Volume 9 , Number 2April 10, 2017


This issue recognizes honors through early March.

GCPS honored as “Outstanding” Great District for Great Teachers with inaugural award
We only have two kinds of employees in Gwinnett County Public Schools... those who teach and those who support those who teach. On March 7, the district received national recognition for its policies and practices that support and encourage GCPS’ outstanding teaching corps. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a national leader on teacher issues, honored GCPS in its first-ever Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative, extending to the district the title of “Outstanding Great District for Great Teachers.” Read more in the most recent issue of Education Briefs.
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College Board names Gwinnett as AP District of the Year
More Gwinnett high school students, including traditionally under-represented minority students, are taking college-level classes and doing better on optional exams that can lead to college credit. That positive trend for increased access and performance in Advanced Placement (AP) classes led to national recognition. At a Feb. 21 event, GCPS was named a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year for being the national leader among large school districts in expanding access to AP courses while simultaneously improving AP Exam performance (scores of 3 or higher on a 5-point scale). Learn more in Ed Briefs.
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Reading Recovery recognizes superintendent for literacy leadership
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks is this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award, presented at the national conference sponsored by the Reading Recovery Council of North America. The national award is given to individuals not trained in Reading Recovery who have displayed a strong commitment to expand and maintain its high standards, and who have made significant contributions to implementation beyond the local level.

More than 12,000 students have received Reading Recovery support since the program was introduced in Gwinnett in 1994. Today, Reading Recovery is implemented in all 80 elementary schools. The district has trained more than 300 Reading Recovery teachers, many of whom have gone on to serve in state, county, and local school leadership roles. Besides working with their Reading Recovery students, trained teachers also work as literacy coaches and Title I small-group teachers. A significant number of Reading Recovery students are English language learners; 46% spoke a language other than English in 2015–16 and more than 20 native languages are represented.

“Unlike some literacy programs that do not live up to their advance billing, Reading Recovery delivers the promised results,” Mr. Wilbanks said. “The research-based strategies have proven to be effective not only in teaching struggling youngsters to read, but in equipping them with reading skills that last over the years. That means the dollars invested for Reading Recovery are a beneficial investment of our instructional resources.”
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Gresham honored for leadership by national
career academy organization

Dr. Reuben Gresham, Principal of Lanier HS, has been awarded the Henk Koning Exemplary Educator Award by the National Career Academies Coalition (NCAC). The award recognizes an academy educator who has made a significant contribution to the success of a career academy. 

Dr. Gresham’s leadership has allowed the school’s four academies— the Center of Design and Technology (STEM), Life and Health Sciences, Global Business and Leadership, and Multimedia and Fine Arts— to thrive. He has helped foster and develop a stable leadership group that includes an academy coach and academy leads who work directly with administrators and counselors to ensure students are supported.

This support is highlighted through Dr. Gresham’s vision for an embedded block of the day twice a week called Academy Time. The time is dedicated to intervention, remediation, and enrichment where students have opportunities to work on projects, deep dive into interests, receive academic support, and participate in lessons that expose and bolster important soft skills needed in the modern workforce. 

Although honored to receive the award, Dr. Gresham says the great work being done at Lanier is the result of a team effort. “Our teachers and students have embraced the challenge of learning new things in new ways, and the success of all students during these crucial years is our number one priority,” Dr. Gresham says. “We want our students to win in a global society and not be fearful to go out into the world. I love our Lanier family and the work we are doing. I just have the blessing to accept this recognition on their behalf.”

Debbie Dees, GCPS assistant superintendent for high schools, applauds Dr. Gresham, saying his passion for education and students is clear and evident. “All you have to do is walk the hallways and classrooms with Dr. Gresham to understand his commitment to Lanier High School and the Sugar Hill Community,” Ms. Dees says. “His personal commitment to people in the Lanier Community is infectious. He truly loves being a principal and the role he plays in the lives of young people. Dr. Gresham and Lanier High School have set the course for transforming teaching and learning through the Academy model, and that model has opened our students’ eyes to the vast array of careers available within multiple industries.”

The National Career Academies Coalition provides collaborative support and resources for existing and emerging career academies. NCAC's mission is to advise organizations across the country in order to create and support a national network of existing and emerging career academies.  
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Brookwood HS’ Quinlan earns national recogntion,
$7,500 for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education

Cindy Quinlan of Brookwood HS was one of 12 U.S. educators presented with the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education. The award was presented Dec. 3 by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge during the 96th Annual National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Quinlan received $7,500 in recognition of her work.

The Leavey Award is among the nation’s top honors bestowed upon outstanding teachers, at every educational level, who create and conduct programs in entrepreneurship.

Mrs. Quinlan, an entrepreneurship teacher at Brookwood HS, received this honor for “The Brookwood Entrepreneurship Program.” In the program, students learn skills to ensure their employability in an uncertain economy. Students are shown how to create their own earning opportunity in the entrepreneurial spirit of self-employment. Students in the program have the opportunity and the guidance to start their own small business by the end of 10th grade. The students in the program also participate in the “Entrepreneurship Alliance” with the City of Snellville. Each student business is provided a local entrepreneur mentor who volunteers to be a guest speaker, works with students in developing their businesses, and prepares students to pitch their business startups successfully. One lesson taught throughout the program is social entrepreneurship, that as an entrepreneur you must give back to the community.

The Leavey Awards were established by the late Thomas Leavey, co-founder of the Farmers Insurance; Dorothy Leavey, philanthropist and Mr. Thomas' wife; and the Freedoms Foundation. Freedoms Foundation is a non-profit organization located in Valley Forge, Pa. Its mission is to educate about American rights and responsibilities, honor acts of civic virtue, and challenge all to reject apathy and get involved. It has chapters all over the United States that support this mission through local programs and fund raising efforts. To learn more about Freedoms Foundation, visit www.freedomsfoundation.org
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Maxwell’s Phelps earns national Aerospace Education
Teacher of the Year honor

Capt. Kenneth Phelps of Maxwell High School of Technology has been named the A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year. Capt. Phelps was awarded a $5,000 cash stipend and an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Dayton, Ohio, where he was presented with the award at the National Aviation Hall of Fame annual enshrinement dinner.

“I am honored to be named the Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year,” says Capt. Phelps. “I enjoy sharing my passion for aviation with students of the new Aircraft Flight Operations Program at Maxwell High School of Technology. Aviation offers many areas to pursue a rewarding profession, and I welcome the opportunity to mentor and motivate students to develop an interest in and appreciation of aviation and flight operations.”

The award, presented annually by the National Aviation Hall of Fame, is open to current classroom teachers in grades K-12 who teach Aerospace as a core subject matter. A review committee of aerospace industry and education professionals examined nominations for a teacher’s effectiveness, creativity, and ability to maintain high standards for their students and themselves. 

The Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award is named after A. Scott Crossfield, the first man to successfully fly at speeds above Mach 2 and Mach 3, and the first man to fly the North American X-15.
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GSMST earns national recognition from U.S. DOE
as 2016 National Blue Ribbon School

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) has been named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. Now in its 34th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on fewer than 8,500 schools. GSMST was among 279 public and 50 private schools formally recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., in November.

“This is a tremendous honor for the students and staff of GSMST,” says CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “That said, as the students who attend GSMST come from all over Gwinnett County, it truly is an achievement in which we all can take pride. When we first opened GSMST in 2007, our mission was to nurture the talents and potential of all students through a unique, challenging, and integrated curriculum that focused on mathematics, science, and technology. This national recognition is evidence that we have done that and much more.”

Principal IV Bray was very excited about the news. He says, “On behalf of the faculty and staff, parents and community partners, and most importantly, our 875 GSMST alumni, we are honored to receive this important designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. We are so excited to represent the quality public education that is available throughout Gwinnett County Public Schools.”

GSMST is a school known for its high achievement. During the first week of this school year, the school recognized its 63 National AP Scholars from 2016. Since then, ACT and SAT results have been released and GSMST leads all Georgia schools on both tests. In addition, 16 seniors have qualified as National Merit semifinalists. In response to questions about student achievement, Principal Bray shares, “Our students work so very hard in the classroom, in the lab, and at home to master a curriculum that is intertwined with career exploration, problem solving, and deep, creative thinking. However, our students are much more than the lofty assessment scores they produce. They are more than the languages they learn, the research they execute, and the capstone experiences they complete. Our students are well on their way to being strategic knowledge users in a knowledge economy.”
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North Gwinnett HS’ West named Southeastern Secondary
Art Educator of the Year

Debi West of North Gwinnett HS was named Southeastern Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association. “I believe that the visual arts are the key to developing human potential for the arts are the visual stories that document our world,” says Ms. West. “In essence, these stories showcase the remarkable opportunities we lead our students to by teaching them how to creatively use the tools so they are able to share their stories with the world. Often these images are beyond what any words could say. Art is the one class where authentic learning comes to life through projects, through experimentation, through documentation and students begin to realize their full potential – their voices matter, art matters! And it is an absolute honor to call myself an Art Educator!”

In state level honors, it should be noted that Ms. West was named Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA), and Bobbie Adamcyzk of Norcross ES was recognized as the Elementary Art Educator of the Year. “Being recognized with this honor has ignited in me a renewed sense of purpose and dedication not only to my students in the classroom setting but in facilitating more school - community connections,” Ms. Adamcyzk says. “For example, we hope to provide free art lessons to some of our local students and their families this summer directly in the neighborhoods in which they live.  As a teacher in a large Title I school, this is such an exciting chance to strengthen relationships, instill a deeper sense of connectedness, and, of course, celebrate and grow their artistic abilities!  I believe that when our students feel connected and accomplished, they will succeed in school.”

These annual awards recognize outstanding GAEA members for exemplary contributions, service and achievement at the state level. Both Ms. West and Ms. Adamcyzk are veteran teachers.
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Welch named Georgia’s 2018 Principal of the Year
Dr. Tommy Welch, principal of Meadowcreek HS, was recently named Georgia’s 2018 Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP). As the Georgia winner, Dr. Welch will represent the state in the competition for National Principal of the Year, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The Principal of the Year program recognizes principals who excel in educational leadership, resolving complex problems, developing self and others, and community service.
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Peachtree Ridge HS achieves state STEM certification
Peachtree Ridge High School has earned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) certification from the Georgia Department of Education for its SPIRE (STEM Program for Innovation, Rigor, and Excellence) initiative. 
State School Superintendent Richard Woods presented the school with a banner at a celebration in January. Peachtree Ridge joins GSMSTWhite Oak ES, and the CDAT (Center for Design and Technology) Academy at Lanier High School as Gwinnett’s state-certified schools and programs.
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Nations wins GaDOE Innovation in Teaching Award, $7K prize
Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced that Cherie Nations of North Gwinnett MS was one of three winners of the 2016-2017 Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers who implement innovative instructional strategies to advance student achievement. This year’s competition rewarded teachers focused on one of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, language and literacy skills, blended learning, and innovative practices to close the achievement gap. Funding for the competition is provided through Georgia’s Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program.
“Effective, engaging teachers are essential to preparing Georgia’s students for the workforce or higher education,” says Gov. Deal. “With the Innovation in Teaching Competition, we are recognizing and rewarding educators who are at the forefront of developing innovative classroom methods. By learning from these teachers, we are building upon their success to improve education in classrooms across the state."

Ms. Nations, who teaches 8th grade Physical Science, will receive a $3,000 stipend and a $4,000 school grant to support innovative instructional strategies. In addition, Georgia Public Broadcasting will film her teaching a unit and conduct an interview about preparation for the unit. The videos, along with Ms. Nations’ unit plans and supplementary materials, will be made available to other educators, parents, institutions of higher education, and educational stakeholders.
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Duluth HS’ Flanary earns state recognition from
Georgia Council for the Social Studies

Geri Flanary of Duluth HS has been named the 2016 Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Educator by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. Each year, the Georgia Council for the Social Studies recognizes outstanding educators who demonstrate significant service and foster the development of democratic values and citizenship in the classroom, school, and community as well as exhibit professional involvement beyond the normal job requirements.

“I am thankful, honored, and humbled by the recognition,” says Ms. Flanary. “Teaching is not what I do, it is who I am. My purpose is to involve students in experiences that will prepare them to be participatory members of a democratic society. At the end of the day, I ask myself: Have I done all that I can, given the time that I have, to help every student in my classroom to learn more, strive harder, and be better? If the answer is yes, then I rest for a bit and get ready to do it all over again on the next day.”

As this year’s honoree, Ms. Flanary receives a cash award of $250 and a two-year comprehensive membership to the National Council for the Social Studies.

Ms. Flanary takes pride in this achievement but is quick to share that her success is a reflection of her team’s success. She explains, “I consider myself to be a part of a larger team, the social studies teachers at Duluth High School. We work collaboratively to ensure the academic success of all of our students and I share this recognition with all of them.”
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North Gwinnett MS’ Law earns recognition
from state's music educators


Wanda Law, principal of North Gwinnett MS, has been named this year's recipient of the Georgia Music Educators Association Administrative Leadership Award. She was recognized at the opening session of the annual in-service conference held in Athens at the end of January. Mrs. Law was nominated by the music staff at her school for her unwavering support of Band, Chorus, Guitar, Orchestra, Musical Theatre, and Music Technology.
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Radloff MS Principal Skinner named state administrator
of the year by counseling group

Dr. Sarah Skinner, principal of Radloff MS, has been named the 2016 Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) Administrator of the Year. The GSCA selects the winner who exhibited exemplary support of school counseling services, promoted school counseling services, and implemented new school counseling services while also improving existing school counseling services. “I am thrilled to win the GSCA Award, as it is a great way to showcase the AMAZING work the counseling team does at Radloff AND shows how committed we are to serving the whole child,” says Dr. Skinner.

In addition to Dr. Skinner, GSCA also honored Kelley Griffin from Mill Creek HS as one of its state counselor of the year finalists. Ms. Griffin and Dr. Skinner were recognized at GSCA’s Annual State Conference.

Dr. Skinner believes Gwinnett’s success in the area of counseling can be attributed to a focus on this area throughout the district. She explains, “Gwinnett County Public Schools always has been an advocate for the individual student— as is evidenced by Mr. Wilbanks’ creation of and commitment to our Student Advisement program— and even as academic expectations have continued to rise, the district has remained committed to helping each student reach his/her promise—  as a learner and also as a person.” 
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Lanio named tops in water education in the state
Jeannie Lanio of Lanier HS was honored recently as the 2017 Georgia Project WET Educator of the Year. Ms. Lanio teaches AP Environmental Science and Biology and serves as the school’s Environmental Club sponsor. Ms. Lanio’s students take part in hands-on environmental science— collecting water samples in a nearby stream, burying trash to watch decomposition rates, and working in the school garden, planting bulbs and conducting succession studies. Georgia Project WET promotes awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through classroom-ready teaching materials and educator workshops.
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All Gwinnett high schools make AP Honor Schools list
The Georgia Department of Education has released the list of Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools and 21 Gwinnett County public high schools made one or more of the lists. In terms of AP Honor Schools, several GCPS schools were recognized in more than one category. Archer High, Grayson High, and Norcross High made the list in five of the six categories.

“We are very happy and proud that all 21 of our high schools were recognized by the Georgia Department of Education,” says Dr. Jonathan Patterson, associate superintendent for curriculum and instructional support. “Our schools are committed to rigor and it is that commitment, as well as hard work, that helped land our schools on the AP Honor Schools list. We are proud that students who attend our schools will be prepared for college and beyond.”

AP exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP courses are one of several ways Georgia students can access college-level learning at the high school level; students who receive a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam may receive college credit or allow a student to exempt certain courses. The 2017 AP Honor Schools are named in six categories, based on the results of 2016 AP courses and exams.

The 21 GCPS schools recognized as 2017 AP Honor Schools are listed below. In addition to the honors earned by these schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools has been recognized by the College Board as its 2017 AP District of the Year for large school districts.

AP Challenge Schools:
AP Challenge Schools are schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies).
Phoenix HS

AP Access and Support Schools:
Schools with at least 30% of AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African- American and/or Hispanic and 30% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
Archer HS
Lanier HS
Berkmar HS
Mountain View HS
Dacula HS
Norcross HS
Discovery HS
Shiloh High HS
Duluth HS
AP Merit Schools:
AP Merit Schools are schools with at least 20% of the student population taking AP exams and at least 50% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
Archer HS
Mill Creek HS
Brookwood HS
Mountain View HS
Collins Hill HS
Norcross HS
Dacula HS
North Gwinnett HS
Duluth HS
Parkview HS
Grayson HS
Peachtree Ridge HS
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST)
AP STEM Schools:
AP STEM Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, and AP Computer Science).
Archer HS
Lanier HS
Berkmar HS
Meadowcreek HS
Brookwood HS
Mill Creek HS
Central Gwinnett HS
Mountain View HS
Collins Hill HS
Norcross HS
Dacula HS
North Gwinnett HS
Discovery HS
Parkview HS
Duluth HS
Peachtree Ridge HS
Grayson HS
Shiloh HS
GSMST
South Gwinnett HS
AP STEM Achievement Schools:
Schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40% of exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning
scores of 3 or higher.
Archer HS
Mill Creek HS
Brookwood HS
Mountain View HS
Collins Hill HS
Norcross HS
Dacula HS
North Gwinnett HS
Duluth HS
Parkview HS
Grayson HS
Peachtree Ridge HS
GSMST

AP Humanities Schools:
Schools with students testing in the following AP courses: at least one ELA course, two social science courses, one fine arts course, and one world language course.
Archer HS
Lanier HS
Berkmar HS
Meadowcreek HS
Brookwood HS
Mill Creek HS
Central Gwinnett HS
Mountain View HS
Collins Hill HS
Norcross HS
Dacula HS
North Gwinnett HS
Duluth HS
Parkview HS
Grayson HS
Peachtree Ridge HS
GSMST
Shiloh HS

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GaDOE honors 87 Gwinnett schools for ‘beating the odds’
The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) recognized 87 Gwinnett schools as a 2016 Beating the Odds School for performing better than statistically expected on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) for the 2015-16 school year. The GaDOE predicts an expected CCRPI score range – given the school’s size, grade cluster, student mobility, and student demographics (including race/ethnicity, disability, English learners, and poverty). Schools that score above the range “beat the odds.” The list of 87 includes 60 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, five high schools, both GIVE Centers, and New Life Academy of Excellence. Of the 87, a group of 36 schools were honored for beating the odds for five straight years (2012-2016).
87 GCPS Schools beat the odds in 2016, with 36 schools* meeting the criteria for five years (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Alcova ES*
Annistown ES
Baggett ES
Bay Creek MS*
Benefield ES*
Berkeley Lake ES
Berkmar MS
Bethesda ES*
Britt ES*
Brookwood ES*
Brookwood HS
Camp Creek ES
Cedar Hill ES
Centerville ES
Chattahoochee ES
Chesney ES*
Cooper ES*
Corley ES*
Couch MS*
Craig ES
Crews MS*
Dacula ES*
Duncan Creek ES
Dyer ES
Ferguson ES*
Five Forks MS
Fort Daniel ES
Freeman's Mill ES
Grace Snell MS
Graves ES
Grayson ES
Grayson HS
GIVE Center East
GIVE West
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology*
Harbins ES*
Harmony ES
Harris ES*
Head ES
Hopkins ES
Hull MS
Ivy Creek ES
Jenkins ES*
Jones MS
Jordan MS
Kanoheda ES*
Knight ES
Lawrenceville ES*
Level Creek ES
Lilburn ES
Magill ES
McConnell MS*
McKendree ES*
Mill Creek HS
Minor ES
Mulberry ES
Nesbit ES
New Life Academy of Excellence
Norcross ES
North Gwinnett HS
North Gwinnett MS
Northbrook MS
Norton ES*
Osborne MS*
Partee ES
Peachtree ES*
Pharr ES
Pinckneyville MS
Puckett's Mill ES*
Richards MS
Riverside ES
Rockbridge ES
Rosebud ES
Shiloh ES*
Shiloh MS*
Simonton ES
Simpson ES*
Snellville MS*
Starling ES
Sugar Hill ES
Suwanee ES
Sweetwater MS
Sycamore ES*
Trip ES*
Twin Rivers MS*
White Oak ES
Woodward Mill ES*

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43 GCPS schools recognized for PBIS
More than 40 GCPS schools earned a nod from the Board due to recognition by the Georgia Department of Education for their work to create and maintain a positive school climate through the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) earlier this year. GCPS hosted PBIS schools from around the state for a PBIS bus tour to several Gwinnett schools to see the program in action. The following schools were honored:.
2015-16 Operational PBIS Schools
Archer HS
Hull MS
Cedar Hill ES
Jones MS
Corley ES
Lawrenceville ES
Couch MS
Lilburn ES
Dacula MS
Peachtree ES
Ferguson ES
Richards MS
GIVE Center West
Sycamore ES
2015-16 Emerging PBIS Schools
Anderson-Livsey ES
McKendree ES
Annistown ES
Moore MS
Bethesda ES
Mountain View HS
Centerville ES
Nesbit ES
Creekland MS
Norcross ES
Dacula HS
Norton ES
Duluth MS
Pharr ES
GIVE Center East
Radloff MS
Grayson ES
Shiloh MS
Grayson HS
Simonton ES
Hopkins ES
Snellville MS
Lilburn MS
Summerour MS
Lovin ES
Sweetwater MS
Mason ES
Trickum MS
McConnell MS

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Staff recognized by state, GCPS for distinguished support
of media services

Jan Wilson of Brookwood HS, standing with Principal Bo Ford, was named the 2016 Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year by the Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA). The award recognizes K-12 library media specialists with dynamic, innovative programs and whose instructional collaborations foster student engagement and achievement. “To win this award is a great honor,” says Ms. Wilson. “I felt fortunate to be nominated in our county because we have plenty of deserving media specialists working in our schools. I don’t refer to my profession as my job or my career. This profession is my calling and I feel rewarded at the end of the day.” The process for selecting the state honoree began months ago at the district level. Ms. Wilson was named the Gwinnett Media Specialist of the Year in January of 2016 and then won the Metro District honor in May 2016. She was one of 10 district winners from across the state competing for the state title. Ms. Wilson says she could not have won the title without help. She explains, “This award was presented to me as an individual, but the teachers, students, and administrators at Brookwood HS deserve recognition for the media program as well. I am blessed to be surrounded by a community of creativity and passion. The most important relationships are the ones I form with teachers and students.”

David Smith, principal at Parkview HS, is the recipient of the 2017 GCPS School Library Advocate Award. Mr. Smith was nominated by Lisa Newberry, media specialist at Parkview HS. Sponsored by Media Services and Technology Training, this award honors administrators outside the library profession who have made worthy contributions to the operations of effective library services in their school and to advancing the role of the school library in the educational program. Mr. Smith has supported many special events and celebrations related to encouraging reading for students. Mr. Smith also recognizes the importance of purchasing accessible technology and designing instruction using technology with students. He encourages the use of innovative web tools as well as the utilization of the eCLASS learning management system. “Through Mr. Smith’s leadership, it makes me want to be a better teacher in the largest classroom in my school,” said Ms. Newberry. As a recipient of the GCPS School Library Advocate Award, Mr. Smith will be nominated by the district for the Distinguished School Administrators Award sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

Karen Garner of Couch MS, shown left with Couch MS principal Devon Williams, has been named the 2017 Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) Media Specialist of the Year. The award honors a K-12 library media specialist whose services have resulted in exemplary library media programs. “One of Ms. Garner’s strengths is her ability to promote the media center and literacy through multiple outlets. Her willingness to connect to teachers to enhance instruction, whether the lesson needs media center support, research expertise, or technology flair enhances our ability to reach students and improves teaching and learning,” says Mr. Williams. Ms. Garner has developed a successful media program that is exemplary in the promotion of reading, information technology utilization, collaborative and innovative techniques, and community involvement. As the GCPS Media Specialist of the Year, her nomination will be submitted for consideration by the GLMA (Georgia Library Media Association) district committee for the regional award. The winner of that award will be announced in April.

Lisa Doehling of Freeman’s Mill ES was named as the Gwinnett County Public Schools 2017 Media Clerk of the Year. The Media Clerk of the Year award was developed to honor a media clerk who, through individual leadership and sustained effort, has made worthy contributions to the operations of effective school library programs. Ms. Doehling was nominated for this honor by Patti Woschitz, the media specialist at Freeman’s Mill ES. Ms. Woschitz credits Ms. Doehling with “going above and beyond in her responsibilities.” With six years of media clerk experience, Ms. Doehling helps every patron to the best of her ability. When presented with a challenge, she immediately begins thinking of all possible solutions. Lisa demonstrates an expectation of excellence in every task she completes. As the GCPS Media Clerk of the Year, Ms. Doehling’s nomination will be submitted for consideration in the Library Journal’s Paralibrarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by DEMCO, recognizes the essential role of paralibrarians in both school and public libraries.
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Peachtree Ridge HS and GSMST seniors share
2016 Gwinnett STAR honors, advance to region

Sabarish Sainathan a senior at Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology— and Eric Yan— a senior at Peachtree Ridge HS— share this year’s title of Gwinnett 2017 STAR (Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition) Student, representing Gwinnett County’s public and private schools. The STAR student honor is bestowed on the senior in the top 10 percent of his or her class with the highest SAT score. Mr. Sainathan and Mr. Yan earned the county title by having the highest SAT scores among the countywide Class of 2017. As part of the recognition, each STAR student selects a teacher who has had a strong influence on his/her academic career. The GSMST senior selected Greg Field, who taught him AP Calculus BC as his STAR Teacher, while the Peachtree Ridge senior selected Gabriel Pak, who taught him AP Physics C: Mechanics.

As the 2017 Gwinnett County STAR Student/Teacher winners, the teams of Sainathan/Field and Yan/Pak moved on and competed for the regional title, winning that title. As regional winners, they will move to the state level for the honor of being named Georgia’s 2017 STAR Student and Teacher. Congratulations to the 2017 STAR Students and Teachers representing all Gwinnett high schools:

School
STAR Student
STAR Teacher
Archer HS
Hannah Mahaffey
John Jameson
Berkmar HS
Diane Lin
Christopher Pae
Brookwood HS
Karl Patram
David Dimsdale
Central Gwinnett HS
Qasim Hassan
Lindsay Bates
Collins Hill HS
Douglas “Aaron” Court
Ryan Keefer
Dacula HS
Paul Dittamo
Matthew Ludewig
Discovery HS
Brandon McCoy
Jonathan Larese (currently teaching at
Apalachee HS)
Duluth HS
Margaux Ratcliff
James “Jim” Reason

Grayson HS  
William Taylor
Jeremy Mulkey
GSMST
*Sabarish Sainathan
*Greg Field
Lanier HS
Ashley Park
Collin Jones
Meadowcreek HS
Aljon Pineda
Pintu Thaker
Mill Creek HS
Bryan Endsley
Aylen Parra
Mountain View HS
McKade Stewart
Billy Jones
Norcross HS
Jennifer Wang
Michelle Larate
North Gwinnett HS
Jonathan “Johnny” Park
Jeremy Martin
Parkview HS
Mohammad Makhmudov
Caroline Miklosovic
Peachtree Ridge HS
*Eric Yan
*Gabriel Pak
Shiloh HS
Mehul Mehra
Vincent Tran
South Gwinnett HS
Isabelle Williams
Meryl Weaver
 *2017 Gwinnett County STAR Student and Teacher


On March 22, the Gwinnett County STAR Students and Teachers learned they were region winners. State winners will be announced at an event on April 24, 2017.

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The 2017 GCPS top counseling professionals and programs are:

2017 Gwinnett County Elementary School Counselor of the Year
Amy Crapo
of Norcross ES

Amy Crapo (left) and Principal Kassia Morris-Sutton.
2017 Gwinnett County Middle School Counselor of the Year
Shamira Pierson Porter
of Radloff MS
 

Shamira Pierson Porter (left) and
Principal Dr. Sarah Skinner
2017 Gwinnett County Secondary School Counselor of the Year
Dr. Samela Reid
of Parkview HS

Dr. Samela Reid and Principal David Smith.
2017 Gwinnett County Mary Joe Hannaford
Counselor Administrator of the Year
Penny Palmer Young
, Principal of Arcado ES

Left to right: Ginny Wages, counselor; Principal Penny Palmer Young,
and Alina Ruiz, counselor
2017 Counselor Writer of the Year
Simone Sheppard
of Rosebud ES

Principal Monica Ball (left) and Simone Sheppard.

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Need-to-know highlights in Spotlight:
Learn more about…
  • System, School, and Staff Honors

  • Degrees

  • Presentations

  • Publications

  • Participants, and

  • Grants/Scholarships.

  • Something to celebrate?


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    System, School, and Staff Honors
  • Parkview HS Marine Corps JROTC designated a Naval Honor School by the Commanding General Training and Education Command, MCCDC. Major Ronald Tootle, USMC retired, and Gunnery Sergeant and Marine Instructor Dave Erwin, USMC retired, serve as advisors.
  • School Nutrition Program— earned the Golden Radish Award which recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm-to-school food procurement.
  • Snellville MS— named a 2016 Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GASSP) Breakout Middle School.
  • White Oak ES— named a finalist for STEM outreach for the 2016 Georgia STEM Education Awards, presented by the Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative.
  • Congratulations to these communities, student-athletes, and coaches for winning state athletic championships:
    Brookwood HS Boys Swim and Dive Team won the 2016-17 AAAAAAA State Championship title. The team won back-to-back state championships in 2015-16 and in 2016-17, bringing the school's total to five swim and dive titles for the boys team. Greg Puckett serves as head coach.
    Grayson High School Football Team won the 2016-17 AAAAAAA State Championship. The team also was named the 2016 Public School National Champion. Jeff Herron served as the head coach.
    North Gwinnett HS Softball Team won the 2016 AAAAAAA Softball Team State Championship. This is the school's first fast-pitch championship, having won a slow-pitch state championship in 1989. Randy Black serves as head coach.
    Parkview HS Boys Soccer Team won the 2016 AAAAAA Boys Soccer Team State Championship title. Danny Klinect serves as head coach.
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  • Degrees
  • Dr. William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology—earned a doctoral degree in History from Penn State University.
  • Dr. Roy Gay of Northbrook MS—earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment from Walden University.
  • Dr. Sergio Parra of Osborne MS—earned a doctoral degree in Computer Technology in Education from Nova Southeastern University.
  • Dr. Stephanie H. Reed of GIVE Center East—earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.
  • Dr. Jon Valentine, Director of Foreign Language— earned a doctoral degree in Education from the University of Wyoming.
  • Jason Atha of Parkview HS—earned a master’s degree in Conducting from The American Band College of Sam Houston State University.
  • Donna Liska-Johnson of McConnell MS—earned a master’s degree in Special Education from Brenau University.
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  • Presentations
  • Colleen Blankenship of Brookwood HS— traveled as a U.S. Delegate to South Korea at the 7th International Conference on Geographic Naming and Geographic Education, organized by the Northeast Asian History Foundation. Ms. Blankenship presented “Preparing for and Scoring the Advanced Placement Human Geography Examinations: Reflections by an Experienced Reader.” The presentation has since been published.
  • Kimberly Bondeson of Gwinnett Online Campus— presented “Project-Based Online Learning: A New Prescriptive Model of Instructional Design” at the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate Conference.
  • Dr. William Cossen of Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST)—presented an invited lecture on his dissertation, “The Protestant Image in the Catholic Mind: Interreligious Encounters in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” at The Filson Historical Society. Dr. Cossen also presented a paper, “Isaac Hecker's American Odyssey: Rewriting the Catholic Nation in The Church and the Age,” at the annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association.
  • Dr. Dana Edwards of Gwinnett Online Campus— presented “Ten Terrific Tips for School Counselors” at the Georgia School Counselor Association Fall Conference.
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  • Publications
  • Dr. William Cossen of GSMST—published an article, “Catholic Gatekeepers: The Church and Immigration Reform in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” in the peer-reviewed journal U.S. Catholic Historian.
    He also published a book review of William B. Kurtz's “Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America,” which appeared in the online edition of The Civil War Monitor.
  • Bishonna Jones of Shiloh MS— published her book, “Trust Me, We Got This!: 9 Steps to Beat Single Parenting and Redefine Your Life.” The book teaches parents how to defy stereotypes and become more engaged in their children’s lives and in their own lives.
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  • Participants
  • Kimberly Bondeson of Gwinnett Online Campus— served as a chair on the Learning Effectiveness Town Hall Panel.
  • Dr. Rodriquez Johnson of Knight ES— accepted as a member of the 2016-2017 Georgia Education Policy Fellowship Program through the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.
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  • Grants/Donations/Scholarships
  • Dr. William Cossen of GSMST—awarded a Filson Fellowship from The Filson Historical Society (Louisville, Ky.), a Graduate Student Summer Research Grant from the American Catholic Historical Association, and the Charles Joseph Lindstrom Graduate Fellowship in the Richards Civil War Era Center to pursue archival research which supported his dissertation.
  • Carrie Settles Livers of Brookwood HS earned a $35,000 grant from 3Mgives to fund her project that encourages environmental stewardship, connects STEM education and nature with learning opportunities, and engages students and young people with an emphasis on underserved communities.
  • Berkmar MS, Coleman MS, Creekland MS, Five Forks MS, Hull MS, Jordan MS, Lanier MS, Northbrook MS, Osborne MS, Pinckneyville MS, Radloff MS, Sweetwater MS, and Twin Rivers MS— earned Jackson EMCs Bright Ideas grants worth $28,833.30 to recognize and reward innovative and creative classroom projects developed by 23 GCPS middle school teachers.
  • Anderson-Livsey ES, Brookwood ES, Brookwood Hs, Five Forks Ms, McConnell MS, Mountain Park ES, Norton ES, Parkview HS, and Shiloh HS awarded a total of more than $98,000 in School Empowerment Grants from Walton EMC for classroom projects submitted by 15 GCPS teachers.
  • Central Gwinnett HS, Cooper ES, Gwin Oaks ES, Lovin ES, Mill Creek HS, Norton ES, and Peachtree Ridge HS— awarded a total of $47,000 in 2017 Infinite Energy STEM/STEAM grants for classroom projects submitted by 16 GCPS teachers.
  • Lanier HS and Lanier MS— earned grants totaling $15,000 and $2,500, respectively, from the State Farm Foundation and Nordson Foundation.
  • Coleman MS— earned an Innovation Fund Tiny Grant for $9,557 to implement a project in which students will use drones to explore the waste inventory of the Chattahoochee River.
  • Mason ES earned an Innovation Fund Tiny Grant for $8,662.26 to support the school’s Terra Club. The club plans to grow and harvest herbs.
  • Winn Holt ES earned a $5,000 Georgia SHAPE (School Health and Physical Education) school health grant.
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  • Something to celebrate?
    Share your good news with your colleagues in the Spotlight publication. If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send the information to the Spotlight mailbox via Lotus Notes, or to the Communication and Media Relations department through the courier. Click here to send all submissions to Spotlight to be included in the spring issue at the end of the year. Honors received after May 3, 2017 will be included in the back-to-school issue.
    Share your feedback on Spotlight!

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        Last modified on 04/10/2017