News You Can Use - 04/18/2011

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
04/18/2011 - 04/24/2011

Parents and community members are invited to this school year’s fourth Area Board Meeting April 14 at 7 p.m. -- District V --- Hosted by Board Vice Chairman Louise Radloff at Berkmar High. District V includes all or portions of the Berkmar, Brookwood, Meadowcreek, and Parkview clusters.

South Gwinnett High will host the school’s fourth annual International Festival and Puppet Show on April 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $7.50. Attendees will enjoy the production of “Billy Goats Gruff and other Stuff” performed by All Hands Productions. All Hands Productions is dedicated to bringing quality puppet productions to children and their parents. This event is sponsored by Comets United and the South Gwinnett High Beta Club. For more information, call 770-972-4840.

Craig Elementary is hosting a Vocabulary Day Parade on April 15th beginning at 8:30 a.m. All students will participate by selecting a vocabulary word from one of the major content areas on their grade level and creating a design for a hat or sign by using the word and its definition. The parade route will begin at the front sidewalk for parents and students to view, weather permitting. For more information, call Pat Williams, assistant principal, at 770-978-5560.

Grayson Technical Education Program will host a presentation of Music Technology and Music Recording film score projects on April 15. Participants may have lunch, take a tour, and hear student presentations. Two opportunities to visit the program are available— one at 8:30 a.m. and another at 11 a.m. For more information, call Assistant Principal Jennifer Fero, at 770-554-7082.

Berkmar High will host the 2011 Berkmar Jazz Festival on April 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. Entertainment will include live music, including a performance by the Ken Johnson (Berkmar High principal) Trio. A Taste of Berkmar is scheduled for the same day. Both events will take place in the gym. For more information, visit

South Gwinnett High will host a Chess Championship for all interested GCPS high school students on April 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants are asked to bring proof of attendance at a GCPS's high school. The tournament will be held in the Cafeteria/Commons area at the school. There is no charge for the event. Pre-register by e-mailing Teacher Kirk Buis at Open registration will take place from 8:30-8:45 a.m., Saturday, April 16th.

Taylor Elementary student Juan Gabriel Rivas won 1st place in the NASA Young Writers Competition titled “New Golden Age - What is the future of human space exploration and why is it important?” for the poem he wrote titled “Space.” Juan attended an awards ceremony in Texas. For more information, call Teacher Jessica Wise, at 770-338-4680.

The Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association (GCREA) recently awarded $1,200 scholarships to two GCPS educators. Recipients of the 2011 scholarships are Kimberly Dorminy of Sugar Hill Elementary and Kenneth Whaley of Trickum Middle. To be considered for the award, applicants had to be enrolled in an advanced degree program from an accredited college or university and planned to remain in education in Gwinnett. GCREA received 47 applications for the annual award.

The following GCPS student authors will advance to the Young Georgia Authors competition after earning top spots at the district level.
Luke R Frierson
Starling ES
Siena Nason
Mountain Park ES
Lauren Diehl
Gwin Oaks ES
Frances Benefield
Rock Springs ES
Will Hausknecht
White Oak ES
Imaan Mashkoor
Gwin Oaks ES
Samantha Van Hoose
Dacula MS
Esther Lee
Hull MS
Liresa Hearn
Shiloh MS
Craig D Rhodes III
Quinn Wong
Brandi Harper
Central Gwinnett HS

Several GCPS students and staff were honored by the Gwinnett Reading Council with awards and Barnes and Noble gift cards. Seven winners are under consideration for state honors. Student winners are Abbey Lioi from Ivy Creek Elementary, Bianca Torres-Hamlin from Beaver Ridge Elementary, Micaiah Palmer from Shiloh Middle, Stephanie Tavera from Berkmar High, Caitlin Grimm from Berkmar High, and Alondra Aguilar Patino from Beaver Ridge Elementary. Ferdye Bamaca-Forkel from Grayson High was awarded a $500 Lindy Lopez-Butner Scholarship. Kristen Oertzen from Peachtree Elementary received the Classroom Reading Teacher Award. For more information, call Susan Kauffmann at Taylor Elementary at 770-388-4680.

Sweewater Middle 6th grade students are participating in Computers for Youth (CFY) Take it Home program by hosting workshops on April 16, 30, and May 7. The program is designed to improve a student’s learning environment at home and strengthen the school-home connection. The program is structured to accomplish three goals: Enhance the educational resources in student homes; Improve parent-child interaction while learning at home; and Help teachers contribute to and take advantage of a stronger school-home connection. For more information, call Scott Gurdak at Sweetwater Middle at 770-923-4131.

The Peachtree Ridge Cluster Schools along with the Peachtree Ridge Foundation will team up with the Gwinnett Braves for Ridge Night at Cool Ray Field on April 28. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at all schools for $12. Proceeds will benefit Relay For Life. For more information contact Jane Denton at or

Lanier Cluster Schools are celebrating Earth Day in a big way. White Oak Elementary will host Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-- a community garage sale-- to benefit the school’s outdoor classroom and garden on April 22nd from 2 p.m. to 7p.m. For more information on the outdoor classroom visit The yard sale will emphasize the importance of reusing items rather than throwing them away. In addition to the sale, local businesses will display environmentally friendly products, programs, practices and ideas. Student groups and booster clubs will make this Earth Day celebration a family-friendly and fun event that will include face painting and “crazy hair.” Environmentally themed student art will be available for purchase. The Robotics clubs are making robots out of recycled parts and environmental clubs will help people plant seeds in yogurt cups that can be replanted in home gardens. For more information, visit or call Betsy Bridwell, White Oak Elementary administrative assistant, at 678-546-5536.

The GCPS Instructional Support Center Relay For Life team is sponsoring a 5K run/walk to benefit the American Cancer Society on April 30. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. The registration fee is $20 before race day and $25 the day of the race. For more information and registration forms, please email or contact Patrice Pendergast at 678-301-6076 ( or CoTinna Harris at 678-301-7257 (

Duluth Middle students participated in a Red Cross fund raising effort for Japan, raising more than $1,400. Students were encouraged to wear red and white, the colors of Japan’s flag, and bring a donation. For more information, call Cathy MacLean at 770-476-3372.

Rockbridge Elementary 2nd graders hosted a visit from members of the American Bankers Association who presented the program “Teach Children to Save.” For more information, visit call Jay Lawrence from Wells Fargo & Company at 404-214-3805.

“Love That Book - Carmen at the Art Gallery” Love That Book!, a new series exploring the wonderful world of books, airs this week on GCPS TV. Hosted by storyteller and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Carmen Deedy. This dynamic and engaging series is for booklovers of all ages. Join us for our third episode as Carmen takes viewers along for a fun visit to the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts. Books featured on the program include “Katie Meets the Impressionists”, “The Circus Ship”, and “A Bad Case of Stripes”. This 15-minute program airs this week at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 7:30 p.m.

“ArtStage - 2011 Elementary Honor Chorus” Join GCPS TV for a special presentation of ArtStage featuring the 2011 Gwinnett County Elementary Honor Chorus and the Dacula High Mixed Chorus and Women’s Chorus. This 60-minute program airs this week at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tune in to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for education programs and information. TV cable channels and providers include: Charter on Channel 22, and Comcast on Channel 24 and 26. For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-301-7800, or e-mail GCPS TV is now available via live video streaming on the GCPS TV web site--

Sign up to receive Gwinnett County Public Schools’ e-newsletter, GCPS eNews... a quick, easy way to learn more about Georgia’s largest school system. In this newsletter, you’ll find stories on teaching and learning, school leadership and governance, and the partnerships that make Gwinnett County Public Schools successful. Go to the school system’s homepage for sign-up information ( and to check out the e-News archives.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
04/12/2011National Achievement selects 11 from Gwinnett (pdf)
04/01/2011Brookwood High’s Dees named “Ga. HS Principal of Year” (pdf)

General information on high school summer school registration
Summer session is available for students who need to make up a class or want to get ahead, including rising 9th graders who may take designated classes. All classes have a fee. Learn more about summer school on the GCPS website.
Face-to-Face Classes
Dates: June 14–July 13 (July 4 holiday, M-Th)
Locations: Central Gwinnett High, Mill Creek High, and Shiloh High
Register: Online registration (VISA/Mastercard credit or debit card, e-check) will be held May 9–June 7 at attending face-to-face classes also may register in person (cash or money order only) at Central Gwinnett High on June 4. All out-of-county students must register on June 4 at Central Gwinnett.
Online Classes
Dates: June 13–July 11 or 12 (July 4 holiday, M-Th)
Location: A reliable computer with an Internet connection (daily access required). Note: Final exams require face-to-face meeting. Some courses require materials pick-up June 8 or 9. Health, PE, and science classes require face-to-face meetings for labs and/or tests.
Register: Register online (VISA/Mastercard credit or debit card, e-check) at between May 9 and June 3.

Elementary and Middle School Summer School…
Elementary and middle school students who need more time and opportunity to learn will have that option during Gwinnett’s free Academic Summer School. Qualifying students in grades 3–8 would be recommended for the 15-day session if they have not met requirements for promotion to the next grade— passing required sections of the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for grades 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8; or passing core classes for 6th graders. Participating students will take a retest at the end of summer school to determine placement for 2011–12. Students will attend summer classes Monday through Thursday for three weeks, starting June 20 and ending July 14, with July 4 as a holiday. Summer school students will not attend classes on Fridays. Parents of qualifying students will receive additional information from their student’s school later this spring.

On April 19, the final Area Board Meeting is scheduled for District I --- Hosted by Board member Carole Boyce at Grayson High. District I includes all or portions of the Berkmar; Brookwood; Central Gwinnett; Collins Hill; Dacula; Grayson; Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Mountain View, and South Gwinnett clusters; including GIVE Center East; Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Hooper Renwick School; Maxwell High School of Technology; Oakland Meadow School; and Phoenix High. These meetings, which are in addition to the regular monthly Board meeting, are an opportunity for the five Board members to meet in their district, share information, and hear from their local constituents. The program includes CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ annual update on the state of the school district, which focuses on the system’s accomplishments, challenges, and continuous efforts to raise student achievement. All Area Board Meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the host school’s theater. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m.

April is National Poetry Month, School Library Media Month, and Occupational Therapy Month.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 21, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

April 22 is a snow make-up day— school in session.

April 29 is National Arbor Day.

The following schools will hold School Council meetings in April. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary
Alford Elementary
Annistown Elementary
Beaver Ridge Elementary
Benefield Elementary
Berkmar High
Berkmar Middle
Brookwood High
Cedar Hill Elementary
Central Gwinnett High
Cooper Elementary
Craig Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Dacula Middle
Grayson Elementary
Grayson High
Harbins Elementary
Lanier High
Lawrenceville Elementary
Lovin Elementary
Mulberry Elementary
Peachtree Elementary
Pharr Elementary
Phoenix HS
Richards Middle
Shiloh High
Simonton Elementary
Starling Elementary
Trip Elementary
Walnut Grove Elementary
Winn Holt Elementary
Woodward Mill Elementary

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. through Sat. from 10 a.m. to 3 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.

Geology in Today’s WorldApril 19
JMG Level 2, Operation ThistleApril 20
Our Shared Birds-The International Feathered TouristApril 23, 30
Rainbarrel WorkshopApril 23
Winter 2011 Homeschool Days-Gwinnett Through The YearsApril 26
2011 Adopt-A-Stream WorkshopApril 30