News You Can Use - 12/01/2003

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
12/01/2003 - 12/07/2003

Lynne Grant, J.P. McConnell Middle teacher, presented “Using WebCT to Train and Supervise Foreign Language Teachers” at the 37th American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Nov. 21-23 in Philadelphia.

Dr. Tiffany Coleman of Simonton Elementary presented “Transformations: An Inquiry into the Experiences of New Teachers in a Literacy Instruction Professional Development Group” at the National Reading Conference.

Jennifer Dionne, Jackie Nichols, and Dr. Robert Peterson, all of R.L. Norton Elementary, presented “Taking the Stress Out of High Stakes Testing ” at the annual conference of the School Administrators Association of New York State.

Leanne Luttrell of Sycamore Elementary presented “Logical Thinking and Problem Solving” at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference in Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 6-7.

Sandy Ewanowski, Student Information System Project Team Lead, has been selected as president-elect for the Georgia Student Information System Users Group. She will assume presidency in Feb. 2004.

The National PTA Reflections competition was judged in November. This year's theme was “I am Really Happy When........” The judges were selected for their experience in the subject matter and knowledge of student's abilities. Each entry was evaluated considering originality, creativity, artistic merit, and interpretation of the theme. Students were given the opportunity to express themselves through Literature, Music, Photography, and Visual Arts. For more information on the PTA Reflections program, call Diane Casey, Reflection chair, at 770-972-7292. For a complete list of GCPS winners who will be moving on to state competition, call Sue Peterson at 770-822-6508.

Deborah Harris and Shari Ponder, both of Meadowcreek High, received a $5,000 planning grant for implementation of the Learn and Serve Curriculum. For more information, call Julia Kilgore at 770-381-9680.

Marlene Reilly of Lilburn Elementary was named 2003 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for Tucker. Last May, Ms. Reilly was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for Snellville. These honors are the result of student and parent nominations. The Wal-Mart stores awarded $2,000 to Lilburn Elementary for reading programs—$1,000 for each award—in recognition of Ms. Reilly's awards. For more information, call 770-921-7707.

Brian Bowler is Oakland Center’s “Citizen of the Week.” Brian’s parents are Miles and Evelyn Bowler of Sugar Hill. Lindsey Smith, Brian’s teacher, nominated him for his positive attitude, willingness to help teachers and classmates, and his behavior and courtesy, making him a positive role model. For more information, call Anne Craven at 770-513-6694.

Each grade level at Sycamore Elementary will adopt a family to assist for the holidays. The Sycamore Care Team will assist teachers in collecting items needed for each family. For more information, call Robin Zorn at 678-714-5770.

The North Gwinnett High chorus, orchestra, and concert band will perform a holiday concert, “Hearts, Hands and Voices,” to raise funds for the North Gwinnett High Care Team on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. Donations for the Care Team will be accepted at the end of the evening. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Norcross High will sponsor a “Holiday Spirit Drive” Dec. 1-5. Classes will be invited to donate toys, stocking stuffers, and canned goods to the school. Collected items will be donated to the Norcross Cooperative Ministries for needy families. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

The Grayson Elementary Student Council is participating with the U.S. Marines and their annual Toys for Tots campaign this year. Students will donate toys for the drive during the first two weeks of December. The Marines will be at Grayson Elementary to pick up the toys the morning of Dec. 15. For more information, call Dr. Jim Curtiss at 770-963-7189.

The Beaver Ridge Elementary art department will hold its annual candlelight luncheon Dec. 3-4. For more information, call 770-447-6307.

The Harbins Elementary fifth grade chorus will perform a holiday concert entitled "Grandma's Trunk of Christmas Memories" Dec. 4 after the PTA meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call Debra Ault-Butenko at 770-682-4270.

Trickum Middle’s seventh and eighth grade band concert will be held Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Parkview High cafeteria. The seventh and eighth grade strings concert will be held Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., and the school's chorus concert will be held Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., both in the Trickum Middle cafeteria. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

The Harbins Elementary PTA presents “Breakfast with Santa” on Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is $2 per child. Activities include making ornaments, shopping at Santa’s Secret Shop, and writing letters to Santa. Breakfast will be catered by The Red Barn. Pictures with Santa will be available for $3. The line to see Santa will close at 11:30 a.m. Santa leaves for the North Pole promptly at noon. The Secret Santa Shop will remain open until 1 p.m. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

The Sycamore Elementary band and chorus will perform its first annual holiday concert on Dec. 9. The performance will follow a brief PTA meeting at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Band and chorus members will perform a number of ensemble and solo selections consisting of traditional and seasonal music. An additional duet selection will be performed by Seth Kuehn, music teacher, and Mary Zaharis, assistant principal. The fourth and fifth grade chorus will begin the evening concert followed by the fifth grade band. The concert should last approximately thirty minutes. For more information, call 678-714-5770.

Summerour Middle’s holiday performance is scheduled for Dec. 9, beginning with the band’s performance at 7:00 p.m. in the Summerour cafeteria. In addition, band students Anahi Garcia, Noe Gonzalez, Eric Mackey, Jay Nash, Jasmine Oliver, Lindsey Sumner, Tavonie Tatum, Kanicius Washington, D.J. Watkins, and Jeanette Won will perform at the Governor’s Mansion on Dec. 11. A second holiday performance by the chorus and orchestra will take place on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-448-3045.

B.B. Harris Elementary will hold a candlelight luncheon Dec. 9-11. The cafeteria will be transformed into a formal dining room and a special holiday meal will be served. For more information and to make a reservation, call 770-476-2241.

North Gwinnett High will hold its holiday concert on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.

Camp Creek Elementary’s PTA will transform the school’s cafeteria into a Holiday Secret Shop on Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Elves will assist students as they browse for those perfect gifts for family and friends. The Secret Shop will provide students with a safe place to shop as well as help them build budgeting and decision making skills. Parents may purchase Chick-fil-A biscuits the media center while their children shop. For more information, call 770-921-1626.

Knight Elementary fifth grade students will present “Paint the Town December” at the Dec. 15 PTA meeting. The program will be held in the Starlight Dining Room under the direction of Sandy Snyder. For more information, call 770-921-2400.

All fifth graders at Camp Creek Elementary will perform a Holiday Musical Program on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the gym. The concert will be held in conjunction with the Camp Creek Elementary PTA meeting. For more information, call 770-921-1626.

On Monday, Dec. 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Duluth Middle is hosting its second annual family reading night, called “Wildcats are Wild Over Words” (WOW). This event offers families an opportunity to share in various literacy activities. Families may attend the book fair and professional storyteller Renee Hanna will perform her rendition of “A Single Shard,” by Linda Sue Park. In addition, students’ literacy projects will be on display and families will participate in an old-fashioned book walk. Entertainment includes a presentation of “Reader’s Theatre” by the drama department. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the evening. Hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, and drinks from the Varsity will be available. Tickets may be purchased during lunch the week before the event. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

The Grayson Elementary Parent Academy (GPA) will host its second session of the year on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. The topic for the evening will be mathematics. The GPA is a joint effort between Grayson Elementary and its PTA to educate parents about how children are taught core subjects. The Jan. 13 session will be on writing, and the March 2 session will be on standardized testing. For more information, call Dr. Jim Curtiss at 770-963-7189.

Jone Cross of Chattahoochee Elementary has been selected as one of two teachers in the country to travel with students to Antarctica Dec. 16 through Dec. 30. The selection was made by People to People Student Ambassadors, an organization Ms. Cross has been involved with as a teacher-leader since 1993. When she makes this journey, Ms. Cross will be the first member of the organization to travel with students to all seven continents. Amelia Sims, a Duluth High student, also will make the expedition. Ms. Sims has been traveling with this overseas educational program since she was a sixth grader. Ms. Sims has traveled with Ms. Cross to China and Africa and with three other GCPS teachers to Europe and Australia and will be the first student in the history of the organization to visit all seven continents. Ms. Cross and Ms. Sims will spend four days in South America before traveling to Antarctica. For more information, call 770-497-9907.

Tune into Gwinnett County Public Schools educational access channel for “GCPS Focus” this week (Dec. 1-7). The show airs at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 11 p.m., and midnight each day. “In Five,” a five-minute news update, airs at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m. daily. GCPS TV cable channels and providers include:
Ÿ Adelphia on Channel 20
Ÿ Comcast on Channel 24
Ÿ BellSouth Entertainment on Channel 21
Ÿ Charter Communications on Channel 22
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or send an email to A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

The Simpson Elementary media center will sponsor an Ellis Island simulation for all fifth grade classes on Dec. 5 at 12:30 p.m. in the media center. Students take on the persona of an immigrant from a country by researching and writing a diary about the immigrant's trip to America. Students will arrive at “Ellis Island,” and go through examination centers staffed by parents who speak a second language. The “immigrants” portrayed by the students will be allowed to enter the U.S. or be deported, depending on actual U.S. country quotas from 1910, their persona’s physical and mental health, and whether they can “bribe” the officials. For more information, call 770-417-2400.

Camp Creek Elementary’s PTA will honor students who participated in the Sunshine Math program with an ice cream party on Dec. 11 for grades 3–5 and Dec. 12 for grades K–2. Sunshine Math is an enrichment program of weekly worksheets designed to challenge students beyond the normal math curriculum through problem-solving exercises. Although participation is optional and scores on the worksheets are not recorded, a significant number of the students have chosen to participate. For more information, call 770-921-1626.

Duluth High students with mild intellectually disabilities will be selling items at the annual craft sale. Proceeds will fund field trips and other classroom activities. This year's sale will take place Dec. 4. For more information, call Danielle Jenkins at 770-232-5370.

North Gwinnett High is sponsoring a raffle drawing for a 2001 Chevy S-10 pick-up through Dec. 12.  The drawing will take place during halftime at the boys basketball game against Central Gwinnett High. The truck is on display at school near the weight room and a photo may be seen on the school Web site Any school organizations interested in raising funds may participate. Tickets will be sold for $5. Fifty percent of the ticket price goes to the organization and fifty percent goes to the school capital fund for athletic improvements. For more information, call Chris Culpepper at 770-271-5171.

North Gwinnett High’s Touchdown Club will sponsor a “Holiday Tour of Homes” on Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will visit homes in Wild Timber, Edinburgh, Rivermoore Park, and Settles Cove subdivisions. Proceeds will support the end-of-season football banquet. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

North Gwinnett High’s Dugout Club will sponsor an annual Christmas tree sale, beginning Nov. 29. Trees may be purchased at the corner of Alton Turner and Peachtree Industrial, one block from Ga.-20. All proceeds go to support the North Gwinnett Baseball Team. For more information, call Vicki Otting at 770-318-3625 or Ron Walton at 770-945-3458. 

The Beaver Ridge Elementary chorus will present its winter concert, entitled “Sounds of the Season,” at the Buchanan Fine Arts Auditorium on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. The Beaver Ridge Chorus is comprised of fourth and fifth graders. Several second grade classes also will perform at this concert. For more information, call 770-447-6307.

Meadowcreek High National Honor Society, Beta Club, Volunteer Center, and Interact Club students raised $1,411.92 for the AIDS walk. For more information, call 770-381-9680.

The Physical Education department at Trickum Middle will sponsor a “Hoops for Heart” event to raise money for the American Heart Association on Dec. 3 and 4. Students raising $15 or more will have the opportunity to play in a faculty/student basketball game during their PE time. Last year, more than $2,500 was raised. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

The Trickum Middle Teen Impact Club's theme this holiday season is “Make a Child Smile.” The club will collect clothing, toys, and toiletry items from Dec. 4 through Dec. 19 for infants through 17-year-old teens. The items will be donated to organizations that help needy families. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

Creekland Middle seventh graders in the classes of Janet Davis, Deana Triemer, and Kim Troha's sent 80 soccer balls, school supplies, and hygiene products to the village of Kangor Fey, Iraq. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

Shiloh High School is sponsoring an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m. in the old gym. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. Please contact Karen McKnight at 770-972-8471 or to make an appointment.

Dec. 6 will serve as “Community Outreach Day” at Norcross High. Student and adult volunteers will collect and sort donations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations will be distributed to the Norcross Cooperative Ministries, which is in need of food, personal-care items, toys, and goodies for infants through teens. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Bob Kraushaar's tech ed classes at Creekland Middle have been learning about Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. They spent a class period learning about GPS theory and how the system operates and then went outside to practice finding locations with a real GPS receiver. For a culminating activity, they followed a route from waypoint to waypoint on the athletic fields with accuracy and speed being measured. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 11, 2003, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville. Prior to the regular meeting, a public forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. to allow persons not on the agenda an opportunity to address the Board.

Dec. 17-19 are early release days for high school exams.

Dec. 19 is the last day of school before the Winter Break. Students return to school Jan. 7, 2004.

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