News You Can Use - 02/13/2012

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
02/13/2012 - 02/19/2012

CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks was recognized by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful with the Environmental Legacy Award. Mr. Wilbanks received the award in recognition of his leadership and support during the decades-long partnership between Gwinnett County Public Schools and Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, through which thousands of students and the county at large have benefited from educational programs that focus on environmental stewardship, recycling, and community beautification by combating the adverse effects of litter and graffiti.

Two GCPS winners were honored at the first annual Gala Awards Ceremony of THE DREAM Art Contest, Visions of the Civil Rights Movement and America Today. Daniel Cifuentes, art student at Kanoheda Elementary, was First-Runner Up in the elementary division for his work entitled “M.L.K.”; and Song Choi, a junior art student at Lanier High, was the Grand Prize winner for her work entitled, “No More Silence For Us.” Daniel’s art teacher is Roslyn Acosta and Song’s art teacher is Jack Foreman. The Honorable Congressman John R. Lewis was the Keynote Speaker and Awards Presenter.

North Gwinnett High students Michael Huh and Eyoel Tewdros won 1st place and honorable mention, respectively, at the First Annual North Georgia High School Juried Art Exhibition, presented by the Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford. The show opens Feb. 11 and runs through Feb. 18. Other North Gwinnett High students will have their work displayed at the exhibition include Morgan Anderson, Alicia Howard, Abigail Kim, Doo Lee, Natalie Raia, Stephanie Simpson, Jessica Song, Kimberly Wang, and Rachel Ward. For more information, contact Dr. Bruce Bowman, Visual Arts teacher at North Gwinnett High, at

Brookwood High junior Sabrina Moin has been chosen to receive the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (Spanish Honor Society) Bertie Green Travel Award. Sabrina will receive a trip to Mexico this summer. Only twenty-four students nationwide are eligible to receive this award based on an application and five-minute taped interview in Spanish. For more information, contact Donna Faulkner at or 770-736-2088.

Riverside Elementary will honor local heroes including firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical technicians on Feb.16 with a lunch at the school in Suwanee. Riverside continues the tradition of reaching out to the community and honoring those who help Gwinnett. The “Heroes Among Us Lunches” have become an important part of the year for students at Riverside. For more information, call 678-482-1000.

More than 100 GCPS school teams will participate in the Gwinnett Readers Rally on March 3 at Berkmar High. Teams of students from grades 4-12 will compete in a quiz bowl competition. Students will read books from a pre-determined list and answer questions about those books. The day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. The competition will conclude at 2 p.m. The top four elementary teams will compete in the Championship Event on March 8, at the GCPS-TV studio at the Instructional Support Center (ISC). The top two middle and high school teams will participate on the same date and location. The Championship Competition will be televised on GCPS-TV at a later date. For more information, call Kimberly Thames, Meadowceek Elementary media specialist at 770-381-4239.

Brookwood High student Jordan Randles is sponsoring a program that “Sheds Light on Autism” with light bulb sales during his lunch in the Commons Area. Jordan, a Junior Achievement member, has Asperger’s, a form of Autism, and is selling light bulbs to benefit World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, when communities are encouraged to “Light it Up Blue.” For more information, visit

Minor Elementary will collect ‘school memories’ now through Feb. 27 for a 25th anniversary celebration on March 18. Contributions may be made by coming to the school on any Friday morning between 9 and 11 a.m., setting an appointment by calling the school, or recording a memory and emailing it to A memory could be a note, video, a picture or any other memorabilia. Please contact the school at 770-925-9543 for more information.

Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC), Gwinnett’s full-time online learning option, is holding registration for the 2012-13 school year through Feb. 29. Students can get more information through the counselor’s office at the local middle or high school and on the GOC website. This charter school opened its doors as a fulltime school in August of 2011. It will expand to include the middle school level starting this coming fall.

The Suwanee Elementary Philanthropy team organized a 100 day food drive, allowing students the opportunity to donate more than 3,000 cans of food to benefit the North Gwinnett Co-op. Other activities to help community members include a kids clothing drive to “Keep ’em Warm”, signs for Scottish Rite Children’s hospital for those children hospitalized over the winter holidays; and charity fundraisers to benefit Relay for Life. For more information contact teachers Wendy Leo and Dana Vines at 770-945-5763.

Gwinnett County schools are celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February. News media representatives interested in learning about the celebrations at a specific school, can contact the Department of Communication and Media Relations by calling 678-301-6020.

Norcross Elementary has scheduled a three week fund-raising project “Pennies for Patients” involving staff, parents, and students who are joining the efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The school goal was more than doubled by collecting $3,120.63. All donations will be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Students won bronze, silver, and gold prizes.

The Lanier Cluster Education Foundation (LCEF) was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from Insperity, a community business. The grant will be used to purchase eReaders for Lanier Middle. The LCEF provides grants to teachers and schools that support the academic programs of the schools in the Lanier Cluster. The foundation promotes community awareness and participation of the cluster schools. Funds provided through the Insperity Grant will be used to purchase eReaders and eBooks to promote reading to students. To make a donation to the LCEF, visit For more information contact: Lisa Ramsay-President Lanier Cluster Education Foundation or 678-984-7840.

Riverside Elementary hosted a visit from Mayor Jimmy Burnette recently, as he visited the 3rd grade classes of Claire Mann and Genny Buice. Mayor Burnette discussed the importance of basic principles that provide the foundation of our local government, and he shared his political background and Gwinnett County roots. Mayor Burnette praised the Riverside Elementary leadership initiative as he listened to the students talk about how they have learned to “Be the Leader”. Mayor Burnette led a brainstorming session with students and discussed what they like and don’t like about the City of Suwanee. The student’s mentioned Town Center, Suwanee Day and other events, and the many parks and trails as some of their favorite things. The students were concerned that future growth would have an environmental impact and that it might be hard to maintain the current small town, family feel in Suwanee. Mayor Burnette and the students then discussed ways they could “Be the Leader” and have a positive impact on their community. For more information, call Emmy Ligertwood at 678-482-1004.

“Colonial Williamsburg - When Freedom Came” Everyone knows Abraham Lincoln freed all the slaves...or did he? Freedom came to enslaved people over many months and years - and in different ways in different places. Discover how enslaved Americans made everyday choices during the Civil War that helped bring about their freedom. This 60 min. program airs live Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

“ParenTVision - Young Guns” This month’s ParenTVision features the Connect With Kids Network (CWK) program Young Guns. A single bullet can have so many victims: someone injured or killed, another sent to prison, and countless mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and neighbors who grieve for them both. According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, almost 30 thousand Americans are shot and killed by guns each year. In the nation’s capitol alone, on average, there is a murder every other day. Kenny Barnes, Sr., M.S. is founder and CEO of the non-profit, gun violence prevention group ROOT, Inc. It stands for Reaching Out to Others Together, and is based in Washington, D.C. Barnes is one leader among a new wave of social activists who say the only way to stop the violence is to empower, support and trust community leaders in the very areas devastated by guns. Get involved; watch, “Young Guns.” This episode of ParenTVision also features a discussion with Margaret Cheeley, counselor and host of ParenTVision; Tony Lockard, school resource officer; and Joseph Warren, school social worker. This 60 min. program airs Feb. 13-19 at 2 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This GCPS original 10-part series, taught by Elisa Brown, assistant principal at Hopkins Elementary, is an introduction to the Spanish language tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Hour-long segments will air at 11 a.m. Monday-Sunday.

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 website--

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
02/07/2012DOE names all Gwinnett high schools as “AP Honor Schools” (pdf)
02/06/2012College Board highlights achievement of more than 2,500 GCPS AP (Advanced Placement) Scholars
02/01/2012School champions to compete in GCPS spelling bee (pdf)
01/31/2012Full scholarships to top colleges for three Berkmar students (pdf)
01/31/2012Governor Deal salutes 35 Gwinnett schools (pdf)
01/27/2012Sweetwater Middle students master the nation’s WordMasters (pdf)

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.

February is National African American History Month and National Technical Education Month.

National SkillsUSA Week is February 13-17.

February 17 and 20 are Student/Teacher Holidays.

February 18-25 is National Future Farmers of America Week.

February 27 & 28 are early release days for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 15, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in February. Call the local school for the time and location.
Anderson-Livsey 21-Feb
Annistown Elementary7-Feb
Arcado Elementary6-Feb
Archer High School27-Feb
Bay Creek Middle24-Feb
Beaver Ridge Elementary9-Feb
Berkeley Lake Elementary9-Feb
Berkmar Middle23-Feb
Bethesda Elementary13-Feb
Britt Elementary6-Feb
Brookwood High7-Feb
Burnette ES10-Feb
Camp Creek Elementary24-Feb
Chesney Elementary10-Feb
Cooper Elementary17-Feb
Couch Middle24-Feb
Creekland Middle9-Feb
Crews Middle16-Feb
Dacula Middle21-Feb
Duluth High21-Feb
Duluth Middle7-Feb
Ferguson Elementary10-Feb
Five Forks Middle23-Feb
GIVE Center East7-Feb
Grayson Elementary10-Feb
Head Elementary22-Feb
Hopkins Elementary10-Feb
Jackson Elementary9-Feb
Jones Middle9-Feb
Knight Elementary24-Feb
Lanier High7-Feb
Louise Radloff Middle16-Feb
McConnell Middle21-Feb
Meadowcreek Elementary13-Feb
Mill Creek High14-Feb
Monarch School10-Feb
Mountain Park Elementary6-Feb
Nesbit Elementary14-Feb
Norcross Elementary10-Feb
Norcross High9-Feb
North Gwinnett Middle28-Feb
Norton Elementary24-Feb
Parkview High21-Feb
Patrick Elementary24-Feb
Peachree Ridge High16-Feb
Pharr Elementary9-Feb
Rebecca Minor Elementary7-Feb
Richard Hull Middle10-Feb
Richards Middle13-Feb
Rock Springs Elementary9-Feb
Rockbridge Elementary14-Feb
Rosebud Elementary10-Feb
Shiloh High7-Feb
South Gwinnett High21-Feb
Summerour Middle9-Feb
Sweetwater Middle14-Feb
Trickum Middle14-Feb
Trip Elementary24-Feb
Woodward Mill Elementary10-Feb

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.

Winter All Ages-Human Body Adventure2/15
Green Living Kids: Our Mission Is Nutrition2/18
Arbor Day 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25
Fashion Uncorked 20122/11
World Thinking Day2/25