News You Can Use - 08/18/2008

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.

View All Archived News You Can Use

News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
08/18/2008 - 08/24/2008

Mill Creek High students Tyler Mineo and Glen Feller will leave for China this weekend to join the U.S. Olympic Tae Kwon Do team. Tyler and Glen were given the opportunity to travel with the team as they consider themselves contenders for the 2012 games. Both students will wear their Olympic team shirts to school on Friday to announce their departure for China.

Nathan Kodilla, a 2008 graduating senior from Mill Creek High and the Grayson High School Technical Education Program won 1st place in the National SkillsUSA Championship over the summer. For more information visit www.skillsusa.orgor call Teacher Michael Gary at 770-554-1071.

Gwinnett County Public Schools has been ranked by Atlantamagazine as one of the top 40 ‘Best Places to Work’ in 2008. GCPS ranked fourteenth from the top from information collected in an employee survey. For more information, call Kevin Benefield of Atlantamagazine at 404-527-5507.

Sweetwater Middle Teacher Keith Hampton has been selected to participate in the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program for math and science teachers. The Northrop Grumman Foundation has teamed with the Zero Gravity Corporation to develop the Weightless Flights of Discovery program. Mr. Hampton will attend an August workshop, and his flight is scheduled for October 7, 2008. For more information, visit

Pinckneyville Middle teachers will display their artwork through Oct. 4 at the Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center. For more information, call 770-417-2200.

More than 100 Maxwell High School of Technology students earned “work ready” status after attending Gwinnett Technical College to prepare for the workforce— while earning their high school diplomas. For more information about Gwinnett Tech’s Work Ready program, call the college at 678-226-6303.

Grayson High Teacher Laura Droms was selected as Georgia Student Council Advisor of the Year. In addition, Ms. Drom’s team was chosen as Georgia’s President School, and student Alysse Whatley received the Senior High Member of the Year award and a senior scholarship. For more information, call 770-554-1071.

As part of the ‘writing across the curriculum’ initiative, all 7th and 8th grade band students at Five Forks Middle entered the School Band and Orchestra(SBO) magazine’s 8th essay contest. The contest is sponsored by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). Maria Konidaris of Five Forks Middle was selected nationwide, to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Five Forks Middle students Sarah Burger, Lauren Jones, Tiffani Palamuso, and Kiran Wasif were named Grand Prize winners for their design entries in the Classroom of the Future competition. The contest was sponsored by Richardson Technology of Suwanee. The school will receive the Indigo Learning System by LearningSoft for use in the classroom. For more information, call Katie Jackson of Richardson Technology at 678-376-8884 or email, or call Art Teacher Loria Crews at 770-972-1506.

Parkview High students earned 6 gold medals, 25 silver medals, and 16 bronze medals in the National Spanish Exam. Norcross High participants earned two 1st place in state, one 3rd place in state, two 4th place in state, and one 6th place in state awards.

Richard Hull Middle students earned top places in state and national competition on the National Science League exam. Sixth graders placed 1st in state and 11th in national competition. Seventh graders placed 1st in state and 4th in national competition. Eighth grade students placed 3rd in state and tied for 7th in national competition. For more information, call Teacher Sallie Barrett at 770-232-3200.

Brookwood High Teacher Cathie Hudnall was named to the national curriculum committee for American String Teachers Association to write the first national strings/orchestra curriculum for use in schools and studios. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

The following teachers have been selected to participate in the Teachers As Leaders Class of 2008-2009: Jackie Ashmore of J.A. Alford Elementary, Brian Baron of Shiloh High, Blair Binion of Trickum Middle, Carla Bland of Nesbit Elementary, Suzanne Bross of Benefield Elementary, Jennifer Burley of Duluth Middle, Christina Burns of Sycamore Elementary, Michelle Busby of Kanoheda Elementary, Tracey Casey of Creekland Middle, Amanda Chanco of Meadowcreek High, Hyun Cho of Camp Creek Elementary, Andrea Colglazier of Walnut Grove Elementary, Chekquita Collins of J.E. Richards Middle, Debbie Cornelison of Ivey Creek Elementary, Jennifer Covington of Bethesda Elementary, Amy Crook of Harbins Elementary, Nikole Davis of Glenn C. Jones Middle, Danyel Dollard of Louise Radloff Middle, Christian Garcia of Mill Creek High, James Glenn of Norcross High, Gerin Hennebaul of Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary, Nicolle Higgins of Meadowcreek Elementary, Crystal Johnson of Norcross Elementary, Marisa Kana of Grayson Elementary, Jill Landtroop of Grayson Tech, Tori Loke of Lanier Middle, Andrea M. Fowler of J.P. McConnell Middle, Derrielle Morris of Lawrenceville Elementary, Joann Morse of R.D. Head Elementary, Tom Myers of Peachtree Ridge High, Kari Parlier of Duncan Creek Elementary, Lydia Patrick of Craig Elementary, Kerri Schmitz of Corley Elementary, Judy Stephenson of Riverside Elementary, Kara Taylor of Level Creek Elementary, Adrienne Tedesco of G.H. Hopkins Elementary, Marie Vidal of North Gwinnett High, and Heather Watkins of Mulberry Elementary. For more information, call Nancy Ward of staff development at 678-301-7207.

A number of GCPS’ communication efforts won accolades in the National School Public Relations Association’s 2008 Publications and Electronic Media Contest. Of the seven district communication pieces entered by GCPS, five earned an Award of Excellence, the top honor bestowed. This year’s contest received 1,170 entries, with only 76 publication entries and 18 audio/visual entries earning Awards of Excellence. Gwinnett's Award of Excellence winners include:
- GCPS e-News (Enewsletter)
- Work.Learn.Live... GCPS Recruitment Package
- Envisioning a System of World-Class Schools (RGA-supported publication spotlighting the Board's Theory of Action)
- Believe (A GCPS-TV produced video)
- The GCPS Foundation Partner Invitation Package
These award-winning communication pieces were the collaborative work of the Division of Human Resources; the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, Fund, Inc.; GCPS-TV; and the Department of Communication and Media Relations. For more information, call Laura Nurse of communication and media relations, at 678-301-6018.

Brian Duke and Sam Simmonds of Grayson High School Technical Education Program took 1st place for their Agriscience Fair project in the biochemistry/microbiology/food science team category at the 80th Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention. These two students will represent Grayson’s Chapter at the National FFA Convention in the Fall. Julia Christian, of South Gwinnett High earned honorable mention for taking 4th place for her morphological study of bacteria in the biochemistry/microbiology/food science individual category. For more information, call Bill Nye 770-554-7094.

Ricky Mayer, a student from Maxwell High School of Technology has been accepted by Mercedes to be trained at their cost and guaranteed a position within their organization upon graduation. Ricky was in the top 15% of students in the country to qualify for the Mercedes program. For more information, contact Nelson Plourde of Universal Technical Institute at 678-525-4380 or email

Berkmar Middle Teacher Sean Casey has been selected as the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s(News for Kids) Teacher of the Year recipient. For more information, call 770-638-2300.

GCPS had 45 recent graduates awarded Charter Scholarships to the University of Georgia. The Charter Scholarship, funded by the University of Georgia Foundation, is named to reflect the university’s distinction as the nation’s first state-chartered public university, and recognizes first-year students with stellar academic records, leadership and community involvement and a respect for and commitment toward intellectual, social, and cultural diversity. Charter Scholars are typically in the top five percent of entering first-year students. This year’s Charter Scholars had an average SAT Reading/Math combined score of 1394, and an average high school GPA above 4.0. In-state Charter Scholars receive $1,000 per year in addition to the HOPE Scholarship, renewable for up to three more years. For more information, visit www.uga.udu/news.

Three GCPS principals have been selected to participate in Leadership Gwinnett. Dr. Dot Schoeler, Simonton Elementary; Deborah Fusi, Duluth Middle; and Terry Watlington, Kanoheda Elementary will participate in this program. For more information, call the local school

Susan Stripling Elementary will host "Body Walk" on Aug. 18-20. The HealthMPowers Body Walk is a 35x40 foot exhibit representing the human body and using classroom activities will enforce positive ideas about health and physical education. At each of the nine stations, students will be introduced to an organ and learn their function in the human body. Students will also learn healthy behaviors. For more iniformation, call Alexandra Bryan at Stripling Elementary at 770-582-7577, or visit

The award winning Choral Arts Department at Duluth High plans several events for the upcoming year including a European Performance Tour, the annual Fall Choir Retreat to Winshape Wilderness, and the 13th annual Peach Jam concert. This year’s theme for Peach Jam is “Reel to Real” a celebration of movie music. In addition to the many regularly scheduled activities in the chorus, students will have opportunities to participate in Honor Choirs, All-State Chorus, Governor’s Honors, and more. For more information about concert dates and events, visit

The Greening Youth Foundation has partnered with Brookwood Elementary to bring its environmental education curriculum to the school’s 2008-09 3rd grade student body. In addition, the group will work with Brookwood’s 4th and 5th graders to establish a new environmental club, called Eco-Force. Among other environmental adventures, Eco-Force will implement a recycling program in the school, with a specific focus on paper and plastic bottles. Eco-Force will also focus on connecting other environmental clubs nationally and internationally. Greening Youth’s activities will be offered free to all participants, thanks to a grant from United Consulting. For more information, call Angelou Ezeilo of the Greening Youth Foundation at 770-225-1216 or 770-880-1520.

The Peachtree Ridge High Marching Band will debut the performance Joyride at their first home football game on August 29. In addition to performing at all Peachtree Ridge football games, the Roaring Lions Marching Band is scheduled to appear in the Duluth Fall Festival Parade September 27, and will enter three marching competitions and an exhibition. The band will travel to Philadelphia where they have been invited to perform in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The complete schedule is available at For more information, call Joe Hale, communications officer at 678-407-0625.

Visit the school system website at the most current News Releases.
08/13/2008Gwinnett ACT scores set new record, topping state and national averages (pdf)
08/12/2008AYP transfer request process completed (pdf)
08/01/2008Principals appointed for North Gwinnett HS and Dacula ES (pdf)
07/25/200899 Gwinnett schools make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) (pdf)
07/25/2008Meetings provide information about choice/supplemental service (pdf)
07/22/2008About the Gwinnett County Board of Education … (pdf)
07/22/2008Gwinnett readies for first day of school, August 11 (pdf)
07/22/2008Gwinnett to operate 114 educational facilities in 2008-09 (pdf)
07/22/2008Gwinnett reminds visitors schools are tobacco-free 24 hours a day, every day (pdf)
07/22/2008New school year brings changes for Kindergarten students (pdf)
07/22/2008GCPS Transportation: School buses to hit the road soon (pdf)
07/22/2008GCPS welcomes its newest educators at an August 1 orientation (pdf)
07/22/2008GCPS School Nutrition Program: Healthy meals for 2008 (pdf)
07/22/2008New school leaders for 2008-09 school year (pdf)
07/22/2008Elementary school technology coming online in 2008 (pdf)

“In5ive” Be sure to watch In5ive for weekly updates on the latest in school and system news. A new program begins each Sunday and airs for that week. This 5-min. program airs daily at 7 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” A GCPS original series, this 10-part program is an introduction to the Spanish language and is tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Viewers will learn key phrases and basic vocabulary for use during the school day and in the community. Each Monday, a new segment will air at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. repeating daily through Sunday in those time slots. The series runs through October 26.

“French in Action” This Annenberg Media series uses active participation to increase fluency in French, while introducing French culture. Pierre Capretz’s proven language-immersion method is presented within a humorous teleplay with native speakers of all ages and background. The storyline of an American student and a young Frenchwoman’s adventures in Paris and the French countryside is reinforced by Dr. Capretz’s on-camera instruction. This 60-min. program airs August 22-24 at 4 p.m. and 9 p.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 and 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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September is Library Card Sign-up Month.

September 1 is Labor Day, a systemwide holiday.

Patriot Day is September 11.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., September 11, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in August. Call the local school for the time and location.

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 www.gwinnettEHC.comor call 770-904-3500.

August 16, 10 a.m. to noon, Understanding Green Roofs, no charge
The Garden Roof on the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center will be described during an exclusive tour. The advantages of a garden roof will be explained and the process of installation and maintenance will be described. Some of the many benefits include: increased insulation and thermal protection, increased roof life expectancy, noise reduction, storm water quantity, quality control, and aesthetics.

August 23, 10 a.m., Mushroom Walk, no charge
Join Mary Woehrel of the Mushroom Club of Georgia for a presentation and mushroom walk along one of the center's trails. This program is ideal for adults.

August 23, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Water Everywhere Patch Program, $8 per girl
This badge program introduces girls to water conservation, the differences between salt water and fresh water, what types of animals live in salt water and fresh water, and learning the importance of water to living plants and animals.