News You Can Use - 05/08/2006

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
05/08/2006 - 05/14/2006

Lawrenceville Elementary 1st grade students were challenged to read 100 books between September and April of this school year. Altogether, the children read 17,580 books. To celebrate their reading success, students will attend an assembly on May 5, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Students will receive a special T-shirt and hat to wear and donated prizes will be awarded. Guest readers will include Central Gwinnett High football players and cheerleaders, Gwinnett County fire fighters, and Gwinnett County Public Library friends. For more information, call Lawanna Caudle at 770-963-1813.

The State Student Media Festival will be held May 5 at the Georgia Public Broadcasting building in Atlanta. GCPS students entered 220 of the 870 entries from around the state. Entries earning Superior ratings will advance to the International Student Media Festival, which will be judged over the summer. For more information, call Deborah Gray in GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning at 770-822-6428.

Harbins Elementary will host the GCPS Elementary Witzzle Pro Math tournament on May 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Participants will include 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from grade 4 and from grade 5 at each participating school. Math specialists facilitate math clubs at their local schools. Most clubs participate in a Witzzle Pro tournament, competing against nearby schools. For more information, call Krista Bennett at 687-542-2300.

The Central Gwinnett High Key Club is hosting a Child Safety Bicycle Rodeo on May 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. Central Gwinnett Cluster elementary students have been invited to participate in this event. Students can have their bicycle’s tire air pressure and brakes inspected; ride through a safety awareness obstacle course; and participate in stations on car safety, seat belt use, bicycle helmet safety, and water safety. First Bank of the South is sponsoring free T-shirts for the first 50 children attending. Instructional materials from Kohl’s and Indiana’s Car Safety Program will be available. For more information, call DeAnne Varitek, Key Club sponsor, at 770-963-8041.

Eleven Mill Creek High equestrian club members will participate in national competition on May 7 at In Your Dreams Farm in Alpharetta from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The members are Alexa Bertolini, Danielle Bryant, Kelsi Cunningham, Teresa Davis, Leasa Garmon, Brooke Lankford, Elizabeth Norris, Megan O’Keefe, Katie Perkins, Keri Rich, and Shelby Sweat. Mill Creek High is one of the few schools in the area that offers Equestrian Club. For more information, call Sabrina Hancock at 678-714-5850.

J.P. McConnell Middle teachers Jayne Lawson and Cece Edwards have been recognized by the National Middle School Association as one of the country’s Teams that Make a Difference. They will be honored with three other teams from across the nation at a conference this fall in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, call 770-554-1000.

Maria Li of Mill Creek High received a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. She is among 2,500 seniors chosen from a group of approximately 15,000 finalists from throughout the country. For more information, call 847-866-5100.

Norcross High art student Bertha Escoto is a Gold Medal winner for her pottery entered in the National Scholastic Art Awards competition. Martha Cook is her teacher. Bertha will receive her award at a ceremony to be held at Carnegie Hall in New York in June. For more information, call 770-448-3674.

Dr. Lynn Hunnicutt of Riverside Elementary received the 2006 National Service Award for Service to the National Student Assistance Association (NSSA) and Dedication to Children and Families. NSSA promotes student achievement and academic success through student assistance programs. For more information, call 678-482-1000.

Shari Ack of Grayson High Technical Education Program won first place in the biochemistry category and division at the state FFA Agriscience Fair in April. For more information on Shari’s project, contact Michael Garrett, her teacher, at 770-554-7094, or send an e-mail to

Jennifer Anderson of Dacula Middle has been named 2006 Georgia Distinguished Educator of the Year for Middle Schools by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and Ford Motor Company. Ms. Anderson was selected for demonstrating excellence and creativity in the development and presentation of a related lesson plan. As one of three statewide winners, she will receive a $1,000 cash award from the Ford Motor company. For more information, call 770-963-1110.

The Atlanta Braves and BellSouth selected four GCPS teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching. Atlanta Braves/BellSouth Excellence in Education award winners are Kathi Abraham of Simonton Elementary, Merrel Bowles of Pinckneyville Middle, Cheryl Gardner of Dacula High, and Susan Hill of R.D. Head Elementary. For more information, call the local school of visit

Trickum Middle student Colleen Harrison placed second for her entry in the “Letters About Literature” competition sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. She will be awarded a monetary prize and a gift certificate from the sponsoring corporation, Target. For more information, call 770-921-2705.

The Lawerenceville Elementary Parent Center will host “Here’s the Scoop: Reading, Writing, and Math Strategies, Using Ice Cream” at two locations in May. This activity will teach parents how to use ice cream to teach reading, writing, and math strategies at home during the summer. The Kids’ Center at Greens at Hillcrest Apartments will host the event on May 10 from 6 to 8 p.m., and the Lighthouse Center at the Magnolia Village Apartments will host the event on May 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Lawrenceville Elementary Parent Center will host a Very Important Partners and Parent Education Awards Program Luncheon on May 12 from 11 a.m. to noon at Stevi B’s Restaurant on Pike Street. Business partners and parent volunteers will be honored for their dedication and service. For more information, call 770-963-1813.

On May 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., GCPS will host a Child Find Screening and Information Fair in the Central Gwinnett Room (Building 200) at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee. Working with the medical community and service agencies throughout the county, the school system seeks to identify children diagnosed with, or in need of, further evaluation for mental, physical, or emotional/behavioral disabilities. A Spanish interpreter will be available. Representatives will conduct developmental, vision, hearing, and speech screenings for Gwinnett children ages 0–21. Pass the word to others in the community about this opportunity. For more information, call 678-301-7110.

The Berkmar Middle PTA will host a performance by Full Radial Dance Company on May 17 at 2:30 p.m. This innovative dance company offers professional dance by performers with physical disabilities, demonstrating for the audience the limitless determination of the human spirit. Douglas Scott, Radial Dance founder, received his inspiration while volunteering at the Atlanta’s Shepherd Center teaching dance. The program is designed for middle school students. For more information, call 770-638-2800.

The Mountain Park Elementary chorus students in Mandy Papenbrock’s class and the Richard Hull Middle fiddle ensemble will perform for Armed Forces Day on May 20. The event will take place at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to make cards, write letters, and record messages in support of veterans, and to support troops currently serving in Iraq. For more information and a list of the day’s events, visit

Mill Creek High’s engineering and technology program is “Flying Low!” Students in Glenn Burrows’ class are among five high school teams in the country building a fully functional hovercraft. A hovercraft is a vehicle that rides on a cushion of air over land or water. While other schools are building small-scale models powered by “shop-vacs” or “leaf blowers,” Mill Creek’s Engineering students are building a full size vehicle. Their craft will be 13-feet long, 6-feet wide and will be powered by twin, gasoline engines, totaling 15 horsepower. With its projected 500-pound payload capacity it will easily carry two passengers. The project will be finished by the end of the school year. For more information, call 678-714-5850.

“Math Rules!” GCPS TV and the GCPS Math Office proudly announce the premiere “Math Rules!” an innovative and educational new series, designed especially for elementary students and their parents. The show combines games and activities that promote flexibility and fluency in mathematics. Elementary students demonstrate the games under the guidance of the show’s hosts— Lisa Lee, K-12 mathematics coach, and Greta Loeber, math specialist at Simpson Elementary. It's all fun and games with a focus on learning. This 30-min. program airs May 8-13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Hip Hop to ‘Da Head - Prince William/Kennedy Center Performing Arts Series” Meet Kwikstep, Rokafella, Stretch, and the rest of the crew as they break, lock, pop, and uprock until you stand up and cheer. The members of Full Circle Productions present a behind-the-scenes look at the culture and aesthetics of hip hop, the elements and dance styles, and the high-energy performance characteristic of this positive and vivacious expression of urban culture. This 60-min. program airs May 8-13 at 1 p.m.

“Gorillas - Shamu TV” Travel deep into the forests of Africa at the crossroads of three countries to discover the world of the mysterious mountain gorilla. You'll meet the people and organizations working to protect these endangered apes in regions of turmoil and strife. This 30-min. program airs May 8-13 at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“English...YES, I Can! (Series 1)” English...Yes, I Can (Series 1) is a video telecourse designed to teach beginning English literacy skills to adult learners. Series 1 is scheduled to air through May 23 on GCPS TV. A new 60-minute program airs daily Monday–Thursday at 9 p.m. and again at 1 a.m., with the week’s shows rebroadcast on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

“Spanish for Educators” This GCPS TV original series is an introduction to the Spanish language and is tailored especially for educators and other school employees. However, the community is invited to watch and learn as well. The 10-part series will air in hour-long segments through May 28. Each week, a new show will premiere at 8 p.m. on Monday, then be rebroadcast in that same time slot Tuesday through Sunday.

Tune in to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ educational access channel for education programs and information. TV cable channels and providers include:
Adelphia on Channel 20 (Ch. 97 without converter) BellSouth on Channel 21
Charter on Channel 22 Comcast on Channel 24
For more information, call the GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning Department at 678-985-5233, or e-mail A list of this week’s programming may be found on the GCPS Web site--

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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, National Sight-Saving Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

GCPS high school students may register online (through June 3) for both face-to-face Summer School classes and the summer session of Gwinnett County Online Campus. The 2006 face-to-face summer school session for high school students will take place June 7-July 11. Classes are available at Brookwood High, Collins Hill High, and Norcross High. Online classes will be conducted June 6-July 12. Check the GCPS Web site for more information on dates, fees, and available classes.

Remaining Dates in the FY2007 Budget Process
Thursday, May 11 Second public hearing on budget and final adoption, 7 p.m., Board Room, Instructional Support Center (ISC), 437 Old Peachtree Rd., NW, Suwanee
Monday, June 5 First public hearing on millage rate, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC
Monday, June 12 2nd public hearing on millage rate, 11:45 a.m., Board Room, ISC
Monday, June 12 3rd public hearing on millage rate and final adoption, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC, 7 p.m., Board Room, ISC

Visit for information on GCPS prom dates, graduation dates, and high school summer school.

May 7-14 is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Custodian Appreciation Week begins May 8.

May 9 is National Teacher Day.

National School Nurse Day is May 10.

May 11 is Georgia Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Day.

The next regular meeting of the Gwinnett County Board of Education will be held May 11, 2006, at 7 p.m., at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. NW in Suwanee.

May 14–20 is Reading is Fun Week.

State Board of Education Member José Perez, serving the 7th Congressional District, will hold a listening session on May 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Norcross HS. Students, staff, parents, and community members are invited to the event to discuss student achievement for Georgia’s students. Those wishing to speak at the public forum are asked to sign in when they arrive. For more information or to request auxiliary aids, contact Lynn Roberts of the state Department of Education at 404-657-7410 or by e-mail at

May 24 is the last day of school for students.

Memorial Day on May 29 is a systemwide holiday and all locations are closed.

June 2 is the deadline to apply for openings on the GEMS Oversight Committee. The committee meets annually for one to two days to review input from educators and community members on suggested revisions, deletions, and additions to the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. The group’s recommendations are presented to the superintendent for adoption by the Board of Education. Applications are available online.

The following Gwinnett schools will hold Local School Council Meetings during May. Call the local school for the time and meeting place.
Bethesda Elementary
Britt Elementary
Cedar Hill Elementary
Centerville Elementary
Chesney Elementary
Corley Elementary
Creekland Middle
Duncan Creek Elementary
Fort Daniel Elementary
Give Center
Grayson High
Harbins Elementary
Lanier Middle
Mason Elementary
Mountain Park Elementary
Norcross Elementary
North Gwinnett
Osborne Elementary
Radloff Middle
Riverside Elementary
Simonton Elementary
Simpson Elementary
Snellville Middle
South Gwinnett
Stripling Elementary
Sweetwater Middle