News You Can Use - 10/11/2004

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
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004

Susan Ralstin, a 4th grade teacher at Kanoheda Elementary, is one of two Georgia teachers to receive the Milken Family Foundation 2004 National Educator Award with a $25,000 prize. Only two teachers receive this prestigious award in Georgia each year. For more information, call Kirk Englehardt of the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) at 404-463-1487.

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) awarded Brookwood High student Erin Eidson a 2004 NCTE Achievement Award in Writing. A total of 2,587 students were nominated for the award across the country, and from that number, 689 students were chosen as outstanding writers. NCTE indicates that Erin is “among the best student writers in the country.” For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Sharon Brown of J.C. Magill Elementary was selected to appear in the 2003-04 Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. A former student nominated Ms. Brown. For more information, call 770-554-1030.

Twenty Gwinnett County teachers have been named semifinalists in this year’s Teacher of the Year competition. The winner of the 2005 Teacher of the Year (TOTY) title for Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) will be announced at a banquet on Nov. 9, 2004, at 6:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center. For more information, call Dr. Lea Arnau at 770-513-6652.

Berkmar High IV Bray Physics, Directed Study, and Web Design
Cedar Hill Elementary John Dalton Technology (Grades K-5)
Central Gwinnett High Susan Dietz Language Arts (10th Grade)
Collins Hill High Laura Herbig Gifted/AP Chemistry (Gr. 10-12)
Craig Elementary Lynn Bullard 2nd Grade
Alton C. Crews Middle Susan Harris Language Arts (8th Grade)
Fort Daniel Elementary Diane Collin 4th Grade
Harbins Elementary Sybil Anderson 4th Grade
Harmony Elementary Patricia Spencer Art
R.D. Head Elementary Joann Morse Gifted (Grades 2-4)
Richard Hull Middle Sallie Barrett Gifted Science (7th Grade)
Level Creek Elementary Debi West Visual Art (Grades K-5)
J.C. Magill Elementary Marianne Carney 5th Grade
Norcross Elementary Clayborn Knight 3rd Grade
Parsons Elementary Diane A. Clack English to Speakers of Other Languages (Grades 2-5)
Henry Partee Elementary Jennifer G. Leonard 1st Grade
Peachtree Ridge High Rosemarie Placek Chemistry (10th Grade)
Shiloh Middle Brian Keith Oldknow Algebra (8th Grade)
Suwanee Elementary Michele Zuschlag 1st Grade
Trickum Middle Aly Brown Pre-Algebra (7th Grade)

The Trickum Middle Academic Bowl team placed third at the Shiloh Middle Academic Bowl Tournament on Sept. 25. Team members include Glenn Branscomb, Charles Fang, Kristen Jolly, Timmy Philip, Deep Datta Roy, and Joshua Wong. Glenn Branscomb won first place for science, and Timmy Philip won second place for science. Kristin Jolley won second place for fine arts, and Deep Datta Roy earned third place in math. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

Jasmine Ford of Mill Creek High, Steven Lau of Duluth High, and Said Saab of Meadowcreek High were among 51 Georgia high school students selected by state school Superintendent Kathy Cox to become the “voice” of students throughout the state on important education issues. These students will participate in the 2004 State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. For more information, call Kirk Englehardt of the DOE at 404-463-1487.

Bethesda Elementary will hold its second annual Literacy/Writing Night on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. Literacy sessions for parents will be offered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The sessions will help parents teach their children how to become better readers. In addition to the Literacy Sessions, a Scholastic Book Fair will be held in the media center. Childcare will be provided. For more information, call Maria Butler at 770-921-2000.

Henry Partee Elementary has many activities planned leading up to school wide elections on Oct. 28. Presidential candidate interviews are scheduled for Oct. 14 followed by presidential candidate debates on Oct. 21. Teachers will collect voter registration applications the week of Oct. 18 followed by a sample poll. For more information, call 770-982-6920.

Cedar Hill Elementary will hold a free math carnival for students, parents, and the community on Oct. 14 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Real life applications for math will be incorporated into fun activities including games and prizes, computer activities, and a “bounce house.” Food will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the 1st grade 100 Book Club. Teachers and staff will dress as clowns and run math booths. For more information, call 770-962-5015.

The Duluth High theater department will present “Proposals” by Neil Simon Oct. 14-17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased at the door. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

The 5th grade Annistown Elementary students will celebrate completion of the ADVANCE Program with a graduation ceremony on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. in the school gymnasium. Millie Linville, the Underage Drinking Prevention Specialist from Gwinnett United in Drug Education (G.U.I.D.E.) will speak at the ceremony. Lesson topics include: searching for positive alternatives, understanding and avoiding gangs and violence, and how to say “No” to peer influences. For more information, please contact Beverly Cox, assistant principal at 770-979-2950.

The Harbins Elementary PTA will host the annual “Harbins Hoe Down” on Oct. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. Entertainment and food will be available for purchase. Admission is $5 per person (free admission for children under 3). For more information, call 770-682-4270.

Walnut Grove Elementary’s top students in the annual PTA fundraiser will have the opportunity to enter a money machine to gather as much money as they can in one minute. Other students will ride in a Hummer limousine. These activities take place on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. For more information, call 770-513-6892.

The Glenn C. Jones Middle media center will host a celebrity guest reader event Oct 19-21 to celebrate Teen Read Week. Celebrities will include Ms. Georgia USA, Mrs. Georgia USA, Ms. UGA, the mayor of Sugar Hill, the Gwinnett Gladiators, 11 Alive investigators, a Creative Loafing writer, County Chairman Wayne Hill, and local college athletes. Each celebrity will read an excerpt from a favorite book, poem, or article and share information about his or her life. Contact Julie Richardson at 770-904-5484 for more information.

Trickum Middle students will present “A Literary Night” on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. after the PTSA meeting. There will be dramatic presentations of original scripts, poetry readings, a reading information center, classroom displays, and reading circles. The PTSA will set up a coffee shop in the media center. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

Grayson High School Technical Education Program will hold an open house on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. For information, call 770-554-7082.

Peachtree Elementary will participate in the Gwinnett Great Day of Service on Oct. 23. Organizers will work with Peachtree Elementary parents and students to clean up the grounds and halls at the annual Hands on Peachtree workday. Workers will clean up the outdoor classroom area and playground and lay ground cover and plant flowers in the garden areas around the school. Volunteers will distribute new and gently used children’s books to foster homes, shelters and hospitals. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

Maxwell High School of Technology will hold a fall open house on Oct. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Parents will meet teachers, view labs and curriculum materials, and have questions answered. Maxwell is located at 990 McElvaney Lane in Lawrenceville. For more information, call Donna Powers at 770-338-4609.

The Peachtree Elementary PTA Academic Boosters and Science Committee will sponsor “Science Mania” on Oct. 28. This year's subject areas will include health- and science-related activities. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Relay for Life pizza dinner fundraiser. Hands-on experiments, science- and health-related exhibits, and video presentations will begin at 6 p.m. This year’s class topics include Animals from Around the World, Ladybugs, Germ Busters, Volcanoes, Mini-Monsters, Pollinators on Parade, Fossils, Rocks & Minerals, and Electricity. Speaker Rick Bradley of The Georgia Reptile and Amphibian Rescue Effort, Inc., will present a class on camouflage in reptiles and amphibians. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

K.E. Taylor Elementary students will learn about the presidential election by reading books explaining the president’s job, completing elections activities, making campaign posters, and singing patriotic songs. After registering to vote, students will participate in a school wide mock election on Nov.1. For more information, call 770-338-4680.

SAT tests will take place at Buchanan High School of Technology throughout the academic year. The SAT test will be administered on the following Saturdays in building F: Nov. 6, Dec. 4, and Jan. 22. Preregistration is required. The new SAT, which will include a writing portion, will be administered beginning in the spring of 2005. For more information, call 770-326-8000.

On Oct. 2, Hands on Atlanta and B.B. Harris Elementary staff, parents, and students joined together to beautify the school grounds. More than 30 people worked together to trim trees, plant flowers, and clean up the outdoor classroom. Hands on Atlanta donated a picnic table and three tables were constructed for use in the outdoor classroom. For more information, call 770-476-2241.

On Sept. 9, the Simpson Elementary PTA/Family Life Committee sponsored “Parent University,” led by Simpson Elementary reading specialist Connie Kenney and math specialist Greta Loeber. Parents had the opportunity to attend grade-level presentations in reading and math subject areas to become more familiar with the Gwinnett County AKS curriculum and learn strategies to help their child with homework. For more information, call 770-417-2400.

Simpson Elementary students participated in the 2004 Atlanta IronKids Bread Triathlon, a national championship held in Wills Park, Alpharetta, on Sept. 19. Students participated in 100- and 200-meter swims, a 3.1-mile cycle race, and .6 and 1.2 mile runs. For more information, call 770-417-2400.

5th grade classes of Peachtree Elementary teacher Kathy Russo participated in an election and citizenship unit. Students made posters encouraging others to register to vote. The Student Council conducted a voter registration campaign. Over 100 new voters were registered. For more information, call 770-448-8710.

Brookwood High drama instructors Ken and Patty Lindahl accompanied 23 students to New York City during the weekend of Oct. 8. In addition to seeing Broadway shows and participating in workshops, students met former Brookwood students who are now either working or going to school in New York City. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

“Teachers Up Close - Transitioning to Middle School” This program identifies the changes a middle school student can expect, and takes a look at how schools work to prepare students for these changes. This 30-minute GCPS TV original program airs daily 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.

“Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Exchange - Writing Matters: Children as Authors” This program features the GCPS Writing Institute, an innovative writing program that supports both teachers and students. This 30-minute program airs daily at 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

“Meet the Author - Kalli Dakos” This reading specialist has written more than 2,000 poems about life in elementary school classrooms, including the best-selling children's books “The Goof Who Invented Homework” and “The Bug in Teacher's Coffee,” both Children's Choice Selections from the International Reading Association. This 30-minute program airs Oct. 11-16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 1)” This video telecourse is designed to teach beginning English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 began reairing August 23 and runs through October 19 on GCPS TV. Watch Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. with a repeat at 1 a.m. The week’s four episodes may be viewed each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tune in to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for education programs and information. TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 (Ch. 97 without converter) BellSouth on Channel 21
Charter on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or e-mail A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

October is Computer Learning Month. October also includes heritage and cultural celebrations for Americans of Polish, Italian, and Czech heritage.

October 11 is a holiday for students and some staff; however, most school staff will be participating in professional learning and planning activities.

October 10-16 is National Metric Week and National School Lunch Week.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., October 14, 2004, at Lawrenceville East, located at 723 Hi-Hope Road in Lawrenceville.

October 17-23 is National School Bus Safety Week.

October 25 is Georgia School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day.

November 2 is a student and teacher holiday.

New schools will host dedication ceremonies on the dates and times listed below. Call the local school to RSVP.
School Name Date Time RSVP
Level Creek Elementary October 17 1:30 p.m. 770-904-7950
Glenn C. Jones Middle October 17 3:30 p.m. 770-904-5450
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary October 24 1:30 p.m. 678-542-2300
Duluth Middle October 24 3:30 p.m. 770-476-3372

Instructional materials are available for public review Oct. 4 to Oct. 30 at the following locations:
Buchanan HS of Technology— 2595 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross, 770-326-8000
Lawrenceville East— 723 Hi-Hope Road, Lawrenceville, 770-338-4832
Materials may be reviewed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 16 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Thursday evenings, Oct. 14 and 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. Materials up for review are Language Arts, grades 9-12; Foreign Language, grades 6-12; High School Science, two electives; and materials for the Grayson High Technical Education Program.

Gwinnett County Public Schools invites community members and employees to participate in its annual review of Gwinnett's Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Employees and community members have until Friday, Oct. 29, to submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS. Visit the GCPS Web site at for a review form. Submit this Word document as an attachment by e-mail to or mail a printed copy to:
Curriculum Development Office
Lawrenceville East
P.O. Box 343
Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0343

The GEMS Oversight Committee, a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the AKS, will consider all suggestions when members meet in February. That committee then will recommend changes to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education for implementation in the 2005-2006 school year.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during October. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.