News You Can Use - 11/21/2011

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
11/21/2011 - 12/04/2011

News You Can Use… will return December 1, 2011

Sycamore Elementary student Gregory Aristilde has been published in the November issue of “Highlights Magazine.” During the 2010-11 school year, Sycamore Elementary Teacher Jamie White had students write on the subject “What Reading Means to Me.” Picked as one of the top winners from his class, Gregory’s mother sent his piece to “Highlights Magazine” and it was selected for publication in the November 2011 issue. For more information, call 678-714-5770.

Berkmar Middle students won 2nd Place in the FalCan Food Drive School Challenge canned goods collection to benefit Atlanta area food pantries. Berkmar Middle students worked with churches, families, and neighbors to collect more than 3,000 pounds of canned goods during October. 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.

The participation of Berkmar Middle students in the Atlanta Falcons “First Down for Fitness” and “Fuel Up to Play 60” programs, have 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 Berkmar Middle 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.

Duncan Creek Elementary will host the school’s annual “turkey trot” race on Dec. 1 at 3:45 p.m. Fifth grade students will race around the school. Top runners will receive prizes for a holiday dinner including turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, and fruit. For more information, call 678-714-5800.

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 be able to 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 as they 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 770-476-5206.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is hosting a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Fair on Jan. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the campus of Maxwell High School of Technology. The Career Fair is open to all high school students attending GCPS high schools. More than 50 vendors will be in attendance at the fair. CTE prepares students and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. These careers may require varying levels of education—including industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates, and two- and four-year degrees. CTE prepares students to be “college- and career-ready.” Students learn: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function in the workplace and in routine 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 Maxwell High School of Technology at 770-963-6838.

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) invites parents, community members, and staff to participate in a review of the school district’s curriculum. This year’s review offers two opportunities for participants to share their feedback about the school system’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. 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 through Friday, Dec. 9. 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, and 6-12 Literacy Standards for Science, Social Studies, and Technical Education. The revised curriculum will be phased in during the 2012-13 school year for K-12 Language Arts and K-10 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, community members, and staff are invited to review the proposed 2012-13 AKS and provide input.
· 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 9, 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.
  • 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.

“Celebrating Excellence: 2012 Teacher of the Year Banquet” GCPS TV is proud to present a special broadcast of the Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year banquet. Join local school recipients, administrators, and Board members for an evening of recognition and celebration. Program highlights include award presentations to the local winners, a video honoring the six TOTY finalists, and the announcement of the level winners and the 2012 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year. This two-hour program airs Nov. 21-27 at 8 p.m.

“Funding a Nation: Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton” This program gives teachers new insights into questions on the role of government and the national economy that are just as relevant today as they were over two hundred years ago. This 60-minute program airs this week 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.
11/16/2011Gwinnett’s Jahner honored by national foreign language group (pdf)
11/14/2011Gwinnett community invited to participate in review of curriculum (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 21-25 is Thanksgiving break for schools.

November 24 is Thanksgiving Day.

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

December 14-16 are early release days for high school exams.

A regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., December 15, 2011, at the Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

December 19-30 is Winter Break for schools.

New Year’s Day is observed December 30, a systemwide holiday.

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

Arcado Elementary
Nesbit Elementary
Parkview High
Alford Elementary
Anderson-Livsey Elementary
Annistown Elementary
Arcado Elementary
Berkeley Lake Elementary
Brookwood High
Camp Creek Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Cooper Elementary
Crews Middle
Dacula High
Duncan Creek Elementary
Dyer Elementary
Ferguson Elementary
Freeman's Mill Elementary
Harmony Elementary
Hopkins Elementary
Jones Middle
Level Creek Elementary
Margaret Winn Holt Elementary
Mill Creek High
Moore Middle School
Norcross Elementary
Parsons Elementary
Patrick Elementary
Pharr Elementary
Richards Middle
Rock Springs Elementary
South Gwinnett High
Taylor Elementary
Trip 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. 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.

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