News You Can Use - 02/23/2009

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
02/23/2009 - 03/01/2009

K.E. Taylor Elementary students will celebrate Black History Month with the school’s annual African-American Idol show on Feb. 20. For more information, call 770-338-4690.

Approximately 100 middle school students from nine Gwinnett County schools will participate at the 2009 Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Jr. Division, at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center on Feb. 21. Participating GCPS schools are Berkmar, Creekland, Duluth, Lanier, J.P. McConnell, J.E. Richards, Shiloh, and Trickum middle schools. The media is welcome from 9:30 to 11 a.m., when judging will take place. Exhibits will be on display from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and then again in the afternoon from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. for the awards ceremony. For more information, call Jennifer Farine, Notre Dame Academy communications director, at 678-387-9385 ext. 266, or email

The South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation will hold a Silent and Live Auction fundraiser at Summit Chase Country Club on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $20 and include different kinds of foods and a chance to win a $100 drawing. For more information, email Kelly McAloon of the South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation at

Cedar Hill Elementary will host the Central Gwinnett Cluster Witzzle Pro Math Tournament on Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. in the cafeteria. Fourth and fifth grade students from Cedar Hill Elementary, Lawrenceville Elementary, Simonton Elementary, and Margaret Winn Holt Elementary will compete. A Witzzle (witty puzzle) is comprised of a unique 3- by-3 array of digits using two operations to equal a target number. For more information, call Anne Foley, media specialist, at 770-962-5015.

The 6th Annual Miss Peachtree Ridge Scholarship Pageant, “Saturday Night Fever,” will be presented by the Peachtree Ridge Foundation, on Feb. 21. Miss Freshman and Miss Sophomore competition takes place at 3 p.m. Miss Junior and Miss Peachtree Ridge 2009 competition takes place at 7 p.m. Call the Foundation office at 678-957-3138 for more information.

Music Teacher Tiffany English of Sugar Hill Elementary has been elected to serve on the National Board of Trustees of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), a national organization for teachers of music and movement. She will be representing region IV which is the southeastern United States. In addition to serving as a liaison between AOSA and the chapters of her region, Tiffany will be actively involved in the affairs of AOSA on the national level. Tiffany is the current past president of the Atlanta Area Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association where she has also served as president, vice president, and mailing secretary.

In January, approximately 300 Gwinnett students participated in the regional DECA competition hosted by Norcross High. DECA is an international association of high school students studying marketing, management, and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service. Members have the opportunity to participate in competitive events and develop leadership skills. GCPS had 150 students qualify for the DECA state competition which will take place March 6-7 in Atlanta. State finalists will advance to International Competition in Anaheim, CA, on April 29. For a complete list of qualifying students, call media relations at 678-301-6020.

Meadowcreek High Senior Sandra Clavijo is the recipient of a $3,000 scholarship to the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Atlanta. She was awarded this scholarship at the 2009 Southern Hospitality Careers Expo Culinary Competition at the Georgia World Congress Center. For more information, call 770-381-9680.

North Gwinnett High Art Teacher Debi West is being honored at 2:30 p.m. on March 10, at North Gwinnett High for being named one of the Woodruff's Georgia Arts in Education Leaders. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Grayson High will host the school’s first African-American History Celebration on Feb. 25. The program titled “The Many Faces of Me… Past, Present, and Future” will be held in the theatre. For more information, call Teacher Valerie Lewis at 770-554-1071.

North Gwinnett High's Fashion Marketing Class will host the 5th annual Prom Fashion Show-- “Le Rêve Rouge”-- from the movie “Moulin Rouge,” which means red dream. On Feb. 26 from 7 to 8 p.m., students will model formal wear and prom dresses. Vendors will also have information on flowers, dining out, limousine services, and formal dress accessories. Tickets may be purchased for $5. For more information, call North Gwinnett High Teacher Danielle Kutter at 770-945-9558.

Peachtree Ridge High will host the school’s third Annual Black History Month Oratory Contest on Feb. 26. Students will recite a civil rights speech written by an African-American. A panel of two or three faculty judges will rate participants based on quality of introduction, effectiveness of delivery, and overall presentation. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners. For more information, call Teacher Seth Hersch at 678-957-3100.

Creekland Middle will host “College 101” for parents of GCPS middle school students on Feb. 26 from 6:30 -8:30. Participants may attend three of the following workshops designed to help parents prepare to send their children to college: Athletics and College Admissions, Military Options, PSAT, SAT I, ACT, SAT II-Why, When & Which Ones, Right Fit College: How to Find It, Technology in the College Admissions Process, and Been There, Done That: Lessons Learned from Parents of College Students. Refreshments will be provided. To register, call 770-338-4700 by Feb.19.

Norcross Elementary Counselor Amy Crapo will take 38 4th and 5th grade students on a field trip to Georgia Gwinnett College on Feb. 26. Students will tour the campus, and learn about math, science and technology and what it means to be a college student. For more information, call 770-447-2628.

Three GCPS teams will compete in the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon on Feb. 27-28.
The championship team from Parkview High is coached by Melodie Cleckler. Representing Berkmar High is a team coached by Chris Pae; and representing Mill Creek High is a team coached by Lori Bowen.

Step groups from 12 Gwinnett middle schools and high schools will be among the groups participating in the Annual High School Step Show on Feb. 28 in the old Shiloh High gym. The show is sponsored by the Gwinnett County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Coca Cola Company. The program starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 687-318-1831 for more information.

McKendree Elementary will host a Fun Run/Walk on March 6 (Rain date March 9) to benefit an outdoor playground and track additions/renovations at the school. All students are invited to participate. Prizes will be awarded to three students who raise the most money overall, and to the top grade-level winners. For more information, call 678-377-8933.

Berkeley Lake Elementary 4th graders will research countries for an International Day event on March 12. Students will create a booth representing their country complete with a flag, traditional costume, traditional food, and a brochure. For more information, call Julia E. Guyton at 770-446-0947.

Grayson High will host Taste of Grayson on March 14 from 12-2 p.m. in the Grayson High School Commons area. All proceeds benefit the Grayson Cluster Schools. Come and sample some of the delicious cuisine from many of the Grayson area restaurants and caterers. Festivities include vendors and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased for $10 and are on sale at any of the seven Grayson cluster schools, or by contacting Diane Schatell at,or by visiting

GCPS and the Gwinnett Interagency Transition Council will present a Transition Fair for high school students with disabilities and their families on March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Peachtree Ridge High, located at 1555 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee, 678-957-3103. Attendees will be able to visit with representatives from various agencies and service providers from 9:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Boxed lunches will be sold. For more information, call Allison Vernon at 678-301-7137, Tamra Burnette at 678-301-7132, or Chiara Perry at 678-301-7115.

Harmony Elementary will host a Dr. Seuss Birthday event during Read Across America Week. Guest readers include Stephany Fisher and Bill Gaines from CBS Atlanta News, Antwan Lake from the New Orleans Saints, Tony Yelk, a former Falcons player, a Gladiators player, a Georgia Force player, and a Falcons Cheerleader. On March 6, students and staff will dress as their favorite book characters. At 2 p.m., there will be a parade around the school led by the Gwinnett Braves mascot, Chopper, and the Harmony Radical Readers Book Club. For more information, call Teacher Marie Kennedy at 770-271-4899.

Alcova Elementary is celebrating Read Across America Day on March 2 with a “Words on Parade” event. All students will create a costume or hat representing the meaning of a word. Students in grades K-2 will parade around the school in costume at 10 a.m. Students in grades 3-5 will parade around the school in costume at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 678-376-8500.

Mulberry Elementary recently hosted a science fair and exploration night. Students participated in hands-on science experiments and demonstrations.

The Art Department of Peachtree Ridge High celebrated Black History Month with an ongoing display of student art work. The 2D design class presents value scale, grid drawings of influential African Americans completed with graphite. The graphic design class presents a color harmony project of influential African American artists using Photoshop. There is a color project in the simplified style of William H. Johnson’s work using color pencils, silhouettes based on their cultural heritage in the style of Kara Walker, one of the most sought after artists in the world currently; and the students researched 25 artists and worked in the style of the artist they most admired in their choice of medium including watercolor, prism color, graphite, acrylic paint, and mixed media. Other activities included a quiz bowl, a coffee house with “spoken word” performances, and movie afternoons. African American history was recognized on the announcements. For more information, contact Diane Clausen or LaShawnia Stinson at 678-957-3100.

GCPS invites the community to participate in the school-naming process taking place through Feb. 25. Seven new schools scheduled to open August of 2010 and 2011 will be named through this process. The school system invites Gwinnett community members and organizations to participate in the school naming process by providing their input. For more information and to print a school naming input form, visit the system website at

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
02/19/2009Duluth Middle and Lanier Middle students earn Academic Bowl’s top spots (pdf)
02/18/2009GCPS invites educators to Certified Teacher Employment Fair (pdf)
02/13/2009Gwinnett BOE names leaders for three schools and GCPS Foundation Fund, Inc. (pdf)

“Parentvision: The Power of Expectations” Hosted by Collins Hill High counselor and graduation coach Margaret Cheeley, this month’s program explores topics relating to raising teens in the 21st century featuring Connect With Kids Network (CWK) program “The Power of Expectations.” Research shows that expectations set by parents have a tremendous influence on children - in sports, in the classroom and in life. The key for parents, experts say, is to make their expectations clear, and to begin setting those expectations at an early age. This program also features a discussion with Margaret Cheeley and host of Parentvision; Tony Aguirre, parent and assistant principal at Collins Hill High; Kimberly Stewart, graduation coach at North Gwinnett High; Mike Emery, director of athletics, activities, and community schools; and a diverse panel of high school students. This 60-min. program airs Feb. 23-Feb. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m.

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus will share highlights from the Principal For a Day program, visit one of “America’s Healthiest Schools,” and take a look at how strong community partnerships help our students set their sights on success… join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus— your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. 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.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This 10-part GCPS TV original 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. Hour-long segments will air at 11 a.m. Monday-Sunday, through April 12 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

“English, Yes I Can! - Level 1” This video telecourse is designed to teach beginning English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 is scheduled to air through March 15 on GCPS TV. A new 60-minute class airs Monday-Thursday at 9 p.m., and repeats at 1 a.m. On Sunday, viewers can seek the week’s programs from noon to 4 p.m.

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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The English Language Learners ACCESS Test administration Window runs through Feb. 27.

February is Black History Month and Technical Education Month.

March is National Nutrition Month.

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

March 2-6 is Exceptional Children’s Week, National School Breakfast Week, National Foreign Language Week, and Newspapers in Education Week.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., March 12, 2009, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

March 13 is a student holiday.

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

Brookwood Elementary
Duluth Middle2/24
Harmony Elementary2/27
J.G. Dyer Elementary2/25
Level Creek Elementary2/24
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary2/26
Mountain Park Elementary2/23
Parkview High2/24
Parsons Elementary2/25
Peachree Ridge High2/23
R.L. Norton Elementary2/27
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.

Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Environmental Science Merit Badge, $10 per scout
Conduct experiments and learn about your impact on the natural environment in this four-hour session. Complete or start the experiments in requirement three of this merit badge that is required to become an Eagle Scout. Please register by Feb. 13 by calling 770-904-3500.