News You Can Use - 03/31/2008

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
03/31/2008 - 04/06/2008

The Dacula Cluster presents a Cluster Choral Concert to celebrate “Music in Our Schools Month.” The event takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula. Entertainment includes performances by students from Alcova, Dacula, Harbins, and Mulberry elementary schools, the Dacula Middle chorus, and the Dacula High chorus. Judy Spears of Dacula High has taught chorus for the past 25 years and will be retiring at the end of the school year. For more information, call Teacher Karen Leamon at 770-963-7174.

Nine GCPS middle school students have qualified to be among 100 contestants in the state National Geographic Bee to be held on April 4. The Georgia state winner will compete in the National Bee in May. The qualifying students are Tyler Fasnacht of Creekland Middle, Anna Hernick of Alton C. Crews Middle, Hanfei Wang of Duluth Middle, Harrison Forder of Glenn C. Jones Middle, William Macon of Lanier Middle, Andrew Wirt of J.P. McConnell Middle, Hernan Morales of Pinckneyville Middle, Kevin O. Edwards of Shiloh Middle, and Tommy Troxell of Trickum Middle.

Brookwood High musician Robert Nelson was chosen as an Emerson Scholar for the 2008 Interlochen Arts Camp. He is one of 52 musicians awarded this merit-based, full-tuition scholarship to the camp. For more information call 770-972-7642.

The Peachtree Ridge Foundation will host the 5th Annual Lions Golf Classic at the Tournament Players Club Sugarloaf on March 31. Activities include golf at 11 a.m., lunch on your cart, and an awards and dinner reception after the tournament. Foursomes are available, as well as sponsorships, by calling Foundation Executive Director Lynn Brunatti at 678-957-3166.

Norcross Elementary will host an Empty Bowls Ice Cream Social and Montage Arts Show on March 31, at 6 p.m. in the gym. Proceeds will benefit the Norcross Cooperative. For more information, call Art Teacher Lauren Phillips at 770-448-2188.

Beaver Ridge Elementary will host its annual Science Night with a focus on “Keeping Our Planet Healthy and Strong,” on April 3 at 5:30 p.m. The fair will be held in conjunction with a musical concert and art show. For more information, call 770-447-6307.

The Meadowcreek High Band will visit Universal Studio’s “Lights, Camera, Music” April 7-11. This year, the Meadowcreek High band has participated in the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis, The Atlanta Classic, and The Magic City Classic in Birmingham. The Mighty Marching Mustangs were featured in The Clark-Atlanta Homecoming Parade, whose band was in the Movie “Drum Line.” Other performances include the Garden City Invitational in Augusta, and the upcoming Chick-fil-a Bowl Pregame and Half time show. For more information, call Band Director Jimmie McKinley at 770-381-9680, or visit

The Mill Creek High mixed choir will perform in New York City. The dates and venues are: April 10, St. John the Divine Cathedral, and April 11, St. Paul’s Cathedral, For more information, call 678-714-5850.

The Duluth High Soccer Booster Club will host the 1st annual Duluth Alumni Soccer games on April 19 at 5:30 (women) and 7:30 p.m. (men) in the stadium. All former Duluth High players and coaches are invited to participate. Barbecue sandwiches will be sold during the game along with soccer spirit wear and concessions. There will be a gate fee of $5. All proceeds will benefit the Booster club. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

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

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 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.

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.

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 5, 8 a.m. Walk, 9:30 a.m. Presentation - How to Attract Birds in Your Backyard
Co-sponsored by the Atlanta Audubon Society, $3/person, GEHC Members Free
Join David Decker, volunteer at the Atlanta Audubon Society, as we learn how to bring birds into your backyard. Pre-register by April 1.

April 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Earth Day Event, Free
· EcoRun 5K - 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., preregister $20, on race day $25, Fun Run $15 Start your day off on the right foot by participating in the EcoRun, then stay for a variety of hands-on activities including a Kid Zone, native plant walk, vendors, and building tour. Food will be available for purchase.
· Ivy Creek Greenway Ribbon Cutting 10 a.m. Join us for this free event as we cut the ribbon on the first segment of the new Gwinnett Greenway! Bring your wheels to “Trick Your Ride” at our bike decorating station and explore the greenway with the “Hike-N-Hunt” activity! Trail segment is from the Center’s Trail Head to Gravel Springs Road, including the Mall of Georgia area.
· 1 mile Fun Run, 10:30 a.m. Be the first to run on the new Ivy Creek Greenway just after the Ribbon Cutting! Registration fee of $15 includes T-shirt. Race day registration begins at 9:30.
· Follow That Drop 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day at this fun, free, eco-friendly event. Enjoy games and crafts in the Kid Zone, EcoExpo vendor fair, native plant walks, environmental programs, and more! Join The River and B98.5 Radio for even more fun. Food concessions available. Center admission additional fee.
· Club Method 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. High School and Middle School Club Method members earn community service hours by supporting our Earth Day event. Assist with set up and break down and with hands-on activities in Kids Zone.

“Field of Colors: Flying Objects - Ball State University Electronic Fielf Trip” The Smithsonian Kite Festival is a spectacular event that is traditionally part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Kite flyers attend from the U.S. and all over the world, filling the skies around the Washington Monument with color and beauty. Student viewers will be witnesses to the pageantry and will learn about math and science concepts along the way. A particular emphasis will be on the power of wind and weather. This 60-minute program airs live Tuesday, April 1 at 1 p.m.

“Telling Stories: Gene Yang - Prince William/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Center” Go beyond the page with author Gene Yang as he discusses childhood, his Chinese influences, and comic books. The author of “American Born Chinese, the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and Printz Award winner, joins moderator Maria Salvadore in the studio as part of the Telling Stories series. This 60-minute program airs March 31-April 5 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 3)” English...Yes, I Can (Series 3) is a video telecourse designed to teach advanced English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 3 is scheduled to air through April 3 on GCPS TV. This 60-minute program airs Monday–Thursday at 9 p.m. and again at 1 a.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” A GCPS TV original series, this 10-part program is an introduction to the Spanish language and is tailored especially for educators and other school employees. Viewers will learn key phrases and basic vocabulary for use during the school day and in the community. Each Monday, a new segment will air at 11 a.m., repeating daily through Sunday in that time slot. The series runs through April 6.

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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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
03/27/2008Gwinnett BOE to talk education with parents and community members (pdf)
03/26/2008GCPS names second cohort of “Quality-Plus Leader Academy, Aspiring Principal Program” (pdf)
03/21/2008Gwinnett students honored by School Board (pdf)

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 meetings.
· April 3-District I meeting, Dacula High
· April 15-District IV, South Gwinnett High
· 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 19-- Board budget work session
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 9-- Adoption of millage rage

The Georgia High School Graduation Test for 11th grade students is scheduled for March 31 through April 3.

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

April 2 is International Children’s Book Day.

April 7-11 is Spring Break for schools.

April 10-11 are systemwide spring holidays for GCPS. All locations will be closed.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 17, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

April 13-19 is National Library Week.

April 14-18 is Custodial Appreciation Week.

April 14-20 is Young People’s Poetry Week.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during April. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Alcova Elementary4/3
Alford Elementary4/24
Annistown Elementary4/15
B.B. Harris Elementary4/29
Berkeley Lake Elementary4/29
Bethesda Elementary4/24
Brookwood High4/15
Camp Creek Elementary4/17
Cedar Hill Elementary4/3
Centerville Elementary4/15
Central Gwinnett High4/21
Chattahoochee Elementary4/29
Corley Elementary4/24
Craig Elementary4/28
Creekland Middle4/22
Dacula High4/3
Dacula Middle4/3
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary4/22
Five Forks Middle4/15
Fort Daniel Elementary4/4
Freeman's Mill Elementary4/25
Glenn C. Jones Middle4/22
Grayson High4/3
Gwin Oaks Elementary4/15
Harmony Elementary4/29
Henry Partee Elementary4/15
Ivy Creek Elementary4/22
J.G. Dyer Elementary4/22
J.P. McConnell Middle4/3
K.E. Taylor Elementary4/22
Kanoheda Elementary4/17
Knight Elementary4/3
Lawrenceville Elementary4/3
Louise Radloff Middle4/24
Lovin Elementary4/3
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary4/3
McKendree Elementary4/4
Meadowcreek Elementary4/21 & 4/24
Mill Creek High4/22
Mountain Park Elementary4/24
Mulberry Elementary4/3
Nesbit Elementary4/24
Norcross Elementary4/4
Norcross High4/17
North Gwinnett High4/22
Oakland School4/24
Parkview High4/22
Parsons Elementary4/22
Peachree Ridge High4/22
Pharr Elementary4/3
Pinckneyville Middle4/29
R.D. Head Elementary4/15
Rebecca Minor Elementary4/25
Richard Hull Middle4/22
Riverside Elementary4/22
Rock Springs Elementary4/22
Shiloh Elementary4/15
Shiloh High4/15
Simpson Elementary4/29
Snellville Middle4/15
South Gwinnett High4/15
Sugar Hill Elementary4/22
Suwanee Elementary4/22
Sycamore Elementary4/22
W.C. Britt Elementary4/15
W.J. Cooper Elementary4/3
Walnut Grove Elementary4/28