News You Can Use - 11/24/2008

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
11/24/2008 - 11/30/2008

Rock Springs Elementary will host a visit from Author Laurel Snyder on Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon. Ms. Snyder is a local author who wrote “Up and Down the Scratchy Mountain.” A 4th grade class will perform a skit retelling the story for the author. Ms. Snyder’s visit will include a book signing and lunch. For more information, call 770-932-7474.

Walnut Grove Elementary is holding a fundraiser for Relay for Life on Nov. 21 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and on Nov. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tanner Photography will take family portraits for a $15 donation. This donation will purchase an 11” X 14” portrait. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Additional photos will be available to order, including canvas wall portraits, framing and holiday cards. For more information, call Joyce Shaffer at 770-513-6892 to schedule an appointment.

Mill Creek High’s dance department will perform “The Toy Shop II” on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., Nov. 22 at 2 p.m., and Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the school and at the door of the theater for $5. For more information, call Suzanne Kross at 678-765-5296.

GCPS students represented 22 percent of the 50 finalists in the 2009 Georgia High School Drawing Competition. Finalists were selected based on their aesthetic awareness, composition, technique, design, spatial perception, originality, quality of presentation, and color perception, where applicable. The winners are Alexander Berenyi and Lindsay Dady of Brookwood High; Soo Kim of Collins Hill High; Emily Beck, Susan Kang, and Ye-Ji Kang of Mill Creek High; Moses Lee and Lina Soh of North Gwinnett High; and Charlotte Dillard and Katheryne Flake of South Gwinnett High. Student work will be on display at SCAD-Atlanta from Dec. 29 through Jan. 9. For more information, call Robert Andrews, director of fine arts, at 678-301-7004.

Duncan Creek Elementary will host the school’s 6th Annual Turkey Trot on Nov. 24 at 3:50 p.m. Students will compete by running laps around the outside track. First place will win a turkey, 2nd place a ham, third place a pie, and 4th place a basket of fruit. All participants will receive a certificate. For more information, call Teacher Dayna Alkire at 678-714-5800.

Trickum Middle students will have the opportunity to visit the Hudgens Center for the Arts and create raku pottery on Dec. 5 after school. Raku pottery is created with a ceramic firing process that uses both fire and smoke to create unique patterns and designs. For more information, call Teacher Aimee Burgamy at 770-921-2705.

Sixty members of the Shiloh High Concert Choir earned $5,000 and the opportunity to sing back-up with finalists from “American Idol” at the Classic Center in Athens on Dec. 5 and 6. Seven choirs initially auditioned for the honor. For more information, call Craig Johnson, choral director, at 770-972-8471.

The Lanier Middle chorus has been invited to perform for more than 5,000 people in the Forsyth County Celebration of Lights on Dec. 6. Lanier’s chorus has been designated as the finale performance and the students will sing as the Christmas tree is lit and fireworks go off. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with a parade at Buford Dam Rd. and ends at the Northside/Forsyth hospital where Lanier students will perform at 6:10 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Northside Hospital’s Fight against Cancer. For more information, visit

Harbins Elementary 4th and 5th grade chorus and environmental clubs will join forces to present “Santa Goes Green” — to save the environment— on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. This musical features singing, choreography, sign language, and much more. Students are planning backdrops made from recycled materials and the programs will be printed on recycled paper. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

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

11/19/200823 Gwinnett schools recognized for outstanding performance with state awards (pdf)
11/18/2008More than 1,500 Gwinnett students designated as AP scholars for college-level achievement (pdf)
11/14/2008Willis to lead Fort Daniel Elementary (pdf)
11/14/2008Gwinnett 11th graders improve already high marks on Georgia High School Writing Test (pdf)

Registration for the 2009–10 freshman class of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is underway. Registration materials are available in all GCPS middle schools and on both the GCPS web site ( and the school web site ( Registration packets must be submitted by January 23, 2009.

The Peachtree Ridge High PTSA made a donation of $750 to the media center to purchase new books. The money was raised by selling refreshments during “Reading Across the Ridge” on Aug. 29. All Peachtree Ridge High students participate in the program as the culmination to the school’s summer reading program. The funds will be used to buy new books for the media center. For more information, call 678-957-3100.

Creekland Middle participated in NASA’s “Space Day and Signatures in Space” program last May. Official posters with signatures from 2,800 Creekland Middle students and teachers were placed aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, which launched on Nov.14 and will stay docked at the space station for approximately two weeks. The signatures will return to earth and to Creekland students soon after that. For more information, call 770-338-4700.

“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 Glimpse of Excellence” video honoring the six TOTY finalists, and the announcement of the level winners and the 2009 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year. This 2+ hour program airs Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 4-7 at 8 p.m.

“GCPS Focus” This month’s Focus will introduce you to the 2009 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year and the five TOTY finalists. We’ll take a look at how parents and grandparents are supporting student achievement, and celebrate with our learning communities around the system. 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.

“Allan Harris” Students go on a musical journey with Allan Harris and “Cross That River Band” as they go back in time and explore America’s West during the 19th century. Through song, narration, and imagery, students experience an incredible story of triumph as the lives and struggles of African American cowboys are depicted in this song cycle that chronicles their escape from slavery and their journey to freedom in the West. Interweaving fiction with historical fact, each song in the cycle presents a different page in this chapter of American history. This 60-min. program airs Nov. 24-26 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Nov. 27-29 at 1 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 2” This 10-part 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. This GCPS TV original series will air in hour-long segments at 11 a.m., Monday-Sunday, Oct. 27-Jan. 4.

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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National Family Week is Nov. 23-29.

Nov. 26-28 are Thanksgiving holidays for schools (other GCPS locations Nov. 27-28.)

Georgia End-of-Course Test Window will take place from Dec. 8-19.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., December 11, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

December 17-19 is early release for high school exams.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in October and November. Call the local school for the time and location.
Brookwood Elementary
Grayson High
North Gwinnett High
Parkview High

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.

Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tune Into the Holidays: Decorating With Nature, Cost: $25 per family, GEHC members $10, includes center admission
Come join us as we celebrate the holiday season. We will provide living, edible, natural decorations for our wildlife friends. Attend a holiday concert by Ritmo Blu World Percussion Trio as they perform music representing Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa as they travel through the traditions from Europe to Israel and back to the United States. Receive eco-friendly decorating tips. This activity is perfect for families, please register by December 1.

Dec. 13, 11 to 11:45 a.m. and 2 to 2:45 p.m., Winter Walk, Cost: $3 per person, GEHC members Free
Enjoy a winter walk with our Program Specialists as they take you on an incredible hike through the property. See beautiful landscapes that are usually inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Winter walks are perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. The program is limited to 12 participants each session, please register by calling 770-904-3500.

Dec. 13, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Club Method (Middle and High School), Cost: Free
Registration is required by Nov. 22, limited to 25 students.

Dec. 13, 1 to 2 p.m., Nature Kids (Grades 2 - 4), Make and Take an Evergreen Garland Centerpiece, Cost: $5 per kid
We will make small evergreen garlands to freshen our rooms with traditional holiday scents from pine, cedar and fur trees. We will learn a little bit about evergreen trees while we are making our crafts. Registration is required by Nov.22, limited to 15 kids.

Dec. 20, 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Winter Walk, Cost: $3 per person, GEHC members Free
Enjoy a winter walk with our Program Specialists as they take you on an incredible hike through the property. See beautiful landscapes that are usually inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Winter walks are perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. The program is limited to 12 participants each session, please register by calling 770-904-3500.