News You Can Use - 11/15/2010

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
11/15/2010 - 11/21/2010

Brookwood High invites the community to the 20th annual Craft Fair on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school. More than 100 crafters will be selling handmade items such as Christmas decorations, floral arrangements, pottery, jewelry and more. Proceeds will benefit the Brookwood High Tip-Off Club. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-978-5088.

GCPS’ Executive Director of Leadership Development Dr. Glenn Pethel co-authored a paper with Drs. Max Skidmore and Khalil Dirani of the University of Georgia. Dr. Pethel and Dr. Skidmore presented the paper titled “A Quality Program to Prepare Leaders for Complex Schools: Answering the Leadership Challenges of the Suburban/Urban District” at the conference of the University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA). UCEA, established more than 50 years ago, is a collective of top research institutions with programs in educational leadership and policy and the leading professional organization for professors of educational leadership and policy. For more information, call 770-301-7267.

The North Gwinnett Middle Orchestra program was chosen to receive the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) 2009-10 Exemplary Performance Award. Amy Clement and Sarah Black conduct the North Gwinnett Middle Orchestra. On Dec. 9 at 7:15 p.m., a representative of GMEA will present the award to the orchestra at their concert. For more information, call 678-745-2300.

Mountain Park Elementary counselor David Young has authored a second book and CD set that provides teachers, school counselors, and social workers with twelve contemporary songs written specifically to appeal to today’s kids in grades 3-8. These songs were written and performed by professional recording artists, on guidance topics such as peer relations, motivation, goal setting, safety, and careers, relevant to today’s youth. This original music was written and performed in a diverse range of music genre including rock, rap, country, pop, Latin, and more. Each song’s unique musical style will help young people identify individually and personally the presented topic. For more information, visit

Galen Reaves of advisement and counseling was awarded the “2010 Shining Star Award” for her work with the Gwinnett Coalitions Great Days of Service. For more information, call Dianne Thompson, director of advisement and counseling at 770-277-4488.

Two Duncan Creek Elementary students qualified for regional NFL Punt, Pass, Kick competition with the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 28, sponsored by Pepsi and the NFL. Students are challenged to throw, punt, and place kick a football, as well as how accurate they are in keeping the ball centered on the field. For more information, call Dayna Alkire, Duncan Creek Elementary teacher, at 678-714-5800.

Gwinnett County Public Schools Quality-Plus Leader Academy is featured in a new book, “A New Approach to Principal Preparation: Innovative Programs Share Their Practices and Lessons Learned.” The Rainwater Leadership Alliance (RLA) encompasses principal preparation programs at the forefront of innovation. These programs are organized for the express purpose of preparing leaders who can dramatically improve student learning, increase teacher effectiveness, and close the achievement gap. The purpose of “A New Approach” is to provide a vision for making principal preparation programs more systematic and rigorous, and it offers a new path forward using illustrations of RLA approaches. The goal is to help principal preparation program architects—including districts, states, institutions of higher education, and nonprofits—learn from the collective work and thinking of the RLA members. An executive summary and additional information can be found at

The Shiloh Cluster Schools will host a “Be There Fair” for families on Nov. 16 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Shiloh Middle. There is no charge for the event. Information will be presented during two information sessions on Internet Safety, Family Literacy, Organizational Skills for Children, and Effective Discipline for Effective Parenting. Pizza will be served and childcare is provided. A Spanish interpreter will be available. This program is sponsored by the GCPS Title I Program and the Shiloh Cluster schools counselors. For more information, call the local school.

Winn Holt Elementary students will host a speaker on Nov. 17 who has had the opportunity to travel around the world and witness the distribution of food to third-world countries. Mr. Weathers will share his photographs and answer questions. Students will have had the opportunity to go online and contribute to the FreeRice Organization, a program that donates rice to third-world countries. Students will be able to see a visual representation of the rice that is being donated. For more information, call Terri Stahlman, Winn Holt Elementary teacher, at 678-376-8600.

The Atlanta Hawks will hold a clinic with Berkmar Middle Latino students in a leadership program on Nov. 18. The Latino Youth Leadership Academy (LYLA) is a 12-week education and enrichment program for Berkmar Middle 7th and 8th grade Latino students. The program encourages students to pursue higher education and reinforces the message that higher education is both accessible and attainable. Students meet on a weekly basis for 45 minutes in interactive educational workshop sessions where they receive guidance, support, and the information necessary to plan their academic future. To introduce the program on Nov.18, Berkmar Middle has partnered with the Atlanta Hawks to provide a free basketball clinic to participants. For more information, call Lynnette M. Aponte, Title III Adolescent Outreach Specialist, Berkmar Cluster ELL Programs, at 770-638-2303.

Patrick Elementary will honor the work of Gwinnett firefighters as a tribute to Bobby Patrick, the school’s namesake, during an Annual Stakeholders’ Breakfast. This year the event will take place on Nov. 19 at 8:30 a.m. Students are held to the high standards of work ethic and team spirit as demonstrated by local firefighters. A yearly data report will be presented to show student progress. Students will give insight into the “day in the life” of a Patrick Elementary student, and chorus students will perform for the firefighters. Bobby Patrick Mentors (20 firefighters who work with the students) will be honored with a special recognition. For more information, call 678-765-5260.

The Brookwood High Orchestra is sponsoring a “Cow Patty Bingo” fundraiser on Nov. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $5. Activities include a petting zoo, cotton candy, moonwalks, funnel cakes, hotdogs, nachos, and more. In addition, participants have a chance to win $1,000 from bingo. Proceeds will benefit the Brookwood High Orchestra. For more information call Donna Faulkner at 770-978-5088.

On Nov. 30, the Sweetwater Middle 7th grade social studies department will host workshops by Tom Gonzalez, the illustrator of “14 Cows for America,” a story of how one tribe in Africa sent condolences to America after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. In preparation for the workshops, students will work in collaborative groups to research a topic on Africa and create an illustrated book. Mr. Gonzalez will lead four hands-on workshops throughout the day to help guide the student teams as they collaborate on their final project. The workshops will focus on how a writing team has to work together to ensure all the key aspects of the piece – the facts, the story, the writing, and the illustrations – work in sync to create an interesting, thought-provoking piece of writing. For more information, call Elizabeth Blackmon, Sweetwater Middle literacy coach, at 770-923-4131.

GCPS and the Area II Gwinnett County Council of PTAs will present a College Fair for Students with Disabilities at the Instructional Support Center in Suwanee on Dec. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Session topics include Navigating and exploring financial options for college, Accommodations at the postsecondary level, Choosing a career path, and Preparing for college and organizing your college search. Students and parents will have the opportunity to visit with College Admissions and Disability Services representatives from colleges across the state. For more information, contact the GCPS Department of Special Education and Psychological Services at 678-301-7138, or email Allison Vernon at allison_vernon or Keysha DuPont at keysha_dupont

On Dec. 7, former Falcon’s football star Tim Green, author of “The Big Time” and “Football Genius,” will visit Sweetwater Middle students. Mr. Green will speak at a student assembly from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon with the school’s Readers’ Rally team. Mr. Green will share his message about the importance of reading and attending school. Mr. Green urges students to put school before sports and to think about success in terms of personal relationships and kindness rather than fortune and fame. During his visit, Mr. Green will also sign copies of his most recent title, “The Big Time.” For more information, visit Elizabeth Blackmon, Sweetwater Middle literacy coach, at 770-923-4131.

Duncan Creek 3rd grade students will take part in an afterschool skating program that runs from Nov. 29 through Dec 17. "Skatetime" will begin at 2:30 p.m. and take place in PE class in the gym. Students will learn the benefits of skating and increase their ability to skate. For more information, call Dayna Alkire, Duncan Creek teacher, at 678-714-5800.

Benefield Elementary hosted a November luncheon to honor veterans. Entertainment included a performance of patriotic and Thanksgiving songs by the Sweetwater Middle orchestra and Benefield Elementary singers. Activities included decorating the windows with patriotic stars, a Title I Parent Center Open House, and other activities for parents.

The Norcross Arts Alliance (NAA) in conjunction with the Norcross Art Fest held “Chairs for Charity,” a one-of-a-kind fundraising event for the Norcross Cluster schools that involved painting wooden chairs. Students painted wild patterns with bright colors and imaginative themes on chairs that were auctioned off as a fundraiser for the schools. For more information, call Arlene P. Beckles at 770-310-9942, or email

Students from Hull Middle, Peachtree Ridge High and South Gwinnett High had the opportunity to hear a federal judge from the district of New Jersey present on the topic of making sound choices. For more information, call Hull Middle Principal Denise Showell at 770-232-3200.

Magill Elementary Principal Crystal Collins will play Mother Ginger in Gwinnett Ballet Theater’s “Nutcracker” on Dec. 5. “The Nutcracker” with the tradition of dancing, music, magic and beautiful costumes will be performed at the Performing Arts Center on December 5 at 2:30 p.m. For more information, visit

The Shiloh High knitting club is making scarves for to donate to Special Olympics student athletes. The knitting club was started by two junior boys who are leading a group making scarves for the athletes. For more information, call the club sponsor Gayle Bankhead at 770-972-7481.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.

11/08/2010GCPS invites community to participate in curriculum review (pdf)
11/05/2010Parkview High's Steve Kuninsky named Gwinnett's 2011 Teacher of the Year (pdf)

“Celebrating Excellence: Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony” GCPS TV is proud to present a special broadcast of the Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony. Join local school recipients, administrators, and Board members for an evening of recognition and celebration. Program highlights include award presentations to the local winners, a video honoring the six TOTY finalists, and the announcement of the level winners and the 2011 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year. This two hour program airs Nov. 19-28 at 8 p.m.

“Meet the Author: Jackie Urbanovich” Jackie Urbanovic loves the Marx Brothers, Popeye, Bugs Bunny and a slew of other comic characters so much that her own picture book stories and illustrations are infused with a joyful, wacky vision of delight and escapade, including “Duck Soup” and “Duck And Cover.” The program includes a visit to the author’s studio where Urbanovic shows viewers the illustration process from thumbnail sketches to a final book. This 30-min. program airs Nov. 15-20 at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.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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Gwinnett County Public Schools invites community members and employees to participate in its annual review of Gwinnett’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum through Dec. 3. Employees and community members have until Friday, Dec. 3, to submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS. Visit the GCPS website to print a review form. Submit one Word document as an attachment by e-mail to or mail a printed copy to:
Curriculum Development Office
Instructional Support Center
437 Old Peachtree Rd., NW
Suwanee, GA 30024-2978
The GEMS Oversight Committee, a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the AKS, will consider all suggestions at the committee’s annual meeting. That committee then will recommend changes to CEO/Superintendent
J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education for implementation in the 2010-11 school year.

November is American Indian Heritage Month.

American Education Week is November 14-20.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., November 18, 2010, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

November 22-26 is Thanksgiving break for schools.

November 24 is a furlough day for 12-month staff.

November 25 is Thanksgiving Day.

November 25-26 is Thanksgiving break for 12-month staff.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in November. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary
Arcado Elementary
Archer High School
Bethesda Elementary
Britt Elementary
Brookwood Elementary
Burnette ES
Chattahoochee Elementary
Corley Elementary
Crews Middle
Duluth High
Duncan Creek Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Harmony Elementary
Harris Elementary
Head Elementary
Ivy Creek Elementary
Jenkins Elementary
Kanoheda Elementary
Lanier High
Lanier Middle
Lilburn Middle
Louise Radloff Middle
Lovin Elementary
Mason Elementary
Meadowcreek Elementary
Monarch School
Mountain Park Elementary
Mountain View High School
Mulberry Elementary
Nesbit Elementary
North Gwinnett High
North Gwinnett Middle
Parkview High
Peachree Ridge High
Peachtree Elementary
Richards Middle
Rockbridge Elementary
Snellville Middle
Sugar Hill Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
Trickum Middle
Trip Elementary
Walnut Grove Elementary
White Oak 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. 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.

Ongoing through Dec. 18 Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA): Beyond Bricks & Sticks

Monthly Science Class for Fall 2010-Electricity-High School

Monthly Science Class for Fall 2010-Electricity-All Ages

Take A Hike

Take A Hike
Beaver Moon Hike

Take A Hike


Take A Hike

Regional Qualifier for FIRST Lego League