on proposed curriculum materials. This review covers advisement materials for grades 6–12. The review will run through Jan. 31 Reviews are scheduled at the following locations and times:
Instructional Support Center, Building 200, Room 2.101, 437 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee
Monday-Friday, through Jan. 31, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Safety & Security Building, 52 Gwinnett Drive, Lawrenceville, Monday-Friday, through Jan 31, 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Grayson HS Technical Education Program Building, 50 Hope Hollow Road, Loganville Monday-Friday, through Jan 31, 7 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Duluth Middle School, 3200 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, Monday-Friday, through Jan 31, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call Diane Thompson, director of advisement and counseling at 770-277-4488.

Jan. 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (systemwide holiday).

February is Black History Month and Technical Education Month.

Feb. 1 is the registration deadline for Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

Feb. 3 is Scout Sunday.

National School Counseling Week is Feb. 4-8.

Feb. 10 is South Gwinnett High's 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Early release for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences is Feb. 13-14.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 14, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during Jan. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Alford Elementary
B.B. Harris Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Chattahoochee Elementary
Collins Hill High
Corley Elementary
Craig Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Frank N. Osborne Middle
Glenn C. Jones Middle
Grayson Elementary
Gwin Oaks Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Harmony Elementary
Henry Partee Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
J.P. McConnell Middle
Lilburn Elementary
Lovin Elementary
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary
Nesbit Elementary
Parkview High
Pinckneyville Middle
Rockbridge Elementary
South Gwinnett High
Sugar Hill Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
Sweetwater Middle
T. Carl Buice School
Trickum Middle
Walnut Grove Elementary