News You Can Use - 03/28/2011

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
03/28/2011 - 04/03/2011

Puckett’s Mill Elementary invites families to the second annual Sci/Tech Night on March 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. The night will begin with a “Going Green” show by magician Arthur Atsma. Families will choose from among subjects including the brain, the science of fencing, astronomy, bugs and insects, turtles, chocolate making, and much more. Local businesses will be on hand to present information. For more information, call Derek Schroll, local school technology coordinator, at 678-765-5110.

The South Gwinnett Cluster Title I schools will host “What to do this Summer--Be There Fair” for families on March 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Snellville Middle. There is no charge for the event. Information will be presented during three information sessions on Cyberbullying, Testing Prep, Gang Awareness, and other topics for parents. Community groups will provide information about summer activities available in Snellville and Gwinnett County. Entertainment will be provided by the music and dance programs from Britt Elementary, Norton Elementary, Rosebud Elementary, and Snellville Middle. Lunch will be served and childcare is provided. This program is sponsored by the GCPS Title I Program and the South Gwinnett Cluster Title I Schools. For more information, call Snellville Middle at 770-972-1530.

Dr. Jonathan Wetherington of Brookwood High was selected as a 2011 Fellow for the Society for Science and the Public (SSP). The SSP Fellows Program provides funds and training to selected U.S. science and math teachers. The Fellowship supports high-quality, independent scientific research by interested and motivated students. This program provides funds and opportunities for students to fully engage into an authentic scientific research program. Each fellow receives $8,500 in financial support and resources and training for Brookwood High to create a student research program at the school which can serve as a model for other schools in the district and state. The program is in its third year, and Jonathan is the first Fellow selected from Georgia. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

A team of Meadowcreek High web design students in Teacher Pintu Thaker’s Business Education and Computer Science class participated in a national Microsoft web site contest and won 1st place. Each team member will receive an XBOX 360 with 'kinect' and 2 games. Students were asked to create new ideas helpful to the environment. The team’s website promoted the idea of biodegradable bags and cans that would eventually decompose after a time. The 1st place team members are Valeria Cervantes, Erick Salgado, Yessica Trinidad, and Caejawn Williams. The team also competed in a second competition— WEBChallenge ( — developing applications that teach science, technology, engineering, and math in new, engaging ways. For more information, visit, or call the school at 770-806-2212.

Rock Springs Elementary Teacher Kathy Schmidt has been named 2011 GCPS Media Specialist of the Year. She will move forward to the next level of competition. For more information, call Mary Barbee, media coordinator, at 678-301-6432. Photos available upon request.

GCPS has two student winners who will represent Walton EMC on the summer Washington Youth Tour. Winners are Shawn Albert of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, and Simon David of Parkview High. In addition, Stanley David of Parkview High is an alternate. For more information, call the local school.

Norcross Elementary will host the annual Montage and Empty Bowls program on March 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the gym. Art students have worked throughout the year to create ceramic bowls. The handcrafted bowls, along with a serving of ice cream, will be available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the Norcross food bank. Entertainment at the event will include performances by the chorus, a song and dance performance, reading musical rhythms, a parachute routine, PE student performances, and a display of student artwork. For more information, call Art Teacher Bobbie Adamczyk at 770-448-2188.

Trickum Middle 8th grade gifted language arts students have embarked on a mission to research and learn about human rights issues around the world. Students will share this knowledge at the 2nd annual “Messages to Humanity” museum. Students will act as curators of the museum giving tours to students on March 28. On March 29 the museum will remain open into the evening for parents and community members to experienceNight at the Museum.” For more information, call Teachers Debra Moody or Cathy Alexander at 770-931-5650.

The Dacula Cluster schools will present a Choral Concert on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula. This is the fourth year for community members to enjoy an evening of music performed by the Dacula Cluster schools. For more information, call Beth Warzon, Alcova Elementary music teacher, at 678-376-8500.

South Gwinnett High will host the school’s fourth annual International Festival and Puppet Show on April 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $7.50. Attendees will enjoy the production of “Billy Goats Gruff and other Stuff” performed by All Hands Productions. All Hands Productions is dedicated to bringing quality puppet productions to children and their parents. This event is sponsored by Comets United and the South Gwinnett High Beta Club. For more information, call 770-972-4840.

South Gwinnett High will host a Chess Championship for all interested GCPS high school students on April 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants are asked to bring proof of attendance at a Gwinnett County Public School. The tournament will be held in the Cafeteria/Commons area at the school. There is no charge for the event. Pre-register by e-mailing Teacher Kirk Buis at Open registration will take place from 8:30-8:45 a.m. on April 16th.

The Peachtree Ridge Cluster Schools along with the Peachtree Ridge Foundation will team up with the Gwinnett Braves for Ridge Night at Cool Ray Field on April 28. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at all schools beginning March 25 for $12. Proceeds will benefit Relay For Life. For more information contact Jane Denton at or

The artwork of GCPS’ many talented students has been showcased during Tapestry 2011. The remaining exhibition will be held at the Instructional Support Center (ISC) through March 29. The exhibit includes pottery, paintings, jewelry, etc. For more information, call the Fine Arts Office at 678-301-7004. The following clusters/schools will exhibit student work during Tapestry Week 3: the Archer, Berkmar, Brookwood, Central Gwinnett, Duluth, and Grayson cluster; including the Grayson High Technical Education Program. Exhibit hours are 7 a.m.-8 p.m. during the week, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Beginning in August of 2011, Gwinnett County Public Schools will offer students a new way to earn a diploma… online through Gwinnett Online Campus. Registration for the new school is ongoing and has been extended through March 31, 2011. Registration materials and information about the online high school and online learning can be found on the district website and at

Chattahoochee Elementary students are selling chopsticks as a fundraiser to aid Japanese tsunami victims through donations to the Red Cross relief effort. Participants have the opportunity to purchase chopsticks to eat lunch with. Chopsticks are $1 and proceeds will benefit the Red Cross to help Japanese people obtain fresh water, food, clothing, and shelter. For more information, call 770-497-9907.

“ParenTVision: Prescription for Trouble” This month’s “Parentvision” features the Connect With Kids Network (CWK) program “Prescription for Trouble”. The sub-culture of drug use in America has evolved, and now there is a new threat to our children: medicine, legal drugs that are sold in every pharmacy and found in every medicine cabinets. Sleeping pills, painkillers, muscle relaxers, ADHD pills, and cough medicine have become the drugs of choice. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, with the exception of marijuana, young people are more likely to abuse these legal drugs than any other. In fact, nearly one in five teens report abusing prescription medications and one in 10 are abusing cough medicine. This episode of “ParenTVision” also features a candid discussion with Margaret Cheeley, Collins Hill High graduation coach and host of “ParenTVision”; Dr. Bryan Long, director of discipline and student interventions; Tim Greene, a Gwinnett graduate, and his mother, Becky Greene. This 60-min. program airs this week at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus welcomes new student leadership programs to the Norcross Cluster, takes part in a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and recognizes the contributions of Gwinnett’s top counselors...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.

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--

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Visit the school system website at the most current News Releases.
03/21/2011GCPS 8th graders improve already high scores on writing test (pdf)

General information on high school summer school registration
Summer session is available for students who need to make up a class or want to get ahead, including rising 9th graders who may take designated classes. All classes have a fee. Learn more about summer school on the GCPS website.
Face-to-Face Classes
Dates: June 14–July 13 (July 4 holiday, no Fridays)
Locations: Central Gwinnett High, Mill Creek High, and Shiloh High
Register: Online registration (VISA/Mastercard credit or debit card, e-check) will be held May 9–June 7 at attending face-to-face classes also may register in person (cash or money order only) at Central Gwinnett High on June 4. All out-of-county students must register on June 4 at Central Gwinnett.
Online Classes
Dates: June 13–July 11 or 12 (July 4 holiday, no Fridays)
Location: A reliable computer with an Internet connection (daily access required). Note: Final exams require face-to-face meeting. Some courses require materials pick-up June 8 or 9. Health, PE, and science classes require face-to-face meetings for labs and/or tests.
Register: Register online (VISA/Mastercard credit or debit card, e-check) at between May 9 and June 3.

Elementary and Middle School Summer School…
Elementary and middle school students who need more time and opportunity to learn will have that option during Gwinnett’s free Academic Summer School. Qualifying students in grades 3–8 would be recommended for the 15-day session if they have not met requirements for promotion to the next grade— passing required sections of the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for grades 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8; or passing core classes for 6th graders. Participating students will take a retest at the end of summer school to determine placement for 2011–12. Students will attend summer classes Monday through Thursday for three weeks, starting June 20 and ending July 14, with July 4 as a holiday. Summer school students will not attend classes on Fridays. Parents of qualifying students will receive additional information from their student’s school later this spring.

The schedule is set for the Gwinnett County Board of Education’s annual Area Board Meetings, a time of year when School Board members meet in their local districts. These meetings, which are in addition to the regular monthly Board meeting, are an opportunity for the five Board members to meet in their district, share information, and hear from their local constituents. The program includes CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ annual update on the state of the school district, which focuses on the system’s accomplishments, challenges, and continuous efforts to raise student achievement. The Area Board Meetings are held by School Board district, but the public is invited to attend any of the meetings. All Area Board Meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the host school’s theater. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m.
March 29-- District II --- Hosted by Board member Daniel D. Seckinger at Lanier High.
District II represents all or part of the Collins Hill, Lanier, Mill Creek, Mountain View, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge clusters, including Buice School.
March 31-- District III --- Hosted by Board member Dr. Mary Kay Murphy at Norcross High.
District III includes all or part of the Duluth, Norcross, and Peachtree Ridge clusters, including GIVE Center West, Gwinnett Online Campus, and Monarch School.
April 12-- District IV --- Hosted by Board Chairman Dr. Robert McClure at Brookwood High.
District IV includes all or part of the Berkmar, Brookwood, Central Gwinnett, Grayson, Parkview, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett clusters.
April 14-- District V --- Hosted by Board Vice Chairman Louise Radloff at Berkmar High.
District V includes all or portions of the Berkmar, Brookwood, Meadowcreek, and Parkview clusters.
April 19-- District I --- Hosted by Board member Carole Boyce at Grayson High.
District I includes all or portions of the Berkmar; Brookwood; Central Gwinnett; Collins Hill; Dacula; Grayson; Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Mountain View, and South Gwinnett clusters; including GIVE Center East; Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Hooper Renwick School; Maxwell High School of Technology; Oakland Meadow School; and Phoenix High.

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

The Georgia Writing Evaluation Window for 3rd graders is scheduled for March 21-April 1.

The Georgia High School Graduation Tests for 11th graders is scheduled for March 28-31.

April is National Poetry Month, School Library Media Month, and Occupational Therapy Month.

April 2 is International Children’s Book Day.

April 4-8 is Spring Break (school holidays).

April 8 is a systemwide spring holiday for GCPS. All locations will be closed.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 21, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

April 22 is a snow make-up day— school in session.

The following schools will hold School Council meetings in March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Buice School
Chattahoochee Elementary
Creekland Middle
Duluth High
Duluth Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
Dyer Elementary
Harmony Elementary
Harris Elementary
Lanier High
Level Creek Elementary
Lilburn Middle
McKendree Elementary
North Gwinnett Middle
Parsons Elementary
Peachree Ridge High
Puckett's Mill Elementary
Richard Hull Middle
Riverside Elementary
Rock Springs Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Stripling Elementary
Sugar Hill Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
Sycamore 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.
Your House My HouseMarch 28, 29, 30, 31, April 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
All Through the Years Spring Break CampApril 4 through April 8
Your House, My House MalaysiaApril 4, 5, 6, 8
Fun on the FarmApril 6
History & HerbsApril 9