News You Can Use - 10/13/2008

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
10/13/2008 - 10/19/2008

Duluth High will host “Noche de la Comunidad Latina” —a community night— on Oct. 8 at 6:45 p.m. Education information will be shared with parents and food and beverages will be served, and music will be performed. For more information, call Dr. Marsha Hunter, media specialist, at 770-232-3336.

The Dacula High Social Studies department will host a mock presidential debate in the media center on Oct. 10. Teacher Ted Wilson will represent the Republican Party and Teacher Ali Reid will represent the Democratic Party. Teacher Kevin Glausier will moderate the event. Representatives will answer 20-30 minutes of questions related to their parties campaign and then a 10-15 minute Q&A sequence for the students. This event presents an opportunity for students to learn more about the presidential election, issues, and candidates. For more information, call Alanna Bird, media specialist, at 770-963-6664.

The Duluth High NJROTC cadets will perform the Color and Honor Guard duties at homecoming on Oct. 10. For more information, call Dr. Marsha Hunter, media specialist, at 770-232-3336.

The list of Gwinnett County Public teachers vying for the Teacher of the Year (TOTY) county title has been narrowed to 20 semifinalists. The 2009 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet on November 6. Visit for a complete list of the 2008-09 TOTYs and Gwinnett’s semifinalists.

Catherine Garcia-Brake was named District 9 Social Worker of the Year by the School Social Workers Association of Georgia. Ms. Garcia-Barke will represent the district at state competition in the spring. For more information, call 770-931-5662, or visit

Sweetwater Middle has several activities and celebrations planned for Hispanic Heritage Month which runs through Oct. 15. Activities include decorating bulletin boards and displaying posters to represent the different regions represented by Spanish-speaking students. Announcements will inform students about the regions displayed on the bulletin boards, and there will be a daily trivia question, which can be answered by students. Fridays will be ‘theme’ days where students can wear clothing matching the colors of the flag of their heritage; wear traditional clothing native to the student’s culture; and wear a favorite shirt or jersey on sports day. There will be a student designed postage stamp contest and three International Nights. For more information, call the Department of Communication and Media Relations at 678-301-6020.

Arcado Elementary will hold a grand opening to display the new Outdoor Classroom on Oct. 17 from 1:30- 2:15 p.m. Visitors may take student-guided tours through the classroom. For more information, call Teacher Debi Shane at 770-925-2100.

Patrick Elementary will host a Fireman’s Breakfast on Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. during Fire Prevention Month. More than 100 firemen will be served breakfast. Entertainment will include student readers and the school chorus will sing. Patrick Elementary is named after Mr. Bobby Patrick who was the first Gwinnett County firefighter to lose his life in the line of duty. For more information, call 678-765-5260.

Corley Elementary will host an International Night on Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Activities include a cultural writing workshop for students, food and games from different countries, folk dancing, and a parade of nations with students wearing cultural dress. For more information, call Eeoni Hollingsworth, parent center coordinator, at 687-245-3468.

The Duluth High Center-Stage Alliance Theater presents “Over the River and Through the Woods” Oct. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $6 from Teacher Vanette Vedder at the school and will be sold at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. the night of the performances. Visit for more information.

The Duluth High Orchestra is sponsoring the annual “Cow Patty Bingo” fundraiser. Admission tickets may be purchased from orchestra students for $5 each. Activities include a dunk tank and other games, and a chance to win $1,000 from the winning ticket along with other $100 prizes. The Cow will be released on the baseball field on Oct 18 at 1:30 p.m. to choose the winning numbers. Proceeds benefit the Duluth High String Orchestra Alliance which benefits students through scholarships, awards, letters, performance opportunities, music equipment, and instruments. For more information call 770-476-5206.

The Duluth High Cadet Drill Teams are preparing for an upcoming Drill Competition and for a field trip to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville Oct.23-25. Cadets will watch the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team— the Blue Angels— as they perform during this student-only air show. Additionally, the NJROTC cadets will visit several aviation squadrons, tour the Naval Air Station, tour a ship as well as Naval Station Mayport. For more information, call Dr. Marsha Hunter, media specialist, at 770-232-3336.

J.G. Dyer Elementary is having a pumpkin decorating contest to raise money for the United Way student campaign. Judging will take place on Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m. Proceeds from the pumpkin decorating contest will benefit the United Way. This event is a long-standing tradition at J.G. Dyer Elementary. For more information, call Teacher Matt Bonk at 770-963-6214.

Peachtree Ridge High will hold a mock election in the upcoming weeks. Students will register to vote up to two weeks prior to the election, which will take place on Oct. 30 and 31. The results will be announced on Oct. 31. For more information, call Teacher Jennifer Ulbrich at 678-957-3100.

McKendree Elementary was one of 95 Gwinnett schools that recently supported Gwinnett’s Great Days of Service by collecting items including socks, coats, and blankets. Members of the student Community Service Club organized the collection boxes. Photos available upon request. For more information call 687-377-8933.

Norton Elementary collected 1,200 food items for Gwinnett’s Great Day of Service. For more information, call Jennifer Dionne, parent resource center coordinator at 770-736-2015.

Shiloh High recently sponsored a PROBE College Fair at the school. Representatives were on hand to assist students and parents with information on admissions requirements, scholarships, financial aid, programs of study, housing, and campus life. For more information, call 770-972-8471.

Mill Creek High hosted 25 students from the Lincoln House School in Korea. The students toured the campus and attended classes with Mill Creek High students. For more information, call Kari McIntyre at 678-714-5850.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
10/07/2008Gwinnett teacher at Nesbit Elementary recognized by national educator association
10/06/2008Gwinnett parents and community members invited to participate in annual review of GCPS curriculum
10/06/2008Georgia DOE names 22 Gwinnett schools as “Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools”

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 may submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS through Nov. 9. The GEMS Oversight Committee, a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the AKS, will consider all suggestions at their annual meeting. That committee then will recommend changes to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education for implementation in the 2008-09 school year. Click here for the AKS Review Form.

“GCPS Focus” This month’s Focus will take a look at Berkmar High’s “inspiring” story of Advanced Placement success, learn about economics and civics lessons in Gwinnett, and check in on the State Superintendent’s recent visit to Gwinnett … join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus— your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 30-min. program airs October 13-19 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.

“Colonial Williamsburg - The Will of the People” One of the most bitter presidential campaigns in U.S. history is part of a surprising lesson for a 21st-century student. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning, partisan politics, and contested elections have been part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic. This 60-min. program airs live on Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.

“Flight School: From Above” The final session of “Flight School” will wing its way to you this week from the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. “From Above,” the fourth of four electronic field trips for students in grades 4–8, will explore what flying above the Earth teaches us about the planet and its inhabitants. We’ll also meet the people and the vehicles that help us study the Earth from above. This program airs Oct. 13-19 at 2:30 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This 10-part series is an introduction to the Spanish language, tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Viewers tuning in will have the opportunity to learn key phrases and basic vocabulary for use during the school day and in the community. This GCPS TV original series will air in hour-long segments at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday-Sunday, through Oct. 26 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

“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 Oct. 17-19 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--

Sign up to receive Gwinnett County Public Schools’ e-newsletter... 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.

October is Computer Learning Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., October 9, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

Oct. 12-18 is Teen Read Week.

Oct. 13 is a Student Holiday, Teacher Planning/Staff Development day.

National School Lunch Week runs from Oct. 13-17.

The PSAT will be administered Oct. 15 for grades 10 and 11.

During the week of Oct. 20-29, students in grades 3, 5, and 8 will take the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.

Oct. 20-24 is National School Bus Safety Week and Georgia School Bus Safety Week.

Oct. 23-31 is Red Ribbon Week.

Oct. 27 is Georgia School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in September and October. Call the local school for the time and location.
Berkeley Lake Elementary
Central Gwinnett High
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary
Craig Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Dacula Middle
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Duluth High
Glenn C. Jones Middle
Harmony Elementary
Henry Partee Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
K.E. Taylor Elementary
Level Creek Elementary
Lilburn Elementary
Mill Creek High
Norcross Elementary
Parkview High
Peachree Ridge High
R.L. Norton Elementary
Shiloh Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Walnut Grove 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.-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 or call 770-904-3500.

Oct. 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Autumn Photography Walk, no charge
Come see what’s happening at GEHC by walking our trails with forestry experts and taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. Learn fun facts about our trees. This program is ideal for families who want to introduce their children to the great outdoors. Please wear comfortable clothing, closed toe shoes and bring a camera.

Oct. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., History Heroes, $10 per child (Ages 9-12)
Have you ever wondered what life was like as a soldier in the Civil War? Learn how Eli P. Landers, a local Gwinnettian, served in battle. We will examine the letters he wrote to his mother, make a haversack, and learn how to write and decipher code.

Oct. 25, Archeology Merit Badge, $15 per scout
Come complete the requirements for this badge. Please do requirements 4, 5, and 11 and bring them with you to share. Pack a lunch and wear comfortable clothing. This badge will be completed in two parts as the first day will cover the academic portion and four hours of the excavation requirement. An additional date will be scheduled to complete the remaining excavation requirement. This program is limited to 12 participants. Please contact Catherine Long at 770-904-3503 for more information.

Oct. 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eco-Explorer Brownie Program, $8 per girl
Ecology is the study of how plants and animals live together in the environment. Each environment offers a unique ecological system to discover. While at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, your scouts will explore the ecology of our streams and forest. Scouts will have a chance to make their own observations and draw their own conclusions about the river environment. By focusing on the habitats and food chains, learners will gain an understanding of the importance of food chains and food webs as well as the need to protect all species.

Oct. 25, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Bat Basics, $5 per person, $15 for a family of four
You’ve heard the stories: they’re creepy, they get in your hair, they’re blind, and they all have rabies. Get the scoop on what bats are really like and search the grounds for real bats with a bat detector. Enjoy bat brownies too! Call 770.904.3500 to register by October 17.