News You Can Use - 03/18/2013

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
03/18/2013 - 03/24/2013

MARCH 15-16, 2013
Snellville Middle is planning a Career Day for students on March 15. More than a dozen community professionals and organizations will participate in the event including Eastside Medical Center and the Snellville Police Department. In addition to Career Day, a Job Fair for parents and community members will be held March 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Representatives from Eastside Medical Center, the Snellville Police Department, and Walton EMC will be in attendance. Both events will be held at the school. For more information, call 770-972-1530.

Shiloh Elementary will hold a Relay Walk-A-Thon on March 15 to honor a school custodian who passed away. Students will walk laps throughout the day while listening to music. Students who bring in a $5 donation will receive a visor and the number of laps completed will be marked on the visor. The entire school will gather outside on the lower field to present a plaque to the daughter of the custodian at 1:45 p.m. In addition, a tree will be planted at the school in her honor. After the presentation, students will enjoy cake at the school. For more information, call 770-985-6883.

GCPS will hold its annual Transition Fair on March 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students with disabilities, their families and educators will receive information about community services, resources, and assistance for transitioning to adulthood. Participants include representation in the areas of employment support, residential services, day programs, recreation, and leisure, among others. In addition, participants can attend breakout sessions to increase their knowledge in the topics of Medicaid Waivers, Social Security Benefits, Financial and Estate Planning, Guardianship options, and Employment Support Options. In addition, participants may attend a special session with young adults from the program, Empowering Our Youth, as they lead a panel and discussion about self-awareness and self-advocacy for people with disabilities. For more information, call 678-301-7121 or email or

The 8th annual Gwinnett County Readers Rally competition will be held on March 16 with more than 100 schools participating in the county’s largest reading event. Sixty elementary schools, 26 middle schools, and 15 high schools will converge at Berkmar High to compete against other schools at their level. Semifinalists will move on to vie for the championship titles on March 21, at GCPS’ Instructional Support Center (ISC) in Suwanee. High school students read from the 20 Georgia Peach Award books, middle school students read from the 20 Georgia Book Award books, and 4th and 5th graders read from a hand-selected list of 15 books compiled by the Readers Rally Committee for elementary schools. More than a 1,000 people will be in attendance for the 2013 Readers Rally competition, including contestants, coaches, spectators and volunteers. The elementary opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and the middle and high school students will compete beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Jennifer Helfrich of GCPS Media and Information Services, at 678-301-6461.

Certificates were awarded to 38 German students from Collins Hill High for their excellent scores on the National German Exam. Students who scored above 85% on the exam will be honored at a ceremony at the German Embassy in Atlanta. Special recognition will be given to Garrett Helmick who received a perfect score on the National German III exam and is ranked first in the state. Allie Burg scored a 99% on the German II exam and is also ranked first in the state. Aaron Krask and Jennifer Shaffer placed fourth and fifth, respectively, on the German IV exam. The following students will be honored for their excellent scores on the National German Exam:
Gold Awards
Silver Awards
Bronze Awards
Achievement Awards
Allie Burg
Aliena Ayaz
Rachel Cherian
Daniel Burman
Audrey Elliott
Edina Hodzic
Adam Collins
Kyle Heaton
John Hammel
Cody Lum
Cameron Conner
Scott Joiner
Garrett Helmick
Drew Martin
Riley Donahue
Cydney Karlins
Aaron Krask
Michaela Routh
Sarah Knudsen
Alexandra Kennard
Javier Mariduena
Altan Stalker
John Lotspeich
Paige Loggins
Cody Schoenfuss
Drew Tindol
Arthur Martin
Natalia Mejia
Jennifer Shaffer
Lixin Wang
Brianny Paulino
Kayla Ritchie
Viki Williamson
Catherine Ritter
Josh Ryan
Helen Yi
Jacob Sheehan
Shela Yu

The Mountain View High WorldQuest Team placed 1st in state competition and earned a trip to nationals in Washington, D.C. on April 26-28 through the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. WorldQuest is an academic competition of 10 categories of global and temporal importance in social studies. For more information, visit

Winners of the first annual “Spring Into Wellness” Art Contest are Rachel Thompson of Mountain Park Elementary, winner of 4 tickets to Monkey Joe’s; Alice Peng of Pinkneyville Middle, winner of a season pass to Six Flags Over Georgia; and Rachel LeRoux and Tiffany Palacios, both of North Gwinnett High, winners of season passes to Six Flags Over Georgia. For more information, contact or call 678-209-2745.

Several GCPS students were winners at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival Atlanta High School Art Exhibition (AHSAE). Camille Pettit of Parkview High won Best of Show. Her instructor is Judy Nollner. Sarah Tucker of Parkview High won 4th Place. Her instructor is Alexandra Scott. Emily Danielson of Norcross High won 6th Place. Martha Cook is her instructor. Honorable Mentions include:
  • Malaak Ali, Norcross High, Kimberly Landers instructor
  • Lauren Burrows, Mill Creek High, Vicki Gladden instructor
  • Brandon Kim, Peachtree Ridge High, Joseph McSpadden instructor
  • Elizabeth Williams, Norcross High, Ashley Getz instructor
These winners are part of the 106 entries that will be exhibited in the Piedmont Park Community Center from April 19-21.

Central Gwinnett Cluster Schools invite the community to a celebration of the arts at the first annual Committed to Kids night! The event will be hosted by Central Gwinnett High on March 21 and will feature theatrical and musical performances by students from Central Gwinnett High, Jenkins Elementary, Lawrenceville Elementary, Moore Middle, Richards Middle, Simonton Elementary, and Winn Holt Elementary. Student art will be on display in the cafeteria, showcasing works from each of the cluster schools as well as Oakland Meadow and Phoenix High. An opening performance will take place in the Central Gwinnett Theater at 5:30 p.m. on March 21. For more information, call the local school.

Chattahoochee Elementary will host a Family Science Night on March 21. Students and their families will have the opportunity to participate in science demonstrations, the physics of roller coasters, the state of matter of OObleck, how to use a microscope, the science behind pop rockets, animal classification, and much more. The Elachee Nature Center will set up the Star Lab and Telescope Center near the gym. Science Club members will guide families through the event. In addition, the 2nd Annual Family Science Fair will be taking place. All entries will be awarded ribbons and medals. For more information, call the school at 770-497-9907.

Berkeley Lake Elementary will celebrate 30 years of Excellence in Education. The faculty and staff invite the community to a Canvas Dedication commemorating 30 years of excellence on March 22 at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria. For more information and to RSVP, contact by March 15.

Maxwell High School of Technology will host a 2nd annual GCPS College and Career Education Fair on April 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. The fair is open to all GCPS high school students. The College and Career Education fair exposes students to a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. Students have the opportunity to learn about skills including core academicand the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in the workplace and in daily activities; employment skills such as critical thinking and responsibility; and job-specific, technical skills related to a specific career pathway. For more information, call 770-963-6838.

Cooper Elementary will sponsor a Career Fair in the gym on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Brandy Bortak, school counselor, at 770-554-7386.

Simon’s Fund, a Philadelphia-based non-profit, is funding heart screenings for 300 Gwinnett middle and high school students in an event on April 7 at the offices of the Cardiovascular Group in Lawrenceville. The free screenings look for undetected heart conditions through an ECG exam and a physical. If needed, students will receive an echo cardiogram, and may be referred to a cardiologist for follow-up. Based on past screenings, one out of every 100 students may have an undetected heart condition. Registration opens March 6 online at Participation is limited to 300 students. Students and their families must complete paperwork as part of the registration process. For more information, visit Simon Fund at

The Greater Gwinnett Championship, the county’s new Champions Tour golf tourney, is scheduled for April 15-21 at the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth. The tournament will benefit a number of local charities, including the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund. This 54-hole stroke play tournament will feature 81 Champions Tour professionals competing for a $1.8 million purse. The event will be nationally televised on the Golf Channel. To purchase tickets or volunteer for Greater Gwinnett Championship, visit

Registration is going now for the 4th Annual GCPS “I See A Cure” Relay for Life 5K Run/Walk scheduled for April 27 at 8 a.m. GCPS is the largest supporter of Gwinnett Relay for Life. This event is a great opportunity for GCPS employees, faculty, and students, as well as the community, to support this important cause. Participants will receive a race T-shirt and goody bag, and participate in a pre-race warm-up to live music at the 200 building of the Instructional Support Center (ISC). Raffle prizes and group awards will be presented. The school or team with the most participants will be recognized at the awards presentation. Visit to register. If you have questions, or would like to volunteer, please contact Patrice Pendergast at 678-301-6076 or Diane Cribb at 678-301-6121. Visit for more information.

Call the local school for more information.

Mill Creek High
Name of Event: “Annie”
Date: March 15, 16, 17 (Sunday Matinee) March 22 & 23
Time: 7 p.m., (Sunday Matinee) 3 p.m.

Five Forks Middle
Teacher: Alaina Morris
Name of Event: Teacher Appreciation Coffee House
Date: March 19
Location: Five Forks cafeteria
Time: 8:15 a.m.

Dyer Elamentary
Teacher: Sherry Coulombe & Krista Sheppard
Name of Event: Fine Arts Night
Date: March 21
Location: Dyer ES...Music is in the Gym and Art is in the Cafeteria
Time: Begins at 6 p.m.

Central Gwinnett High
Teacher: Lisa Bell
Name of Event: West Side Story
Date: March 21-23
Location: Central Gwinnett High Theatre, 564 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville
Time: March 21, 3 p.m., March 22 and 23, 7 p.m.

Brookwood High
Name of Event: The Crucible
Date: March 21, 22, and 23
Location: School
Time: 7 p.m.

Berkmar High Theater
Teacher: Director: Simone Forbes & Vocal Director: Alison Crossman
Name of Event: Once on This Island Jr

Date: March 22 & 23
Time: 7 p.m.

Lilburn Middle Mustang Theatre Spring Production
Name of Event: Elementary Honor Chorus
Date: March 23, 2013
Location: Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula
Time: 3 p.m.

Alcova, Dacula and Mulberry elementary schools; Dacula Middle and Dacula High
Teachers: Beth Warzon, Karen Leamon, Carrie Thompson, Ashley Wells, James Williams

Name of Event: Dacula Cluster Choral Concert – “We Are One”
Date: March 26, 2013
Location: Hebron Church, Dacula, GA
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Lilburn Middle
Teacher: Diane Rust
Name of Event: Dear Edwina
Date: March 26-27, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Name of Event: GCPS Honor Orchestras Spring Concert
Teacher: Shawn Morton, Sarah Black, Bernadette Scruggs, Peter Lemonds
Date: Tuesday, April 2
Location: Peachtree Ridge HS
Time: 7:30 PM

Harbins Elementary School
Linda Wood, Teacher
PTA meeting, “Broadway Beat”
April 18
Presented in the Harbins Cafe at 6:30
In addition, we will have a tribute to our parents and friends who have volunteered at Harbins during the 2012-2013 year.
9:00 am in the Harbins Cafe also on April 18. Our Solo Singers will perform.

North Gwinnett High School
Teacher: Reyna O’Leary
Name of Event: Turn It Up
Date: April 18 and 19
Location: North Gwinnett H.S. Theater
Time: 7:00 pm

Duluth High Chorus will finish out the year with performances on April 19 and 20 in the auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. Students will perform the variety show “Peach Jam” for the community. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Archer High
Teacher: Brian Wolfe, Meghan Bawcum, Todd Ferguson, Ken Johnson (Principal)
Name of Event: AHS 1st Annual Jazz Festival
Date: Saturday, April 20
Location: Archer High
Time: 5-9 (could be slightly altered)

School: Mill Creek High School
Teacher: Suzanne Kross
Name of Event: Spring Dance Concert: “Broadway”
Date: April 25, 26, 27
Location: MCHS Theatre
Time: 7 pm

Mountain View High
Dr. Beverly Johnston
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera
April 25, 26, 27
Mountain View High Theatre
7 p.m.

Collins Hill High
Penny Brown
Spring Musical: “GODSPELL”
Date: April 26 and 27
Location: CHHS Theatre
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Archer High
Teacher: A D'Antonio - Brian Wolfe - Todd Ferguson
Name : Jazz Festival
Date 4/20
Location Archer High
Time : TBA

Beginning in March 2013, the Gwinnett County Board of Education will go on the road, as it does each year, meeting once in each Board member’s district. The meetings are a time for the School Board to share information with the public. They also are an opportunity to hear CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ annual address on the state of the school district, focusing on the district’s strategic direction, recent successes and new initiatives, and current budget challenges.
March 26
Peachtree Ridge High
March 28
Mill Creek High
April 2
Parkview High
April 4
April 16
Archer High
Meadowcreek High

Tapestry 2013 has been on exhibit throughout March at the Gwinnett County Public Schools Instructional Support Center (ISC) with the remaining opening night scheduled for March 25 at 6 p.m. During the display, the ISC will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday - Friday; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; and 1–6 p.m. on Sunday. Call the Fine Arts Office at 678-301-7015 for more information.
Tapestry Week 3 (March 21-26)
· The following clusters/schools will exhibit student work during Tapestry Week 3: Archer, Brookwood, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, and Norcross clusters, GSMST, and Oakland Meadow School
· Opening Night: March 25, 6–7:30 p.m.

The Georgia Department of Education is collecting public comments on proposed foundational courses for the new Career Clusters/Pathways through March 25. Parents, business leaders, community members, students, and school system staff are encouraged to review the proposed courses and complete an online questionnaire. Those wishing to review more than one foundational course are asked to complete an online questionnaire for each reviewed course. This curriculum is designed to provide essential, industry-validated knowledge and skills for Georgia’s students as they navigate toward greater college and career success. The online survey will be open through March 25. ( ) For more information, and/or concerns regarding this questionnaire, please contact Dwayne Hobbs, Program Manager, at

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) offers high school students two ways to learn for credit this summer.
  • Face-to-face summer classes (June 11–July 10) will be offered at three locations— Archer, Lanier, and Meadowcreek high schools. Online registration is now open for face-to-face classes. Students may register online ( for face-to-face summer classes through June 3, or register in person on May 30 at Meadowcreek High. Find course offerings and frequently asked questions on the face-to-face summer school website. (
  • Online summer classes (June 10–July 8) will be offered through Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC). Registration for online classes will open March 1. (Find course offerings and frequently asked questions online, along with registration information on the GOC website. (

Dates for GCPS 2013 Academic Summer School for Qualifying Students in Grades 3-8 have been set. Students may attend a 15-day session with no classes on Fridays. The first day of class is June 10, and last day is July 3. Summer school will not be provided at every school, due to maintenance and construction at some schools and plans for combined “cluster” summer school sites. Participating students will be notified of location for summer school sessions at a later date.
  • Parents of eligible students will be notified that their student may participate in the free session and given specifics about location and hours.
  • Most summer school sites will not offer transportation. Those schools with additional federal funding to offer transportation will notify parents regarding availability.
  • The free academic summer school is for students who were not successful on tests required for promotion or who did not meet promotion criteria at their grade level.
  • Students are given an opportunity to retake the CRCT subtest(s) at the end of summer school in order to meet promotion criteria and earn promotion to the next grade.

In partnership with Invent Now, Gwinnett County is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program for students entering grades one through six this summer. This weeklong adventure in creativity immerses children in imaginative play that reinforces and supplements school-year learning in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Students work together to seek innovative solutions to real-world challenges and sharpen learning skills such as teamwork and creative problem solving as they rotate through four modules each day. The camp runs from June 10-14. Dr. Gloria Elliott will direct the Camp Invention Geo-Quest program at Shiloh Elementary. Local educators will facilitate program modules, and high school and college students will serve as Leadership Interns. Register on or before March 28 for a $25 discount off the $225 tuition. Register online using Camp Code: C-GA22-11352-13 for a $195 tuition. Every registration includes a free Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800-968-4332 to register.

Maxwell High School of Technology will host a four day technical education summer camp for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders (current middle school students) on June 3- 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. Students will explore careers in programs such as: Auto Collision, Auto Services, Construction, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Electronics, Early Childhood Ed.–Babysitting Certification, Flash 2-D Game Animation, GA Pre-K Early Childhood Ed – Counselor, Graphic Communications and Design, Healthcare Science, Law and Justice, and Welding. All camp programs are led by GCPS instructors assisted by enthusiastic high school student aides.
The camp fee is $80 and is non-refundable. Registration runs March 4 to May 3 at All forms must be completed before registration is complete. Each program must have a minimum of 10 students to be offered. For more information, call Sherri Stephenson at 678-518-6630 or Nancy Zamprelli at 770-338-4603.

The Manilow Music Project will partner with Gwinnett County Public Schools to collect instruments to benefit music programs in the district’s schools. Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow initiated the instrument drive by donating a Yamaha piano to GCPS. Mr. Manilow will perform at a concert at the Gwinnett Center on April 27. Music lovers who donate new or gently used instruments will receive two tickets to the show, while supplies last. Instruments may be dropped off at the Center box office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and after noon on weekend days with an event at the Center. More than 97,000 K-12 Gwinnett students are enrolled in music programs. Tickets are available online at or, in person at the Gwinnett Center box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Radloff Middle Environmental Club Sponsor Shannon Raysin, in collaboration with Mothers & Others for Clean Air at the American Lung Association in Georgia, arranged for the school to have some trees donated and planted on campus. The purpose of the tree planting is to reduce the air and noise pollution around the school. The planting of eight trees began on March 14. Eight more trees will be planted at a later date.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
03/12/2013Maxwell HS of Technology invites middle schoolers to explore career options (pdf)
03/11/2013Duluth HS’ Lemonds honored as Georgia’s top strings teacher (pdf)

“GCPS FOCUS” Comprised of shorter “Focus Moment” stories, the new GCPS FOCUS provides timely coverage on a wide variety of topics relating to Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 20-minute program airs Feb. 25-March 3 at 6 a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

“2013 Technical Education Awards Banquet” GCPS TV is proud to present its coverage of the 2013 Technical Education Awards Banquet. Tune in to see the presentation of scholarships and hear from talented student honorees. This 60-minute program airs March 18-24 at 2 p.m. and 8 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, Comcast on Channel 24 and 26, and for AT&T check under local government listings. 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--

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.

The following schools will hold Local School Council Dates in March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Archer High School18-Mar
Benefield Elementary28-Mar
Berkeley Lake Elementary26-Mar
Buice School22-Mar
Burnette ES26-Mar
Camp Creek Elementary22-Mar
Central Gwinnett High21-Mar
Crews Middle21-Mar
Duncan Creek Elementary28-Mar
Five Forks Middle27-Mar
Harmony Elementary28-Mar
Harris Elementary21-Mar
Hull Middle26-Mar
Ivy Creek Elementary28-Mar
Kanoheda Elementary28-Mar
Lanier Middle19-Mar
Level Creek Elementary26-Mar
Mason Elementary3-15 and 3-26
Minor Elementary28-Mar
Moore Middle School29-Mar
North Gwinnett High28-Mar
Parsons Elementary3/7 and 3/26
Peachree Ridge High26-Mar
Puckett's Mill Elementary28-Mar
Riverside Elementary26-Mar
Rock Springs Elementary28-Mar
Simpson Elementary22-Mar
Snellville Middle21-Mar
South Gwinnett High21-Mar
Sugar Hill Elementary28-Mar
Suwanee Elementary28-Mar
Sweetwater Middle28-Mar
Sycamore Elementary3-21, 3-26
Taylor Elementary22-Mar
Walnut Grove Elementary21-Mar
White Oak Elementary20-Mar
Winn Holt Elementary27-Mar

March is Music in our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month®, Women in History Month, and Youth Art Month.

The first day of spring is March 20.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 21, 2013, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

March 29 is a student and teacher holiday.

April is National Poetry Month, Occupational Therapy Month, and School Library Media Month.

April 8-12 is Spring Break (school holidays).

April 12 is a spring holiday for all GCPS staff.

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.

· Peanuts…Naturally
· Water Wise
· Discover H2O
· Water Ways
· Blue Planet
· Gwinnett History Exhibit
· e-Planetarium
· Pre-K – 12
· Homeschool
· Outreach Programs
· OSF Kits: Our Shared Forest
· e-Planetarium
· Heritage Self-Guided Tours