News You Can Use - 05/14/2012

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
05/14/2012 - 05/20/2012

Level Creek Elementary will host Operation Safety Day on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is sponsored by the U.S. Secret Service and provides the opportunity for student pictures and finger prints to be compiled in a safety document for parent or guardian use. Level Creek Elementary is expecting more than 100 agents and officers to make presentations to the students from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the United States Postal Service, the Gwinnett County Police Department, the Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Department of Safety and Security, and the Suwanee Police and Fire Departments. Speakers will teach students about their role in protecting the safety of our country, state, and community. There will be trucks, cars, hummers, two dogs, and a helicopter from the different agencies located around the school for students to see from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 770-904-7950.

Rock Springs Elementary will host Zane Collins Science Day on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Zane Collins Science Day is an event honoring Zane Collins, a student who lost his life in an accident. His parents and Publix donated money to create a science lab in his honor. Each year, Zane’s parents and Publix fund this event at the school. This year the theme is the Ocean.Attendees will learn about the ocean and visit student displays with information about more than 50 different ocean animals. This event is for all students at the school. Special invited guests include the family of Zane Collins, the Vice President of Publix, GCPS Central Office staff, and District II Board member Daniel Seckinger. Activities and exhibits include a shark room hosted by Collins Hill High teachers and students; a turtle encounter hosted by Berkmar High and Snellville Middle teachers; a Fishing for Facts math activity hosted by the math coach; and a Beach Reading literacy activity hosted by a literacy coach. Artwork includes a life-sized octopus sculpture along with classroom lessons and activities. For more information, call Assistant Principal Julie Mosley at 770-932-7474.

The 3rd Annual Gwinnett FLARE (Focus on Leadership and Advancement in Renewable Energy) Competition brings together students from elementary, middle, and high school to celebrate innovation in alternative energy. The vision of FLARE is to provide a venue for students to integrate science and engineering concepts in order to consider the impact of alternative energy on our community. The competition categories include: Elementary School: Solar Cookers; Middle School: Junior Solar Sprint; and High School: Senior Solar Sprint. The event takes place on May 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Instructional Support Center parking lot, 437 Old Peachtree Road, Suwanee, GA 30024. For more information, call Director of Science Dr. Jonathon Wetherington at 678-301-7045.

873 student and staff musicians from Hull Middle and Peachtree Ridge High joined together to break the world record for largest string orchestra this month. The new record will be documented and submitted for inclusion in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” For more information, call the schools.

The Consulate General of Japan, located in Atlanta, held its second Drawing Contest to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States. The theme was “Cherry Blossoms.” Nearly 700 submissions from grades K-12 were judged by local art experts. The top three works were selected from each grade level and Willie Chi of Chesney Elementary and Nytere Boykin of Rosebud Elementary won art honors. For more information, visit

A team of Meadowcreek High students earned Exceptional Collaboration and Exceptional Creativity awards in the Global Virtual Classroom Competition for the website they created in partnership with students in India and Croatia. For more information, call 770-381-9680.

Gwin Oaks Elementary won the 2012 Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Witzzle Pro® Tournament for highest combined score of the 4th and 5th grade participants. Individual winners include:
Fourth Grade:
1st Place, Gregory Zhang, Gwin Oaks Elementary
2nd Place, Megan Huang, Brookwood Elementary and Harry Sohn, Mason Elementary
3rd Place, Leo Wang, Head Elementary
Fifth Grade:
1st Place, Reuben Dayal, Gwin Oaks Elementary and Kareena Udeshi, Arcado Elementary
2nd Place, Amy Kim, Dyer Elementary
3rd Place- Albert Adel, Mason Elementary

12 GCPS educators have earned Master Teachers certification from the state for 2012. These Master Teachers are Jill Arness/Hull Middle, Laurel Bullock/Osborne Middle, Kimberly Foster/Peachtree Ridge High, Jennie Gungiah/Kanoheda Elementary, Melissa Murphy/Ferguson Elementary, Jason Oglesby/North Gwinnett Middle, Julie Van Soelen/Creekland Middle, Celisa Edwards/Dacula Middle, Betrease Lawson/Brookwood Elementary, Gayle Graham/Mulberry Elementary, Shenika Glenn/Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology, and Terilyn Smith/Rockbridge Elementary. For more information, call Ginny Elliott, Program Director for Master Teacher a 404-232-2601.

South Gwinnett High student Yetunde Maria Ogunlusi has been selected to participate in the Girls State program at Georgia Southern this summer. Girls State is a week-long education program providing girls with citizenship training. It is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. The program has grown from a few hundred participants to nearly 20,000 Girls State delegates annually. For more information, call Susan Thompson, South Gwinnett High counselor, at 678-344-2208.

Collins Hill High students earned 2nd Place at the 2011-12 State Literary Championship sponsored by Georgia High School Association. For more information, call 770-682-4100.

17 GCPS art students won recognition in the “Barefoot in the Park” student art exhibit. Awards were given to the following students.
1st Prize, Erin Kim of North Gwinnett High
2nd Prize, Katherine Michels of Duluth High
3rd Prize, Anna Archer of North Gwinnett High
Honorable Mention Awards went to:
Duluth High-Claire Hu, Steve Le, and Naomi Niwano
North Gwinnett High- Julia Buehler, Marisa Carroll, Rachel Garrett, Elizabeth Hamilton, Timothy Kuhn, Helen Peng, Kirstyn Romaguera, Ha Truong, Ashley Waller, and Rachel Ward
Peachtree Ridge High- Rachel Anderson.
In addition to the winning artists, Duluth High students participated with the festival visitors and Duluth community members to create a community weaving to be displayed at the school. Participants were asked to choose a length of fabric and to weave it into the loom. More than 150 pieces of fabric were woven at the event. The finished piece will be hung at the school.

The Ramlose Foundation awarded four $1,500 grants to the Archer, Central Gwinnett, Grayson, and South Gwinnett cluster foundations for innovative practices. The South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation will use the funds to host a summer Advanced Placement Enrichment Camp for rising 9th graders. The Grayson Cluster Schools Foundation will use the grant for Acceleration in Mathematics instruction by adding Gifted Endorsements in teacher certification. Central Gwinnett Cluster Foundation will focus on the Vertical Team Approach to Writing instruction as educators coordinate effective strategies and consistent standards in the teaching of writing skills. The Archer Cluster Schools Foundation will focus on science instruction using hands-on materials. For more information, visit the website,

A Central Gwinnett High student has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Atlanta Hawks. Central Gwinnett High senior Rachelle Wood has been awarded a $2,500 scholarship, renewable for four years, through a grant from The Atlanta Hawks Foundation. The Foundation awards Georgia State University freshman and rising freshman who are full-time students from Georgia and have demonstrated a commitment to education and community service. Students must also meet academic criteria that includes maintaining a 2.8 grade point average. Rachelle’s extensive community service has been evident in her volunteering at the Aurora Theater, as well as the Family Promise Shelter, which provides meals and shelter for families in need. Active in Central Gwinnett’s “Teaching is a Profession Program,” Miss Wood serves as a volunteer teacher at Lawrenceville Elementary for first and fourth grade students, as well as other programs. For more information, call 770-963-8041.

Chattahoochee Elementary 5th grade students will perform “A Thousand Cranes” on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. This play is the story of a Japanese girl in 1945, who was diagnosed with leukemia. For more information, call Louvene Williams at 770-497-9907.

Grayson Elementary hosts the school’s 5th Grade Gifted Historical Interactive Museum on May 17 at 6 p.m. The title of this year’s museum is “Courage...Experiencing the Historical Events of the Great Depression, WWII, and the Holocaust...Through A Child’s Eyes.” The performance includes a Power Point portrayal of actual children who lived through these dark times. To make a reservation or for more information, email Kristie Horn at

Sweetwater Middle families and community leaders will join Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful for Good Neighbor Community Days on May 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Projects will include graffiti paint-out on fences, litter pick up, and right-of-way beautification. The Cruse Road Project includes 13 work sites from James Road to Bethesda School Road designated as Good Neighbor Project Locations. Event sign in and parking is at 2933 Club Drive, Lawrenceville; and additional parking is available at Sweetwater Middle after signing in at Club Drive. Registration is required and may be completed by filling out the form from your student and returning it to the teacher, or visit Families and community members interested in participating should select the Cruse Road Project in the “drop down” list and name Sweetwater Middle as their group.

Hopkins Elementary students earned 500 free books and a visit from the “We Give Books” ReadMobile Tour (Pearson Foundation) on May 22 to celebrate the school’s success and participation in the “Read for My School Campaign.” The ReadMobile is visiting campuses throughout the country to recognize readers who are dedicated to improving their own schools and communities. For more information, call Sharon Britt, media specialist, at 770-381-4281.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is seeking parents and community members as well as GCPS employees who are interested in applying to become part of the district’s committee which provides input on the school system’s curriculum. Individuals are invited to apply to become members of the school system’s GEMS Oversight Committee. The application deadline is Friday, June 1, 2012. The GEMS Oversight Committee is a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the district’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Committee members serve three-year terms. Completed applications should be returned by June 1 to the attention of Dr. Calvin Watts, associate superintendent for Teaching and Learning Support, at the Instructional Support Center, 437 Old Peachtree Rd., NW, Suwanee, 30024. Interested individuals can find the application on the school district’s web site,

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.

The 2012 Academic Summer School for Qualifying Students in Grades 3-8 will begin on June 18 and run through July 9, with no classes on Fridays, or July 4. The 15-day session will take place at some schools and some combined “cluster” summer school sites due to construction and maintenance projects. Participating students will be notified of location for summer school. Parents of eligible students will be notified that their student may participate in the free session and given specifics about location and hours. Most summer school sites will not offer transportation. Those schools with additional federal funding to offer transportation will notify parents regarding availability. The free academic summer school is for students who were not successful on tests required for promotion or who did not meet promotion criteria at their grade level. Students are given an opportunity to retake the CRCT subtest(s) at the end of summer school in order to meet promotion criteria and earn promotion to the next grade.

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus salutes the graduating Class of 2012 and learns more about their post secondary plans, congratulates an impressive group of scholarship winners, and discovers how students are gaining leadership experience through Project PASS… 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., 7:30 p.m., and 11 p.m.

“DramaRama Highlight Program” More than 200 students from seven GCPS middle school theater programs recently participated in DRAMARAMA at the Aurora Theater. GCPS TV was on hand to capture the highlights of the day, from the opening acts to the closing awards. Watch “ArtStage - DRAMARAMA,” featuring students from Creekland, Duluth, Lilburn, Radloff, Osborne, Trickum, and Sweetwater middle schools, May 14-20 at 2 and 8 p.m., exclusively on GCPS TV. Each DramaRama performance showcased in the highlight program will be broadcast in full, beginning May 21. Air dates and times are as follows:
May 21 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Lilburn Middle – “Punctuation Proclamation” and Creekland Middle – “The Music Man”
May 22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Osborne Middle – “Peter Pan” and Radloff Middle – “Two Girls, One Black Eye and Too Much Advice”
May 23 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Duluth Middle – “Party Till You Drop” and Sweetwater Middle – “Fame Junior” and Trickum Middle – “The Little Mermaid”

“Spanish for Educators - Level 2” This GCPS original 10-part series, taught by Hopkins Elementary Assistant Principal Elisa Brown, 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--

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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
05/09/2012Yaggy of North Gwinnett HS honored as top Latin teacher (pdf)
05/08/2012Five 2012 Merit Scholars earn $2,500 award (pdf)
05/08/201211 Gwinnett students named 2012 Gates Millennium Scholars (pdf)
05/07/2012Meadowcreek High team wins scholarships in Web Challenge (pdf)
05/03/2012Students celebrate alternative energy innovation with FLARE competition (pdf)

May is National Physical Education and Sports Month and Better Hearing and Speech Month.

May 14-18 is Custodial Appreciation Week and National School Police Week.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., May 17, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

May 21-23 is early release for high school exams.

May 23 is the last day of school.

May 28 is Memorial Day, a systemwide holiday.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in May. Call the local school for the time and location.
Bay Creek Middle18-May
Beaver Ridge Elementary17-May
Chesney Elementary18-May
Cooper Elementary29-May
Couch Middle18-May
Duluth High15-May
Harbins Elementary17-May
Lilburn Elementary15-May
Lovin Elementary17-May
Mill Creek High15-May
Mountain Park Elementary14-May
Partee Elementary16-May
Snellville Middle15-May
Suwanee Elementary15-May
Taylor Elementary18-May

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.

Exploring The EnvironmentMay 16
Our Shared Birds –The International Feathered Tourist May 19
World Turtle DayMay 26
World Turtle DayMay 26
Intro to Rug Hooking Class for AdultsJun 1