News You Can Use - 01/16/2012

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
01/16/2012 - 01/22/2012

Rockbridge Elementary students will be gifted with approximately 1,276 books (one book for each student). Community member Gloria Watson celebrates her birthday each year by giving presents to others. Last year Ms. Watson donated more than 100 coats to the students and this year each child will receive their very own book. Ms. Watson collected these books from all over the country. She will deliver them on January 6. For more information, call 770-448-9363.

GCPS will participate in the 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration sponsored by the United Ebony Society. The January 15 program at Meadowcreek High begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes essay readings and performances by students. A parade to the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse will take place on January 16, at 10 a.m. Transportation will be provided from Central Gwinnett High to the Courthouse from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. For more information, visit the website; or contact M.Taylor-Crawford, President, at; Penny Poole, Parade Coordinator, at; or Lois Solomon, Media Relations, at

Gov. Nathan Deal announced 11 winners of Innovation Fund grants, a $19.4 million competitive grant program created through Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) plan. Among the grant recipients is GCPS’ STEM Targeted Education Program (STEP) Academy at Sweetwater Middle– an accelerated coursework, mentoring, and Biotechnology Research and Development career pathway program serving at-risk overage eighth grade students in Gwinnett County Public Schools through a partnership with Gwinnett Technical College and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Information about the Innovation Fund may be found at

Two GCPS Latin teachers, a father and daughter, will be honored by the Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG). Dr. Robert Patrick of Parkview High has been named the 2012 FLAG K-12 Teacher of the Year, and his daughter Miriam Patrick of Duluth High has been named the 2012 FLAG K-12 Teacher of Promise. The Teacher of Promise is an award for teachers who are in their first three years of teaching and show great promise to contribute to the profession in the years to come. For more information, visit Both teachers will receive the awards during the 2012 FLAG/SCOLT Conference on March 22 through 24 in Atlanta.

The following GCPS middle school bands were invited to play at the 21st Annual University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival last month: Jones Middle, director Dr. Tonya Millsap; Crews Middle, directors Frank Folds and Amanda Hertel; and North Gwinnett Middle, directors Mary Wilson and Hunter McRae. Only five middle school bands in the state were invited to perform at this event.
All of these band directors received a Citation of Excellence presented by representatives of the National Band Association. In addition, the Pinckneyville Middle band, under the direction of Roland Ventura, performed at the Southeastern United States Middle School Band Clinic at Troy University.

The American Scholastic Press Association awarded Brookwood High’s literary magazine, Pegasus, with a first place honor for magazines from a high school with enrollment above 2501. In addition, Brookwood High Class of 2011 graduate William Smith was awarded the Outstanding Art Award for his drawing, “Tree of Life,” published in the 2010-11 edition of Pegasus. For more information, call Advisor Deb Sumpter at 770-972-7642.

Dacula High student Karen Ehret received a Presidential Scholarship Award for Georgia College and State University. The Presidential Scholarship awards Karen $4,000 a year for four years, plus admission into the Honors College and residence in the honors dorm. Karen is one of seven admitted students who have been awarded this prestigious scholarship. Each year approximately 50 students come to the Georgia College campus for the day-long scholarship competition.

Sweetwater Middle 6th grade language arts classes earned perfect scores in the WordMasters Challenge meet for a first place spot in the nation in the first round of WordMasters competition. Perfect scores for 6th grade participants went to Kaitlyn Choe, Joshua da la Fuente, James Ha, Rodrigo Herrera, Ibum Obu, Mariela Prieto-Torres, Sofia Salazar, and Jeremiah Scott. Eighth grader Thienkhak Nguyen earned a perfect score also. Nine of 26 students posting a perfect score nationally, are from Sweetwater Middle. Also recognized by the WordMasters organization for outstanding achievement were 6th graders Nabid Farvez, Liliana Aisota, Manuela Caceres, Ava Chen, Daniel Dixon, Marlon Garibay, Oscar Magana, Buduka Ogonor, Darlene Praseuth, Lauren Senaphone, Jorge Vale, 7th grader Aminah Mohammed, and 8th graders Margaret Baethke, Nayia Kenny, and Violaine Muhemedi. These students competed with 191 school teams across the nation.

Duluth High has been recognized by Atlanta Magazine as one of Atlanta’s top 50 public high schools. Schools selected were chosen based on nine indicators of college preparedness. Duluth High ranked 35th in the competition. For more information, visit

As part of a year-long collaborative effort, principals from Dacula, Harbins, Hopkins, Ivy Creek, Mulberry, and Patrick elementary schools will host a student leadership conference at the Gwinnett Heritage and Environmental Center on Feb. 24. The sessions at the student leadership conference will focus on developing leadership skills with students from participating schools, particularly with a focus on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” developed by Stephen Covey. For more information on the conference, call Dr. Cindy Truett, Harbins Elementary principal, at 770-682-4270.

White Oak Elementary will benefit from the non-profit organization “My First Lab Coat.” The organization equips K-12 science labs with lab coats for student use. Donated coats are collected and cleaned for donation to schools, encouraging teachers and students to perform hands-on science experiments. Each coat contains a note in the pocket explaining about the job the former owner performed. White Oak Elementary opened the science labs for grades 3-5 last year, and the K-2 lab opened this year. For more information, and to schedule a visit to one of the labs, call Betsy Bridwell, administrative assistant at 678-546-5536.

Brookwood High invites the community to a performance of “Sleeping Beauty.” This production will be presented by advanced theater students on Feb. 2, 3, and 4 at 7 p.m. in the theatre. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $7 for adults, and $6 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-736-2088, or email

Minor Elementary will collect ‘school memories’ now through Feb. 27 for a 25th anniversary celebration on March 18. Contributions may be made by coming to the school on any Friday morning between 9 and 11 a.m., setting an appointment by calling the school, or recording a memory and emailing it to memory could be a note, video, a picture or any other memorabilia. Please contact the school at 770-925-9543 for more information.

Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC), Gwinnett’s full-time online learning option, will offer informational sessions providing the information needed to make an informed decision about enrolling at Online Campus full-time.
Middle School Meetings: 6:30 - 7:15 p.m.; High School Meetings: 7:30 - 8:15 p.m.
  • Jan. 19: Collins Hill High, Theater
  • Jan. 26: North Gwinnett High, Commons Area
  • Feb. 2: Duluth High, Theater
Registration for the 2012-13 school year will run Feb. 1-29, 2012. Students can get more information through the counselor’s office at the local middle or high school and on the GOC website. Click here to learn more about the GOC charter high school or Gwinnett’s virtual middle school, opening in August of 2012.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) registration information sessions run through Feb. 3, 2012. Information for the 2012-13 freshman class will be available through all GCPS middle schools, on the GCPS website ( and on the school website ( Registration Forms must be submitted by February 3, 2012, for consideration. GSMST is a charter school and therefore enrollment for the 9th grade class is open to all students who are residents of the Gwinnett County School System district attendance zone and have completed the 8th grade. The rigorous course work at GSMST may not meet the needs or interests of all students. As this is a school of choice, it is highly recommended that parents and students review the GSMST curriculum and learn more about the school’s offerings before making a decision to register.

Collins Hill High hosted a visit from a Holocaust survivor Ben Walker, who spoke to several 9th grade language arts classes about his life and experiences growing up in Romania during World War II. Mr. Walker was born in 1935 in Czernovitz, Romania. In 1941, his family was taken to a territory called Transnistria, where 260,000 Jews perished in unnamed concentration camps and were buried in unmarked graves. His family survived and the camp was liberated in 1944. Mr. Walker served in the Israeli Army and later immigrated to the United States. Collins Hill High Teacher Angela Dean was one of 24 teachers from across the country to participate in a Holocaust educator’s seminar in New York to help bring educational opportunities back to the community. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

“Prince William Network - Poets and Presidents” President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy believed strongly in the power of words and the value of poetry for their children. In “The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis” and “A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children,” Caroline Kennedy has gathered together poems about nature, heroism, adventure, and imagination by celebrated poets Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Nikki Grimes, and Carl Sandburg; poems her parents loved and read to her during her childhood. As part of the Kennedy Center’s “The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration,” several well-known poets of today read and discuss their poems and show how these important themes are continued in their work today. This 60 minute program airs Jan. 16-22 at 1 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This GCPS original 10-part series, taught by Elisa Brown, assistant principal at Hopkins Elementary, 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--

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
01/06/2012GCPS hosts Career and Technical Education Fair (pdf)

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January 16 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a systemwide holiday.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., January 19, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

February is National African American History Month and National Technical Education Month.

February 5 is Scout Sunday.

February 6-10 is National School Counseling Week.

National SkillsUSA Week is February 13-17.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in January. Call the local school for the time and location.

Alford Elementary
Alton C. Crews Middle
B.B. Harris Elementary
Berkmar High
Camp Creek Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Central Gwinnett High
Collins Hill High
Corley Elementary
Craig Elementary
Dacula High
Dacula Middle
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Five Forks Middle
Frank N. Osborne Middle
Gwinnett Online Campus
Harbins Elementary
Henry Partee Elementary
Ivy Creek Elementary
Jenkins Elementary
Lanier Middle
Lilburn Elementary
Lilburn Middle
Lovin Elementary
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary
Meadowcreek High
Mulberry Elementary
North Gwinnett High
Oakland School
Parkview High
R.L. Norton Elementary
Roberts Elementary
Shiloh Middle
Simpson Elementary
Starling Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
Sycamore 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. 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.

Winter All Ages-Human Body Adventure
1/18, 2/15
Green Living Kids: Our Mission Is Nutrition
Arbor Day
2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25
Fashion Uncorked 2012
World Thinking Day