News You Can Use - 05/09/2011

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.

View All Archived News You Can Use

News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
05/09/2011 - 05/15/2011

Head Elementary will support Relay For Life by having the entire student body walk around the running track at the end of the day on May 6. For more information, call Len Garner, Head Elementary teacher, at 770-972-8050.

Lanier Middle Teacher Joan McElroy has written a play about author Harper Lee that will be performed in Nashville on May 6. This performance is included in the Tennessee Women’s Theater Project as part of the annual Women’s Work Festival of performing and visual arts created by women. For more information, visit

Hull Middle will host a visit from the Space Bus this week through Friday. Two simulated space missions will take place during the day, one beginning at 10:30 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Students will perform experiments aboard the space shuttle, collecting data in mission control, putting together a space vehicle, setting up Moon Base, collecting and testing moon rocks and much more. For more information, call 770-232-3200.

The North Gwinnett High Percussion Ensemble traveled to Dayton, OH for the WGI World Championships— the largest competitive event in the country. Fourteen students represented the band program winning 3rd place overall. Winning a medal at this event ranks the percussionists among the best in the country. For a list of student names, pictures, videos and information about our Percussion Ensemble, Indoor Drumline, Jazz Band and Concert Bands, visit

Jennifer Prince of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology has two students whose art work earned 1st and 2nd place in the Georgia Holocaust Commission and Georgia Department of Education Art and Writing contest. Lilian Chan won 1st place for high school level artwork, and Sara Forgery won 2nd place for high school level artwork. For more information, visit,2086,24114746_24128649_24185778,00.html.Both students were honored at a ceremony held at the State Capitol.

Two Meadowcreek High students won top places in the 4th Congressional District (U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson) Art Competition. Aaron Tucker won 1st place and Estephany Morales won 3rd place. As the first place winner, Aaron is eligible for a $10,000 scholarship from the Art Institute of Atlanta and an annual $1500 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design. Estephany is eligible for a $2,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta. Aaron’s artwork will hang in the tunnel leading to the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., for one year. The Fourth District winner will receive transportation for three to Washington, D.C., for the ribbon-cutting event on June 22 to unveil the 2011 winners from around the country. The Art Competition, which was open to all high school students in the Fourth District of Georgia, had 50 entries from more than 15 schools throughout the district. For more information, visit school winners are available upon request.

The Seventh District’s (U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall) Annual Congressional High School Art Competition winning piece, a painting on the Holocaust, was created by Michelle Partogi of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology. Michelle will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Art Institute of Atlanta and an annual $1500 scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design, two roundtrip airline tickets to attend the National Gala opening at the U.S. Capitol where winners from across the country will be honored on June 22. Winning artwork will be displayed in the underground tunnel leading from the Congressional office buildings to the U.S. Capitol for one year. Hillary Jones of North Gwinnett High won 2nd place and a $5,000 scholarship to the Atlanta Art Institute, and Kelly Glennon of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology won 3rd place and a $2,500 scholarship. A total of 77 students entered the 7th District competition. For more information, visit

Channel 11 Class Act honorees have been named and they are Merle Soodyall of Stripling Elementary, Brad Zickefoose of Radloff Middle. They were selected for their ‘random acts of kindness’ and awarded gifts from the station. To view the feature visit

Duluth High SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and the Duluth Police Department will work together to promote safe driving for prom by asking students to buckle up, don’t drink, and don’t text and drive. This year the campaign runs from May 9-13, in conjunction with the Act Out Loud organization. Students will have the opportunity to sign a pledge stating they will not text and drive. Duluth High will also have the opportunity to win a $10,000 school award by receiving the most student votes for the school at the “act out loud” website. For more information, call Teacher Nilda I. Vicéns at 770-476-5602.

Fort Daniel Elemenatary has set a reading goal of 80,000 pages during the next week to celebrate National Children’s book Week. If the goal is met, Principal Paul Willis has promised students he will eat a bug on May 11 at 8:10 a.m. National Children’s Book Week runs through May 6. For more information, call 770-932-7400.

Norcross Elementary will host the school’s annual International Night “Embracing Cultural Diversity” on May 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gym. Participants will be entertained with music and dance, student displays, arts and crafts and more, including a Stilt Dance and Columbian Ballet. Participants are invited to wear attire from their country of origin. For more information, call 770-448-2188.

Berkmar Middle Principal Kenney Wells and Gifted Teacher Jim Eacona are working on an archaeological project with the Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society. On May 14, Dr. James J. D’Angelo will help students discover what is believed to be the remains of a 19th century plantation mill site located on school property. For more information, call Melissa Martin, Parent Instructional Support Coordinator, at 770-638-2310.

Globetrotter Michael Douglas will visit Sweetwater Middle students on May 17 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to encourage summer reading. Through the Michael Douglas Youth Foundation students will learn about the “How to be Smarter, Read Books Program” encouraging students to read a minimum of 25 books over the summer. For more information, call 770-931-7059.

Britt Elementary will host a visit from Congressman Rob Woodall on May 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the visit, Congressman Woodall will have lunch with students and visit classrooms. For more information, call 770-972-4500.

GCPS is accepting applications to serve on the GEMS Oversight Committee. The GEMS Oversight Committee is a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. After the review, the committee recommends revisions and additions to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board. Members serve three year terms. Please review the downloadable application on the website. Completed applications should be returned by June 1 to the attention of Dale Robbins, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Support, at the Instructional Support Center. For more information, call 678-301-7030.

Norcross Elementary is collecting items to donate to victims of the recent tornados in Alabama. The Alabama Relief Drive at the school will accept donations such as clothing, canned goods, and baby items. For more information, call 770-448-2188.

“The Author in You - Matt Tavares” When Matt Tavares was studying art at Bates College, he had no intention of becoming a children’s book writer and illustrator. Then, during his junior year, a friend showed him several books by author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg and Tavares was hooked. He began his new career right away, with his college thesis, and created a story that embodies every young baseball fan’s wildest dream. Originally titled “Sebastian’s Ball,” the book was published two years after its original creation as “Zachary’s Ball.” Tavares has used the game of baseball as a theme for his other self-illustrated titles as well, including “Mudball,” “Oliver’s Game,” and Henry Aaron’s “Dream.” This 30-minute program airs this week at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“Nature’s Partners: Pollinators, Plants and People” An all-star cast of scientists and educators will be explaining pollination, plant-insect interactions, how to study pollinators, their importance to the food supply, and what people can do to help. The cast includes experts from the USDA Forest Service, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This 60-minute program airs this week at 1 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--

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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
05/05/2011Norcross High’s Parrish inducted into Hall of Fame (pdf)
05/04/2011North Gwinnett High students earn study abroad scholarships (pdf)
05/03/2011NFL Network drafts Berkmar Middle’s Griffith (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.

Gwinnett County Summer Remediation and Testing Program -- Summer 2011
Students who must retake one or more sections of the state-required Georgia High School Graduation Tests/Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSGT/GHSWT) are encouraged to participate in free remediation classes prior to the retest opportunity in mid-July. Both remediation classes and summer retests will be held at Phoenix High. Information on registering for remediation classes and taking GHSGT/GHSWT retests follows:
Summer Remediation Classes:
Classes will be held Monday, June 27, through Friday, July 8. Monday, July 4, is a Student/Teacher Holiday. Classes meet daily, Monday through Friday, and are available at the following times:
1st Period
8 – 10:15 a.m.
2nd Period
10:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
3rd Period
1:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Language Arts
Social Studies
Language Arts
Social Studies
Language Arts
Social Studies

Registering for Summer Remediation Classes:
Students will come to Phoenix High School on either Wednesday, June 22, or Thursday, June 23, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to register for classes.
GHSGT Summer Testing:
Social StudiesMonday, July 118 a.m.
ScienceTuesday, July 128 a.m.
MathWednesday, July 138 a.m.
WritingWednesday, July 132 p.m.
English/Language ArtsThursday, July 148 a.m.
Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled testing start time. Student results will be sent to the student’s home school, not Phoenix High.
· Students are required to present a valid picture I.D. in order to be admitted to testing. This may be a driver’s license, passport, student I.D., or state I.D.
· This is the only GHSGT/GHSWT state testing window during the summer. The next administration will be given in September at each local high school. For more information, call Tracy Robertson, coordinator of assessment for high school students, at 678-301-7057.

Additional summer remediation and testing for math section of GHSGT
Project EXPRESS is an additional option that will be offered through the State Department of Education at 40 sites across Georgia. This remediation will take place June 13-24, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily, and will culminate in students taking the math portion of the GHSGT on June 24. Specific information regarding online registration procedures, parent permission forms, sites available, etc. will be available through school counselors within the next few days. Registration for Project EXPRESS begins May 9 and the program begins June 13. The math portion of the GHSGT will be administered on June 24 for students participating in the state’s Project EXPRESS.
Important Note: Students may only participate in the GHSGT for math ONCE during the summer. If they participate in Project EXPRESS in June and take the test on June 24, they will not be allowed to take it again through GCPS in July.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

May 11 is National School Nurse Day and Child Nutrition Employee Day.

May 16-20 is Custodial Appreciation Week.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 5:30 p.m., May 19, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

May 25-27 is early release for high school final exams.

May 26 is a Snow make-up Day for January 12.

May 27 is a Snow make-up Day for January 14, and the last day of school.

Graduation ceremonies for high schools have been scheduled from May 23-May 30. Visit the GCPS website to view dates, times, and locations.

May 30 is Memorial Day, a systemwide holiday.

The following schools will hold School Council meetings in May. Call the local school for the time and location.
Anderson-Livsey Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Chesney Elementary
Cooper Elementary
Couch Middle
Duluth High
Freeman's Mill Elementary
GIVE Center East
Harbins Elementary
Head Elementary
Jackson Elementary
Jones Middle
Lilburn Elementary
Lovin Elementary
Mill Creek High
Mountain Park Elementary
Mountain View High School
North Gwinnett Middle
Peachtree Elementary
Richard Hull Middle
Roberts Elementary
Rock Springs Elementary
Snellville Middle
Summerour Middle
Suwanee Elementary
Taylor Elementary
White Oak 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: History of the Earth
May 10
Heritage Living Series
May 11
Let’s Take A Closer Look...
May 12
Biology 102
May 13
It’s Your House
May 13
Backyard Wildlife Habitat
May 14
Everybody's Backyard
May 14
Our Shared Birds-The International Feathered Tourist
May 14
Pioneer Day
May 14
Moon Light Monday: Milk Moon Hike
May 16
Homeschool Days-From Georgia West!
May 17
Geology: History of the Earth
May 17
Heritage Living Series
May 18