News You Can Use - 11/17/2008

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
11/17/2008 - 11/23/2008

Chattahoochee Elementary will host “Camp Wanna Read” through Nov. 14. The media center has been transformed into a campground— complete with tents, trees, stars, and all the outdoor trimmings. For more information, call Susan Queen or Cindy Nore in the media center at 770-497-9907.

Walnut Grove Elementary will host Trailblazer Day on Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $10 and include access to inflatable fun, slides, pony rides, putt putt golf, a cake walk, a live DJ, games, cotton candy and popcorn. There will be a Basket Auction in the cafeteria at noon. Holiday shopping will be available at the gym “Marketplace” where vendors will display their goods. The Varsity Restaurant sell lunch items for $2, and funnel cakes may also be purchased for $2. The Scholastic Book Fair will have books on display. For more information and to order tickets, call Stacey Sparks at 770-614-7143.

The Lanier Middle percussion ensemble has been invited to perform at the 62nd annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 16-20. These students participated in a rigorous audition attended by 16,000 music educators from around the country. Lanier Middle is the first middle school percussion section to be featured at this prestigious event. For more information, visit, or call Hunter McRae at 678-482-1029.

Mill Creek High competition cheerleaders won the 2008 AAAAA State Championship for the third time in five years since the school was opened. For more information, call Patricia Lowrie at 678-714-5850.

Several GCPS marching bands have earned kudos in recent competition, including the Berkmar High Patriot Corps, Single A Division Champions at the Screamin’ Eagle Invitational; and Collins Hill High, finishing 8th in the Super Regional Competition. Call the local school for more information.

Aimée Burgamy, a visual arts teacher at Trickum Middle, was named the 2009 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year (TOTY) at a Nov.6 banquet. Before Ms. Burgamy was honored, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) honored her as the district’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Also recognized as level winners were Jodi Sanchez of Bethesda Elementary, the Elementary School Teacher of the Year; and Todd Shultz of Phoenix High, who earned the county’s High School Teacher of the Year title. For more information, call the local school.

Nesbit Elementary Teacher Jeanine Jones had an article published in the December issue of “Arts & Activities.” The project showed how teachers could integrate geography into an art lesson to create Kente cloths from Africa. To view the article, visit For more information, call 770-414-2740.

Chesney Elementary students will share “moments of thanks” on local TV stations the week of Nov. 16. Times and days are listed below. For more information, call 678-542-2300.
Monday - Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. on WXIA-TV (NBC)
Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on WATL-TV (MyATL)
Monday - Friday at noon on WXIA-TV (NBC)
Saturday from 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. on WXIA-TV (NBC)
Saturday from 8:00am - 9:00am on WATL-TV (MyATL)
Sunday from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. on WXIA-TV (NBC)
Sunday from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. on WATL-TV (MyATL)

Lawrenceville Elementary will host a Homework Academy for parents on Nov. 19 from 2 to 3 p.m. Staff members will share ideas and strategies to help students with organizational skills and homework. Refreshments will be served. The Gwinnett Braves mascot “Chopper” will be a guest reader during “Reading Takes You Around the World.” For more information, call Nury Crawford, Parent Center coordinator, at 770-513-6879, or email

The Sweetwater Middle chorus will perform at the Gwinnett Gladiators game on Nov. 19. For more information, call the school at 770-923-4131.

Maxwell High School of Technology will host an Open House for prospective students and their parents on Nov. 20 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 7 p.m. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and current students will be on hand to answer questions and guide people around the campus. For more information, call Brett Pendley at 770-338-4828.

Peachtree Ridge High will host an International Night on Nov. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. The program will include music, dancing, and food from around the world. Student displays from different countries will be available for viewing. International Clubs from local universities will be featured. For more information, call Heather Toner, ESOL teacher, at 678-957-3100.

Walnut Grove Elementary is holding a fundraiser for Relay for Life on Nov. 21 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and on Nov. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tanner Photography will take family portraits for a $15 donation. This donation will purchase an 11” X 14” portrait. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Additional photos and products will be available to order, including canvas wall portraits, framing and holiday cards. For more information, call Joyce Shaffer at 770-513-6892 to schedule your appointment.

Duncan Creek Elementary will host the school’s 6th Annual Turkey Trot on Nov. 24 at 3:50 p.m. Students will compete by running laps around the outside track. First place will win a Turkey, 2nd place a ham, third place a pie, and 4th place a basket of fruit. All participants will receive a certificate. For more information, call Teacher Dayna Alkire at 678-714-5800.

The Mill Creek High dance department will perform “The Toy Shop II” on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., Nov. 22 at 2 p.m., and Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the school and at the door of the theater for $5. For more information, call Suzanne Kross at 678-765-5296.

Sixty members of the Shiloh High Concert Choir earned $5,000 and the opportunity to sing back-up with finalists from “American Idol” at the Classic Center performances in Athens on Dec. 5 and 6. Seven choirs initially auditioned for the honor. For more information, call Craig Johnson, choral director, at 770-972-8471.

The Lanier Middle chorus has been invited to perform for more than 5,000 people in the Forsyth County Celebration of Lights on Dec. 6. Lanier’s chorus has been designated as the final performance and will sing as the Christmas tree is lit and fireworks go off. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with a parade at Buford Dam Rd., and ends at the Northside/Forsyth hospital where Lanier students will perform at 6:10 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Northside Hospital’s Fight against Cancer. For more information, visit

Harbins Elementary 4th and 5th grade chorus students and environmental clubs will join forces to present “Santa Goes Green” — to save the environment— on Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. This musical features singing, sign language, and much more. Students are planning backdrops made from recycled materials and the programs will be printed on recycled paper. For more information, call 770-682-4270.

Meadowcreek High hosted the first Georgia Science Olympiad Coaches Clinic earlier this year. The two day event was designed to help middle and high school coaches better understand the rules and ideas for successful competition. Science Olympiad is a combination of 23 different events spanning the 5 major categories of science: Life/Personal/Social, Earth & Space, Physical & Chemical Science, Technology & Engineering, and Inquiry. Schools put together a team of 15 students that compete in pairs to cover 23 events. For more information, call 770-381-9680.

Visit the school system website at for the most current News Releases.
11/12/2008Maxwell High to hold Open House: Maxwell High School of Technology launches “Aircraft Flight Operations” course (pdf)
11/10/2008Governor Perdue honors Parkview High for SAT progress (pdf)
11/07/2008Gwinnett selects its 2009 Teacher of the Year: Trickum Middle’s Aimée Burgamy (pdf)

Registration for the 2009–10 freshman class of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology is underway. Registration materials are available in all GCPS middle schools and on both the GCPS web site ( and the school web site ( Registration packets must be submitted by January 23, 2009.

Parentvision: teen issues for concerned parents” Hosted by Collins Hill High counselor and graduation coach Margaret Cheeley, “Parentvision” explores topics relating to raising teens in the 21st century. Beginning on Nov. 17, GCPS TV will reair four episodes of “Parentvision. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the Teenage Brain (Nov. 17), the Internet Generation (Nov. 18), Affluenza (Nov. 19), and A Matter of Degree (Nov. 20). Each of these thought-provoking shows begins nightly at 7 p.m.

“ArtStage - Marching Band Exhibition, Part 2” This edition of Artstage features marching bands from Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Norcross, North Gwinnett, and Peachtree Ridge high schools. Get ready for a great program of music and precision marching. This 60-min. program airs Nov. 17-22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Education News Parents Can Use: Paying for College - Think Federal Aid First” The November edition of Education News will spotlight the latest departmental federal student aid programs, tools, and resources; highlight schools and districts that are implementing innovative programs and initiatives to help disadvantaged youth succeed in and pay for college; and, provide tips and options to help parents plan for and finance college. This 60-min. program airs Nov. 21-23 at 7 p.m.

“Meet the Author: Thomas Holtz” Describing himself as the “King of Dino Geeks,” Dr. Thomas Holtz is a professor at the University of Maryland’s College Park Scholars Earth, Life, and Time program. In addition to authoring children’s books and encyclopedias for young people, Dr. Holtz has written numerous academic publications. “We can learn a lot from dinosaurs-the evolution of life, climate change, and the relationship between the living and nonliving world,” says Dr. Holtz. This 60-min. program airs Nov. 17-23 at 10:30 a.m.

“Spanish for Educators - Level 2” 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. through Jan. 4.

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 and 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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The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held at 7 p.m., November 13, 2008, at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. N.W. in Suwanee.

Nov. 16-22 is American Education Week.

Nov. 20 is National Parental Involvement Day.

National Family Week if Nov. 23-29.

Nov. 26-28 are Thanksgiving holidays for schools (other GCPS locations Nov. 27-28.)

Georgia End-of-Course Test Window will take place from Dec. 8-19.

The following schools will hold School Council Dates in October and November. Call the local school for the time and location.
Alcova Elementary
B.B. Harris Elementary
Benefield Elementary
Brookwood Elementary
Camp Creek Elementary
Corley Elementary
Dacula Elementary
Duluth High
Freeman's Mill Elementary
Grayson High
Harbins Elementary
Harmony Elementary
Ivy Creek Elementary
J.G. Dyer Elementary
K.E. Taylor Elementary
Lanier Middle
Lovin Elementary
Meadowcreek Elementary
Mountain Park Elementary
North Gwinnett High
Parkview High
Patrick Elementary
Peachree Ridge High
Peachtree Elementary
Pharr Elementary
Pinckneyville Middle
Rebecca Minor Elementary
Sugar Hill Elementary
Susan Stripling Elementary
Suwanee Elementary
W.C. Britt Elementary
W.J. Cooper Elementary
Walnut Grove 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.-Fri. from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center is open to the public Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.gwinnettEHC.comor call 770-904-3500.

Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tune Into the Holidays: Decorating With Nature, Cost: $25 per family, GEHC members $10, includes center admission
Come join us as we celebrate the holiday season. We will provide living, edible, natural decorations for our wildlife friends. Attend a holiday concert by Ritmo Blu World Percussion Trio as they perform music representing Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa as they travel through the traditions from Europe to Israel and back to the United States. Receive eco-friendly decorating tips. This activity is perfect for families, please register by December 1.

Dec. 13, 11 to 11:45 a.m. and 2 to 2:45 p.m., Winter Walk, Cost: $3 per person, GEHC members FREE
Enjoy a winter walk with our Program Specialists as they take you on an incredible hike through the property. See beautiful landscapes that are usually inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Winter walks are perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. The program is limited to 12 participants each session, please register by calling 770-904-3500.

Dec. 13, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Club Method (Middle and High School), Cost: FREE
Registration is required by Nov. 22, limited to 25 students.

Dec. 13, 1 to 2 p.m., Nature Kids (Grades 2 - 4), Cost: $5 per kid, Make and Take an Evergreen Garland Centerpiece
We will make small evergreen garlands to freshen our rooms with traditional holiday scents from pine, cedar and fir trees. We will learn a little bit about evergreen trees while we are making our crafts. Registration is required by Nov.22, limited to 15 kids.

Dec.20, 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Winter Walk, Cost: $3 per person, GEHC members FREE
Enjoy a winter walk with our Program Specialists as they take you on an incredible hike through the property. See beautiful landscapes that are usually inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Winter walks are perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. The program is limited to 12 participants each session, please register by calling 770-904-3500.