News You Can Use - 02/27/2012

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
02/27/2012 - 03/04/2012

Nesbit Elementary will host “Be The Change” to celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Entertainment will include performances by the Sapphire Dancers, Nesbit Chorus, Drama Team, and Cheerleaders. Tickets may be purchased for $2 at the door. Students will also feature an Art Exhibit and Wax Museum from 6 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the school at 770-414-2740.

Teams from Berkmar, Dacula, Mill Creek, and Parkview high schools will gather on Feb. 24 and 25 at Berkmar High to compete for the title of PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Champion. The competition is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), The PAGE Foundation, Apple, the Georgia Department of Education and Oglethorpe Power. The most anticipated event during the competition— the Super Quiz Oral Relay— will begin at 2 p.m. on Feb. 25. This year’s topic is “The Age of Empire: The Making of a European Global Order.”

Six GCPS elementary schools are taking part in the Elementary Student Leadership Conference on Feb. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Environmental and Heritage Center. Participating schools include Dacula, Harbins, Hopkins, Ivy Creek, Mulberry, and Patrick. More than 300 students will participate in this leadership conference. For more information, call Hopkins Elementary Principal Penny Clavijo at 770-564-2661.

Berkmar High students took top honors at the National History Day competition at UGA. Students won in the Paper Division and took 1st place in web design.
Winners for the Paper Individual, Senior Division are:
  • 1st place Tiffany Zurzolo, “The Armenian Massacres: One Nation’s Struggle for Survival”
  • 2nd place Meagan Naraine, “The Glorious Revolution: A Transformation in England’s Government”
  • 3rd place, Mariama Sowe, “Midwifery Reform: Early Modern Europe to Modern Day”
Web Site Group - Senior Division winners are:
  • 1st place Eden Hailemichael and Alyson Priest, “Revolutionary Vanguard: The Bolshevik Revolution”
For more information, visit

Berkeley Lake Elementary will receive the ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation during a special ceremony at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In June, Laura Marantz and Dr. Karen Griffith will be honored for establishing an outstanding school counseling program. The RAMP designation, awarded to schools whose counseling programs align with the criteria set in the ASCA National Model,recognizes schools that are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and creating an exemplary educational environment. For more information, call the school at 770-446-0947.

Seventy Teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina competed in the 2012 Southeast Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl. The highest score, 1250, was awarded to a Sweetwater Middle 6th grade team. The winner for Young Georgia Author is Nabid Farvez, and the Reader of the Year award went to Ava Chen. For more information, call 770-8931-7059.

The gifts continue to roll in at Jenkins Elementary after a student there won a national contest. Earlier this school year, Jenkins Elementary student Carolyn Phung was named a national winner in McGraw Hill’s “My Math Cover Art Contest.” As a winner, her school qualified for nearly $15,000 in classroom supplies and technology. Representatives from McGraw Hill will visit Jenkins Elementary next week to present the school with an additional $2,500. The check presentation will take place Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. A panel of judges, including artists, educators, and journalists selected Carolyn’s artwork from more than 2,400 entries submitted from students across the country. She was one of 12 winners. 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 678-407-8900.

The Duluth High Chorus will perform a spring concert in the school auditorium on March 1 at 7 p.m. The concert is open to the public. For more information, call the school at 770-476-5206.

Summerour Middle will host the First Annual Gwinnett County Junior Leadership Corps Drill Competition on March 3 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Pinckneyville Middle and Summerour Middle will compete in drill and color guard competitions. For more information, call Andrea C. Steele, coordinator Junior Leadership Corps, at 678-301-7372.

More than 100 GCPS school teams will participate in the Gwinnett Readers Rally on March 3 at Berkmar High. Students from grades 4-12 will compete on 10-man teams in a quiz bowl style competition. Students will read books from a pre-determined list and will answer questions about those books. The day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. The competition will conclude at 2 p.m. The top four elementary teams will compete in the Championship Event on March 8, at the GCPS-TV studio at the Instructional Support Center (ISC). The top two middle and high school teams will participate in a Championship Bowl on March 8 at the ISC. The Championship Competition will be televised on GCPS-TV at a later date. For more information, call Kimberly Thames, Meadowcreek Elementary media specialist at 770-381-4239.

North Gwinnett High French Teacher Rhonda Archer has been selected to participant in an exchange program through the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Tech. North Gwinnett High partners with a school in France as an element of this program. Sixteen students and one teacher from France will be hosted by North Gwinnett students the week of March 8-14. The students will be at the school March 9, 13, and 14. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Brookwood High will host the Harlem Legends in a charity event for the Amanda Riley Foundation on March 10 at 3 p.m. The Legends team members are former Harlem Globetrotters and these players will compete in a game against the Amanda Riley All-Stars— Brookwood coaches and teachers and other members of the community. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-736-2088, or email

Duluth High students will perform “Footloose” on March 15, 16, and 17 at 7 p.m. and March 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $10 for adults and $8 for a student or children. For more information, call Theater Director Gwyn Jones at 770-476-5206.

Pinckneyville Middle students will perform the musical “Oklahoma” on March 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. for more information; call Theater Arts Director and Drama Club Sponsor Tracey Buchner at 770-263-0860.

The 2012 Gwinnett Transition Fair is scheduled to take place on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peachtree Ridge High. The event is for students with disabilities, their parents, and educators. Topics will include Medicaid Waivers, Navigating Social Security Benefits, Estate Planning and Guardianship Options, Department of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Assistive Technology, and Vocational and Community programs after high school. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with representatives from agencies and organizations in the Metro Atlanta area. For more information, contact Allison Vernon or Tamara King at 678-301-7121.

Minor Elementary will celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary on March 18. Community members have donated a collection of memories that will be shared at the event. For more information, and to RSVP, call the school at 770-925-9543.

Riverside Elementary students in Karen Johnson’s 4th grade class are collecting money to help kids in Nairobi, Africa through the Jimmy Carter Center. Using the “Coins4Kids” program, students have collected more than $1,700 to donate. For more information, call the school at 678-482-1000.

Registration for Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC), Gwinnett’s full-time online learning option, is holding registration for the 2012-13 school year through Feb. 29. Students can get more information through the counselor’s office at the local middle or high school and on the GOC website. This charter school opened its doors as a fulltime school in August of 2011. It will expand to include the middle school level starting this coming fall. Students in 5th through 11th grades have until Feb. 29 to register.

Gwinnett County schools are celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February. News media representatives interested in learning about the celebrations at a specific school, can contact the Department of Communication and Media Relations by calling 678-301-6020.

High school students who need to make up a class or want to get ahead, including rising 9th graders may take designated classes during the summer. Registration is ongoing at the following locations and online.

Face-to-Face ClassesOnline Classes
When: June 12 to July 11 (July 4 holiday)
    • 1st Period: 7:30-11:00 a.m.
    • Lunch: 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
    • 2nd Period: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Where: Mountain View High, Peachtree Ridge High, and South Gwinnett High.
How: Learn more about face-to-face summer school. Students may register online for face-to-face classes through June 4 or register in person on May 31 at Peachtree Ridge High.
When: June 11 to July 10 (July 4 holiday)
Where: Offered through Gwinnett County Online Campus (GOC).
How: Register online. Online registration closes June 4.
Face-to-face meeting required for final exams and for selected classes (health, PE, and science labs).
Important information for face-to-face and Online Campus summer school students:
  • Transportation is not provided for face-to-face summer school classes or for the face-to-face sessions required for Online Campus courses.
  • A student should take no more than two summer classes: two face-to-face classes, two online classes, or a combination.
  • All tuition fees are due at the time of registration.
  • Any student planning to participate in the summer school graduation ceremony must take all summer classes with Gwinnett County Public Schools.
  • Both the Face-to-Face classes and the online programs will follow a Monday-to-Thursday schedule. Face-to-face and online summer classes will not meet on Fridays.

“Counselor Recognition Award Ceremony” GCPS TV is honored to air a special broadcast of the Counselor Recognition Award Ceremony, held at the ISC on Feb. 10. Show your support of the district’s wonderful counselors and all they do for our students by tuning in to watch. This 80 minute program airs Feb. 27 through March 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus gets down to business with the South Gwinnett High Entrepreneurship Alliance, takes a look inside science classrooms and the 2012 Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and recognizes the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus - your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 30-minute program airs this week at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 11 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.
02/22/20122012 Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair: Focus on science learning grows with participation of elementary students (pdf)
02/20/2012North Gwinnett High’s West named nation’s top “Art Honor Society Sponsor” (pdf)
02/16/2012Gwinnett celebrates 2012 STAR Students and Teachers: County STAR Student title shared by Brookwood HS’ Song & Norcross HS’ Alin (pdf)

Sign up to receive Gwinnett County Public Schools’ e-newsletter, GCPS eNews... a quick, easy way to learn more about Georgia’s largest school system. In this newsletter, you’ll find stories on teaching and learning, school leadership and governance, and the partnerships that make Gwinnett County Public Schools successful. Go to the school system’s homepage for sign-up information ( and to check out the e-News archives.

February 27 and 28 are early release days for elementary and middle schools for parent-teacher conferences.

March is Music in Our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month, and Youth Art Month.

March 2 is Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’ birthday).

March 5-9 is Exceptional Children’s Week, National School Breakfast Week, and Newspapers in Education Week.

March 5-11 is National Foreign Language Week.

Daylight Savings Time begins March 11.

Girl Scout Sunday is March 11.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 15, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in February. Call the local school for the time and location.
Archer High School27-Feb
North Gwinnett Middle28-Feb

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.
Arbor Day Feb 25
Funday Sundays In FebruaryFeb 26
e-PlanetariumFeb 26
Bring A Classic To Life SeriesFeb 28
Forensics Science Lab Feb 29
Spring Equinox – let the flowers grow!March 3, 10, 12, 17
Green Living Kids: Backyard Wildlife HabitatMarch 10
Girl Scout Tea at the Lawrenceville Female SeminaryMarch 10, 17