News You Can Use - 03/09/2009

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
03/09/2009 - 03/15/2009

Meadowcreek High has invited local authors, publishers, storytellers, poets, parents, the Meadowcreek Community, and students to promote and celebrate literacy by participating in The 5th Annual Meadowcreek High Literary Festival on March 5 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and on March 6 in the Media Center. Meadowcreek High has 2,500 students from more than 60 countries, and varying economic and cultural backgrounds. The literacy festival offers the students an opportunity to experience the importance of reading for literacy, information, and enjoyment. For more information, call 770-381-9680.

Norcross High Theater Arts students will perform “Black Comedy” March 5-7 at 7 p.m., and 2 p.m. on March 8. Preferred seating tickets may be purchased for $10 and general admission tickets are $7, at the door. For more information, email Bruce Hackett, drama booster publicity chair, at

Berkeley Lake Elementary will celebrate Read Across America Week with a visit from Mayor Lois Salter on March 6 at 11 a.m. The mayor will read to students at the school. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

On March 7 from 11 a.m. to noon, Meadowcreek Elementary will dedicate the school’s newly built pavilion, in remembrance of former teacher Stephanie Kovalcik, who passed away last year. Over the past three weekends, parents, faculty, and family members have donated time, tools, and talent to build the pavilion. The pavilion may be viewed on the school web site For more information, call 770-931-5701.

McKendree Elementary will host a Fun Run/Walk on March 6 (rain date March 9) to benefit an outdoor playground and a track addition and renovation. All students are invited to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the three students who raise the most money overall, and to the top grade-level winners. For more information, call 678-377-8933.

The 6th annual Miss Peachtree Ridge Pageant took place recently. Winners include Freshman Haley Monk, Sophomore Lauren Persichetti, Junior Rachel Goins, and Senior Courtney Lynch was crowned 2009 Miss Peachtree Ridge, and received a $1,000 scholarship. Taylor Adkins and Caitlin Parrish were also winners of the Miss Photogenic Contest. For more information or photographs, contact Diane Clausen at call 678-957-3138.

The Sweetwater Middle Science Olympiad Team earned 6th place in regional competition at Oglethorpe University. The Team medaled in five events, including a 1st place finish in the Pentathlon. JiEun Baik, Avery Claudon, Michael Stephen, and Courtney Westendorf were top medal winners. Zoe Castaneda, Lanier Dorminey, Eric Gordon, and Jacob Hussell contributed to constructing the catapult, scrambler racer, robot, airplane, bridge, and wind power machine. For more information, call 770-923-4131.

Berkeley Lake Elementary will host an International Day on March 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. Students have researched different countries and will present what they have learned. There will be a variety of student-created items that represent the country including food, costumes, and traditional games. Visitors will receive a passport to travel “around the world” to the different classes. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

Grayson High will host “Taste of Grayson” on March 14 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Grayson High Commons area. All proceeds will benefit the Grayson Cluster Schools. Come and sample the delicious cuisine from the Grayson area restaurants and caterers. Festivities include vendors and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased for $10 and are on sale at the seven Grayson cluster schools, or by contacting Diane Schatell at,or by visiting

Berkeley Lake Elementary will host author David Mark Lopez on March 19. Mr. Lopez is the author of the “Maddie’s Magic Markers” book series. These books recount the time travel adventures of Maddie when she uses some very strange and unusual antique markers. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

On March 19 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Berkeley Lake Elementary volunteers are invited to attend a volunteer appreciation breakfast in the media center. This year’s theme is “We’re Lucky to Have You!” Staff members and students will show their appreciation to parents and community members who support education at the school. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

GCPS and the Gwinnett Interagency Transition Council will present a Transition Fair for high school students with disabilities and their families on March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Peachtree Ridge High, located at 1555 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee, 678-957-3103. Attendees will be able to visit with representatives from various agencies and service providers from 9:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Boxed lunches will be sold. For more information, call Allison Vernon at 678-301-7137, Tamra Burnette at 678-301-7132, or Chiara Perry at 678-301-7115.

Berkeley Lake Elementary will host a Scholastic Spring Book Fair March 27 through April 1. This fair will offer students and parents an opportunity to buy books for summer reading. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

Berkmar High received a $10,000 Best Buy Teach Award for integrating interactive technology into its classroom curriculum. Best Buy Teach Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 to schools to sustain or enhance existing educational programs. Fifteen 9th-grade programs were awarded $10,000 for technology-based programs they’ve successfully implemented. For more information, call Diana Preston at 770-921-3636 or visit

Maxwell High School of Technology will offer a Summer Career Camp June 8 through 12 for rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders interested in exploring careers. This week-long session with hands-on learning activities will include a variety of programs such as Graphic Design, Automotive Services, Cosmetology, Health Care and Medical Services, Early Childhood Education, Georgia Pre-K Camp Counselors, Public Safety, and Welding. All camp programs are led by certified GCPS instructors with enthusiastic high school student aides. Registration before April 15 is $35 and $40 after April 15. For more information and to register, visit or call Nancy Zamprelli at 770-338-4625.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
03/03/2009Three Gwinnett students and their teachers awarded with learning opportunity half-way around the world (pdf)
03/01/2009Gwinnett educators presented with “Citation of Excellence” (pdf)

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus spotlights a partnership between schools and communities that spans the globe, recognizes student innovations at the Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and shares in the celebration of Music in our Schools month. Join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus— your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 30-min. program airs this week at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 11 p.m.

“Telling Stories: Craig Hatkoff” The Hatkoff Family, father Craig and his two daughters Juliana and Isabella, are authors of a collection of amazing animal stories featuring real-life animals from Africa, Germany, and Florida. These naturally wild animals, as seen in their books “Owen and Mzee” and “Looking for Miza,” have overcome great adversity and have captured headlines and the hearts of people both young and old. With moderator Maria Salvadore, Craig Hatkoff discusses the inspiration for writing about these animals, the process of research and documentation, and introduces real world issues to students to empower them to affect change on our planet. This 30-min. program airs March 9-14 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This 10-part GCPS TV original series is an introduction to the Spanish language, tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Viewers tuning in will have the opportunity to learn key phrases and basic vocabulary for use during the school day and in the community. Hour-long segments will air at 11 a.m. Monday-Sunday, through April 12 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

“English, Yes I Can! - Level 1” This video telecourse is designed to teach beginning English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 is scheduled to air through March 15 on GCPS TV. A new 60-minute class airs Monday-Thursday at 9 p.m., and repeats at 1 a.m. On Sunday, viewers can seek the week’s programs from noon to 4 p.m.

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 and 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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March is National Nutrition Month.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 12, 2009, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

March 13 is a snow make-up day (priority 1).

March 17 is the Gateway Math Reasoning Test for grades 4 and 7.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary
Alton C. Crews Middle
B.B. Harris Elementary
Benefield Elementary
Berkmar High
Camp Creek Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary
Chattahoochee Elementary
Collins Hill High
Corley Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Dacula Middle
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Duluth Middle
Frank N. Osborne Middle
GIVE Center West
Grayson Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Harmony Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
J.P. McConnell Middle
Jackson Elementary
K.E. Taylor Elementary
Lanier Middle
Lawrenceville Elementary
Lovin Elementary
Mill Creek High
Nesbit Elementary
Norcross High
North Gwinnett High
Parkview High
Patrick Elementary
Peachree Ridge High
Pinckneyville Middle
Richard Hull Middle
Riverside Elementary
Shiloh Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
South Gwinnett High
Sugar Hill Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
T. Carl Buice School
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 or call 770-904-3500.

March 7, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Waterwise Workshop, Cost: GEHC members free, $10 per individual (includes Center admission)*
Join us to learn about your irrigation. Demonstrations will teach participants how to:
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Understanding My Irrigation System
12:30 to 1 p.m. How much water am I wasting?
1 to 2 p.m. Save money (and water) by servicing your own system
2 to 3 p.m. Basic Stormwater Fee Credits
3 to 4 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop*
Make plans to bring a lunch and stay to participate in the rain barrel workshop. Learn how Rain Barrels can help you lower water bills and provide chemical-free water for your gardens, ponds, bird baths and flower beds during water restrictions and year round. Participants will have the opportunity to make their own rain barrel.
*A separate fee of $50 per barrel (member or nonmember) applies to the Rain Barrel Workshop. Multiple barrels may be purchased. Pre-registration for the rain barrel program is required.

March 9, 13 and 16, 2 -3:30 p.m., Little Hands: Camouflage, Cost: $5 per child/$2 each additional sibling
Calling all 3-5 year olds. It’s not easy being green, or is it? Why do animals have different colors?
We will explore the world of camouflage. We will make an animal and see where it can hide safely. Play games, sing songs, read stories and see if we can use what we have learned on the trail.

March 13, 10 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m., Galileo’s Gaze, Cost: GEHC Members Free, $8 per Family, $5 per Individual (includes Center admission)
Join us as we celebrate history and science. Learn about the fascinating life of Galileo Galilei and his great invention, the telescope.

March 13, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Food for Thought - Lunch N Learn Series, Cost: Free, GEHC admission not included
Join us for an insight into the food we eat. Discover the differences between frozen and canned items. Learn the benefits of organically grown produce. Visit the recycled art show hosted by the Junior Master Gardener (JMG). Enjoy a presentation at 12:00pm by Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program who will present “Give Peas a Chance.” This performance is suitable for all ages.

March 14, Happenin’ Habitats, Cost: GEHC Individual $5, GEHC Family $10, Individual $15, Family $25 (includes all 3 programs and Center admission)

  • Hummingbird Habitats, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 2 to 3 p.m.
    Hummingbirds are fun to watch and have an important role as pollinators. Learn which species visit Georgia and how to attract them to your yard. Participants will make a hummingbird feeder to take home. Teachers can earn PLU credit by attending this and other programs in our Green Living Series. This program is great for teachers and families.
  • Nature Kids, 1 to 2 p.m., Cost for Nature Kids $5
    Life Underground-come learn about animals that spend a lot of their life underground. We'll learn about a whole different world under our feet. (2nd-4th grades)
  • Boogie Woogie Bullfrog, 3 to 4:30 p.m. Join us for a fun-filled interactive musical program with a wide range of musical styles as led by Jerry Zee. Children will learn about animals, the environment, and how to care for the world we live in. Stick around after the show to learn more about Georgia's bullfrogs and how to create a frog-friendly habitat. This program is great for K-4th grade kids.