News You Can Use - 11/14/2011

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
11/14/2011 - 11/20/2011

Grace Snell Middle is presenting a Veterans Day Program at 10 a.m. on 11/11/11. Almost 100 seventh grade students will perform patriotic songs and deliver speeches about the history of Veterans Day, the flag, and the military songs associated with each branch of the armed services. Students will also honor 20 veterans in attendance. Veteran Frank J. Marchese, a 94 year old veteran will be in attendance. Mr. Marchese served with the 101st Airborne Division at Mourmelon, France and took part in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne. Mr. Marchese is the recipient of a Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and the Dutch Bronze Cross. For more information, call Karen Eccles, administrative assistant, at 770-554-7761.

School nutrition program employee Martha Strickland, known as “Granny” to Shiloh Elementary students and staff members, will celebrate her 87th birthday on 11/11/11 by distributing cupcakes to the students. Granny has worked in the Shiloh Elementary cafeteria since 1992. Granny loves the students and they are making cards for her and will sing to her on Friday. Granny’s son was a teacher, coach and assistant principal in Gwinnett. Her grandson is a former Gwinnett teacher and her daughter is currently a paraprofessional at McKendree Elementary. She retired from the City of Atlanta in the early1990’s. For more information, call 770-985-6883.

Dacula Elementary will host two Veteran’s Day assemblies on Nov. 11 to honor veterans who are family or community members. The assembly for K-2 is scheduled for 9 to 9:30 a.m., and 9:50 to 10:20 a.m. for grades 3-5. Social Studies teachers are organizing the event. For more information, call 770-963-7174.

Head Elementary will host a Veterans Day event on Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. Third grade students will honor the veterans in attendance by performing a selection of patriotic songs and speaking about the history and significance of the day. There will be a short video compilation in honor and in memory of the school’s veterans, and photographs will be taken. Veterans in attendance will receive a medal and a certificate from the student who invited them to the event. All K-5th grade students will attend the final portion of the program. For more information, call Carol Suggs at 770-972-8050.

Sweetwater Middle students are gearing up for Veteran’s Day activities on Nov. 11. Chris Ness, who has worked at the school for two decades, donated to the school a flag that was placed over his father’s casket. The flag will be dedicated and raised at 10 a.m. by students and Glen Lowe, a teacher and veteran. At 11 a.m., Carter Wood, a former Sweetwater Middle teacher, will present information on Armistice Day in the media center. Teacher Melissa Ellenburg led a letter writing campaign for service men and women overseas. Students and faculty may share pictures of family and friends who are currently serving or are veterans on the school’s board of honor. Staff members who are veterans have been invited to wear uniforms for this day of pride. For more information, call Assistant Principal Ernest Moore at 770-923-4131.

Minor Elementary will host a “Girls on the Run” race on Nov. 13. Staff members will be volunteer buddy runners with the students. The race starts at 161 Arizona Avenue Soccer Complex in Atlanta. For more information, visit or call Beth S. Peterson, Parent Instructional Support Coordinator, at 770-806-2227.

Duncan Creek Elementary will host a visit from Atlanta Falcon’s kicker Matt Bryant on Nov. 13 at 8:30 a.m. to honor 1st grader Olivia Shaw who won the “Punt Pass and Kick” competition at the local school and advanced to sectional competition at South Gwinnett High. Olivia will proceed to the Georgia Dome on Nov. 27 to compete against other students at the Atlanta Falcon game. For more information, call P.E. Teacher Dayna Alkire at 678-714-5800.

Colonial Camp will conduct a Colonial-American Field Trip with Level Creek Elementary 4th graders on Nov. 15. The day will begin with a history lesson at 9 a.m. in the cafeteria followed by teachers firing muskets on the playground. Throughout the day, students will participate in activities such as candle making, cake making, knot tying, doll and soldier making, a puppet show, and trading post. For more information, call Tina Brocksmith, administrative assistant, at 770 904-7950.

Grayson High will host an Art and Science Fair for the Grayson High Technical Education Program on Nov. 15 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Student work will be displayed along with lab demonstrations. Teachers and students will be on hand to answer questions about the opportunities available to Gwinnett County juniors and seniors. For more information, call 770-554-7082 or visit

Shirley Lasseter, Gwinnett County Commissioner and Harbins Elementary Principal for a Day, will visit the school on Nov 16. Ms. Lasseter will share about the branches of government, the political process, and hold a town hall meeting at 1:45 p.m. answering students’ questions. Ms. Lasseter will also teach a session to students in the Leadership Academy. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

Berkmar Middle students won 2nd Place in the “FalCan Food Drive School Challenge” canned goods collection to benefit Atlanta area food pantries. Berkmar students collected more than 3,000 pounds of canned goods during October, working with churches, families, and neighbors collecting donations. Community partner House of Payne also collected donations to contribute toward Berkmar’s total goal. For their efforts, students will attend the Nov. 20 Atlanta Falcons Game at the Georgia Dome. Additionally, 50 P.E. students will participate in a class led by Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders and team mascot, Freddie Falcon on Nov. 16 at 12:45 p.m. For more information, call Dana Griffith at 770-638-2333 or Liz Serpico, Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Coordinator at 770-965-2762.

Duncan Creek Elementary will host the school’s annual “turkey trot” race on Nov. 16 at 3:45 p.m. Fifth grade students will race around the school. Top runners will receive prizes for Thanksgiving dinner—turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, and fruit. For more information, call 678-714-5800.

Pharr Elementary is teaming with the Grayson High Technical Education Program culinary students to host an “Empty Bowls Dinner” on Nov. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Pharr Elementary students will create a ceramic bowl in art class which will be used to serve a bowl of soup to a community member. Grayson High Technical Education Program Culinary Arts students will cook 600 servings of soup during culinary labs on November 10, 11, and 14th. A monetary donation will benefit a local food bank or Co-op. Attendees may take a ceramic bowl home with them as a reminder of people that have “empty bowls”. The children learn the value of using one’s talents to help others less fortunate than themselves. For more information call Pharr Elementary Art Teacher Darika Stevens at 770-985-0244; or Matt Neal, Grayson High Technical Education Program Chef/Culinary Arts Instructor, at 770-554-7704.

The Berkmar Middle students participation in the Atlanta Falcons “First Down for Fitness” and “Fuel Up to Play 60” programs garnered the school an invitation to assist with the Falcons Fitness Flag Crew on Nov. 27 at the Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings game at the Georgia Dome at 1p.m. Serving on the Flag Crew includes an on-field rehearsal, a meet and greet stretching session with the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders, a meal, the opportunity to visit Falcons Landing and unfurling the giant Falcons flag on the field during player introductions. 59 participants will complete this task for the Falcons and then enjoy being guests at the game. For more information, call Betsy Dietsch, Nutrition Special Projects Consultant, at 919-368-4123.

The Duluth High Chorus will perform on Dec. 3 for the City of Duluth Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. In addition they will perform a Winter Concert on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. For more information, call the school at 770-476-5206.

Peachtree Ridge High “Teaching as a Profession Program” students will volunteer at the Third Annual Lion Cub Children’s Festival on Dec. 3 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the school. Peachtree Ridge Cluster elementary students will enjoy a number of activities supervised by the Teaching as a Profession students. High school students will work with children ages 3-12 on crafts, games, artwork, and more to discover learning through fun activities. For more information, contact Linda Brimmer at

Dacula High will host “A Celebration of Learning” on Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. All departments will have activities and displays for the community, parents, and students to walk through from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. The Dacula High PTSA will hold its winter meeting at 6:45 p.m. The Fine Arts Department will end the evening with musical presentations from the bands and orchestras. For more information, call the school at 770-963-6664.

Duncan Creek Elementary third grade students will participate in roller skating sessions during P.E. class every day from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. from Nov. 28 through Dec. 13. For more information, call P.E. Teacher Dayna Alkire at 678-714-5800.

GCPS invites parents, community members, and staff to participate in curriculum review for proposed and current AKS through Dec. 2. The Academic Knowledge and Skills, or AKS, is GCPS’ local curriculum. This year's review of GCPS’ curriculum offers two opportunities for staff, parents, and community members to share their feedback about the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). The school system is seeking input on new AKS that have been developed to align with new state Common Core Standards. In addition, citizens can give feedback on additions, changes, or deletions for the current AKS. Both reviews run Nov. 14 through Dec. 2. The GEMS Oversight Committee will consider both staff and community suggestions at its meeting on March 1, 2012, and will make its recommendations to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education. On Mar. 1, 2012, the GEMS Oversight Committee will review the suggestions and curriculum director comments before making recommendations to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the School Board. Following adoption, feedback will be provided to staff members who made suggestions.
See below for details on each review:
  • Review of AKS alignment with NEW Georgia Performance Standards-- The Georgia Department of Education has adopted a new state curriculum-- the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS)-- for K-12 Language Arts, K-12 Mathematics, K-12 Science, K-12 Social Studies, and K-12 Technical Education. The first phase-in of this revised curriculum will begin in 2012-13, with K-12 Language Arts and K-9 Mathematics. Gwinnett County Public Schools curriculum directors for these areas worked with teachers to ensure the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum for 2012-13 is aligned to the new CCGPS standards. Parents, staff, and community members are invited to review the proposed 2012-13 AKS and provide input on the recommended curriculum revisions. Feedback may be submitted through e-mail to or by U.S. mail to Curriculum Development Office, 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW, Suwanee, Georgia 30024. Comments will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 2, 2011.
  • Annual review of CURRENT Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum-- If there is an AKS a parent, community member, or staff member would like to see added, deleted, or revised, they can complete the AKS Review Form online. A copy of the review form may also be requested from a local school administrator. Submit AKS Review Forms by e-mail to or by U.S. mail to Curriculum Development Office, 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW, Suwanee, Georgia 30024. Comments will be accepted through Friday, December 2, 2011.

Gwinnett Online Campus (GOC), Gwinnett’s full-time online learning option, will offer informational sessions providing the information needed to make an informed decision about enrolling at Online Campus full-time.
Middle School Meetings: 6:30 - 7:15 p.m.; High School Meetings: 7:30 - 8:15 p.m.
  • Nov. 17: Parkview High, Theater
  • Dec. 1: Meadowcreek High, Theater
  • Dec. 8: Central Gwinnett High, Theater
  • Jan. 5: Grayson High, Theater
  • Jan. 12: Mill Creek High, Theater
  • Jan. 19: Collins Hill High, Theater
  • Jan. 26: North Gwinnett High, Commons Area
  • Feb. 2: Duluth High, Theater
Registration for the 2012-13 school year will run Feb. 1-29, 2012. Students can get more information through the counselor’s office at the local middle or high school and on the GOC website.
Click here to learn more about the GOC charter high school or Gwinnett’s virtual middle school, opening in August of 2012.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) registration information sessions run through Feb. 3, 2012. Information for the 2012-13 freshman class will be available through all GCPS middle schools, on the GCPS web site ( and on the school web site ( Registration Forms must be submitted by February 3, 2012, for consideration. GSMST is a charter school and therefore enrollment for the 9th grade class is open to all students who are residents of the Gwinnett County School System district attendance zone and have completed the 8th grade. The rigorous course work at GSMST may not meet the needs or interests of all students. As this is a school of choice, it is highly recommended that parents and students review the GSMST curriculum and learn more about the school’s offerings before making a decision to register.

“GCPS Focus” This month, GCPS Focus surfs the online learning experience with Gwinnett Online Campus, celebrates the 2012 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year, and gives three cheers for the Sparkle Effect at Dacula High… join us for these stories and more on GCPS Focus— your news show about Gwinnett County Public Schools. This 30-minute program airing this week at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 11 p.m.

“Colonial Williamsburg - Harsh World, This World” What was slavery really like for enslaved people and their masters? Traditional proverbs guide students through personal stories, based on primary sources, showing kindness, betrayal, trust, cruelty, and the many emotions that govern complex human relationships. This 60-minute program airs live Nov. 17 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 web site--

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
11/07/2011College fair to provide options for students with special needs (pdf)
11/04/2011GCPS names Pharr ES’ Jennifer Dunn as Teacher of the Year (pdf)
11/04/2011Davis to lead department of curriculum and instruction (pdf)
11/04/2011GCPS recognized for environmental stewardship and cost-effective practices (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.

November is National Native American Heritage Month.

November 13-19 is American Education Week.

November 14-18 is School Psychology Awareness Week.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., November 17, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

November 18 is Substitute Educators Day.

November 21-25 is Thanksgiving break for schools.

November 24 is Thanksgiving Day.

November 24-25 is Thanksgiving break for 12-month staff.

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

Alcova Elementary16-Nov
Arcado Elementary29-Nov
Archer High School15-Nov
Bethesda Elementary15-Nov
Britt Elementary16-Nov
Brookwood Elementary15-Nov
Burnette ES19-Nov
Chattahoochee Elementary16-Nov
Corley Elementary16-Nov
Crews Middle18-Nov
Duluth High16-Nov
Duncan Creek Elementary17-Nov
Harbins Elementary18-Nov
Harris Elementary18-Nov
Head Elementary17-Nov
Ivy Creek Elementary19-Nov
Jenkins Elementary18-Nov
Kanoheda Elementary18-Nov
Lanier High16-Nov
Lanier Middle16-Nov
Level Creek Elementary18-Nov
Lilburn Middle16-Nov
Lovin Elementary18-Nov
Mason Jr. Elementary19-Nov
Meadowcreek Elementary15-Nov
Monarch School15-Nov
Mountain Park Elementary15-Nov
Mountain View High School19-Nov
Mulberry Elementary17-Nov
Nesbit Elementary30-Nov
North Gwinnett High18-Nov
Parkview High30-Nov
Peachtree Ridge High18-Nov
Peachtree Elementary16-Nov
Radloff Middle18-Nov
Richards Middle15-Nov
Rockbridge Elementary19-Nov
Snellville Middle16-Nov
Sugar Hill Elementary16-Nov
Suwanee Elementary18-Nov
Trickum Middle16-Nov
Trip Elementary19-Nov
Walnut Grove Elementary18-Nov
White Oak Elementary17-Nov

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.

Design & Build Your Own Planet
Recycling on Earth and Beyond…
Archaeology Merit Badge at McDaniel Farm Park
Recycling on Earth and Beyond…
    11/26, 27
Civil War Holiday
Winter All Ages-Human Body Adventure
    12/7, 12/13, 1/18, 2/15
Holiday Program-Gingerbread Display
Green Your Holiday-Special Event
Green Living Kids: Where Is The Waste?
Living In Space-Final Countdown