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Annual regional science fair, 650 projects, return to Gwinnett

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Anthony Piazza, a teacher at Creekland Middle, left, talks with Breanna Carter, a thrid-grader at Anderson-Livsey Elementary at the 36th annual Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair in 2014 at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth. Carter’s project was to determine if the number of blades on a pinwheel affects its speed.

Students from across Gwinnett have reached the pinnacle of local science and engineering success: They have a spot in the 39th annual Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

The annual late February event is set for Friday at the Infinite Energy Center, and will include students from all 19 clusters, two Gwinnett County Public Schools special entities and six non-GCPS schools in Gwinnett. Overall, 101 schools will be represented at the event where awards ceremonies starting at 6:30 p.m. will honor students from third grade through high school.

The event includes more than 650 projects that cover science, engineering and innovation made by more than 865 students. To arrive at this event, the projects already won first place at the local school level.

While they’re on display, the projects will be judged by Georgia professionals and scientists who will assess them on scientific quality, accuracy, creativity and experimental design. Continue reading

GCPS receives national honor from College Board for AP success

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Duluth High student Cameren Carter speaks at an event on Tuesday at his school where the College Board honored Gwinnett County Public Schools for increasing student access and performance in Advanced Placement classes and exams (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

A ninth-grade ‘C’ student who had a mother who offered a loving and faith-based home, but didn’t know the first thing about how to get into college, was one of the speakers at a celebratory event Tuesday at Duluth High School.

Trevor Packer, one of nine children who grew up in a low-income household, is now a senior vice president for Advanced Placement and Instruction with the College Board. And Packer credited educators who steered him toward AP classes in order to gain college credit.

Packer used his personal story to segue to Gwinnett County Public Schools when he discussed why the College Board named GCPS the AP District of the Year among large school districts. By defying trends in education, leaders across schools in Gwinnett outlined ways in which GCPS recently excelled in Advanced Placement access and performance, particularly to minority students and those from low-income households.

 Duluth was chosen as the site of the event because district officials said it best represents the district overall.

Chattahoochee Elementary Principal Jeff Lee discussed the importance of introducing college readiness and the importance of preparation early in elementary school. Lee said his school’s demographics are 34 percent African-American, 22 percent white, 17 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 21 percent Hispanic, seven percent multi-racial, 46 percent free/reduced price lunch and 19 percent who speak English as a second language.

Duluth High student Cameren Carter, who plans to attend Columbia University, said AP classes not only teach college material, but how to handle a demanding and difficult load. Continue reading

Shutter Sense and Non-Sense Exhibition

Friday, February 17th, 2017

judging photo for newsletterStudents from sixteen High Schools and three Middle schools in Gwinnett County are our participant this year.  Shutter Sense is a lightly juried photography exhibition which offers Gwinnett student   photographers a unique opportunity to show their work in a professional venue.  Started in 2006 by Ren Hullender, a North Gwinnett High School teacher and a group of National Art Honor Society students, this show continues to be student operated with teachers’ assistance in acquiring sponsors and judges.

The name of the exhibit, Shutter Sense & Non-Sense, reflects the playful, spontaneous nature of the photographic medium.  This exhibit offers students the opportunity to engage in artistic dialogue between students of different demographics and backgrounds and showcases the creative photography experiences taking place in our schools.  It helps to grow and sustain the arts in our schools and promotes creative, quality experiences for our students.

Lanier students turn school project into patent

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Lanier High School seniors Macy Dykes, left, and Savannah Jones, along with Lauren Eshelman turned a school project to solve a daily problem into a prototype, patent, logo and slogan. They’re believed to be the first high school students in Georgia to secure a patent. (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

A trio of Lanier High School students not only found a niche in the makeup product market, they became pioneers using a school project where they solved a daily problem faced by people of all ages.

Led by Savannah Jones, and along with Macy Dykes and Lauren Eshelman, the students started by looking for some of the most difficult challenges throughout the day. They settled on eyeliner.

“Ironically, I don’t wear makeup,” Jones said. “But even I know how hard it is to put on eyeliner. Your hand shakes, the line gets uneven, and wings are impossible to perfect. It is a struggle for everyone, men included.”

 That began a two-year process that included development of an eyeliner stamp prototype, patent, copyright, logo and slogan. The students are believed to be the first Georgia high school students to receive a patent. They credited teacher Mike Reilly and retired teacher Clyde Wylie, who steered them to Dave Hughes, who works in the patent industry, for helping them along the process.

The project began about two years ago, and they filed for the patent in May that year. The patent was issued last month and is valid for 15 years. Continue reading

Peach State FCU offering $161,000 in scholarships, grants

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Rick Cost, middle, a retired chief financial officer with Gwinnett County Public Schools, has one of the scholarships offered by Peach State Federal Credit Union named after him.

Applications are being accepted by Peach State Federal

Credit Union for its 2017 scholarship program, which will award more than $161,000 in scholarships and educational grants.

The program was established to honor the credit union’s founders, past and present board members and employees, as well as the lifetime achievements of several notable school system and community leaders. Peach State has added six new scholarships for 2017.

Many deadlines are March 17, but visit for application requirements and instructions.

Peach State also supports educational institutions with a combined total of $62,200 in scholarships and educational grants: Athens Technical College, Georgia Gwinnett College, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Gwinnett Technical College and the University of North Georgia.  Continue reading

GCPS honors three students with new caring award

Monday, February 13th, 2017

ISCGwinnett County Public Schools used National School Counseling Week to honor three students with a new award that honors exceptional character and community service.

The first-time award is called The Promise of Gwinnett Caring Award, and the students were nominated by counselors at their respective schools and selected by a district level committee. Other qualifications for the award include a regular display care for their peers and adults within their school communities.

The students are Jessica Elizabeth Stanhouse, a fifth-grader at Arcado Elementary School, Ashley Paige Richardson, an eighth-grade student at Couch Middle School and Michelle Derewitz, a senior at Lanier High School.

Dianne Thompson, director of advisement and counseling, said the idea for the award came from a GCPS counselor who received a similar award when he was a student. Continue reading

Burnette Elementary fifth-grader wins county spelling bee for second straight year

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Abhiram Kapaganty, a fifth-grader from Burnette Elementary School, holds his first place trophy after the 2017 Gwinnett County Association of Educators Annual Spelling Bee held at Central Gwinnett High School.

Eleven-year-old Abhiram Kapaganty was confident going into the final round of the Gwinnett County Spelling Bee in Lawrenceville on Saturday.

For the second consecutive year, the Burnette Elementary student won the competition, which was held at Central Gwinnett High School.

“He’s a great speller, and to win again among so many other great spellers is a testament to how hard he works,” said orator Alan Hochbaum, who is a teacher at Stripling Elementary School.

 Abhiram started the last round strong after nailing his first word “corsage,” which put him somewhat at ease. Throughout the round he breezed through words including “akimbo,” “depot” and “julienne.” Read more

J. Alvin Wilbanks receives Reading Recovery leadership award

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Wilbanks-smallAdd more hardware to J. Alvin Wilbanks’ shelf.

The CEO/Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools was recently named this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award from the Columbus, Ohio-based Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders.

This 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.

 “Unlike some literacy programs that do not live up to their advance billing, Reading Recovery delivers the promised results,” Wilbanks said in a press release. “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.” Read more

Lanier High receives nearly $18,000 for commitment to STEM

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Lanier High students participate in a State Farm Hackathon last year. The school received $15,000 from the State Farm Foundation to support STEM education.

Lanier High School’s sustained momentum toward STEM education received a rocket boost of cash recently in the form of a pair of grants from the State Farm Foundation and Nordson Foundation.

The grant from State Farm will be used to bolster the robotics program at the school’s Center for Design and Technology. The Nordson Foundation grant will be used to establish a clusterwide robotics tournament at Lanier Middle. Lanier High was selected to receive the grants based on its academic reputation and top performances by students in computer science and robotics competitions, as well as its use of products such as Autodesk Engineering software.

State Farm gave $15,000, and Nordson gave $2,500.

Teacher Mike Reilly said one reason for State Farm to be involved is to connect future employees to them, and 30 Lanier students visited the company’s headquarters last year. Reilly said they’re also excited to host the State Farm Hackathon, Feb. 24-26. Read more

State Farm Presents CARE Closet with $5,000!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Walt Phillips, State Farm Claims Consultant (left) and Launey Jason, State Farm Agency Sales Leader (right) present siblings Steven and Lauren Seroyer, students at Peachtree Ridge High School and founders of the Community Assistance and Resource Effort (CARE) Closet, a $5,000 grant check from State Farm Insurance for the program.

On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, CARE Closet was awarded at $5,000 grant by State Farm Insurance! State Farm provided this funding as part of their ongoing commitment to supporting community improvement efforts.