News You Can Use - 04/21/2008

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.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
04/21/2008 - 04/27/2008

The 4th annual Berkmar High Taste of Jazz Festival will take place on April 19 from 4 to 9 p.m. in the school parking lot— along with the 5th annual Taste of Berkmar High food sampling event. This year the featured jazz entertainment includes the “Carter McMullen Trio” and the “Sam Skelton Quintet.” Additionally the Berkmar jazz band and orchestra with show choir will perform. Taste of Berkmar will feature cuisine from more than 20 restaurants from the Lilburn-Lawrenceville-Duluth areas. Food tasting will take place from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The festival will feature games for all ages including bowling by Brunswick Lanes, dance lessons, an art show, and live/silent auction items. Funds raised will benefit student organizations. For more information, visit the Berkmar High web sites www.berkmarbaseball.comand

Dacula Middle students recently earned several awards at the state Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) convention. The school’s local chapter earned 1st place for Community Service Project. Students earned four 1st place and five 2nd place awards earning national recognition. Sara Beth Marchert was elected Middle Level State President and Cory Zeller was elected as the FBLA Middle Level Member of the Year. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

GCPS had 14 students selected to have artwork displayed at the High Museum in Atlanta during the 9th Annual Metro Atlanta High School Art Exhibit during the month of April through May 4. The students represent Meadowcreek High, Mill Creek High, North Gwinnett High, and Parkview High. For more information, call the local school.

Students from Duluth High performed well at the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST) held at Emory University. MIST is an educational program of competitions and workshops geared towards bringing high school students together from around the nation to develop leadership, communication, and other creative skills, all while gaining a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslims. Safia Ansari earned 1st place for 3D Art, 2nd place for the Knowledge Test, and 3rd place for scrapbooking. Maurine Anthonio earned 2nd place for 2D Art, and Muneeb Ahmed earned 1st place for Debate. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

The Meadowbrook High Competition Culinary Team won 1st place at the ProStart State Culinary Championship moving to national level competition in San Diego on April 25. Executive Chef Richard Hurst and his wife-- a Meadowcreek High graduate-- are serving as team mentors. The Compass Group and Lenbrook Retirement Community, where Mr. Hurst is executive chef, has donated nearly $9,000 towards the students’ trip to California. In addition, the companies have established a chef internship program with Meadowcreek High to mentor future chefs. On April 21 students will participate in a mock presentation of the menu preparation in the school cafeteria to practice for the competition, as well as showcase their expertise for the student body. This group of students has earned a reputation locally and statewide for their culinary talents. For more information, call Assistant Principal Ms. Chris Diffley at 678-714-5850.

Norcross Elementary will host a Volunteer Recognition Night to honor community Business Partners and Parents on April 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Guest speaker Dr. Grant Rivera of Family Friendly Schools will share how parent and community involvement can improve school quality and student success. For more information or to reserve a place, call Carolyn Lee, Parent Instructional Support Coordinator at 770-326-8006.

WESTON Solutions, an environmental company, has offered to “Make a Difference” on Earth Day 2008 for Beaver Ridge Elementary students. Activities will take place on April 23 and 24. Students will have the opportunity to make water cycle bracelets and pine cone birdfeeders in addition to learning about “green” roofs, rain barrels, alternative energy, and recycling. Water Drop the mascot will also make an appearance. For more information, call Teacher Nancy Koehler at 770-447-6307.

The Norcross High Players will perform “Guys and Dolls” April 24, 25, and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and April 27 at 2 p.m. in the school theatre. More than 60 talented Norcross High students, under the direction of teachers Gina Parrish and Randy Kemper will appear in the performance. General admission tickets may be purchased for $7 and preferred seating for $10. For more information, call 770-447-2667.

The Tour de Georgia will “roll” through Suwanee on April 25. Level Creek Elementary students, staff, and faculty members will cheer participants as they pass in front of the school at 10 a.m. For more information, call 770-904-7950.

The Norcross Elementary MARS Kids Club will visit the Atlanta Symphony April 27. Students will hear Tchaikovsky: “The Voyevode” (The Provincial Governor), Beethoven: “Piano Concerto No. 2,” and Rachmaninov: “Symphony No. 2.” Prior to the trip, the students will learn about the music, discuss what happens to prepare for a performance, and learn about the different parts of the symphony. For more information, contact Teacher Robert Fortenbery at 770-448-2188.

Creekland Middle will host the 2nd Annual “Think College Early Fair” on April 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. Eighth graders interested in attending a four-year college, a two-year institution, a technical school, or joining the military after they graduate from high school are invited to attend the free event along with their families. The fair will focus on why college is important, how to plan for college, how to choose a college, and how to pay for college. Colleges and universities from across Georgia will be represented. Parents and students will have the opportunity to attend informative workshops as well. Free refreshments and free “Preparing for College” resources will be available for parents and students. For more information, please contact Maria Grovner 770-338-4735.

Nesbit Elementary will host an International Night on May 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Entertainment will include a parade with students dressed in ethnic clothing, art projects, and ethnic food. For more information, call Teacher Allyson Hepburn at 770-414-2740.

The Duluth High Juntos Committee will host an end-of-year Fiesta and Cookout on May 3 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Field House parking lot and practice football field. There will be student awards, food, and music. In case of rain, the event will be moved to the cafeteria. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

The 12th annual Duluth High Peach Jam will be held in the auditorium on May 3 at 7 p.m. and May 4 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $6.50 in advance from any chorus student during the week of April 21-25, and $8 at the door. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Duluth High will celebrate a 50 year anniversary on May 8. A reception in the 600 building lobby will begin at 6 p.m. followed by a program in the auditorium at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Corley Elementary will sponsor a Career Fair on May 13 from 9 to 11 a.m. Volunteers from fields such as police officer, fireman, reporter, professor, teacher, cosmetologist, nursing, lawyer, and more, will share information about their careers with the students. For more information, call 678-924-5330.

Corley Elementary will partner with the Seimens Corp. for a hands-on science event for 4th grade students on May 13. Sixteen employees will conduct science experiments helping students learn about gravity, water filtration, and lung power. Students will receive prizes and certificates for their participation. For more information, call 678-924-5330.

Berkmar Middle will host a Career Fair on May 16 from 9:30 to 11:50 a.m. Students will have the opportunity to circulate around the career booths and gather information to fill out a questionnaire they bring with them to the fair. For more information, call Graduation Coach Lisa Hunt at 770-638-2328.

Centerville Elementary had a visit from Pam Forrester of the Wildlife Wonders in Cleveland. Ms. Forrester spent the day sharing about wildlife with the kindergarten classes. The presentation included an African bullfrog, a lemur, an albino ground hog, a hedgehog and many more. The in-house field trip was interactive and allowed the students to touch many of the animals. The program helped support the current units on life cycles, animal habitats, and allowed the students to learn how animals adapt to their environment. For more information, call 770-972-2220. Photo available upon request.

The Ivy Creek Elementary Jr. Beta Club is supporting Camp Kudzo, a camp for diabetic children. One student club member has taken the initiative to help others by making awards for children who learn to manage their diabetes. “Golden Syringe Awards” will be given to children who learn to give themselves an insulin shot for the first time or learn how to check their blood sugar. “Golden Pump Awards” will be awarded to children who have insulin-dependent diabetes. For more information, call Jodi Banks, Jr. Beta Club Sponsor, at 678-714-3655.

Visit the school system website at the most current News Releases.
Vegetarian and organic entrées well received by Gwinnett students (pdf)
Gwinnett students awarded corporate-sponsored scholarships (pdf)
W.C. Britt Elementary students head to Washington, D.C. to tell U.S. Congress about healthy changes in school (pdf)
Kindergarten Registration: 12, 679 students to enroll in Gwinnett (pdf)

“ArtStage: Tapestry” Join GCPS TV for a virtual tour of the 2008 Tapestry Art Exhibit, featuring creative art work from schools across Gwinnett County. Hosted by North Gwinnett High Art Teacher Debi West, this student-intern produced program showcases the artistic talents of GCPS students. This 60 minute program airs April 21-26 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Earth Day Every Day with Okefenokee Joe” Tune in for a unique and educational presentation delivered by educator, wildlife advocate, and legendary folk hero, Okefenokee Joe at Peachtree Ridge High. Joe’s mission “To instill in all of us a deeper understanding, appreciation and respect for the earth we live upon, our environment and our natural resources,” makes this the perfect Earth Week video. This 60-minute program airs April 21-26 at 1 p.m. and April 25-27 at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“French in Action” This Annenberg CPB 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 French woman’s adventures in Paris and the French countryside is reinforced by Dr. Capretz’s on-camera instruction. This 60-minuite program airs April 25-27 at 4 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 2” This 10-part series is an advanced Spanish language class designed to help educators learn words and phrases relating to school rules, school personnel, giving directions, parent-teacher conferences, and more. 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, April 21-June 29 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

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 & 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--

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Each year, 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. CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks will present information on the school system’s budget, goals, and direction. The meetings will begin at 7 p.m. in the host school’s theater. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. Citizens may attend any of the remaining meetings.
· April 22-District II, Peachtree Ridge High
· April 24-District V, Berkmar High
· April 29-District III, Duluth High

Each year, the Gwinnett County School Board reserves key dates relating to the development of the next year’s budget. Budget dates for FY 2009 include:
April 22-- Board budget work session and adoption of tentative budget
April 23-- Recommended budget available for public review
May 5-- First public hearing on budget
May 8-- Second public hearing on budget, final adoption of budget, tentative millage rate set
June 2-- First public hearing on tax millage rate
June 9-- Second and third public hearing on tax millage rate and adoption of millage rate

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

The Grade 10 High School Gateway will be given on April 22 and 24.

April 23-25 is the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test for Grades 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

May 1 is Kindergarten registration.

May 4-10 is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Advanced placement Exams and the Georgia End-of-Course Test are scheduled for May 5-16.

May 6 is National Teacher Day.

May 7 is Georgia Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Day.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., May 8, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

May 12-16 is Reading is Fun Week.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during April. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
      Alford Elementary
      B.B. Harris Elementary
      Berkeley Lake Elementary
      Bethesda Elementary
      Central Gwinnett High
      Chattahoochee Elementary
      Corley Elementary
      Craig Elementary
      Creekland Middle
      Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
      Freeman's Mill Elementary
      Glenn C. Jones Middle
      Harmony Elementary
      Ivy Creek Elementary
      J.G. Dyer Elementary
      K.E. Taylor Elementary
      Louise Radloff Middle
      Meadowcreek Elementary
4/21 & 4/24
      Mill Creek High
      Mountain Park Elementary
      Nesbit Elementary
      North Gwinnett High
      Oakland School
      Parkview High
      Parsons Elementary
      Peachree Ridge High
      Pinckneyville Middle
      Rebecca Minor Elementary
      Richard Hull Middle
      Riverside Elementary
      Rock Springs Elementary
      Simpson Elementary
      Sugar Hill Elementary
      Suwanee Elementary
      Sycamore 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 www.gwinnettEHC.comor call 770-904-3500.

Saturdays in April, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Scavenger Hunt Frame, $5 per frame
Meet at the Central Pavilion, head to the woods, hike a trail and gather natural elements to decorate a frame! We’ll provide all the supplies you’ll need for a beautiful, wooden picture frame. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Limited to 12 participants per session. Register one week in advance. Center admission is additional fee. (Program will not be held Saturday, April 19-Earth Day).

April 26, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Environmental Health, $5/Girl Scout, center admission additional fee
Taking care of the environment is an important responsibility for everyone. We will complete six requirements; bring items for requirement #1. Badge is included. Pre-register by April 5.

April 26, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Architecture and Environmental Design, Girl Scouts Interest Project Award (Ages 11-17), $7/Girl Scout
As architectural technologies continue to change, careful consideration is given to the impact on the environment. Come see an example of this architecture as our building is constructed following the LEED design (badge included). Pre-register by April 12 by calling 770-904-3500 or online at