News You Can Use - 09/24/2007

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
09/24/2007 - 09/30/2007

Kanoheda Elementary students in Roslyn Acosta art classes will participate in “Pinwheels for Peace” on Sept. 21, International Peace Day. Students created pinwheels in art class and will place them in the ground in the front of the school. The pinwheels will be ‘planted’ at 10 a.m. and continue to blow in the wind throughout the day. For more information about the project, visit

Richard Hull Middle’s Patricia Caldwell has been selected as one of 10 teachers in the Atlanta area to receive a Siemens Science Teacher Award. Presented by the Siemens Foundation and Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the program recognizes teachers engaged in improving science learning at the middle and high school levels. Ms. Caldwell is being recognized for leading innovative professional learning opportunities for her colleagues, as well as creating authentic and engaging science experiences for her students. An awards ceremony honoring recipients will be held at Fernbank Museum of Natural History on Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 770-232-3200.

Central Gwinnett High was recently honored by the Mayor and City Council of Lawrenceville for being named one of the top 1,000 Schools in “Newsweek” Magazine. Mayor Rex Millsaps recognized the school for both academic and athletic achievement. Dr. Valerie Clark, Central Gwinnett High principal, was recognized for continuing to provide opportunities for students in Lawrenceville. Mayor Millsapps presented Dr. Clark with a key to the city and proclaimed Sept. 11, 2007, as “Central Gwinnett Lawrenceville High School Day.” For more information, call 770-963-8041.

The Norcross High Marching Band and booster club will host an exhibition featuring eight GCPS high school marching bands on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Bands from Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Norcross, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge high schools will perform. Tickets may be purchased for $5 at the gate, children under five are admitted free. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

The Level Creek Elementary Literacy Committee will sponsor the 4th annual Safari Literacy Night on Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m. “Leo the Leopard” will be on hand, along with servings of “jungle food pizza” and drinks. Members of the Literacy Committee will present reading and writing strategies for parents on how to help their children at home. In addition, each grade level will present a session on new reading and writing standards for GCPS based upon Georgia’s Performance Standards. Childcare is available for Level Creek Elementary students. Literacy sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. with two rotations, and will conclude at 7:45 p.m. Interpreters will be on hand for Spanish, Korean, and Chinese speaking parents. For more information, call Teacher Debra Taylor at 770-904-7950.

The Pinckneyville Middle GALS (Girls As Leaders) organization is promoting servant leadership at the personal, school, local, state, and national levels. Teacher Bridget Guenthner has selected Hancock Central Middle School as a sister-school for the year and will begin a student pen-pal program for 8th grade students. School supplies collected by GALS will be delivered to Hancock Middle on Sept. 28. The group will hold a garage sale Dec. 1-2 at Pinckneyville and proceeds will benefit the Norcross Cooperative Ministry Food Bank and dictionaries will be purchased for Hancock Middle. For more information, visit

The Peachtree Ridge High Roaring Lions Marching Band will perform in the Duluth Fall Festival parade Sept. 29. The schedule may be viewed at For more information, call Giesela Zavodny, communication officer, at 770-476-1299 or email

Cedar Hill Elementary will host the school’s 6th annual Title I Math Instructional Fair on Oct. 4 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Families are invited to learn and play math games together. Entertainment is free and includes a moonwalk and face painting in the gym. Pizza and drinks will be available to purchase in the cafeteria. Parents are asked to sign in before entering the building. For more information, call the Parent Center at 770-822-6420.

Grayson Elementary will host “Getting Parents Involved,” a parent resource night, on Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dinner will be served in the cafeteria followed by a general PTA meeting, entertainment by kindergarten students, and two parent resource seminasr. The first one a question and answer session with School Board Vice Chairman Carole Boyce, and the second is "How to Raise a Responsible Child" presented by school counselors. For more information, contact Vicki Strine at

Rockbridge Elementary will host the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 9 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the school. As part of the Atlanta Falcon’s Fan Blitz beautification project, players will plant flowers with 4th and 5th grade students in front of the campus. Rockbridge Elementary was nominated by United Way to participate in this program. For more information, call 770-932-7474.

Norcross High will sponsor the fifth annual “A Taste of Norcross High” on Oct. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. Participants are invited to taste food samples from more than 25 local restaurants, participate in a silent auction in the gym, and purchase one-of-a-kind decorative plates designed by National Arts Honor Society students. Tickets may be purchased for $10 from booster club members and will not be sold at the door. Proceeds benefit participating booster clubs and the PTSA. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

The Duluth High Center Stage Alliance will perform “Brighton Beach Memoirs” on Oct. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $6 the last week in September and at the theater door. For more information, visit

The Grayson Cluster Schools Foundation (GCSF) will host the third annual Hot Tamale Chili Cook-Off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Grayson City Park. The cook-off is open to any individual, group, or organization who would like to compete. The registration deadline is Sept. 29 and applications are available at any of the Grayson cluster schools or online at the GCSF web site: The event includes children’s activities, vendors, and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased at the Grayson Cluster schools for $5, children under five are free. For more information, call Sandi Porter at 770-962-6766 or email; or Diane Schatell at

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 on weekday mornings and is open to the public weekday afternoons, Monday - Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at or call 770-904-3500.

Sept. 27, Tour the GEHC at 5:30 p.m., View “Globetalk: Protecting the Global Environment: Lessons Learned from Peace Corps Field Experience” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Free event for all ages, individuals over 50 strongly encouraged to attend. Peace Corps Volunteers share their experience working on grassroots environmental projects in countries around the globe and the impact it had on their lives.

Sept. 2, Noon - 3 p.m., Map and Compass Class, $15 per person
Come learn how to read a map and use a compass to guide you while exploring the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. Age 15 and up. Pre-register for this activity at Space is limited to 15 participants.

Oct. 6, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Archaeology Merit Badge, $10 per Boy Scout
Complete most of the requirements for this badge. An additional date will be scheduled for the excavation requirement. Requirements 4 and 5 are a prerequisite for this class. Wear comfortable clothes, tennis shoes, and bring a sack lunch. Minimum of 8 participants, maximum of 15 participants. Center admission additional fee. Call 770-904-3500 to pre-register and pay by Oct. 1.

Oct. 6, 1 - 5 p.m., My Heritage Badge, $18 per Girl Scout
Make a heritage scrapbook and hear a guest speaker from the local community. Bring pictures, drawings, family tree, mementoes, and other items for your scrapbook. Badge is included. Minimum of 15 participants, maximum of 35 participants. Center admission additional fee. Call Sabrina Jones at 678-420-6870 or to register.

Oct. 13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., How to Make and Use Bio-diesel fuel, $75 per person or $125 per couple
This workshop will help you save on fuel expenses. Cost includes lunch and a guided tour of Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. Limited to 12 participants. Call 770-904-3500 pre-register and pay by Oct. 10.

Oct. 13, 2 - 3 p.m., Composting Workshop, Free with paid admission & GEHC members
It’s that time of year again, turn those leaves into something good for your garden. Joel Hitt explains the tools needed and shows you how easy it is to compost. Call 770-904-3500 to register.

Grayson Elementary sponsored a father and son cookout for 350 dads and sons on September 14. Guests enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs, played games, and won prizes. Entertainment included karate demonstrations. Photos available upon request. For more information, please contact Alaina Wilson at

Grayson Elementary sponsored a Great Day of Service on August 25. Students from Maxwell High School of Technology and Grayson Elementary worked together to clean up the school’s outdoor classroom by cleaning out garden beds, turning soil, weeding perennial beds, and picking up garbage. The project was a joint activity that brought awareness of community service and environmental education to both schools. Brian Laraway, the Horticulture teacher at Maxwell High, led the project. Photos available upon request. For more information, please contact Tricia Floyd at

“GCPS Focus” Coming up on GCPS Focus...Gwinnett celebrates the opening of its newest schools, CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks discusses leadership, and we’ll take a look at the Quality-Plus Leader Academy. This 30-min. program airs daily at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

“The Author in You: Terry Kay” GCPS TV welcomes Georgia Hall of Fame writer Terry Kay to the set of “The Author in You.” Mr. Kay is a Georgia native who has written 10 novels, a children’s book, a collection on nonfiction prose, and several screen plays. Well known for his novel “To Dance With the White Dog,” Mr. Kay discusses his career as a writer and his latest novel, “The Book of Marie.” This 30-min. program airs Sept. 24-29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Education News Parents Can Use: Back to School Special: Empowering Parents, Empowering Students” The September edition of Education News will profile programs that provide parents with choices and encourage parent involvement as a mechanism to improve student achievement; showcase charter schools as an effective vehicle for helping students learn and close the academic achievement gap; and provide tips and resources for parents to help ensure their children success this academic year. This 60-min. program airs Sept. 24-29 at 1 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators, Level 1” This 10-part 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. This GCPS TV original series will air in hour-long segments at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday-Sunday, through October 21 (a new class will air each week, beginning on Monday).

“English...Yes, I Can! (Series 2)” This video telecourse is designed to teach English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 2 is scheduled to air through Sept. 27 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 see 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 & 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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Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.

09/19/2007Berkmar High educator honored as Georgia Association of the Deaf Teacher of the Year (pdf)
09/18/2007Gwinnett schools celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month encouraging Hispanic parental involvement (pdf)
09/14/2007Gwinnett County Public Schools earns $3.7 million grant from The Broad Foundation to support leadership development (pdf)
09/14/2007105 Gwinnett schools name their 2007-08 Teacher of the Year (pdf)
09/14/2007Grand Jury Presentments Response (pdf)

September is Library Card Sign-up Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.

Juniors will take the Georgia High School Graduation Test on Sept. 26. Visit the system website for assessment information and to view the student testing calendar.

October is Computer Learning Month and Physical Therapy Month.

Fire Prevention Week and National Metric Week run from Oct. 7-13.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., Oct. 11 at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

October 15 is a Student Holiday, Teacher Planning/Professional Learning day.

National School Lunch week runs from October 15-19.

Instructional materials review runs Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. Parents, staff, and community members are invited to review and to provide input on proposed curriculum materials. This review covers instructional materials for mathematics (grades K–5, 6, 7, and 9), social studies (grades K–5) and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (grade 9). All materials may be reviewed at the following locations and times:
¯ Instructional Support Center (ISC) in the Building 200 Lobby, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road, NW, in Suwanee,(678-301-6000); Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.– 4 p.m.; Thurs., Oct. 11 and 25, 5–8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
¯ Lovin Elementary, located at 1705 New Hope Road in Lawrenceville, (678-518-6940); Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Thurs., Oct. 11 and 25, 5–8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 20, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
For more about the review process, contact Lisa Burleson in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at 678-301-6831.

GCPS invites community members and employees to participate in its annual review of Gwinnett’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Employees and community members have until Friday, November 9, to submit suggestions for revisions to the AKS. The GEMS Oversight Committee, a group of community and school system representatives charged with the annual review of the AKS, will consider all suggestions at their annual meeting. That committee then will recommend changes to CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for adoption by the Board of Education for implementation in the 2007-08 school year. The Review Form is available on the school system’s web site at