News You Can Use - 03/19/2012

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.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
03/19/2012 - 03/25/2012

Duluth High students will perform “Footloose” on March 16, and 17 at 7 p.m. and March 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $10 for adults and $8 for a student or children. For more information, call Theater Director Gwyn Jones at 770-476-5206.

Pinckneyville Middle students will perform the musical “Oklahoma” on March 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. For more information, call Theater Arts Director and Drama Club Sponsor Tracey Buchner at 770-263-0860.

The 2012 Gwinnett Transition Fair is scheduled to take place on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peachtree Ridge High. The event is for students with disabilities, their parents, and educators. Topics will include Medicaid Waivers, Navigating Social Security Benefits, Estate Planning and Guardianship Options, Department of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Assistive Technology, and Vocational and Community programs after high school. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with representatives from agencies and organizations in the Metro Atlanta area. For more information, contact Allison Vernon or Tamara King at 678-301-7121.

NEWS REPRESENTATIVES are invited to cover the Minor Elementary 25th Anniversary Celebration on March 18 at 2 p.m. The ceremony will include a performance by the Minor Patriot Chorus, speakers include Gwinnett County Board of Education Chairman Louise Radloff as well as current and former administrators, teachers, parents, and students. During the reception, guests will enjoy refreshments, browse through historical memorabilia and a time capsule will be opened from the 1990’s. The celebration continues on Monday, March 19, 2012 with a 25th Birthday Celebration for the students and staff. Attendees will watch the pre-recorded ceremony from the previous day, enjoy a birthday cupcake, and view the historical scrapbooks memorabilia and time capsule. Classes will also create a new time capsule that will be sealed at the end of the year. Link to the online invitation at
** NOTE **
  • Invitation only celebration
  • Reporters only please
  • Do not publish the event until Monday, March 19, 2012
For more information, call Sherie Green, 25th Anniversary Committee Member, at 678-380-7249, or email

A team of students representing Arcado Elementary recently won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge, a national language arts competition with more than 2,205,000 student participants. Fourth grader Rhiannon Eplett won highest honors in the Blue Division for individual achievement by earning a perfect score. His coach is Arcado Elementary Teacher Kathy Dean. A team of 4th graders tied for 4th place in the nation, competing against 698 school teams. Outstanding results were earned by 4th graders Cailleagh Finlayson, Samir Hadi, Isabel Segre, Paul “Joey” Thomas, Mary Wang, Elise Musser, Jessica Pan, Reece Whitfield, and Jule Zehngraff. The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of new words harder than grade level, and challenges students to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of relationships. For more information, call Arcado Elementary at 770-925-2100.

Brookwood High Visual Art student Sharon Pak had her colored pencil drawing entitled “Son of Man” chosen to be displayed on the Big Screen Plaza in New York City during the National Art Education Association Convention. Big Screen Plaza displays a giant 30 ft. x 16 ft. outdoor LED screen, which showcases artistic talent for visitors to view. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-736-2088 or email

Snellville Middle established a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter this year with 48 members. This chapter was encouraged and motivated by the Georgia State Secretary Stacia Burke, a Snellville Middle alumni. As a new FBLA Chapter, students earned 18 medals at the Region Leadership Conference in February. Students who won medals qualified to advance to the State Leadership Conference. At this conference in Macon, student Zoe Wimby earned 6th place for the 2012 Middle Level State Business Spelling Competition. For more information, call 770-972-1530.

To kick-off Exceptional Children’s Week, Winn Holt Elementary will host a visit from GCPS graduate Kyle Maynard, who has successfully climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro as a quadriplegic. Mr. Maynard will speak on motivation and inspiration for all students, specifically those with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The event will take place on March 19 with one presentation from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., and another from 9:30 to 10 a.m., followed by classroom visits. For more information, call Teacher Pam Dietz at 678-372-6566.

On March 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., 5th grade parents and their students are invited to attend Beaver Ridge Elementary’s “Transition to Middle School,” meeting— an informative hour for parents and students transitioning to middle school. Summerour Middle Principal Dorothy Parker-Jarrett will be on hand and the School Box store will be open for business with resources to prepare students for 6th grade. For more information, call Assistant Principal Nury Crawford at 770-447-6307

The Dacula Cluster Choral Concert is scheduled for March 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hebron Worship Center. School performances will be from Alcova, Dacula, and Mulberry elementary schools, Dacula Middle, and Dacula High. Admission is free. Participants are invited to donate a non-perishable food item for the local food bank. For more information, call Music Teacher Beth Warzon at 678-376-8500.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is hosting a 5K race to benefit Relay for Life. The race is scheduled for April 14 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the ISC (Instructional Support Center), Building 200 in Suwanee. Participants registering by April 2 will receive a race t-shirt. Warm-up begins at 7:45 a.m. in front of Building 200 and the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to age group winners. For more information, call Patrice Pendergast or CoTinna Harris at 678-301-6076. To register, visit

Maxwell High School of Technology is holding a Middle School Summer Camp for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from across the district interested in exploring careers in Architecture Drawing and Design, Auto Collision, Auto Services, Construction, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education, Electronics, Graphic Communications and Design, Healthcare, Law and Justice, and Pre-k Camp Counseling. The camp is scheduled to take place June 11-14 from 8 to 11 a.m. All camp programs are led by certified GCPS instructors with enthusiastic high school student aides. Registration is March 15 through May 7, and the registration fee is $50. For more information and to register your child today, visit or call Nancy Zamprelli at 770-338-4603 or Sherri Stephenson at 770-338-4625.

High school students who need to make up a class or want to get ahead, including rising 9th graders may take designated classes during the summer. Registration is ongoing at the following locations and online.
Face-to-Face ClassesOnline Classes
When: June 12 to July 11 (July 4 holiday)
  • 1st Period: 7:30-11:00 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • 2nd Period: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Mountain View High, Peachtree Ridge High, and South Gwinnett High.
How: Learn more about face-to-face summer school. Students may register online for face-to-face classes through June 4 or register in person on May 31 at Peachtree Ridge High.
When: June 11 to July 10 (July 4 holiday)

Where: Offered through Gwinnett County Online Campus (GOC).
How: Register online. Online registration closes June 4.
Face-to-face meeting required for final exams and for selected classes (health, PE, and science labs).
Important information for face-to-face and Online Campus summer school students:
  • Transportation is not provided for face-to-face summer school classes or for the face-to-face sessions required for Online Campus courses.
  • A student should take no more than two summer classes: two face-to-face classes, two online classes, or a combination.
  • All tuition fees are due at the time of registration.
  • Any student planning to participate in the summer school graduation ceremony must take all summer classes with Gwinnett County Public Schools.
  • Both the Face-to-Face classes and the online programs will follow a Monday-to-Thursday schedule. Face-to-face and online summer classes will not meet on Fridays.

Sixth grade students at Snellville Middle hosted a visit from Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz. Snellville students participated in a state-wide essay contest in which they described their ideas for leading a city and making it the best place to live. Mayor Kautz welcomed student questions and asked for input and ideas for a 10 to 20-year plan for the city. When asked, “What inspired you to be a mayor?” Kautz responded, “I was inspired to make a change.” The mayor encourages all sixth grade students to continue their education. For more information, call Gina Towler, assistant principal, at770-972-1530.

In a combined effort, Sweetwater Middle students teamed up with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to plant a garden, hang bird feeders, and paint a mural at Sweetwater. Former Sweetwater student Charles Orgbon, founded Greening Forward (a non-profit organization that helps promote, fund, and increase environmental awareness) and wanted to involve his alma mater in this special program. Orgbon and his organization are working with Grand Valley State University, a service-oriented school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The school funds a trip each year for students to serve the country with an “Alternative Spring Break.” Students pick an area of interest, and Greening Forward has been chosen as one of the organizations to host these ten students. Ms. Kramer’s Earth Saver’s Club, Mr. Shannon’s 7th grade students, and Mr. O’Mara’s Art Club worked with the GVSU students on this project for the beautification of Sweetwater with the following students: Stephany Amendares, Keishawna Ferguson, Elsy Garcia, Owen Gause, Julia Gavrilesku, Frank Gonzalez, Armando Gordon, Megan Lancaster, Clarissa Landaverde, Valeria Landaverde, Loren Larraga, Korey Lewis, Leslie Molina, Chrissy Moreira, Tyquana Robinson, Kwaku Rogers, Britney Sanchez, Samantha Sandoval, Rijad Sijacic, Dominique Smith, Ahmiyah Speight, Cassandra Suazo, Arianna Thorpe, Jacquelynn Tisder, Tiffany Trinh, Tatyana Williams, Mariana Zambrano, and Bryan Zavala.

Dacula High football players participated in “Real Men Read,” a service project for Read Across America Week. These students visited Alcova Elementary and Dacula Elementary to read books to students. For more information, call Dacula High at 770-513-0847.

TNT and Buckets from the Globetrotters team recently visited Ivy Creek Elementary performing two sessions of their “C.H.E.E.R.™ For Character” program. The Globetrotters designed the program with assistance from the U.S. Department of Education to emphasize Cooperation, Healthy mind and body, Effort, Enthusiasm, and Responsibility, using the acronym “C.H.E.E.R.”™ Globetrotter players encourage students to match their actions with those five character traits in all their life experiences with parents, teachers and one another. For more information, visit

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This GCPS original 10-part series, taught by Hopkins Elementary Assistant Principal Elisa Brown, 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--

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Each spring, the Gwinnett County Board of Education goes on the road, meeting once in each Board member’s district. The meetings are a time for the School Board to share information with the public and for citizens to discuss education topics with their elected officials. New this year, the meetings will be organized by Board electoral districts, reflecting the new district lines, rather than by school clusters. However, citizens may attend any of the five meetings. All Area Board Meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the host school’s theater, with refreshments served at 6:30 p.m. The change in Board district lines prompted a venue change for two of the meetings. Meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations.
March 27 District IV, represented by Dr. Robert McClure, South Gwinnett HS
March 29 District I, represented by 2012 Board Vice Chair Carole Boyce, Dacula HS
April 10 District II, represented by Daniel Seckinger Collins Hill HS
April 12 District V, represented by 2012 Board Chair Louise Radloff, Meadowcreek HS
April 17 District III, represented by Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Duluth HS

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
03/13/2012Marketing Education programs earn industry certification (pdf)
03/12/2012Gwinnett County Touchdown Club Awards Scholarship (pdf)

March is Music in Our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month, and Youth Art Month.

March 20 is the first day of spring.

March 30 is a Student/Teacher Holiday or Snow Make-Up Day.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 19, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The schedule for graduation ceremonies for Gwinnett high schools is May 21 through 26. Visit the system website at for the complete schedule, locations and times.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary29-Mar
Anderson-Livsey 27-Mar
Annistown Elementary27-Mar
Archer High School19-Mar
Berkmar High27-Mar
Britt Elementary27-Mar
Brookwood Elementary27-Mar
Brookwood High27-Mar
Burnette ES27-Mar
Camp Creek Elementary23-Mar
Cedar Hill Elementary29-Mar
Centerville Elementary27-Mar
Central Gwinnett High21-Mar
Corley Elementary29-Mar
Dacula High29-Mar
Dacula Middle29-Mar
Duncan Creek Elementary21-Mar
Five Forks Middle22-Mar
Grace Snell MS27-Mar
Grayson Elementary27-Mar
Grayson High29-Mar
Harris Elementary29-Mar
Head Elementary27-Mar
Henry Partee Elementary27-Mar
Jenkins Elementary29-Mar
Jones Middle22-Mar
Lanier Middle20-Mar
Lawrenceville Elementary29-Mar
Lovin Elementary29-Mar
McConnell Middle29-Mar
Meadowcreek Elementary19-Mar
Moore Middle School29-Mar
Mulberry Elementary29-Mar
North Gwinnett High22-Mar
Norton Elementary23-Mar
Parkview High20-Mar
Pharr Elementary29-Mar
Shiloh Elementary27-Mar
Shiloh High27-Mar
Shiloh Middle27-Mar
Simonton Elementary29-Mar
Snellville Middle20-Mar
Starling Elementary23-Mar
Trip Elementary29-Mar
Walnut Grove Elementary22-Mar
Winn Holt Elementary29-Mar

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.

Spring Equinox – let the flowers grow!March 24
Girl Scout Tea at the Lawrenceville Female SeminaryMarch 24
e-Planetarium March 24, 31
Earth Day Every Day-April Visitor ServiceApril 2-6, 14, 21
Off the Hook: Exploring Our Rug Hooking HeritageApril 9, 14
Full Moon Hike-Egg MoonApril 9
Green Living Kids: Gardening For The Kids, By The KidsApril 14,