News You Can Use - 02/23/2004

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
02/23/2004 - 02/29/2004

India Lyons of Berkmar High was recently selected to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law (NYLF/LAW) from Feb. 24 to Feb. 29 in Washington, D.C. Having demonstrated academic achievement and an interest in the legal profession, Ms. Lyons will join approximately 350 outstanding high school juniors and seniors from across the United States at the Forum on Law. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has selected Brian Westlake, a Berkmar High teacher, to serve on a validation/standard-setting panel for a teacher licensure test. NCATE is the agency that works with the Educational Testing Service to develop the Praxis Series® for teacher certification in Georgia. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Sycamore ES principal Brenda Anderson was recently recognized by the State Board of Education as the State Counseling Advocate of the year. State School Superintendent Kathy Cox highlighted Ms. Anderson's contributions and presented her with a certificate at the Excellence Recognition Program on Feb. 12. Ms. Anderson was selected as Gwinnett's Advocate of the Year, before winning region and state honors. For more information, contact Ms. Anderson at 678-714-5770.

Dacula Middle 7th grader Colby Newton is a Georgia Reading Association state winner for “Reader of the Year” for grades 6-8. The award will be presented on Feb. 27 at an awards brunch. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

The College Board recognized Norcross High with the “Access to Education Award.” Norcross High scored the highest of any high school in Georgia on the seven identified criteria dealing with the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and improving scores on Advanced Placement exams. The award was presented to Principal Mary Anne Charron on Feb. 13 at an awards ceremony. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Berkmar High students fared well at a recent competition for DECA, an association for marketing students. Whitney Resko earned third place in Job Interview, Alberto Ponce earned third place in Selling, and Zain Sohani earned fourth place in Retail Merchandising-Management Level. For more information, call Diana Preston at 678-924-5328.

Norcross High students Robert Pendergrass and Jack Tung were selected to present at the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at the University of Georgia on Feb. 29. For more information, call Anne Granville at 770-448-3674.

A number of Norcross High swim and dive team members qualified for the state meet. Qualifying swimmers are Alex Cronon, Meg Daniels, Mary Davenport, Mary Harrison, Casey Heffernan, Samanta Lee, Ryan Leon, Jimmy Lewis, Meghan Martinez, Michelle Martinez, Dan Pugh, Carmen Rodriguez, Stephanie Spiwak, Danielle Sukenik, and Kayla Swart. Qualifying divers are Juliet Helms and Ashley Hubbard. For more information, call Andy Barrett at 770-448-3674.

The Norcross High boys varsity basketball team finished their season with an undefeated 24–0 record. The team finished as the top-ranked AAAAA team in the state. Head Coach Eddie Martin finished the perfect season by celebrating his 400th win. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

G.H. Hopkins Elementary student Brittany Aphithanakhun won the history project category in the annual 4H County Project Achievement contest. She will now compete at the regional level. For more information, call 770-564-2661.

The following G.H. Hopkins Elementary students have been published in a collection of works in Mercer University's “College for Kids Budding Authors 2003.” The title of the literary work appears after each name.
4th grader Samantha Evans, “My Dogs”
4th grader Angela K. Hepburn, “I am Angela”
4th grader David P. Miner, “My Life”
4th grader Sadiquah Yasmeen Powers, “The Lost Puppy”
5th grader Chenice Monet Welsh, “My People”
5th grader Meghna Soni, “Nature”
For more information, call 770-564-2661.

Brookwood High represented Region 8 AAAAA at the state debate tournament earlier this month. Seniors Nick Agnello and Doug Lambert on the affirmative team along with sophomores Kirk Gibson and Devin Gouré on the negative team had a combined record of 12 wins and two losses to bring home the State runner-up title and trophy. Since 1989, Brookwood policy debate teams have won six state championships and seven state runner-up titles. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Education Committee has initiated a Student of the Month program to recognize outstanding high school students in Gwinnett County. Eligible high school seniors are judged on leadership skills, participation in school organizations and projects, community service, work activities, honors and awards, and grade point average. The monthly award winners are eligible to win the "Student of the Year" award in June. Christian Morris, a North Gwinnett High student, is the January 2004, Student of the Month. Mr. Morris is involved in several school organizations, including Environmental Club, Multicultural and Drama Clubs, Future Business Leaders of America, and Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Morris maintains a 3.0 grade point average, and in addition, has worked with Chick-Fil-A for two years, beginning as a cashier and learning food preparation, stocking, and catering. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

The Berkmar High Scholar's Bowl team has been invited to participate in the 2003-3004 High Q Quiz Bowl competition sponsored by WSB-TV Channel 2. The match against Newnan High aired in January. Having outscored Newnan High, Berkmar now will move on to the “Sweet 16” round. The members of Berkmar's Scholar's Bowl team are Jon Dees (captain), Patrick Harazin, Ashiq Lakhani, Justin Peek, and Aneeth Geetha (alternate).

The C-SPAN bus will visit North Gwinnett High on Feb. 26. The C-SPAN School Bus is no ordinary bus— it’s a mobile television production studio on which C-SPAN’s traveling staff help students understand more about C-SPAN's mission, critical viewing, and all of the topics C-SPAN covers, from government and history to books and current events. For more information, call Carla Whitehead at 770-945-9558, or visit the Web site at

The Gwinnett County PTA Council, in conjunction with the Gwinnett County Extension Service and GCPS, will present “Accessing Resources for College-Bound Special Needs Students” on Feb. 23 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville. The College Fair will be conducted from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and a program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call the Gwinnett County Extension Service at 678-377-4010.

Pharr Elementary will hold a Writing Round-Up at the Feb. 23 PTA meeting. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Children will attend writing sessions, while parents learn strategies to help their students become better writers. Teachers, students, and parents are invited to wear their cowboy attire. For more information, call 770-985-0244.

Knight Elementary will hold a Math Knight on Feb. 23. Students and parents are invited to participate in a variety of hands-on math activities at the school. In addition, on Thursdays, free English classes are provided for adults learning English. Babysitting is available for the classes at no charge. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

The Gwinnett County PTA will host an informational meeting for parents of Frank N. Osborne Middle students at Duncan Creek Elementary on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 678-714-5800.

This week (Feb. 23-29), tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for:
“GCPS Focus,” airing 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. each day.
“In Five,” a five-minute news update, airing at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily.
“BookTales,” featuring the nominees for the 2003-2004 Georgia Children's Picture Book Award, and airing daily at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Kids Can Cook,” airing Feb. 23–29 at 1:30 and 8 p.m.
“RIF Exchange,” featuring the GCPS Writing Institute, airing Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m., and Feb. 26-29 at 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
GCPS TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Charter Communications on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or send an e-mail to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

The 7th grade Dacula Middle band will perform on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in the old gym. The 8th grade band concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the old gym. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary is kicking off a “cow parade.” The students will participate in a "cowntest" by grade level to create a design and name for a school cow. All entries will be collected on Feb. 25 and the winners will be announced on March 1. Two artists will visit the school on March 4 to help the students paint the winning design on the cow. For more information, call PTA Cultural Arts Chairperson Marianne Weyen at 678-475-1355.

Berkmar High students will celebrate Black History Month with a program on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. Student art will be displayed in the school commons area. Following the art show, a program featuring student talent and a motivational speaker, Geraldine Hudley of Albany, Ga., will take place in the theater. For more information, call 770-921-3636.

Arcado Elementary will host a sweetheart luncheon on Feb. 26 in the cafeteria. Family members are invited to join their students for lunch. For more information, call 770-925-2100.

R.D. Head Elementary will host an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) Parent Night on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the media center. On Feb. 28, the PTA will sponsor a carnival and silent auction. For more information, call 770-972-8050.

The Georgia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) will hold its annual conference Feb. 26-27 at the Gwinnett Civic Center in Duluth. This year’s conference, titled “Faces of Education: Courageous Actions, Powerful Stories,” will present two renowned speakers in education. The keynote speaker, Carol Gardner, serves as a school improvement specialist with Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency (MRESA) and works as a consultant for Learning Concepts. Also on the agenda is Charlene Murphy, who will provide an introduction to Whole-Faculty Study Groups. In addition, Dr. Stephen Dolinger, president for Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, will be the Edith Grimsley Distinguished Lecturer for 2004. The ASCD is an international nonprofit and nonpartisan association of individuals who share the belief that all students can succeed in a challenging, well-planned education program. With approximately 150,000 members internationally, ASCD is one of the largest education associations in the world. For more information and to register, call Sandy Havill at 770-972-8050.

Kanoheda Elementary will present its annual Black History Month program on Feb. 27 at 9 a.m. in the cafeteria. The program will feature guest speaker Dr. Roosevelt Allen, a Gwinnett Medical Center physician, along with a variety of presentations, including "Dr. Martin Luther King," by Donna Sellers’ kindergarten class; "Many Voices of Jazz," a video production by music teacher Merle Soodyall and 5th grade students; "Jazz," a trumpet performance by 4th grade teacher Donald Parks; a presentation of "The Civil Rights Movement" by Susan Ralstin’s 4th graders; and "You Gotta Believe," presented by the Kelly White Dancers. The Kanoheda Chorus will perform "We’re Singing the Blues for You," and Parent Resource Center Coordinator Shelaine Watson will join them for a medley of spirituals. Principal Terry Watlington will provide closing remarks. For further information, call Kanoheda’s Parent Resource Center at 770-682-4227.

The Gwinnett County Elementary Honor Chorus will present a concert on Feb. 28. The Elementary Honor Chorus is a select group of 5th grade students from schools throughout Gwinnett County. These students were selected by their music teachers based on their musical ability, interest in singing, and overall good citizenship. Christa Joy Chase, the former conductor of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, will conduct the 195-member chorus. There will be a special presentation by the North Gwinnett High advanced choir. These outstanding choral groups are under the direction of Leigh Ann Wearne. GCPS Fine Arts Coordinator Robert Andrews and the teachers of Gwinnett County invite you to attend. The concert will be performed at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1525 Scenic Highway, Snellville, at 3 p.m. For more information, call Rebecca Smith at 770-972-4500.

Parsons Elementary will host Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary for the schools’ first Witzzle Pro tournament on Feb. 28. The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Witzzle Pro is a game that reinforces basic math skills, develops problem-solving skills, and explores negative number concepts. For more information, call Joanne Bertolani at 770-232-3370

GCPS will hold a Certified Teacher Employment Fair on March 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center, located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. Applicants have until noon on Thursday, Feb. 26, to schedule an appointment. To download an application and to schedule an appointment, visit the GCPS Web site at, or call 678-377-8909.

Registration for the new Grayson High School Technical Education Program will begin in early March for rising juniors and seniors in GCPS. Registration takes place at local high schools. Classes in 14 curriculum areas are planned for August 2004, including Biotechnology, Commercial Photography, Culinary Arts, Digital Media and Design, and Music Technology. For more information, call Principal Keith Chaney at 770-554-1071.

Beaver Ridge Elementary will celebrate Read Across America Day with “A Dr. Seuss Sleep-over” on March 2 with many different activities. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

Sycamore Elementary staff and students will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day with a variety of activities during the week of March 1-5. Business partners, School Board members, and other special guests, including CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, have been invited to read to students on March 5. In addition, students will celebrate with a lunch of green eggs and ham and birthday cake on March 5. Principal Brenda Anderson also will read “Hooray for Diffendorfer Day” on March 5 to the entire student body through closed-circuit television. Students will provide book reviews each day on the morning news show. Finally, a variety of classroom activities are planned throughout the week. For more information, contact Pam Wilson, Literacy Coordinator, at 678-714-5770.

Susan Stripling Elementary will hold a Technology Family Night on March 2. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a chili dinner (nominal cost), sponsored by Fire Mountain Restaurant. The program will begin at 7 p.m. Guest readers include GCPS Board members Dr. Mary Kay Murphy and Louise Radloff (reading as Miss Frizzle). Other activities include a tour of the news studio and computer labs, a demonstration of digital photos, and more. In honor of Read Across America Day, the Parent Center will give away one free book to each of the first 50 families to visit the Parent Center that night. "Reading Tips for Parents" will be presented during the program. The Center will be open until 8 p.m. on Family Night. For more information, call 770-582-7577.

March 1-5 is Exceptional Children’s Week, and two receptions will be held to honor outstanding students in GCPS special education classes. The first reception will be held at Meadowcreek High on March 2 at 7 p.m. Collins Hill High will hold a reception on March 4 at 7 p.m. For more information, call Mary O’Connell at 770-979-2950.

The Brookwood High Performing Arts Department announces its second semester performances. The following plays will be presented in the theater. Performance are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the designated nights.
“Alice in Wonderland” March 3 and 5
“Noises Off” March 24-27
“You Can't Take It With You” April 14-17
“Fiddler on the Roof” May 6-8
Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Jackson Elementary will hold its annual Curriculum Art Show on March 4. The first session for grades K-2 will run from 4 to 6 p.m. The second session for grades 3-5 will run from 6 to 8 p.m. The theme for the show is Swamp Math. Each grade will have a mathematical theme and will display desktop art related to the swamp and to the grade’s theme. In addition, the gym will be decorated with swamp decor for movement and square dancing activities. Other highlights include a story teller, origami art, and math snacks for sale. For more information, call 770-682-4200.

Math Night at Harbins Elementary is set for March 4, and the theme is "Revving it Up for Math." Various "pit stops" will be set up around the school with math demonstrations and examples. There will be a PTA meeting at 6:30 p.m. and Math Nascar fun from 7 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

The Peachtree Ridge High School Foundation is hosting the “Lions Classic Golf Tournament ” at the Tournament Players Club at Sugarloaf on March 8. This tournament serves as a vehicle to provide funding to further the vision of Peachtree Ridge High. The foundation was created to encourage support for the school, ensure academic excellence, and provide the necessary facilities to enable our young adults to compete and excel in Gwinnett County. The Peachtree Ridge High School Foundation is a Georgia nonprofit corporation recognized as tax exempt under IRS Sec. 501(c)3. For more information on this event, contact Diane Clausen at 678-957-3166.

The Arcado Elementary Community Theater will present “My Fair Lady” March 11–March 14 at Parkview High theater. Ticket forms and information are available at the Arcado Elementary office. For more information, call 770-925-2100.

Pam Alexander, illustrator and co-publisher of the Yumion books, will visit Beaver Ridge Elementary on March 16. The Yumion books include “The Onion Ambassador,” “Yumion Goes to the City,” and, most recently, “Yumion Goes to the Mountains.” The series is written for grades K-2 and provides factual information about Georgia. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

Arcado Elementary will host a Bicycle Rodeo March 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. A helmet and bicycle are required equipment, and parents must accompany children. Community members are welcome to attend. The rodeo will be conducted by the Gwinnett County Public Safety department. Participants must register by March 5. In case of inclement weather, the even will take place on April 17. Registration forms may be obtained by calling 770-925-2100.

Beaver Ridge Elementary will hold a Scholastic Book Fair on March 25. This also is the date for the second Annual International Heritage Night and the school’s Science Fair. For more information, call Linda McMahon at 770-447-2691.

More than 1,300 books were donated for local children's charities by Dacula Middle students. Students from the following teachers’ homerooms donated more than 100 books: Tammy Martz, Stacey Waters, Sandy Nygaard, Cathy Gates, and Laura Barbaran. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

March 1-5 is National Beta Club week. As part of the celebration, Sycamore Elementary's Junior Beta Club members will write thank-you notes to all teachers and staff members for their support and hard work throughout the school year. For more information, contact Carissa Bull at 678-714-5770.

7th graders in Annette Frantz’s language arts classes at Alton C. Crews Middle have been making a difference this year by performing “Acts of Kindness.” Students discovered that even little things, like washing dishes, doing laundry, or making breakfast, can make a big difference. Students have participated in many different acts of kindness, including raising money for a young child with leukemia, collecting books for an elementary school in need, and making a pie for local firefighters. For more information, call 770-982-6940.

Grayson High students Damian Ahching, David Bonilla, and Sarah Werkheiser have art on display at the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts Promenade Exhibit in Gwinnett County. David earned a special honor by having his artwork purchased for the Children's Museum of Art Permanent Collection.Mr. Ahching, Brittany Kelley, Jason Morgan, and Brittani Romine have artwork displayed through February at the Capital Arts Exhibit at the James "Sloppy" Floyd Building in downtown Atlanta. For more information, call Marcy Williams at 770-554-1071.

Sweetwater Middle is sponsoring a reading enhancement program which incorporates reading strategies and skills with computer technology in a small-group setting. Sweetwater Middle is able to offer this class as a result of a $37,000 after-school Reading Challenge Grant awarded in November 2003. Transportation is not provided. These sessions will be held on most Saturdays through May 1. Students must report to Sweetwater at 8:30 a.m. and be picked-up promptly at 1:00 p.m. For more information, call 770-923-4131.

Students may register online through March 17 for the fourth mini-session at Buchanan High School of Technology at The fourth mini-session begins Mar. 22. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

March is Music in Our Schools Month, National Middle Level Education Month, National Nutrition Month, Women’s History Month, Social Work Month, and Youth Art Month.

Newspaper in Education Week and Exceptional Children’s Week start March 1.

March 2 is Read Across America Day.

National School Breakfast Week starts March 8.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 11, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville. Prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing will be held on GCPS’ proposed lease/purchase agreement. The hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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