News You Can Use - 02/06/2012

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.

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News You Can Use…
A Gwinnett County Public Schools Tip Sheet For The News Media
02/06/2012 - 02/12/2012

Hopkins Elementary will host a visit from the Atlanta Braves on Feb. 3 at 10:30 a.m. Principal Penny Clavijo will lead a parade of the Braves players, Homer, and the Tomahawk girls throughout the school to say hello to students. An assembly of students will gather in the gym at 10:50 a.m. The Braves announcer will introduce the Braves players and lead a Q&A session relating to the 7 habits of successful people. For more information, call Assistant Principal Raquel Gonzalez at 770-564-2661.

Brookwood High invites the community to a performance of “Sleeping Beauty.” This production will be presented by advanced theater students on Feb. 2, 3, and 4 at 7 p.m. in the theatre. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $7 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-736-2088, or email

North Gwinnett High Visual Arts teacher Debi West was elected as the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Southeastern Vice President. In addition, Ms. West was honored by her peers to receive the nation’s NAEA Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year Award. The award will be presented to Ms. West during the 2012 NAEA National Convention in New York City in March. For more information, call 770-945-9558.

Bill Navas from Duluth High has been named Region 7-AAAAA Athletic Director of the Year and Mark Kimbro from Brookwood High has been chosen as Region 8-AAAAA Athletic Director of the Year. These winners will be recognized at the Georgia Athletic Directors Association's annual conference in Savannah on March 26. For more information, call Mike Emery, Director of Athletics, Student Activities, & Community Schools, at 678-301-7276.

The North Gwinnett High Wind Symphony performed at the University of Georgia 62nd Annual High School Band Festival. The band directors at North Gwinnett High, Brian Lambeth, Rudy Gilbert, and Marion English, conducted a stellar performance in Hodgson Hall. Brian Lambeth received the Citation of Excellence from a representative of the National Band Association. This award is given to an individual whose ensemble has a history of a distinguished level of accomplishment and to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field. For more information, call Robert Andrews, Fine Arts Director, at 678-301-7015.

The Creekland Middle Orchestra under the direction of Ryan Robertson and Na Seo and the North Gwinnett Middle Orchestra under the direction of Sarah Black, Amy Clement, and Bo Na performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Savannah.

Language Arts classes, the Reading Club, and the Writers Club at Brookwood High will host author Michelle Madow on Feb. 6. Ms. Madow is the author of “Remembrance” and will speak with students about her inspiration for the novel, how she approached writing the novel, and how the novel was brought to publication. For more information, call Donna Faulkner at 770-736-2088.

Dacula Middle invites families to the 3rd Annual Math and Science Carnival on Feb. 7 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the gym buildings. Students will visit booths and engage in math and science activities to try and win chances for prizes raffled throughout the evening. Additional activities include drawings for prizes for students, parents, and teachers. Participants will enjoy an evening of fun and food. This community event is supported by several business partners. For more information, call Patti Orsi at 770-338-4647.

Archer High has several activities to celebrate Black History Month in February. A “Give Back” program will take place on Feb.23, 24, and 25 at Archer High at 6:30 p.m. and will focus on contributions to society. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit an organization or ministry to demonstrate “giving back.” Students will earn 10 volunteer service hours for completing the production. The school will sponsor a living museum highlighting figures and events from the past and present. Students have the opportunity to send a positive message of “service” to others.

Bay Creek Middle students will have a trivia question posed to them and listen to historical information each morning on announcements. The news crew will end with a “Who am I” question of the day. The answer will be revealed the next morning.

Benefield Elementary will celebrate Black History Month on the evening of Feb. 15 from 6 to 7 p.m. Daily announcements will include lessons about African Americans.

Berkmar Middle Black History Month activities include writing activities; listening- speaking- and viewing activities; presentations recognizing African American careers and achievements. Morning announcements and displays throughout the school will feature notable African Americans.

Cedar Hill Elementary will present a Black History Program— Through the Decades: A History Of Black Music— on Feb. 16 at 6:30 in the cafeteria. The music performance will be followed by a Wax Museum of students dressed as famous black musicians sharing information.

Dacula High will spotlight a famous African American on morning announcements.

Duluth Middle Language Arts classes will read from “The War of the Wall”. The students will create their own “Wall of Respect” that goes back to the 1960’s African-American movement. 6th Grade Peer Leadership will be focus on a Leader Biography project on Black History Innovators, Inventors, Sportsman, Revolutionaries and others associated with Civil Rights and World Peace. Gifted social studies classes will look at some of the civil rights movements of the early 20th century including a look at Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois and the Atlanta race riot of 1906, and some of the early African-American entrepreneurs. Science classes will research African American inventors and scientist. They will turn their research into a movie using Microsoft Movie-Maker and present their movies on science and social studies night.

GIVE Center West students perform a Black History Month show each year. The program is written by staff and students and highlights accomplishments of Black History Heroes present and past. The production is performed on Feb. 24 followed by a potluck. In addition, announcements are geared toward the history of Black History Month.

Harris Elementary students are using picture books in lessons to learn about famous African Americans in lessons. First Grade teachers are writing a book report on a selected African American. They are going to write them following the writing process and then present the reports to the rest of the class. In addition, throughout the month information about famous African Americans will be shown on the morning broadcast program.

Hull Middle will display posters of notable African Americans throughout the school and hold weekly music trivia contests during the month of February. An assembly will be held on Feb. 16 and on Feb. 29; the staff will hold a ‘Soul Food Day’.

Jones Middle language arts classes will research and create presentations on key figures from Black History; students will search backgrounds of famous African Americans in education, medicine, art, music, literature, politics, etc. Students will research the Harlem Renaissance of music, art, and literature. Quotes from famous African Americans will be placed on the board each day. African-American poets (Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes) will be explored. Students will read “The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave” by Virginia Hamilton, and a historical fiction play about the Underground Railroad, and a play about Rosa Parks. Students will complete a timeline study of the Civil Rights Movement. Students are currently writing diamonte poems using the opposing ideas found in MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech (justice/injustice, poverty/wealth, equality/inequality, etc.) These are just a few of the many activities planned by teachers for the month.

Kanoheda Elementary students will view a segment of a Black history trivia prior to morning announcements. Students and teachers try to guess the answers, with the correct answer revealed the next day . On Feb. 23, the school will host a Black History program. The chorus and a step team will perform. Several hall displays depicting noted African Americans may be viewed throughout the school.

Lawrenceville Elementary Black History Month activities include information on morning announcements, presentations, a door decorating contest, a Southern Luncheon Potluck for staff members, and a dress up day.

Level Creek Elementary Media Center staff members will highlight Black History Month with African American history biography books and displays. Some of the books will be read to students. Last month several of the second grade classes used the online information to study Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson. Multiple resources are available for Black History Month and will be providing teachers support as they highlight this special month in the classroom. Books about Black history will be available for the Book Fair in February.

Maxwell High School of Technology teachers are incorporating prominent African-Americans into lesson plans. Throughout the month students will learn about African-Americans who have played a major role within career and technical education. Several classrooms will host guest speakers throughout the month.

Mill Creek High Black History Month Activities: All U.S. history classes are researching major events in Black History and compiling the information in an organized fashion for video presentations in Mr. Moore’s class. These videos will be shown at the school. Dr. Brasel will provide a Black History fact of the day to be shared with all classes. The media center plans to create a display of books by popular African-American authors as well as books about prolific leaders. The fine arts department will display designs highlighting African American Artists during art history lessons and create a collage project inspired by Romare Bearden. The school will display a program looking at photography from the early 1900’s including the Photography by James VanDerZee. A display of 3D Design, Highlighting African American Architects, will complete the Architectural Sculpture Design project. The work of architects Paul Williams and J. Max Bond Jr. will be spotlighted. African American Artists famous for using Expressionism as a mode of communication will be highlighted.

Minor Elementary will broadcast student produced “Famous Black Americans” segments on CCTV announcements each morning and offer a daily trivia question associated with the famous person. Winning student drawings will receive prizes. Resources will be used during the month titled “10 Days in Black History That Changed Our Nation”, and “Lives of Famous African Americans: Believe, Achieve & Succeed”. The Social Studies committee created numerous lessons and activities stored on the shared drive for staff use

Osborne Middle has numerous large posters of famous African-Americans displayed on the main hallways throughout the school. Every day during morning announcements during the month of February, the principal will read a short biography about a noteworthy African-American. This year the daily announcements are focusing primarily on African-Americans who have made significant contributions in journalism as listed by the Maynard Institute. On Feb. 24 at the faculty meeting, it is expected that Sharon Lawrence, Osborne Middle School Assistant Principal, will be the guest speaker.

Parsons Elementary will highlight a different person each morning on the news and a student reporter talks about his or her contributions. Teachers will use a variety of activities in the classroom. Teachers have the use of a shared website-- a virtual tour from the Smithsonian for Black History Month.

Radloff Middle will sponsor a “Who am I” contest. A short bio or facts about various African Americans will be read each day on the daily announcements, and students will have the opportunity to enter a drawing and win a prize if they are able to successfully identify the mystery person. A poetry contest will recognize the student with the best original poem highlighting an individual(s) or other relevant Black History Month event. The school will host a Black History luncheon on Feb. 29 for faculty interested in participating, and feature a Southern cuisine. A movie night will take place on Feb 21 through the 29. Each morning, a movie that had an impact on African American Culture in America will be highlighted. Classes will decorate the doors with the theme of Actors and Actresses for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner and an overall winner for the school.

Simpson Elementary will highlight famous African Americans such as Harriett Tubman in first grade, Frederick Douglas in third grade, and poets such as Phyllis Wheatley and Langston Hughes in fourth grade. Famous Black Americans will be highlighted on the morning news.

White Oak Elementary will display books of important African Americans in the Media Center. Notable African Americans will be highlighted on morning announcements.

Norcross Elementary has scheduled a three week fund-raising project “Pennies for Patients” involving staff, parents and students who are joining the efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The initial goal was to raise $1,500; this total was more than doubled to reach $3,120.63. All donations will be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Students won bronze, silver, and gold prizes.

The Lanier Cluster Education Foundation (LCEF) was recently awarded a $5000.00 grant from Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions for America’s best businesses. The grant will be used to purchase eReaders for Lanier Middle. The LCEF provides grants to teachers and schools that support the academic programs of the schools in the Lanier Cluster. The foundation promotes community awareness and participation in the life of the cluster schools. Funds provided through the Insperity Grant will be used to purchase eReaders and eBooks to promote reading to students. To make a donation to the LCEF, visit For more information contact: Lisa Ramsay-President Lanier Cluster Education Foundation or 678-984-7840.

GCPS will soon name its Gwinnett County Media Specialist of the Year. Nominations are being accepted for this award that recognizes school library media specialists whose services have resulted in an exemplary media program. It honors an innovative and enthusiastic media specialist who plans collaboratively, promotes literacy, and integrates technology, please nominate him or her for GCPS Media Specialist of the Year. Email nominations by February 8, 2012 to: Faye Curlee, Media Services & Technology Training,, or Mary Barbee, Director, Media Services & Technology Training, Gwinnett County Public Schools

Brookwood High student Jordan Randles is sponsoring a program that “Sheds Light on Autism” with lightbulb sales during his lunch in the Commons Area. Jordan, a Junior Achievement member, has Asperger’s, a form of Autism, and is selling light bulbs to benefit World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, when communities are encouraged to “Light it Up Blue.” For more information, visit

Minor Elementary will collect ‘school memories’ now through Feb. 27 for a 25th anniversary celebration on March 18. Contributions may be made by coming to the school on any Friday morning between 9 and 11 a.m., setting an appointment by calling the school, or recording a memory and emailing it to A memory could be a note, video, a picture or any other memorabilia. Please contact the school at 770-925-9543 for more information.

Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC), Gwinnett’s full-time online learning option, is holding registration for the 2012-13 school year through Feb. 29. Students can get more information through the counselor’s office at the local middle or high school and on the GOC website. This charter school opened its doors as a fulltime school in August of 2011. It will expand to include the middle school level starting this coming fall.

“ParenTVision - Parenting in the Age of Alcohol” In the lives of American teens, there is no drug more likely to be used, none more often consumed nor in greater amount, and none more likely to result in harm than alcohol. This television special features real students, true stories, experts and educators … a way to help parents and teens start a conversation about a critical issue facing teens today. Guests on the program include Judge Robert Rodantus, Gwinnett County Juvenile Court; and Ari Russell, Executive Director of GUIDE (Gwinnett United In Drug Education). This 60 minute program airs Feb. 6-12 at 2 p.m., and Feb. 11-12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“From Page to Stage: Locomotion” Have you ever wondered how all the elements of a theater production come together to form the final product? Join award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson as she talks with moderator Maria Salvadore about the creation and adaptation of her book, Locomotion, for the stage. This new production, a Kennedy Center co-commission with Orlando Repertory Theater, is an inspiring story of the journey of an eleven-year-old African American boy as he moves from tragedy to hope, losing one family and gaining another. This 60 minute program airing Feb. 6-12 at 1 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 1” This GCPS original 10-part series, taught by Elisa Brown, assistant principal at Hopkins Elementary, 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--

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
02/01/2012School champions to compete in GCPS spelling bee (pdf)
01/31/2012Full scholarships to top colleges for three Berkmar students (pdf)
01/31/2012Governor Deal salutes 35 Gwinnett schools (pdf)
01/27/2012Sweetwater Middle students master the nation’s WordMasters (pdf)

Sign up to receive Gwinnett County Public Schools’ e-newsletter, GCPS eNews... a quick, easy way to learn more about Georgia’s largest school system. In this newsletter, you’ll find stories on teaching and learning, school leadership and governance, and the partnerships that make Gwinnett County Public Schools successful. Go to the school system’s homepage for sign-up information ( and to check out the e-News archives.

February is National African American History Month and National Technical Education Month.

February 5 is Scout Sunday.

February 6-10 is National School Counseling Week.

National SkillsUSA Week is February 13-17.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., February 16, 2012, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in February. Call the local school for the time and location.
Anderson-Livsey 21-Feb
Annistown Elementary7-Feb
Arcado Elementary6-Feb
Archer High School27-Feb
Bay Creek Middle24-Feb
Beaver Ridge Elementary9-Feb
Berkeley Lake Elementary9-Feb
Berkmar Middle23-Feb
Bethesda Elementary13-Feb
Britt Elementary6-Feb
Brookwood High7-Feb
Burnette ES10-Feb
Camp Creek Elementary24-Feb
Chesney Elementary10-Feb
Cooper Elementary17-Feb
Couch Middle24-Feb
Creekland Middle9-Feb
Crews Middle16-Feb
Dacula Middle21-Feb
Duluth High21-Feb
Duluth Middle7-Feb
Ferguson Elementary10-Feb
Five Forks Middle23-Feb
GIVE Center East7-Feb
Grayson Elementary10-Feb
Head Elementary22-Feb
Hopkins Elementary10-Feb
Jackson Elementary9-Feb
Jones Middle9-Feb
Knight Elementary24-Feb
Lanier High7-Feb
Louise Radloff Middle16-Feb
McConnell Middle21-Feb
Meadowcreek Elementary13-Feb
Mill Creek High14-Feb
Monarch School10-Feb
Mountain Park Elementary6-Feb
Nesbit Elementary14-Feb
Norcross Elementary10-Feb
Norcross High9-Feb
North Gwinnett Middle28-Feb
Norton Elementary24-Feb
Parkview High21-Feb
Patrick Elementary24-Feb
Peachree Ridge High16-Feb
Pharr Elementary9-Feb
Rebecca Minor Elementary7-Feb
Richard Hull Middle10-Feb
Richards Middle13-Feb
Rock Springs Elementary9-Feb
Rockbridge Elementary14-Feb
Rosebud Elementary10-Feb
Shiloh High7-Feb
South Gwinnett High21-Feb
Summerour Middle9-Feb
Sweetwater Middle14-Feb
Trickum Middle14-Feb
Trip Elementary24-Feb
Woodward Mill Elementary10-Feb

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.

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