News You Can Use - 03/25/2013

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
03/25/2013 - 03/31/2013

Berkeley Lake Elementary will celebrate 30 years of Excellence in Education. The faculty and staff invite the community to a “Canvas Dedication” commemorating 30 years of excellence scheduled for March 22 at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria. For more information, call Anne McCabe at 770-446-0947.

Hull Middle PTSA will host “Taste of the Hull World” on March 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in conjunction with an international night celebrating diversity at the school. Dinner from around the world will be provided by volunteers and those wishing to enter a cooking contest. For more information, contact Hull Middle PTSA Diversity Chair Gina Pollitt at 770-654-8113 or e-mail to RSVP.
Event highlights include:
  • Free international dinner for attendees
  • Dress in native clothing
  • Cooking contest for students, teachers and parents, prizes will be awarded
  • Presentations from students
  • Chop stick contest
  • Cooking demonstrations
Cooking Contest instructions
Send an e-mail with your name and the food item that you will bring to Gina Pollitt at or call 770-654-8113
  • Food categories include: Main dish, desserts, appetizer, non-alcoholic drinks
  • Those bringing food need to deliver it to the cafeteria by 5:30 p.m.
  • Bring pre-cooked food from home with the recipe
  • If it needs to stay warm, bring a warmer with an extension cord.
  • Make enough for 15 people.
  • There are no limits on how many items may be entered.

The 3rd Annual Central Gwinnett High Student Leadership Team (GSLT) Summit will be held on March 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The theme for this event is “Paving the Way…Leaving a Legacy.” The summit for approximately 80 students is designed to develop leadership potential and strategies for students attending Central Gwinnett High. The summit will begin in the theater with greetings from Principal Maryanne Grimes, GSLT leaders Keith Jackson, Kelly Najar, Tyler Nguyen, Ashley Rodriguez, Corbin Tessmer, and Emily Thompson, and a performance from the Central Gwinnett High step and dance teams. Following the opening session, students will attend three breakout sessions entitled “Building Blocks”, “Your Piece to the Puzzle”, and “What is Your Legacy?” Dakotah Rice, a 2012 Gwinnett Student Leadership Team alumnus from the Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology will give an inspirational message during the closing session. For more information, call 770-963-8041.

Brookwood High junior Matt Stout won the Gold medal and is the 2013 National Varsity Orienteering Champion. Matt competed in the National Interscholastic Orienteering Championships near Kansas City, Kansas on March 9 and 10, with 59 high school students from around the country. His teammate, Austin Fowler, also a Brookwood High junior, earned a Bronze medal. For more information, call 770-972-7642.

Thirty Gwinnett students had a total of 120 artworks selected for exhibition in the All State Art Symposium. For a complete list of students, visit

Brookwood High won 1st place, and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology won 2nd place, at the State Science Olympiad at Southern Polytechnic State University. These teams will move on to represent Georgia at the National Science Olympiad at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio on May 17-18. Brookwood High has won five of the last six state championships. For more information email Donna Faulkner at or call 770-736-2088.

Osborne Middle Spanish Teacher Sergio Parra was named Nova Southeastern University 2013 Student of the Year Computer and Information Sciences at the graduate level. The award ceremony will be held on April 16. For more information, call 770-904-5400.

Gwinnett students at the high school level garnered 15 first place and 15 second place honors at this year’s Shutter Sense and Nonsense competition. In addition, Gwinnett had six first place winners at the middle school level. These students were honored at an awards ceremony held at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. For more information, contact Phoenix High Teacher Becky Raffalovich at 770-513-6862.

Collins Hill High student Imani Williams auditioned at the Regional High School Dance Festival and was offered several scholarship opportunities at several universities including Temple University, Jacob’s Pillow, Lindenwood University, Montclair University, Rowan University, and West Virginia University. Imani was also offered a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. Prior to the festival Imani was also accepted at AMDA College and Conservatory in New York. In addition, student Sydney Lewis has been accepted at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received both academic and dance performance scholarships. For more information, call Collins Hill Teacher Natalie Dollar 770-682-4100. Brookwood High students winning scholarships at the festival include Jordan Silas, accepted into the Nashville Ballet summer program; and Katelyn Smith, accepted into the Point Park dance program. Participating high schools include Brookwood, Collins Hill, Mill Creek, and North Gwinnett.

North Gwinnett High student Victoria Bethel won first place at the National Trumpet Competition. 33 high school semi-finalists were invited to perform for a national panel of professional trumpet players. Victoria plays a professional model Schilke trumpet and is awaiting scholarship information and acceptance to the Julliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Gwinnett County Public Schools has once again been named among the Best Communities for Music Education by NAMM— National Association of Music Merchants. The National Program spotlights schools and districts with an outstanding commitment to music education. The Best Communities for Music Education survey acknowledges schools and districts across the United States for their commitment to and support of music education in schools. For more information, visit

The Mill Creek High Dance Team competed at the State Dance Team Competition and won 1st place awards for Pom division, Jazz division, Senior solo - Samantha Jensen, and Junior solo - Emily Simmons. The team is sponsored by Teacher Suzanne Kross, and members include: Kayla Chadwick, Mackenzie Gaston, Samantha Jensen, Kelsey Kempner, Alexis McPhail, Gianna Myrie, Ashley Petracco, Emily Simmons, and Reagan Willis. In addition to these honors, the team also won 1st Place in Pom and Jazz divisions, 1st place Overall, Senior Solo - Samantha Jensen, 2nd Place Teen Solo - Kelsey Kempner; and Best Choreography – Jazz, at the Kennesaw State Invitational.

North Gwinnett High won 1st through 5th places in the Global Connections Art and Essay Contest, co-sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAoC). Trickum Middle placed 3rd at the middle school level. The Annual Global Connections contest asks for art and essay submissions from students in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. For more information, visit

The 6th annual Dacula Cluster Choral concert will be held March 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Hebron Church in Dacula. More than 500 students from Dacula elementary, middle, and high schools will participate in performances at the event. This year’s theme is “We Are One.” For more information, contact Alcova Elementary Music Specialist Beth Warzon at 678-376-8500.

Maxwell High School of Technology will host the 2nd annual GCPS College and Career Education Fair on April 4 from 4 to 7 p.m., open to all GCPS high schools. College and Career Education prepares students for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. Students learn core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function in the workplace and in daily activities; employability skills such as critical thinking and responsibility that are essential in any career area; and job-specific, technical skills related to a specific career pathway. For more information, call 770-963-6838.

Cooper Elementary will sponsor a Career Fair in the gym on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Brandy Bortak, school counselor, at 770-554-7386.

Simon’s Fund, a Philadelphia-based non-profit, is funding heart screens for 300 Gwinnett middle and high school students in an event on April 7 at the offices of the Cardiovascular Group in Lawrenceville. The free screenings look for undetected heart conditions through an ECG exam and a physical. If needed, students will receive an echocardiogram, and may be referred to a cardiologist for follow-up. Based on past screenings, one out of every 100 students will discover an undetected heart condition. Registration is open online at Participation is limited to 300 students. Students and their families must complete paperwork as part of the registration process. For more information, visit Simon Fund at

The Greater Gwinnett Championship, the county’s new Champions Tour golf tourney, is scheduled for April 15-21 at the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth. The tournament will benefit a number of local charities, including the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund. This 54-hole stroke play tournament will feature 81 Champions Tour professionals competing for a $1.8 million purse. The event will be nationally televised on the Golf Channel. To purchase tickets or volunteer for Greater Gwinnett Championship, visit

Registration is going now for the 4th Annual GCPS “I See A Cure” Relay for Life 5K Run/Walk scheduled for April 27 at 8 a.m. GCPS is the largest supporter of Gwinnett Relay for Life. This event is a great opportunity for GCPS employees, faculty, and students, as well as the community, to support this important cause. Participants will receive a race T-shirt and goody bag, and participate in a pre-race warm-up to live music at the 200 building of the Instructional Support Center (ISC). Raffle prizes and age group awards will be presented. The school or team with the most participants will be recognized at the awards presentation. Visit to register. If you have questions, or would like to volunteer, please contact Patrice Pendergast at 678-301-6076 or Diane Cribb at 678-301-6121. Visit for more information.

Call the local school for more information.

Central Gwinnett High
Teacher: Lisa Bell
Name of Event: West Side Story
Date: March 21-23
Location: Central Gwinnett High Theater, 564 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville
Time: March 21, 3 p.m., March 22 and 23, 7 p.m.

Brookwood High
Name of Event: The Crucible
Date: March 21, 22, and 23
Location: School
Time: 7 p.m.

Berkmar High Theater
Teacher: Director: Simone Forbes & Vocal Director: Alison Crossman
Name of Event: Once on This Island Jr

Date: March 22 & 23
Time: 7 p.m.

Lilburn Middle Mustang Theater Spring Production
Name of Event: Elementary Honor Chorus
Date: March 23, 2013
Location: Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula
Time: 3 p.m.

Alcova, Dacula and Mulberry elementary schools; Dacula Middle and Dacula High
Teachers: Beth Warzon, Karen Leamon, Carrie Thompson, Ashley Wells, James Williams

Name of Event: Dacula Cluster Choral Concert – “We Are One”
Date: March 26, 2013
Location: Hebron Church, Dacula, GA
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Lilburn Middle
Teacher: Diane Rust
Name of Event: Dear Edwina
Date: March 26-27, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Name of Event: GCPS Honor Orchestras Spring Concert
Teacher: Shawn Morton, Sarah Black, Bernadette Scruggs, Peter Lemonds
Date: Tuesday, April 2
Location: Peachtree Ridge HS
Time: 7:30 PM

Harbins Elementary School
Linda Wood, Teacher
PTA meeting, “Broadway Beat”
April 18
Presented in the Harbins Cafe at 6:30
In addition, we will have a tribute to our parents and friends who have volunteered at Harbins during the 2012-2013 year.
9:00 am in the Harbins Cafe also on April 18. Our Solo Singers will perform.

North Gwinnett High School
Teacher: Reyna O’Leary
Name of Event: Turn It Up
Date: April 18 and 19
Location: North Gwinnett High Theater
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Duluth High Chorus will finish out the year with performances on April 19 and 20 in the auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. Students will perform the variety show “Peach Jam” for the community. For more information, call 770-476-5206.

Mill Creek High
Name of Event: “Beauty and the Beast” - Non Musical Children's Show
Date: April 19 & 20
Time: 7 PM

Archer High
Teacher: Brian Wolfe, Meghan Bawcum, Todd Ferguson, Ken Johnson (Principal)
Name of Event: AHS 1st Annual Jazz Festival
Date: Saturday, April 20
Location: Archer High
Time: 5-9 (could be slightly altered)

Grayson Tech Black Box Theater
Teacher: Laura Heckman and all MS Drama Teachers
Name of Event: Dramarama
Date: April 20, 2013
Time: All-Day event

South Gwinnett High is performing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged
April 24-26 at 7 p.m.

Brookwood High
Name of Event: Musical “Pippin”
Date: April 25, 26
Time: 7 p.m.

School: Mill Creek High School
Teacher: Suzanne Kross
Name of Event: Spring Dance Concert: “Broadway”
Date: April 25, 26, 27
Location: MCHS Theater
Time: 7 p.m.

Mountain View High
Dr. Beverly Johnston
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera
April 25, 26, 27
Mountain View High Theater
7 p.m.

Collins Hill High
Penny Brown
Spring Musical: “GODSPELL”
Date: April 26 and 27
Location: CHHS Theater
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Archer High
Teacher: A D'Antonio - Brian Wolfe - Todd Ferguson
Name : Jazz Festival
Date 4/20
Location Archer High
Time : TBA

Beginning in March 2013, the Gwinnett County Board of Education will go on the road, as it does each year, meeting once in each Board member's district. The meetings are a time for the School Board to share information with the public. They also are an opportunity to hear CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ annual address on the state of the school district, focusing on the district’s strategic direction, recent successes and new initiatives, and current budget challenges.
March 26District IIIPeachtree Ridge High
March 28District IIMill Creek High
April 2District IVParkview High
April 4
April 16
District I
District V
Archer High
Meadowcreek High

The final week of Tapestry 2013 will be held at the Gwinnett County Public Schools Instructional Support Center (ISC) with the remaining opening night scheduled for March 25 at 6 p.m. During the display, the ISC will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday - Friday; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; and 1–6 p.m. on Sunday. Call the Fine Arts Office at 678-301-7015 for more information.
Tapestry Week 3 (March 21-26)
The following clusters/schools will exhibit student work during Tapestry Week 3: Archer, Brookwood, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, and Norcross clusters, GSMST, and Oakland Meadow School
  • Opening Night: March 25, 6–7:30 p.m.

The Georgia Department of Education is collecting public comments on proposed foundational courses for the new Career Clusters/Pathways through March 25. Parents, business leaders, community members, students, and school system staff are encouraged to review the proposed courses and complete an online questionnaire. Those wishing to review more than one foundational course are asked to complete an online questionnaire for each reviewed course. This curriculum is designed to provide essential, industry-validated knowledge and skills for Georgia’s students as they navigate toward greater college and career success. The online survey will be open through March 25. ( ) For more information, and/or concerns regarding this questionnaire, please contact Dwayne Hobbs, Program Manager, at

Gwinnett elementary schools invite families to Kindergarten Registration (May 2) Gwinnett elementary schools invite families to Kindergarten Registration on May 2. Kindergarten registration is held at the local school. If you are not sure of which school your child will attend, call the Planning Department at 678-301-7085. Parents and guardians of children who will be five years old on or before September 1, 2013, are invited to register their children for the 2013-14 school year on this day. Parents may call the school for registration times and should bring the following documents for registering your child; an official document showing proof of birth date; evidence of vision, hearing, and dental exams obtained in the past year (a current Georgia Form #3300); a valid certificate of immunization (Georgia Form #3231); proof that you live in the attendance zone; proof of custody or guardianship, if not the birth parent; the child’s social security number (or you may sign a waiver at the school); and a photo ID for the adult registering the child. Additional information may be viewed on the system website

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) offers high school students two ways to learn for credit this summer.
  • Face-to-face summer classes (June 11–July 10) will be offered at three locations— Archer, Lanier, and Meadowcreek high schools. Online registration is now open for face-to-face classes. Students may register online ( for face-to-face summer classes through June 3, or register in person on May 30 at Meadowcreek High. Find course offerings and frequently asked questions on the face-to-face summer school website. (
  • Online summer classes (June 10–July 8) will be offered through Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC). Registration for online classes will open March 1. (Find course offerings and frequently asked questions online, along with registration information on the GOC website. (

Dates for GCPS 2013 Academic Summer School for Qualifying Students in Grades 3-8 have been set. Students may attend a 15-day session with no classes on Fridays. The first day of class is June 10, and last day is July 3. Summer school will not be provided at every school, due to maintenance and construction at some schools and plans for combined “cluster” summer school sites. Participating students will be notified of location for summer school sessions at a later date.
  • 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.

In partnership with Invent Now, Gwinnett County is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program for students entering grades one through six this summer. This weeklong adventure in creativity immerses children in imaginative play that reinforces and supplements schoolyear learning in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Students work together to seek innovative solutions to real-world challenges and sharpen learning skills such as teamwork and creative problem solving as they rotate through four modules each day. The camp runs from June 10-14. Dr. Gloria Elliott will direct the Camp Invention Geo-Quest program at Shiloh Elementary. Local educators will facilitate program modules, and high school and college students will serve as Leadership Interns. Register by March 28 for a $25 discount off the $225 tuition. Register online using Camp Code: C-GA22-11352-13 for a $195 tuition. Every registration includes a free Camp Invention T-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800-968-4332 to register.

Maxwell High School of Technology will host a four day technical education summer camp for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders (current middle school students) on June 3- 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. Students will explore careers in programs such as: Auto Collision, Auto Services, Construction, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Electronics, Early Childhood Ed.–Babysitting Certification, Flash 2-D Game Animation, GA Pre-K Early Childhood Ed – Counselor, Graphic Communications and Design, Healthcare Science, Law and Justice, and Welding. All camp programs are led by GCPS instructors assisted by enthusiastic high school student aides. The camp fee is $80 and is non-refundable. Registration runs through May 3 at All forms must be completed before registration is complete. Each program must have a minimum of 10 students to be offered. For more information, call Sherri Stephenson at 678-518-6630 or Nancy Zamprelli at 770-338-4603.

The Manilow Music Project will partner with Gwinnett County Public Schools to collect instruments to benefit music programs in the district’s schools. Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow initiated the instrument drive by donating a Yamaha piano to GCPS. Mr. Manilow will perform at a concert at the Gwinnett Center on April 27. Music lovers who donate new or gently used instruments will receive two tickets to the show, while supplies last. Instruments may be dropped off at the Center box office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and after noon on weekend days with an event at the Center. More than 97,000 K-12 Gwinnett students are enrolled in music programs. Tickets are available online at or, in person at the Gwinnett Center box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
03/19/2013More than 60 science projects to represent GCPS at GA Fair (pdf)
03/18/2013GCPS named a Green Ribbon school district (pdf)

“2013 Readers Rally Championship” Tune in to GCPS TV for play-by-play action of the Gwinnett Readers Rally Championship competition. Eight teams— four elementary school quarter-finalists; two middle school semi-finalists; and two high school semi-finalists— test their literary knowledge in this fast-paced quiz bowl program. This 60-minuite program airs this week at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“GCPS FOCUS” Comprised of shorter “Focus Moment” stories, the new GCPS FOCUS provides timely coverage on a wide variety of topics relating to Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 20-minute program airs Feb. 25-March 3 at 6 a.m., 12 p.m., 6 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, Comcast on Channel 24 and 26, and for AT&T check under local government listings. 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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The following schools will hold Local School Council Dates in March. Call the local school for the time and location.
Benefield Elementary28-Mar
Berkeley Lake Elementary26-Mar
Burnette ES26-Mar
Duncan Creek Elementary28-Mar
Five Forks Middle27-Mar
Harmony Elementary28-Mar
Hull Middle26-Mar
Ivy Creek Elementary28-Mar
Kanoheda Elementary28-Mar
Level Creek Elementary26-Mar
Mason Elementary26-Mar
Minor Elementary28-Mar
Moore Middle School29-Mar
North Gwinnett High28-Mar
Parsons Elementary26-Mar
Peachree Ridge High26-Mar
Puckett's Mill Elementary28-Mar
Riverside Elementary26-Mar
Rock Springs Elementary28-Mar
Sugar Hill Elementary28-Mar
Suwanee Elementary28-Mar
Sweetwater Middle28-Mar
Sycamore Elementary26-Mar
Winn Holt Elementary27-Mar

March is Music in our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month®, Women in History Month, and Youth Art Month.

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

April 2 is International Children’s Book Day.

April 8-12 is Spring break (school holidays).

April 12 is a Spring holiday for 12-month staff.

The week of April 14-20 is National Environmental Education Week, National Library Week, and Week of the Young Child.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., April 18, 2013, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

April 21-27 is National Student leadership Week.

April 22 is Earth Day.

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.