News You Can Use - 02/21/2011

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.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
02/21/2011 - 02/27/2011

Charles Orgbon of Mill Creek High is the founder of “Greening Forward,” a national environmental awareness campaign that he started in 2008. Charles,who manages a website that reaches thousands of viewers, coordinates numerous environmental events, secures sponsorship and legislative support, and supervises hundreds of volunteers, was recently honored with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This nationwide program honors young people for exemplary acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its 16th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Charles received a bronze medallion as a Distinguished finalist.

Three Gwinnett teams qualified to be among 22 teams competing for the state title in the Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD), now its 25th year. The two-day event will be held at Berkmar High on Feb. 25-26. The team from Berkmar High (coaches, Christopher Pae and Brian Bernhardt) is the champion for this GAD region. Dacula High (coach Amy Benson) and Mill Creek High (Coach Lori Bowen) are competing as ‘wild card’ entries in the tournament, based on high scores in previous events. The event is sponsored by PAGE, PAGE Foundation, Georgia DOE, Apple, and Oglethorpe Power. The Super Quiz Oral Relay will be help at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26. The topic of the event is Geology. The highest scoring team in the tournament will represent Georgia at the national event in Charlotte in April. For more information, visit

Kelly White from Minor Elementary was awarded a $500 grant from the Junior League to fund items for the Visual Technology Learning Center. The center serves students whom are deaf and hard of hearing. This grant will be used to purchase a camcorder, digital camera, and a color printer to help these students learn to communicate. For more information, call 770-925-9543.

Three Gwinnett students each won a $100 saving bond in a regional poster contest, advancing to a national contest sponsored by National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Daisy Acosta, Rockbridge Elementary (Teacher, Majorie Haders); Jessica Solomon, Trickum Middle (Teacher, Dr. Aimee Burgamy); and Ha Truong, North Gwinnett High (Teacher, Debi West) were the winning students. For more information, call John McCosh, CredAbility-Nonprofit Credit Counseling & Education Public Relations Manager, at 404-260-3108.

A Trickum Middle art student of Dr. Aimee Burgamy was recently a finalist for Artsonia’s online “Artist of the Week” award. Artsonia is an online children’s art museum. For more information, visit

Nesbit Elementary will celebrate Black History Month by hosting a “Passing the Torch” program on Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The Arts Department will prepare an evening of activities for the school and community members beginning at 6 p.m. with a student art exhibit and live student wax museum. The celebration will include performances from the Nesbit Elementary chorus, drama team, the Sapphire Dancers, and Nesbit teachers. For more information, call 770-414-2740.

Grayson Technical Education Program will host an open house on Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Technical Building at Grayson High. Parents and students will be able to explore the programs offered by the school such as Biotechnology, Computer IT and Network Systems, Landscape Design and Management, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Music Technology, and Sports Medicine, to mention a few. For more information call 770-554-7082.

Norcross Elementary is planning several activities to celebrate Black History Month. Parents are invited to a ‘Soul Food’ luncheon on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In other parts of the school student displays in classrooms and hallways will depict the accomplishments of African-Americans. A Black History Month Program will take place on Feb. 25 in the Gym at different times for different grade levels. For more information, call 770-447-7675.

Shiloh High will hold the 19th Annual African American History Program on Feb. 24. This year’s theme is “Saluting African American Living Legends.” Students will showcase the talents and accomplishments of leaders who continue to make major contributions to our nation. For more information, call 770-972-4281.

GCPS will hold a Transition Fair on March 19 from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Peachtree Ridge High for students with disabilities, their families, and educators. This event will provide information about services and resources to help prepare students transitioning from the school system. Students and families will have the opportunity to meet with local agency representatives to discuss and research the options available as they transition to post-school activities and employment. In addition, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants may attend breakout sessions to learn more about topics such as Medicaid Waivers, Social Security Benefits, Estate Planning and Guardianship, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Assistive Technology, and Vocational and Community Programs. For more information call Middle and High Schools Program Coach Alison Vernon or Community Skills Program Coach Tamra King at 678-301-7121.

Beginning in August of 2011, Gwinnett County Public Schools will offer students a new way to earn a diploma… online through Gwinnett Online Campus. Registration for the new school is ongoing and has been extended through March 31, 2011. Registration materials and information about the online high school and online learning can be found on the district website and at

Norcross Elementary participated in a canned food drive with the City of Norcross and the Gwinnett Municipal Association. During the Gwinnett Cities 2011 ‘CAN’ Do For Hunger Campaign, Norcross Elementary students, teachers, and parents donated 1,250 cans of food to stock a local food pantry. For more information, call 770-448-2188.

Visit the school system website at the most current News Releases.
02/15/2011Academic honor for Collins Hill HS and Parkview HS athletes (pdf)
02/11/201117 Gwinnett schools earn AP Honor Schools title (pdf)
02/11/2011Five educators honored as GCPS’ top counseling professionals (pdf)
02/10/2011GSMST receives 611 applications; Lottery to be held Monday, Feb. 14 (pdf)
02/10/2011Gwinnett BOE approves five leadership positions, including principal for new Moore MS (pdf)
02/08/2011Thousands expected to rally at 2011 Gwinnett Readers Rally (pdf)
02/07/2011Simpson ES and Parkview HS earn state recognition as “Georgia Schools of Excellence” (pdf)

“2011 Gwinnett County Readers Rally Championship” Tune in to GCPS TV for play-by-play action of the Gwinnett Readers Rally Championship competition. Eight teams; four elementary school quarter-finalists: Chesney Elementary, Craig Elementary, Jackson Elementary and Minor Elementary; two middle school semi-finalists: Osborne Middle and Sweetwater Middle; and two high school semi-finalists: Berkmar High and Mill Creek High, test their literary knowledge in this fast-paced quiz bowl program. This 60-minute program airs Feb. 22-27 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“Meet the Author - Jennifer O’Connell” - With an artistic mother and a storytelling father, Jennifer O’Connell grew up loving art and stories. This illustrator’s picture book, “Ten Timid Ghosts”, is a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller. During the program, O’Connell shows the progression from initial sketches to dummy books to final illustrations. This 30-minute program airs Feb. 21-27 at 9:30 a.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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February is National African American History Month and National Technical Education Month.

February 21 is a snow make-up day, school is in session.

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

The Grade 5 Georgia Writing Assessment Test is scheduled for March 2.

March 6-12 is Newspapers in Education Week.

March 7-13 is National Foreign Language Week and Exceptional Children’s Week.

The High School Gateway Field Test is scheduled for March 8 and 10. (Grades 9-10, Science – March 8; Grade 10, Social Studies – March 10)

March 13 is Daylight Saving Time (advance clocks one hour).

March 14 is a snow make-up day (Priority 2) —school in session.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 17, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following schools will hold School Council meetings in February. Call the local school for the time and location.
Archer High School28-Feb
Benefield Elementary22-Feb
Berkmar Middle24-Feb
Brookwood Elementary28-Feb
Chesney Elementary25-Feb
Duncan Creek Elementary23-Feb
Dyer Elementary23-Feb
Head Elementary23-Feb
Lawrenceville Elementary24-Feb
Level Creek Elementary22-Feb
Norton Elementary25-Feb
Parkview High22-Feb
Roberts Elementary25-Feb
Rockbridge Elementary24-Feb

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.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Gwinnett History Museum at the Lawrenceville Female Seminary will hold a special event on Saturday, February 26. The Gwinnett History Museum is a part of the History & Culture Program of the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. The theme of the event is “The Past Meets the Present.” Activities will include presentations by local African-American authors and a special musical performance.