News You Can Use - 03/02/2009

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.

View All Archived News You Can Use

News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
03/02/2009 - 03/08/2009

Berkeley Lake Elementary PTA will host a Bingo Night on Feb. 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Prizes include gift certificates to a spa, restaurants, and retail stores. Bingo cards may be purchased for $5 per card, and the cards may be played all evening. Local entertainers will perform between Bingo rounds. For more information, call Melinda O’Herron, media specialist, at 770-582-7520.

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.

GCPS was ranked number 14 by “Black Collegian Magazine” as one of The Top 100 Employers by the Class of 2009, based on hiring projections of America’s largest entry-level employers. For more information, call Publisher Preston J. Edwards, Sr. at 504-523-5320.

Frank N. Osborne Middle’s reading team won the regional competition and advanced to state competitionat of the Division Final Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. Middle school teams read from a list of 20 books that were nominated for the Georgia Story Book Award, and answered questions about the books. For more information, call 770-904-5400.

Norcross High Theater Arts students will perform “Black Comedy” on March 5-7 at 7 p.m., and 2 p.m. on March 8. Preferred seating tickets may be purchased for $10 and general admission tickets are $7, at the door. For more information, email Bruce Hackett, drama booster publicity chair, at

Dacula High will host a visit from Dr. Daphne Moffett of the Center for Disease Control. Dr. Moffett will speak on topics including epidemiology, psychology, behavioral science, microbiology, biochemistry, toxicology, infectious disease, environmental health, injury prevention, chronic disease, occupational health, and health promotion. Dr. Moffett will also give the students a snapshot of a day in the life of a CDC-ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) scientist. For more information call Alanna Bird, media specialist, at 770-338-4671.

McKendree Elementary will host a Fun Run/Walk on March 6 (rain date March 9) to benefit an outdoor playground and a track addition and renovation. All students are invited to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the 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 will host an International Day event on March 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. Students have been researching different countries and will present what they have learned. There will be a variety of student-created items that represent the country including food, costume, and traditional games. Visitors will receive a passport to travel “around the world” to the different classes. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

Grayson High will host Taste of Grayson on March 14 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Grayson High School Commons area. All proceeds will benefit the Grayson Cluster Schools. Come and sample the delicious cuisine from the Grayson area restaurants and caterers. Festivities include vendors and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased for $10 and are on sale at 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.

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.

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.

Berkeley Lake Elementary will celebrate reading March 2-6. The celebration begins with morning announcements by singing “Happy Birthday” in honor of Theodore Geisel’s (Dr. Seuss) birthday. Community and school members have been invited to read to students. Among those attending are Area Superintendent Dr. Gale Hey; Media Coordinator Cheryl Cutchin; Berkeley Lake Mayor Lois Salter; Stan Hall from the District Attoney’s Office; Officers Bullock and Hendrix from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department; retired businessmen; and parents. Other activities include a daily mystery reader on the morning broadcast, individual classroom activities, and a picture display of staff with their favorite books. For more information, call 770-446-0947.

The South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation raised more than $8,000 at a recent fundraiser. The fundraiser featured a combination live and silent auction for donations made by Gwinnett merchants and businesses. For more information on the foundation, visit

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
02/25/2009Duluth High student earns 2009 STAR recognition (pdf)
02/20/2009Gwinnett student scientists to show what they know during 2009 Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Jr. Division (pdf)

“Education News Parents Can Use: Charter Schools” The February edition of Education News introduces U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will discuss the president’s education plan, which aims to set all Americans on a track to achieve lifelong success through education. Policymakers, educators, and parent-leaders will talk about the movement to offer parents and communities greater choices in education, yet hold all stakeholders accountable for improved results. This 60-min. program airs March 4-6 at 9 p.m.

“Meet the Author: William Boniface” The program’s producers reveal the reading habits of an entire school and how they changed when two boys lobbied the librarian to purchase a few copies of “The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy.” For boys and girls alike, each book in the series reveals a simple and important nugget: superpowers are no match for brainpower. Meet the real Mr. Boniface and discover his approach to the writing process. This 30-min. program airs March 2-8 at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“China: Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble” Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble is a multidisciplinary performance troupe that focuses on ethnic dance drama. Drawing from various traditional Chinese genres, artistic director Huang Doudos seeks to reinvent Chinese dance, skillfully weaving East and West, old and new, and interpreting history through a modern filter. In this demonstration and performance, the company helps students achieve a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. This 60-min. program airs March 2-8 at 2 and 8 p.m.

“Monarch Live: In the Mexican Mountains” Every year, millions of monarchs migrate thousands of miles from Canada through the United States to Mexico. This magical journey, deemed an “endangered natural phenomenon,” is dependent on conservation of habitats in all three North American countries. This month, “Monarch Live” is broadcast from Sierra Chincua, one of only a few mountain peaks in the Mexican states of Mexico and Michoacán in which monarch butterflies overwinter. This 60-min. program airs March 2-7 at 1 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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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 Georgia Writing Assessment for elementary students is March 4.

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 March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary
Alford Elementary
Alton C. Crews Middle
B.B. Harris Elementary
Benefield Elementary
Berkmar High
Camp Creek Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Charles Brant Chesney Elementary
Chattahoochee Elementary
Collins Hill High
Corley Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Dacula High
Dacula Middle
Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary
Duluth Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
Fort Daniel Elementary
Frank N. Osborne Middle
GIVE Center West
Grayson Elementary
Gwin Oaks Elementary
Harbins Elementary
Harmony Elementary
J.C. Magill Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
J.P. McConnell Middle
Jackson Elementary
K.E. Taylor Elementary
Lanier Middle
Lawrenceville Elementary
Lovin Elementary
Mill Creek High
Nesbit Elementary
Norcross High
North Gwinnett High
Parkview High
Patrick Elementary
Peachree Ridge High
Pinckneyville Middle
Richard Hull Middle
Riverside Elementary
Shiloh Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
South Gwinnett High
Sugar Hill Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
Sycamore Elementary
T. Carl Buice School
Walnut Grove 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.-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.

March 7, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Waterwise Workshop, Cost: GEHC members free, $10 per individual (includes Center admission)*
Join us to learn about your irrigation system with help from Paul Morgan of The RainHarvest Company. Demonstrations will teach participants how to
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Understanding My Irrigation System
12:30 to 1 p.m. How much water am I wasting?
1 to 2 p.m. Save money (and water) by servicing your own system
2 to 3 p.m. Basic Stormwater Fee Credits
3 to 4 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop*
Make plans to bring a lunch and stay to participate in the rain barrel workshop. Learn how Rain Barrels can help you lower water bills and provide chemical-free water for your gardens, ponds, bird baths and flower beds during water restrictions and year round. Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to make their own rain barrel.
*A separate fee of $50 per barrel (member or nonmember) applies to the Rain Barrel Workshop Multiple barrels may be purchased. Pre-registration for the rain barrel program is required.

March 9, 13 and 16, 2 -3:30 p.m., Little Hands: Camouflage, Cost: $5 per child/$2 each additional sibling
Calling all 3-5 year olds. It’s not easy being green, or is it? Why do animals have different colors? We will explore the world of camouflage. We will make an animal and see where it can hide safely. Play games, sing songs, read stories and see if we can use what we have learned on the trail.

March 13, 10 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m., Galileo’s Gaze, Cost: GEHC Members Free, $8 per Family, $5 per Individual (includes Center admission)
Join us as we celebrate history and science. Learn about the fascinating life of Galileo Galilei and his great invention of the telescope.

March 13, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Food for Thought - Lunch N Learn Series, Cost: free, GEHC admission not included
Join us for an insight into the food we eat. Discover the differences between frozen and canned items. Learn the benefits of organically grown produce. Visit the recycled art show hosted by the Junior Master Gardener (JMG). Enjoy a presentation at 12:00pm by Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Program who will present “Give Peas a Chance.” This performance is suitable for all ages.

March 14, Happenin’ Habitats, Costs: GEHC Individual $5, GEHC Family $10, Individual $15, Family $25 (includes all 3 programs and Center admission)

  • Hummingbird Habitats, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 2 to 3 p.m.
    Hummingbirds are fun to watch and have an important role as pollinators. Learn which species visit Georgia and how to attract them to your yard. Participants will make a hummingbird feeder to take home. Teachers can earn PLU credit by attending this and other programs in our Green Living Series. This program is great for teachers and families.
  • Nature Kids, 1 to 2 p.m., Cost for Nature Kids $5
    Life Underground-come learn about animals that spend a lot of their life underground. We'll learn about a whole different world under our feet. (2nd-4th grades)
  • Boogie Woogie Bullfrog, 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Join us for a fun-filled interactive musical program with a wide range of musical styles as led by Jerry Zee. Children will learn about animals, the environment and how to care for the world we live in. Stick around after the show to learn more about Georgia's bullfrogs and how to create a frog-friendly habitat. This program is great for K-4th grade kids.