News You Can Use - 02/16/2009

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
02/16/2009 - 02/22/2009

Duluth Middle’s academic bowl team, coached by teachers Linda Koch and Sylvia Barteaux, is the 2009 PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades State Champion. The team won the title at the PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) Academic Bowl for Middle Grades State Finals in February, held at Georgia College & State University. The team emerged victorious in the final of four-single elimination rounds. Lanier Middle’s academic bowl team, coached by Scott Johnson and Marci Lyn Cooper, received First Runner-up honors. For more information, call the local school.

Four GCPS music educators have been recognized by the National Band Association, receiving the organization’s “Citation of Excellence Award.” The Citation of Excellence Award is presented to an individual whose ensemble has a history of a distinguished level of accomplishment, or an individual who has made significant contributions to the field. This year’s Gwinnett honorees are: Hunter McRae, Lanier Middle; Dr. Tonya A. Millsap, Glenn C. Jones Middle; Warren Stokes, Glenn C. Jones Middle; and Mary Wilson, Lanier Middle. For more information, call the local school.

Eight GCPS high schools were honored as AP Honor Schools by the Georgia Department of Education. The 2009 AP Honor Schools are named in three categories, based on the results of 2007-08 AP classes and exams: Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett high schools were recognized as AP Access and Support Schools with 30% of AP Test Takers that are African-American or Hispanic, and at least 30% of all AP Exams scoring 3 or higher; and Brookwood, Duluth, North Gwinnett, and Parkview high schools were recognized as AP Merit Schools with at least 20% of students taking AP exams and at least half of the AP exams scoring a 3 or higher. For more information, call the local school.

The Art Institute of Atlanta has selected the artwork of five GCPS visual arts teachers to be displayed in “The Appreciation Show.” Winners include Christopher Vigardt of Brookwood High, Debi West of North Gwinnett High, Eleanor Neal of Shiloh High, Marie Thomas of Brookwood High, and Becky Raffalovich of Phoenix High. For more information, call the local school.

Parkview High orienteering teams and individuals claimed top honors in the Southeast Inter-Scholastic Orienteering championship. First place Junior Varsity team members are Erica Shane, Rebecca Shane, Stephanie Shane, and Noah Tucker. Second place Varsity individual awards went to: 1st place Erica Shane, 2nd place Rebecca Shane, and 3rd Place Stephanie Shane. Second place JROTC Varsity team members are William Gauspohl, Louie Roger, Rob Romaine, and John Williams. Individual Awards for both high school Varsity and JROTC Varsity went to: 1st place John Williams, and 3rd place Louie Roger. For more information, call 770-921-2874.

2008 state counseling winners from GCPS were honored at the State Board of Education meeting in February. Last year’s regional and state winners were Karen Gannon Griffith from Berkeley Lake Elementary, 2008 Georgia Elementary School Counselor of the Year; Dr. Helen Clark from Dacula High, 2008 Georgia Secondary Counselor of the Year; and Keith Chaney, formerly Grayson High principal, 2008 Georgia Counseling Advocate of the Year.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has awarded a $5,000 Toolbox for Education grant to McKendree Elementary for Project STRIDE (Students Taking Responsibility In Diet And Exercise). McKendree Elementary is one of more than 1,000 schools or parent organizations awarded a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for parent-initiated school improvement projects benefiting public education K-12 across the United States during the 2008-2009 school year. Project STRIDE funds will be spent on the completion of an asphalt track to be used in daily Physical Education classes, before and after school jogging clubs, an annual school wide Fun Run/Walk (March 6, 2009), a faculty walking club, and to assist in meeting the health and fitness needs of the community. The track is scheduled to be completed in early February. For more information, call 678-377-8933.

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.

The South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation will hold a major fundraiser and Silent and Live Auction 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 A. 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, Margaret Winn Holt Elementary, Lawrenceville Elementary, and Simonton Elementary schools 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. Child care will be provided at Shiloh Middle. 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. Tickets will be available for purchase the week of Feb. 16, or call the Foundation office at 678-957-3138 for more information.

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.

Creekland Middle will host “College 101” for parents of GCPS middle school students on Feb. 26 from 6:30 -8:30. Attendees should register by Feb. 19 and 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.

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, 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.

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.
02/10/200911 GCPS high school artists honored in 2009 Georgia High School Drawing Competition (pdf)
02/09/2009North Gwinnett High art teacher saluted as a Georgia Arts in Education Leader (pdf)

“GCPS Readers Rally - Final Four! Elementary School Competition” Viewers, start your engines! Join GCPS TV for the first televised GCPS Elementary School Readers Rally. Four teams of students, representing Sycamore, McKendree, Mulberry, and Charles Brant Chesney elementary schools, compete in this fast paced quiz-bowl competition testing their knowledge of literature. Who will cross the finish line first? Tune in and find out. This 45-min. program airs Feb. 16-21 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“Freedom Bound - Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip” Choice, hope, and escape from slavery are highlighted in stories spanning three centuries. Examine the options for slaves willing to risk their lives for freedom. Where could they run? Whom could they trust? Learn how these answers changed over time, from the American colonies’ first slave laws to the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. This 60-min. program airs live on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.

“Understanding Arab Music with Simon Shaheen - Prince Williams/Kennedy Arts Center” Western music is very connected to the rich history of Arabic music. Many of our Western musical instruments are direct descendants of Arabic stringed and reed instruments as well as the use of complex melodies and improvisation in performance. Master musician and composer Simon Shaheen, along with his ensemble Qantara, demonstrates the unique sound and range of several Arabic instruments, performs traditional Arabic music with jazz and classical influences, and involves students in learning rhythms and patterns used most frequently in traditional/classical Arab music. This 60-min. program airs Feb. 16-18 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Feb. 20-21 at 1 p.m. and 8 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.

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.

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

Berkeley Lake Elementary2/19
Bethesda Elementary2/16
Brookwood Elementary2/23
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary2/20
Duluth High2/17
Duluth Middle2/24
Glenn C. Jones Middle2/19
Harmony Elementary2/27
Ivy Creek Elementary2/20
J.G. Dyer Elementary2/25
K.E. Taylor Elementary2/20
Level Creek Elementary2/24
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary2/26
Mountain Park Elementary2/23
Mulberry Elementary2/19
Parkview High2/24
Parsons Elementary2/25
Peachree Ridge High2/23
Peachtree Elementary2/17
R.L. Norton Elementary2/27
Suwanee Elementary2/16
Walnut Grove Elementary2/19

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.