News You Can Use - 10/25/2004

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
10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004

This year’s Georgia School Counselors' Association Region II winners are Kathy Bond of Sugar Hill Elementary, Region II Elementary School Counselor of the Year; Vicki Hoffmann of North Gwinnett High, Region II High School Counselor of the Year; David Young of Brookwood Elementary, Region II Writer of the Year; and Karen Robinson, Shiloh Middle principal, Region II Advocate of the Year. For more information, call Dr. Carrie Booher at 770-513-6792.

The following North Gwinnett High students have been named Commended Students in the 2005 National Merit Scholarship Program: Jonathan Balaban, Ashley Burchfield, Zhu Chen, Anishi Desai, Johann Justiniano, Raj Parikh, Christina Parr, Shelby Sheldon, Geoffrey Smith, Jerrett Stephenson, and Darryl Zuk. Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than one million students who took the 2003 PSAT. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Students John Branstetter, Alexis Lee, Bethany McDaniel, and Sarah Parson, all in Letha Kelly’s class at Grayson Elementary, had their artwork published in the 2005 edition of “Art Connections,” a visual art curriculum textbook. The student work was submitted last year, along with Ms. Kelly’s computer art lesson plans, to SRA McGraw-Hill, a national educational publishing company. For more information, call 770-963-7189.

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 on Oct. 16. Winners of the regular education Roadeo are: Jennifer West, 1st place; and Diana Meyer, 2nd place. Ms. West will move on to district competition. Special education road-e-o winners are manager Jane Stovall and monitor Teresa Rodrique in 1st place; and manager Sharon Cook and monitor Doris Sadler in 2nd place. Ms. Stovall and Ms. Rodrigue will compete in the National Special Needs Road-e-o in March in Arizona. For more information, call Bonnie Pinson at 770-271-5057 or Joyce Kennedy at 770-271-5055.

The Berkmar High Patriot Marching Band earned superior performances in brass, woodwinds, drum major, and percussion at the annual Brookwood Marching Classic competition in division AAA. The brass and percussion sections earned best performance and Tonya Mitchell earned best overall drum major. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

The Brookwood High PTSA will sponsor a panel discussion on “Teens Driving Safely” on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. The panel will consist of a police officer, a representative of a safe teen driving organization, the district attorney, and a parent. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Sycamore Elementary will celebrate Red Ribbon Week Oct. 25-29 with a different theme each day. Students will pledge to “Stay Drug Free” and “Just Say No” to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Monday’s theme is “From my head to my toes I’m all dressed in RED!” Students will wear red, and a satin ribbon bracelet will be given to each student. They are encouraged to wear their bracelets each day for a chance to win in the morning drawing. Tuesday’s theme is “I elect to be drug free!” Wear red, white, and blue, and remember to vote. Wednesday’s theme is “Put a Cap on Drugs!” Wear a hat day. Thursday’s theme is “Don’t let Drugs SNEAK up on you!” Students will wear their sneakers. Friday’s theme is “Show your spirit – Be Drug Free!” Wear Sycamore red and black. For more information, call 678-714-5770.

J.G. Dyer Elementary students decorated pumpkins to raise money for Relay for Life. Each class created a pumpkin character on pumpkins donated by Kroger. Students vote with pennies to determine the most popular pumpkin. The decorated pumpkins include characters from the Wizard of Oz—Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the cowardly Lion; Shrek; Garfield; and many more. The pumpkins will go to the Russell Ridge Kroger for display on Oct. 26th. For photos and more information, call 770-963-6214.

Sycamore Elementary 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will elect student council representatives and officers on Oct. 26. The election will be the culmination of a unit focusing on the presidential election. For more information, call Mary Jane MacLeod at 678-714-5770.

J.P. McConnell Middle students will participate in a mock election on Oct. 27. Students will use an electronic voting system sponsored by the Youth Leadership Initiative, a national civic education program. For more information, call Allison Hollingshead at 770-554-1000.

The Berkmar High PTSA will host a Gang Awareness program in the theater on Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. School resource officer Rolando Jimenez will be the featured presenter. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Henry Partee Elementary students are participating in a schoolwide mock election on Oct. 28. Presidential “candidate” interviews and debates took place earlier this month. For more information, call 770-982-6920.

The Peachtree Elementary PTA Academic Boosters and Science committee will sponsor “Science Mania” on Oct. 28. This year, the event will include health- and science-related activities. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Relay for Life pizza dinner fundraiser. Hands-on experiments, science- and health-related exhibits, and video presentations will begin at 6 p.m. This year’s class topics include Animals from Around the World, Ladybugs, Germ Busters, Volcanoes, Mini-Monsters, Pollinators on Parade, Fossils, Rocks & Minerals, and Electricity. Speaker Rick Bradley of The Georgia Reptile and Amphibian Rescue Effort, Inc., will present a class on camouflage in reptiles and amphibians. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

A financial aid meeting for college-bound seniors and their families will be held on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Brookwood High commons area. Allen May, of the Georgia Finance Commission, will be the featured speaker for the evening. Mr. May will provide information on financial aid including scholarships, grants, and loans. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

The Sycamore Elementary PTA will host a fall festival on Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school. Activities will include a moonwalk, face painting, a cakewalk, and a magic show. Snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, pizza, and hotdogs will be available for purchase. For more information, call Brenda Anderson at 678-714-5770.

K.E. Taylor Elementary students will learn about the presidential election by reading books explaining the president’s job, completing elections activities, making campaign posters, and singing patriotic songs. After registering to vote, students will participate in a schoolwide mock election on Nov. 1. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

SAT tests will take place at Buchanan High School of Technology throughout the academic year. The SAT I test will be administered on the following Saturdays in building F: Nov. 6, Dec. 4, and Jan. 22. Preregistration is required. The new SAT, which will include a writing portion, will be administered beginning in the spring of 2005. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

Rock Springs Elementary began an afterschool program this year that focuses on health, nutrition and PE. Students use computer software to monitor their heart rate. Students are also learning about good nutrition. Approximately 100 students are enrolled. For more information, call 770-932-7474.

Clark Howard and Mike Kavanagh of WSB Radio visited Shiloh High on Oct. 21 with the “Managing Your Money Community Tour.” The Shiloh High PTSA sponsored this event. For more information, call 770-972-8471.

At the first meeting of the Georgia Government Teen Advisory Board on Sept. 20, students outlined how government decisions affect their age group and discussed plans to motivate teenagers to get involved in the decision-making process. Guest speakers provided students with information on opportunities to serve in elected office, tips to understanding and influencing the legislative process, and suggestions for implementing civic projects in the community. The Teen Advisory Board will meet again in January to address state legislators about issues related to Georgia's young people.
Cameron Secord of Brookwood High is a member of the first Georgia Government Teen Advisory Board. He attended the meeting accompanied by assistant principal, David Smith. For more information, call 770-972-7642

Camp Creek Elementary students have participated in several fundraising activities during the month of Oct., with proceeds donated to the school’s United Way campaign. Students can donate $1 to wear hats and colorful socks, or their favorite uniform. On Oct. 22, teachers and administrators took orders at Brusters, and part of the proceeds were donated. For more information, call Linda Houghton at 770-921-1626.

On Oct. 15, Marcy Cincotta-Smith, a Benefield Elementary teacher, had her hair cut by Andy Schlenker and Susan Blackburn, Benefield Elementary teachers, as a fundraiser. Ms. Cincotta-Smith donated 11 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, a charity that makes wigs for children in need. For the past three weeks, students and staff donated 25 cents for each vote they cast to nominate a staff member to cut Ms. Cincotta-Smith’s hair. More than $500 was raised for Relay for Life. For more information, call 770-962-3771.

Sycamore Elementary students and staff participated in Gwinnett's Great Days of Service on Oct. 22. Students donated school supplies for students at West Elementary in Arcadia, Florida, which was damaged by the recent hurricanes. Students at Sycamore hope to be able to communicate with the students at West Elementary by sharing letters and pictures. For more information, call Principal Brenda Anderson, at 678-714-5770.

The Berkmar High Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Chapter raised $700 for Cystic Fibrosis. Students who contributed money were recognized by having their names written on a pumpkin that is displayed in the cafeteria. For more information, call 678-924-5328.

“So You Want to Be President?” This program is a pre-election reading of the award winning book “So You Want to Be President?” written by Judith St. George. The book is filled with facts and amusing anecdotes of past presidents. This 30-minute GCPS TV original program airs Oct. 25-31 at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“The Author in You-Richard Croker” Author Richard Croker recounts the battle of Antietam that inspired him write “To Make Men Free: A Novel of the Battle of Antietam.” This 30-minute GCPS TV original program airs Oct. 25-31 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.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--

October is Computer Learning Month. October also includes heritage and cultural celebrations for Americans of Polish, Italian, and Czech heritage.

October 25 is Georgia School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day.

November 2 is Election Day, and a student and teacher holiday.

November is American Indian Heritage Month.

Instructional materials are available for public review through Oct. 30 at the following locations:
Buchanan HS of Technology— 2595 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross, 770-326-8000
Lawrenceville East— 723 Hi-Hope Road, Lawrenceville, 770-338-4832
Materials may be reviewed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Thursday evening, Oct. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. Materials up for review are Language Arts, grades 9-12; Foreign Language, grades 6-12; High School Science, two electives; and materials for the Grayson High Technical Education Program.

Gwinnett County Public Schools invites community members and employees to participate in its annual review of Gwinnett's Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Employees and community members have until Friday, Oct. 29, to submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS. Visit the GCPS Web site at for a review form. Submit this Word document as an attachment by e-mail to or mail a printed copy to:
Curriculum Development Office
Lawrenceville East
P.O. Box 343
Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0343

The GEMS Oversight Committee, a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the AKS, will consider all suggestions when members meet in February. That committee then will recommend changes to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education for implementation in the 2005-2006 school year.

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