News You Can Use - 05/21/2012

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.

View All Archived News You Can Use

News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
05/21/2012 - 05/27/2012

Camp Creek Elementary will host officers from the Gwinnett County Police Department for the “Books and Badges” program on May 18 at 11 a.m. Officer William Rooks initiated the program for students. Several officers will visit 3rd grade classes and share books about character development. The program connects law enforcement, character education, community, school, and reading. For more information, call Linda Houghton, media specialist at 770-806-3778.

Sweetwater Middle families and community leaders will join Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful for Good Neighbor Community Days on May 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Projects will include a graffiti paint-out on fences, a litter pick up, and a right-of-way beautification. The Cruse Road Project includes 13 work sites from James Road to Bethesda School Road designated as Good Neighbor Project Locations. Event sign in and parking is at 2933 Club Drive, Lawrenceville; and additional parking is available at Sweetwater Middle after signing in at Club Drive. Registration is required and may be completed by filling out the form from your student and returning it to the teacher, or visit Families and community members interested in participating should select the Cruse Road Project in the “drop down” list and name Sweetwater Middle as their group.

All five GCPS counseling award recipients won regional honors and will move on to state competition. The Georgia School Counselors Association Region 2 winners are:
  • Elementary School Counselor - Robin Zorn, Mason Elementary
  • Middle School Counselor - Brandee Appling, Bay Creek Middle
  • Secondary School Counselor - Tinisha Parker, Gwinnett County Online Campus
  • Writer - Dr. Michelle Stangline, Sycamore Elementary
  • Advocate - Dr. Paul Johnson, Peachtree Ridge High
For more information, call Dianne Thompson, director, office of advisement and counseling, at 678-301-7372.

GCPS student artists earned top prizes in at the All-State Art Symposium with 54 pieces being accepted for exhibition. The symposium, hosted at Kennesaw State University, is designed to provide cultural opportunities, develop advanced studio skills, and cultivate appreciation by high school students for art and design. The exhibition runs through May 30 and is sponsored by the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA). This year’s winners are:
  • Silver: Caterina Kurz, Mill Creek High; and Spencer-Lane Fletcher, North Gwinnett High
  • Bronze: Erica Ekwenugo, Norcross High; and Lauren Garmon, Norcross High
  • Honorable Mention: Dwayne Walker, Shiloh High; Ashley Waller, North Gwinnett High and Ashley White, Collins Hill High
Student exhibits from these high schools include (11) Brookwood, (5) Collins Hill, (6) Grayson, (8) Mill Creek, (1) Mountain Creek, (7) Norcross, (12) North Gwinnett, (1) Parkview, (1) Peachtree Ridge, and (2) Shiloh. For more information, call Robert Andrews, director of fine arts, at 678-301-7015.

The Gwinnett County Bar Association awarded Spencer Ryals of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology the top prize of a $1,000 scholarship for his essay submission in the 2012 Law Day Poster and Essay Contest. In addition, Mary Anne Meeks was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year and Veronica Macias was recognized as Outstanding Law Student of the Year— both from Duluth High. The theme of the contest was year was “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom.” Many of the poster entries were on display at the organization’s 2012 Law Day banquet. For more information, call the local school.

Meadowcreek Elementary 4th grader Asia Aaron is this year's winner of the Gwinnett Great Days of Service T-shirt design contest. Purna Aruja is Asia's art teacher. The ‘Caring Hearts Helping Hands’ design will be displayed on the 2012 T-shirts. For more information, call 770-931-5701. Photo available upon request.

Walton Electric Membership Corporation awarded scholarships to 14 outstanding GCPS students from across 10-county service area. The beneficiaries of the cooperative’s latest round of “Operation Round Up” college scholarships receive $4,000 scholarships for college, and these students will have the opportunity to renew next year for another $2,000. GCPS winners are:
  • Archer High: Jonathan Joiner
  • Brookwood High: Michael Bottone, Neal Raines, Patrick Riley, and Ian Schwaner
  • Dacula High: Donovan Mahone and Kayla Thompson
  • Grayson High: Sarah Etheridge and Caitlin Haynes
  • Parkview High: Michael Everett, Vasily Hillis, Katherine Stilley, and Sean Sweet
  • South Gwinnett High: Arlando Griffin
Since its inception, 175 scholarships totaling $395,000 have been awarded.

Hopkins Elementary students earned 500 free books and a visit from the “We Give Books” ReadMobile Tour (Pearson Foundation) on May 22 to celebrate the school’s success and participation in the “Read for My School Campaign.” The ReadMobile is visiting campuses throughout the country to recognize readers who are dedicated to improving their own schools and communities. For more information, call Sharon Britt, media specialist, at 770-381-4281.

Parkview High is using a new service to communicate with students, teachers, and the community. Remind101 allows teachers and schools to send reminders to students and parents, and get the news out to the community. Remind101 is the place to go for information on Parkview’s upcoming sporting events, academics, and performing arts events. Interested parties learn more by visiting

Gwinnett County Public Schools is seeking parents and community members as well as GCPS employees who are interested in applying to become part of the district’s committee which provides input on the school system’s curriculum. Individuals are invited to apply to become members of the school system’s GEMS Oversight Committee. The application deadline is Friday, June 1, 2012. The GEMS Oversight Committee is a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the district’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Committee members serve three-year terms. Completed applications should be returned by June 1 to the attention of Dr. Calvin Watts, associate superintendent for Teaching and Learning Support, at the Instructional Support Center, 437 Old Peachtree Rd., NW, Suwanee, 30024. Interested individuals can find the application on the school district’s web site,

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.

The 2012 Academic Summer School for Qualifying Students in Grades 3-8 will begin on June 18 and run through July 9, with no classes on Fridays, or July 4. The 15-day session will take place at some schools and some combined “cluster” summer school sites due to construction and maintenance projects. Participating students will be notified of location for summer school. 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.

Five Phoenix High students presented award winning graduation portfolios comprised of digital media to family members and the Phoenix Digital Media advisory board. The portfolios by Leonardo Aguilera, Francisco Ascencio, and Kalya Mitten included work highlighted at the Georgia and International Media Festivals. Teachers Becky Raffalovich and Pasha Souvorin host this event at Phoenix High twice a year. The Digital Media Production and Design department teaches classes in 2D animation, 3D animation, Photography, Video Production, and Interactive Media. Students in this program have won county, state, and national awards and scholarships. Mr. Souvorin’s students have won more awards at the International Student Media Festival than any other high school teachers in the country for four years in a row. For more information, call 770-513-6864.

Teacher Karen Peralta of Sycamore Elementary hosted an end of the year awards ceremony on May 16 at 9:30 a.m. for the class that won the Student Treasures National Publishing Book Challenge for creating the book “Our Hands Can Make...”. Students created an interesting subject or storyline and colorful illustrations. At the class end-of-year awards ceremony, the book was presented to the students by Ms. Peralta and Ms. English, the class paraprofessional. Each student will read the page they created from the book. For more information, call Principal Amy Bryan at 678-714-5770.

Mason Elementary students presented their environmental projects to staff, students, and parents on May 15 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information, call Sue Kain, local school technology coordinator, at 770-232-3370 or visit

“DramaRama Highlight Program” More than 200 students from seven GCPS middle school theater programs recently participated in DRAMARAMA at the Aurora Theater. GCPS TV was on hand to capture the highlights of the day, from the opening acts to the closing awards. Watch “ArtStage - DRAMARAMA,” featuring students from Creekland, Duluth, Lilburn, Radloff, Osborne, Trickum, and Sweetwater middle schools, May 14-20 at 2 and 8 p.m., exclusively on GCPS TV. Each DramaRama performance showcased in the highlight program will be broadcast in full, beginning May 21. Air dates and times are as follows:
May 21 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Lilburn Middle– “Punctuation Proclamation” and Creekland Middle– “The Music Man”
May 22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Osborne Middle– “Peter Pan” and Radloff Middle– “Two Girls, One Black Eye and Too Much Advice”
May 23 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Duluth Middle– “Party Till You Drop” and Sweetwater Middle– “Fame Junior” and Trickum Middle– “The Little Mermaid”

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus salutes the graduating Class of 2012 and learns more about their post secondary plans, congratulates an impressive group of scholarship winners, and discovers how students are gaining leadership experience through Project PASS… join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus— your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 30 minute 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.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 2” 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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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
05/16/2012GCPS 5th graders improve already high scores on writing test (pdf)
05/15/201230 students awarded Hispanic Scholarship Fund scholarships (pdf)
05/15/2012Close to 10,000 Gwinnett students to receive high school diploma (pdf)
05/14/2012Falcons’ foundation donates salad bars to four GCPS schools (pdf)
05/11/2012North Gwinnett HS programmers honored at technology fair (pdf)
05/10/2012Gwinnett seeks applicants for 2012-2013 curriculum committee (pdf)

May is National Physical Education and Sports Month and Better Hearing and Speech Month.

May 21-23 is early release for high school exams.

May 23 is the last day of school.

May 28 is Memorial Day, a systemwide holiday.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., June 21, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in May/June. Call the local school for the time and location.
Cooper ElementaryMay 29
Parkview HighJune 19

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.

World Turtle DayMay 26
World Turtle DayMay 26
Intro to Rug Hooking Class for AdultsJun 1