News You Can Use - 12/12/2011

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
12/12/2011 - 12/18/2011

On Dec. 9 at 6:30 a.m., a special guest will visit Mill Creek High and present a check to the American Cancer Society as she meets with the Miss Portray contestants. The Miss Portray Pageant is similar to the Miss Mill Creek Pageant, except contestants are students with disabilities. All proceeds from the event benefitted the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The guest will surprise the Mill Creek High students as she requested to meet them upon learning of the pageant for students with special needs. For more information, call Mill Creek High Teacher Camille Larkin, founder of the program, at 678-480-4262.

Shiloh High’s Onstage performance group performs “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $6. Shiloh High faculty and staff members receive complementary tickets. Join the theater group for an original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. For more information, call theater Teacher Elisabeth Cooper at 770-972-8471.

Parents and community members of three GCPS elementary schools could help their school win a $50K grant. Anderson-Livsey Elementary, Harmony Elementary, and Taylor Elementary are all competing for the grant from the Clorox Company. Supporters have until tomorrow, Dec. 9, to vote online and help their school. The Clorox Company supports healthy and happy kids with the “Power A Bright Future Program” that gives schools the opportunity to win up to the $50,000 grant. Three GCPS schools are competing for the $50K grant from Clorox by asking for support in online voting through Dec. 9. Anyone 13 years old and up can vote for the “Judge’s Choice Grant.” Participants may text a vote, or vote on a smartphone with the mobile sites listed below. (Anderson-Livsey Elementary) (Harmony Elementary) (Taylor Elementary)
For more information, visit the website

Jenkins Elementary student Carolyn Phung is one of 12 winners nationally of nearly $15,000 in classroom supplies and technology for her school with her winning entry in McGraw Hill’s “My Math Cover Art Contest.” A panel of judges, including artists, educators and journalists selected the 12 pieces of artwork from more than 2,400 entries submitted from students across the country. The winning selections can be viewed in an online gallery at The contest is an opportunity for schools to showcase talent to local communities for voting. The combined scores of judges and the general public determined the winners. For more information, call the school at 678-407-8900.

Shiloh High student Dwayne Walker has been selected as a semi-finalists for The Dream Art Contest. Dwayne’s art work was chosen as one of the best to represent GCPS. This prestigious art competition is being executed in cooperation with the Woodruff Arts Center, The Atlanta History Center, Hammonds House Museum, and Metro Atlanta public and private schools. The Dream Art Contest theme, “Visions of the Civil Rights Movement and America Today,” is designed to foster an appreciation for the relevance of history and to demonstrate the vital importance of the arts in education and in daily life. The King Center will host an awards ceremony on Feb. 4, 2012, at 2 p.m., for the students, parents, and invited guests. For more information, call Shiloh High Art Teacher Eleanor Neal at 770-972-8471.

Four GCPS students were among top-scoring participants in their age groups in Punt, Pass, Kick Sectional competitions held in Georgia and Alabama. These students advanced to Team Championship level and competed at an Atlanta Falcons game. The student winners and their age groups are Olivia Shaw of Duncan Creek Elementary, age 6/7; Zion Wimby of Britt Elementary, age 10/11; and Eric Autry and Tatiana Wayne, both from Parkview High and both in the 14/15 age group. From among 1st place winners in Team Championships held at football games across the country this fall, the top four scorers for each age division for both boys and girls will advance to National Finals, which will be held during an NFL Playoff game in January. For more information, email Rodney Wayne of NFL Punt Pass & Kick at

Minor Elementary will host the school’s annual International Night on Dec. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will allow visitors to travel around the world in a single evening. Participants can create crafts and engage in activities as they learn about the customs and traditions of people around the world. The evening will begin in the gym with a winter concert performance by the Minor Patriot Chorus and conclude with a “Parade of Nations” as students, staff and guests showcase native costumes and dress. There is no charge for the event. Food and drinks will be sold in the cafeteria and proceeds will benefit the Minor Elementary PTA, United Way, and Relay For Life. For more information, Beth Peterson, Parent Instructional Support Coordinator, at 770-925-9543.

The Grayson High School Technical Education Program invites students and families to an Open House on Jan. 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Technical Building located on the Grayson High School campus. Potential students and their families will find information about the programs offered such as Biotechnology, Commercial Photography, Computer IT and Network Systems, Culinary Arts, Digital Media Design and Animation, Engineering, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Music Recording, Music Technology, Sports Medicine, Veterinary Technology, and Video Production and Television Broadcasting. For more information, call 770-554-7082.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is hosting a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Fair on Jan. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the campus of Maxwell High School of Technology. The Career Fair is open to all high school students attending GCPS high schools. More than 50 vendors will be in attendance at the fair. CTE prepares students and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. These careers may require varying levels of education—including industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates, and two- and four-year degrees. CTE prepares students to be “college- and career-ready.” Students learn: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function in the workplace and in routine daily activities; employability skills (such as critical thinking and responsibility) that are essential in any career area; and job-specific, technical skills related to a specific career pathway. For more information, call Maxwell High School of Technology at 770-963-6838.

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) invites parents, community members, and staff to participate in a review of the school district’s curriculum. This year’s review offers two opportunities for participants to share their feedback about the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. The school system is seeking input on new AKS that have been developed to align with new state Common Core Standards. In addition, citizens can give feedback on additions, changes, or deletions for the current AKS. Both reviews run through Friday, Dec. 9. The GEMS Oversight Committee will consider both staff and community suggestions at its meeting on March 1, 2012, and will make its recommendations to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education. On Mar. 1, 2012, the GEMS Oversight Committee will review the suggestions and curriculum director comments before making recommendations to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the School Board. Following adoption, feedback will be provided to staff members who made suggestions.
See below for details on each review:
  • Review of AKS alignment with new Georgia Performance Standards-- The Georgia Department of Education has adopted a new state curriculum-- the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS)-- for K-12 Language Arts, K-12 Mathematics, and 6-12 Literacy Standards for Science, Social Studies, and Technical Education. The revised curriculum will be phased in during the 2012-13 school year for K-12 Language Arts and K-10 Mathematics. Gwinnett County Public Schools curriculum directors for these areas worked with teachers to ensure the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum for 2012-13 is aligned to the new CCGPS standards. Parents, community members, and staff are invited to review the proposed 2012-13 AKS and provide input.
  • Annual review of CURRENT Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum-- If there is an AKS a parent, community member, or staff member would like to see added, deleted, or revised, they can complete the AKS Review Form online. A copy of the review form may also be requested from a local school administrator. Submit AKS Review Forms by e-mail to or by U.S. mail to Curriculum Development Office, 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW, Suwanee, Georgia 30024. Comments will be accepted through Friday, December 9, 2011.

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. 5: Grayson High, Theater
  • Jan. 12: Mill Creek High, Theater
  • 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 web site ( and on the school web site ( 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.

“ParenTVision” Watch GCPS TV December 12 at 8 p.m. for the season premiere of ParenTVision. Margaret Cheeley, Collins Hill High counselor and ParenTVision host, introduces a new magazine style format for the show. Topics covered include connecting to schools via new technologies; Facebook and its appeal to teens; the college search process; changes in HOPE; and a look at how much sleep students are getting. This 25 minute program airs Dec. 12-18 at 2 p.m. and 8 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 web site--

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
12/05/2011DOE salutes nutrition professionals for innovative program (pdf)
12/01/2011GCPS curriculum program highlighted by social studies leaders (pdf)

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December 14-16 are early release days for high school exams.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., December 15, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

December 19-30 is Winter Break for schools.

New Year’s Day is observed December 30, a systemwide holiday.

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

Anderson-Livsey Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Cooper Elementary
Crews Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
Dyer Elementary
South Gwinnett High
Taylor 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
    12/13, 1/18, 2/15
Holiday Program-Gingerbread Display
Green Your Holiday-Special Event
Green Living Kids: Where Is The Waste?
Living In Space-Final Countdown