2015 Innovative Learning Grants
The Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation looks forward to reviewing your Grant Proposal! Grant application deadline is October 31, 2015.
6th Annual Golf Tournament Monday, October 12, 2015
Welcome to the 6th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit the Gwinnett County Public Schools Community-Based Mentoring Program
CGCF Presents "A Knight to Remember"
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Tickets $25

Graves Elementary Opens Homework Center

Thursday, October 1st, 2015
Graves Elementary opened a new homework center this week through a partnership with SCANA Energy. The mascot Gutsy The Flying Fox appeared for a special event at the school in Norcross to offer leadership lessons by focusing on character and preparation.

Graves Elementary opened a new homework center this week through a partnership with SCANA Energy. The mascot Gutsy The Flying Fox appeared for a special event at the school in Norcross to offer leadership lessons by focusing on character and preparation.

Graves Elementary opened a new homework center this week through a partnership with SCANA Energy.

The mascot Gutsy The Flying Fox appeared for a special event at the school in Norcross to offer leadership lessons by focusing on character and preparation.

The Graves Elementary Homework Center operates from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. The center serves 45 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

SCANA Energy partners with schools across Gwinnett and Georgia to create the homework centers. They are designed to help students learn proper study skills, and they are staff with two certified teachers who are responsible for management of the program.

The natural gas marketer provides money for the teachers, an assistant, snacks and student incentives.



Monday, September 28th, 2015





Prudential and the National Association of Secondary Principals are seeking applications from middle and high school students who have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service in the past year.

This is a great opportunity to honor deserving young people in your school, and to impress upon all of your students that volunteering is important, valuable and personally rewarding. Students can apply online at http://spirit.prudential.com. To be eligible, they must complete an application by November 3, 2015 and then submit them to the principal.

Your school should have received an orange packet with program application and instructions. From 11/4/15 to 11/10/15 schools will certify local honoree application(s) to state-level judging.

The principals designate Local Honoree(s) online and nominate him/her/them for state-level judging by 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 10. On February 9, 2016 state honorees will be selected as well as Distinguished Finalists. State Honorees will receive $ 1,000 each. State Honorees will travel to Washington D.C. 4/30/16 to 5/3/16 for the 2016 national recognition event. 10 Finalists will receive $ 5,000 each along with an expense paid trip to the program’s national recognition event in Washington, D.C.

2016 GCPS Teacher of the Year Big Reveal Banquet!

Monday, September 21st, 2015

2016 GCPS Teacher of the Year Big Reveal Banquet

November 10, 2015

Infinite Energy Arena : Grand Ballroom

(formally Gwinnett Center)

Click here for sponsorship details!


Brookwood Elementary's Sharon Smith, center right, is embraced after being named the 2015 Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year during the GCPS Teacher of the Year banquet at the Gwinnett Center.

Brookwood Elementary’s Sharon Smith, center right, is embraced after being named the 2015 Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year during the GCPS Teacher of the Year banquet at the Gwinnett Center.

Quaker State selects Maxwell School of Technology for Best in State Competition!

Monday, September 21st, 2015


New Norcross elementary school named after education pioneer Beauty Baldwin

Friday, September 18th, 2015

A new elementary school in Norcross will be named after Beauty Baldwin, a long-time educator and administrator in Gwinnett County and Buford City schools. Baldwin was the first black woman to be a school superintendent in Georgia.

The name of the new Norcross elementary school will honor a pioneer in education across Gwinnett and Georgia.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education on Thursday voted to name the new school Baldwin Elementary after Beauty Baldwin, who began her career in Schley County, near Columbus, in 1963 before she came to Gwinnett and Buford.

The school is located at 123 Price Place in Norcross and is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 school year.

In 1984, Baldwin became the first black woman to be the superintendent of a school district in Georgia when she took over Buford City Schools. She served in that role for 10 years before her retirement.

A former math and vocational education teacher and assistant principal, Baldwin also served as principal of Buford Middle School. Baldwin headed the vocational education program at Central Gwinnett High School before she became the Buford superintendent.

Baldwin previously served as the director of Hopewell Christian Academy, a project she helped launch in 1997 when she was coaxed out of retirement.

She grew up working on a farm in Sandersville in Baldwin County. Although her parents, who were sharecroppers, both only finished sixth grade, they impressed upon her the value of education.

“My mother couldn’t help me with my homework, but she sat up with me every night until I finished it,” Baldwin told the Daily Post in 2006 when she was honored by the Ebony Society of Gwinnett for more than four decades of service.

Baldwin said she was born with a love of math and teaching.

“I knew I wanted to be a math teacher when I was in the third grade,” she said. “I was educated in a two-room schoolhouse, where several grades were in one room together. I would finish my numbers real fast, then go help the other students with their math.”

While she has worked in education for more than 40 years, Baldwin is also involved in several civic and community groups such as the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, the American Red Cross, the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter and the Upsilon Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. That organization has a scholarship in her name that has given more than $100,000 to students.

Her husband, Lucious Baldwin, is also a long-time educator.

Last year, she led the opening of North Metro Academy of Performing Arts, which is in the former Hopewell Christian Academy building in Norcross.

That charter school lists its mission to, “integrate academics with the performing arts to engage and motivate students who might otherwise struggle with behavioral, social and emotional issues that impede their academic achievement.”


Gwinnett CEO/Superintendent Outlines New Programs, /need to Pass E-SPLOST

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Gwinnett County Public Schools CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks gives his annual State of the Schools address on Wednesday at the 1818 Club before the Gwinnett Chamber. (Staff Photo: Keith Farmer Gwinnett Daily Post)

Schools aren’t what they used to be, especially compared to when J. Alvin Wilbanks was a kid.

And because of that, Gwinnett County Public Schools is offering a series of specialized programs and focused curriculum along with facilities tailored to this generation of students. That was among a series of updates the CEO/Superintendent of the Gwinnett school district gave on Wednesday to a luncheon crowd of the Gwinnett Chamber at the 1818 Club.

“If students are going to be prepared for and excel in college, or a career, there are certain things they have to know or have to be able to do,” Wilbanks said. “We’re finding that they don’t have to get everything in a lecture classroom. Certainly lectures are part of it, but there are many different ways.”

Wilbanks’ annual State of Schools speech covered the seven academy schools across the district, dual language immersion programs in elementary schools and the upcoming Education special purpose local option sales tax vote in November.

“Without this source of revenue, your school district could not keep up and manage the growth that’s there for us,” he said.

Wilbanks said addressing all of the district’s facility needs would exceed $1.6 billion. The ballot will list $950 million, and that includes about $23 million to Buford City Schools. So Wilbanks estimated that the district would budget on $800 million.

“If you’re going to build a school, you better have money to pay for it,” he said.

Two schools are under construction. An elementary school in Norcross, expected to be named at the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education on Thursday, and a new middle school in Duluth. That Duluth school will offer a STEAM focus, which offers programs in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Wilbanks also outlined a new initiative to reach out to daycare centers, hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities that serve infants and toddlers to better prepare students for kindergarten. Wilbanks estimated that some 30 percent of children are not prepared when it’s time to enroll in school.

That initiative is labeled “trajectory toward success” and targeted toward expectant mothers and mothers of infants and toddlers. Regardless of education level, Wilbanks said there are ways a parent or grandparent can help a child during developmental years.

“We’re not trying to take over the early childhood,” he said. “We barely have enough money to do K-12. But this is an area where we believe we can get significant benefit if we can just get more of those students ready for kindergarten.”

The new Junior Achievement facility at Discovery High School was also highlighted by Wilbanks and other Chamber members as a shining example of how middle school students are taught personal finance and entrepreneurship skills.


Addition of New Math stairs at Alcova Elementary Goes Viral

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
To start this school year, Alcova Elementary School installed strips of math facts and multiplication on a set of stairs inside the school. The idea was to have math all around so repetition helps them become more fluent in math. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner Gwinnett Daily Post)

To start this school year, Alcova Elementary School installed strips of math facts and multiplication on a set of stairs inside the school. The idea was to have math all around so repetition helps them become more fluent in math. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner Gwinnett Daily Post)

A new twist on an age-old concept has drawn attention to Alcova Elementary School from around the country. Comedian D.L. Hughley even caused it go viral.

With help from education consultant Greg Tang, Alcova has installed strips of math facts and multiplication tables on a set of stairs inside the school. The idea, Principal Todd Langley said, is to have math all around, all the time. Because students use the stairs daily, that repetition helps them become more fluent in math.

So long flash cards. Hello, colorful stairs.

It’s a message from teachers and administrators to students that says, “This is important to our school.”

Since the school year began, Alcova has heard from teachers and administrators in at least 30 states. And when an Alcova teacher shared a picture of the stairs on Facebook, it reached Hughley, who shared it himself in late August with the comment, “this school gets it,” which gained more than 57,000 likes.

“It validates our thought process that this is good for kids,” Langley said. “The results will come. They do work hard and do all the things that we ask them to do, so we’re just trying to put things in place to let the kids know what’s important to us and let the parents know what’s important to us and follow through on what our vision is for our school and that’s everyone to master those facts.”

As far as Tang is aware, Alcova is the first school Tang is aware of to implement the idea. Langley added that a school in Hall County has a similar display.

Fifth-grader Ella Byce said the “multiplication stairs” could help her memorize them for a last-minute test. While her multiplication facts have improved since last year, Ella said the stairs have also helped with her division facts.

“I think that it will be better for me because I can study them more often,” she said. “Because sometimes at home I don’t really get the chance to study, so when I’m going up the stairs, I can just study them and then be able to know them.”

Ella said she was so proud, that she even gave the stairs a 10 on a scale of one to 10 to share the story with others.

“It’ll put us on the map,” she said. “Our school’s the first to do something and we’re not getting ideas from anyone else.”

Fourth-grader Aubrey Wilbanks said the stairs often lead to conversation starters among his friends.

“Sometimes when we get up the stairs, we just look at them and then we get out our agendas and start quizzing each other on them,” he said.

To start this school year, Alcova Elementary School installed strips of math facts and multiplication on a set of stairs inside the school. The idea was to have math all around so repetition helps them become more fluent in math. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner Gwinnett Daily Post)

To start this school year, Alcova Elementary School installed strips of math facts and multiplication on a set of stairs inside the school. The idea was to have math all around so repetition helps them become more fluent in math. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner Gwinnett Daily Post)

Heather Albritton, a math specialist at Alcova, said the idea was for students to visualize math and have a constant reminder to know math facts. The response has been very positive.

“We see them jumping stairs and calling out their math facts, playing games with each,” she said.

Because they’re in an unusual place, students seem to think the math facts are more exciting than on a wall or other places around the school.

“Stairs are just stairs, so when you approach a stair, you don’t really expect to have anything on it,” Albritton said. “We have posters on the walls and things going on all the time and they kind of block a lot of that stuff out. And we did put math vocabulary words on the walls at one point in time. And I think when the first go up, they’re inviting, but after a while, they kind of zone them out.”

Tang figured that putting the multiplication tables on the stairs would be a good use of space.

The school’s also added multiplication tables on the concrete outside the school as students are waiting to and from recess.

Next, the school will add math vocabulary words on the fifth-grade stairs.

“It’s just a more engaging way to get them to see them every day,” Abritton said. “We want them to see them in their brains, so this gives them the opportunity to see it every day, and then when it comes up, they have a picture in their head of something they can refer back to, a reference point.”


Gwinnett County Schools Announces 134 Local Teachers of the Year

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Teachers across Gwinnett in recent days were honored by their colleagues and peers for excellence in their own building. Now they’re moving on to be measured against others across the district.

Gwinnett County Public Schools on Wednesday announced 134 local school Teachers of the Year, the first step of the district’s search for its 2015-16 Gwinnett County Public Schools Teacher of the Year

These honorees will move into the next phase of the TOTY process as they are considered for the systemwide honor. Later this month, this group will be narrowed down to 25 semifinalists. From that group, six finalists will be chosen in mid-October.

The annual Teacher of the Year banquet and the announcement of this year’s top teacher in Gwinnett County will be held on Nov. 10.

A selection committee made up of teachers, central office personnel, and administrators visits the classrooms of the six finalists and conducts thorough interviews with each educator.

The committee looks for original teaching methods, studies the educator’s teaching philosophy, considers the influence the teacher has had on the teaching practices of colleagues, and reviews any special class projects the teacher has initiated.

The committee will select a Teacher of the Year for each level — elementary, middle, and high. One of the level winners will be recognized as GCPS’ 2015-16 Teacher of the Year.

2015-16 Local Teachers of the Year

Alcova ES, Stacey Willis, Kindergarten Teacher

Alford ES, Brooke Reynolds, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 4)

Anderson-Livsey ES, Amy Jenny, Kindergarten Teacher

Annistown ES, Teresa Meehan, Dual Language Immersion Teacher – Mathematics, Science, and Spanish (Kindergarten)

Arcado ES, Andrea Herman, 5th Grade Teacher

Archer HS, Kristen Carter, AP Physics Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

Baggett ES, Joe Frank Uriz, Spanish Teacher (Grades Pre-K-5)

Bay Creek MS, Whitney Duncan, Orchestra Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Beaver Ridge ES, Laura Stanfield, Special Education Teacher (Pre-K)

Benefield ES, Christina C. Merriman, Reading Recovery Teacher (Grade 1)

Berkeley Lake ES, Mardrey Worthy, Special Education Teacher – Language Arts and Mathematics (Grade 5)

Berkmar HS, Charles Thornton, Science and AP Biology Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Berkmar MS, Shawna Desrosiers, Science Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Bethesda ES, Heather Thorpe, 5th Grade Teacher

Britt ES, Nyana Genama, 1st Grade Teacher

Brookwood ES, Jeane Sammons, 4th Grade Teacher

Brookwood HS, Dana Kling, AP Literature Teacher and Audio, Video, Technology, and Film Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Burnette ES, Heather Tone, 4th Grade Teacher

Camp Creek ES, Shawn Mazzatta, Visual Arts Teacher (Grades K-5)

Cedar Hill ES, Tiona Harris, 3rd Grade Teacher

Centerville ES, Marlene D. Reilly, 2nd Grade Teacher

Central Gwinnett HS, Stephanie Howell, English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Chattahoochee ES, Cheryl Meuleners, Special Education Teacher – Speech (Grades K-5)

Chesney ES, Abby Bonds, 1st Grade Teacher

Collins Hill HS, Jennifer Lane, German Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Cooper ES, Kimberly J. Smith, 5th Grade Teacher

Corley ES, Mary Eich, Special Education Teacher (Grades K and 1)

Couch MS, Amy B. Brown, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 6)

Craig ES, Catherine Noble, 1st Grade Teacher

Creekland MS, Stephanie Roland, English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Crews MS, Megan Mendez, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Dacula ES, Garth Scott, Accelerated Mathematics and Gifted Education Teacher (Grades 3-5)

Dacula HS, Travis A. Young, AP U.S. History Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

Dacula MS, Jennifer Sevier, Science Teacher (Grade 7)

Discovery HS, Lindsey Brouillard, Literature and Composition Teacher (Grade 10) Duluth HS, Brooke Wright, Literature and Composition Teacher (Grade 10)

Duluth MS, Kim Booth, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 6)

Duncan Creek ES, Dayna Alkire, Physical Education Teacher (Grades K-5)

Dyer ES, Dee Dee Thomas, Kindergarten Teacher

Ferguson ES, Chaney Moon, 5th Grade Teacher

Five Forks MS, Jacob Bennett, Science Teacher (Grade 7)

Fort Daniel ES, Cindy Glenn Kubal, Reading Recovery, Early Intervention Program, and English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades K-5) Freeman’s Mill ES, Melanie Walsh, 1st Grade Teacher

GIVE Center East, Megan Ryall, Language Arts Teacher (Grades 9-12)

GIVE Center West, Voronda Tillman, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 8)

Grace Snell MS, Phyllis Washington, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 7)

Graves ES, Jon Paul Coutourier, 5th Grade Teacher

Grayson ES, Caryn Lott, 5th Grade Teacher

Grayson HS, Sandy Stephens, Language Arts Teacher (Grades 10 -12)

Gwin Oaks ES, Jacquelyn Roberts, 5th Grade Teacher

Gwinnett Online Campus, Erin Springthorpe, Science Teacher (Grade 9)

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Steve Kuninsky, Science Teacher (Grade 10)

Harbins ES, Trisha Connor, STEM Teacher (Grades K-5)

Harmony ES, Christy Tidwell, 4th Grade Teacher

Harris ES, Emily Elizabeth Broich, Literacy Teacher (Grades K-5)

Head ES, Kelly Mraz, Music Teacher (Grades K-5)

Hopkins ES, Song Yang, English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades K-5)

Hull MS, Dana Holmes, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 8)

Ivy Creek ES, Loni Jones, 1st Grade Teacher

Jackson ES, Stephanie Wolfsohn, Special Education Teacher – Mathematics and Writing (Grades 4 and 5)

Jenkins ES, Stephanie K. Smith, 5th Grade Teacher

Jones MS, Betsy Priest, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Jordan MS, Nicole R. Finley, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 8)

Kanoheda ES, Jennie Gungiah, Gifted Education Teacher (Grades K-5)

Knight ES, Rachel Storey, 5th Grade Teacher

Lanier HS, Brooke Taggart Webb, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 10)

Lanier MS, Catherine Warnock, Special Education Teacher – Autism (Grades 6-8)

Lawrenceville ES, Trent Alexander, 5th Grade Teacher

Level Creek ES, Kristina Schroeder, 1st Grade Teacher

Lilburn ES, Vincent Vilello, Gifted Education and Accelerated Mathematics Teacher (Grades 4 and 5)

Lilburn MS, Lois Sanders, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 8)

Lovin ES, Helen Diaz, 2nd Grade Teacher

Magill ES, Rebecca Hollis, 4th Grade Teacher

Mason ES, Katie Nunn, Special Education Teacher (Grades 1 and 2)

Maxwell HS of Technology, Cathy M. Smith, Cosmetology Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

McConnell MS, Cindy Rothgeb, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 6)

McKendree ES, Betty-Sue Garrish, Special Education Teacher – Emotional Behavior Disorders (Grades K-2)

Meadowcreek ES, Suzanne Vogt, Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades K and 2)

Meadowcreek HS, Jami Poplar, Spanish Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Mill Creek HS, Greg Jarvis, Social Studies Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Minor ES, Laurie Baechtel Pitcock, Special Education and Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades K-5)

Moore MS, Furga James, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Mountain Park ES, Debra Coffey, Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades K-5)

Mountain View HS, Lisa Carnes, AP Biology and Chemistry Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Mulberry ES, Athena Roberts, 3rd Grade Teacher

Nesbit ES, Johanne Pyronneau, 5th Grade Teacher

Norcross ES, Tommy Firesheets, Advanced Content Reading and Mathematics Teacher and Gifted Education Teacher (Grades 1)

Norcross HS, Alix McHardy, AP Chemistry and Biology Teacher (Grades 9-11)

North Gwinnett HS, Donna Kurdelmeier, Culinary Arts Teacher (Grades 9-12)

North Gwinnett MS, John Rhilinger, Latin Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Northbrook Center – ADAPT, Lauren Marks, Special Education Teacher – ADAPT

Northbrook MS, Karen A. Jackson, Science Teacher (Grade 7)

Norton ES, Jessica Dunn, 1st Grade Teacher

Oakland Meadow School, Angela Patrick, Homebound Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Osborne MS, Jan Pruitt, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 8)

Parkview HS, Jason Atha, Band Teacher (Grade 9-12)

Parsons ES, Jennifer Grace, 3rd Grade Teacher

Partee ES, Shaketa Gillard, Instructional Coach – Mathematics (Grades K-5)

Patrick ES, Tabatha Johnson, 3rd Grade Teacher

Peachtree ES, Ayun Kwon, 2nd Grade Teacher

Peachtree Ridge HS, Ashley Stratemeyer, Special Education Teacher – Autism (Grades 9-12)

Pharr ES, Monica Jones, Kindergarten Teacher

Phoenix HS, Emily T. Heend, Mathematics Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Pinckneyville MS, Stacy Bernard James, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 6)

Puckett’s Mill ES, Deborah Talley Clinkscales, 5th Grade Teacher

Radloff MS, Nathan Martin, Health and Physical Education Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Richards MS, Felisha Strong, Reading Connections Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Riverside ES, Bradley Robertson, 3rd Grade Teacher

Roberts ES, Shirley Burt, 3rd Grade Teacher

Rock Springs ES, Allison Camp Huckle, 4th Grade Teacher

Rockbridge ES, Carolyn Welsh, 4th Grade Teacher

Rosebud ES, Kimya Motley, Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades 3-5)

Shiloh ES, Nicole DelBosque, 5th Grade Teacher

Shiloh HS, Traci Lynn Head, Algebra II Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

Shiloh MS, Michelle Sampson, Gifted Education Teacher – Mathematics (Grade 6)

Simonton ES, Elisabeth Montgomery, 2nd Grade Teacher

Simpson ES, Patti Walker, Special Education Teacher – Autism (Grades K and 1)

Snellville MS, Melissa K. Rogers, Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8) South Gwinnett HS, Allison Falch, AP U.S. History Teacher and Audio, Video, Technology, and Film Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Starling ES, Amanda Bryce, 5th Grade Teacher

Stripling ES, Heather Lewis, Special Education Teacher – Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (Grades 3-5)

Sugar Hill ES, Kelsey Case, Special Education Teacher – Autism (Grades 3-5) Summerour MS, Angela Higgs, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 6)

Suwanee ES, Lisa Westpheling, 4th Grade Teacher

Sweetwater MS, Melissa Ellenburg, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 7)

Sycamore ES, Jill Wallace, Special Education Teacher – Emotional Behavior Disorders (Grades K-2)

Taylor ES, Stacie McTeer, Music Teacher (Grades K-5)

Trickum MS, Brian Lucy, STEM Connections Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Trip ES, Shannon Hayes, Dual Language Immersion Teacher – Mathematics, Science, and French (Kindergarten)

Twin Rivers MS, Elizabeth (Lissie) Roche, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 9)

Walnut Grove ES, Dr. Myra Lynn McCurry, Music Teacher (Grades K-5)

White Oak ES, Janelle Johnson Draper, 4th Grade Teacher

Winn Holt ES, Nancy Read, Kindergarten Teacher

Woodward Mill ES, Simona Sabau, 5th Grade Teacher


Gwinnett has 51 National Merit Scholar semifinalists

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Gwinnett was well represented on this year’s list of National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists, which were released this week, as they were chosen among 16,000 students across the country.

There are 51 Gwinnett County Public Schools seniors named semifinalists from 10 high schools. They now compete to become National Merit Scholars and earn thousands of dollars in scholarships.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. Finalists are determined by looking at the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and honors and awards received.

The students will compete for three types of National Merit Scholarships to be awarded in the spring of 2016.

The Gwinnett semifinalists include:


Michael M. Bowler, Adele E. Kramer, Iris Liu and Heath R. Murphy.

Collins Hill:

Karen Gu.


Kelsey G. Dabrowski, Jeong Lee, Ganesh Prabakaran and David Zhao.


Noah M. Wilson.

Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology:

Daanish A.Bhayani, Mateo Correa, Soujanya S. Duggirala, Timothy E. Gieseking, James C. Hauth, Jonathan R. Jeffrey, Yao-Hao Liu, Cameron E. Loyd, Brendon Machado, Simran V. Modi, Thienkhanh C. Nguyen, Alice D. Shen, Maxwell A. Xu and Jeffery Yang.

Mountain View:

Timothy J. Hood and Amy C. Jenkins.

Mill Creek:

Aria E. Amthor, Lauren A. Carr and Kirsten E. Schulze.

North Gwinnett:

David K. Abbott, Lesley H. Chang, Nicholas D. Chang, Emma M. Hackstadt, Elizabeth A. Hearn, Victoria S. Joshi, Isaac J. Kim, Jinwoo J. Kim, Connor D. O’Kelley and Alexa R. Richard.


Brent M. Bessemer, Zezhong Li, Anima Shrestha, Caroline R. Stehr, Elise J. Tan, Julie Wang and Lillian Wang.

Peachtree Ridge:

Priyanka Desai, Sophia H. Sakers, Atrayee M. Sarkar, Bryan Shin and Jeb J. Stewart.

GSMST receives STEM Education award

The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology recently was honored with a STEM Certified School Outreach award at the fourth annual STEM Education awards put on by the Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative.

These awards were created to recognize and celebrate schools, extracurricular programs, public-private partnerships, science agencies and post-secondary education outreach programs for outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and math education in Georgia.

GSMST won the award because of its four-year internship experience, community service and learning beyond the campus. That outreach also includes partnerships with businesses and local elementary schools to school tours and visits from students and adults across the world.


Duluth Second-Grader Wins $5,529 Toward College

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Mitch Seabaugh, executive director of the Path2College 529 Plan, left, poses for a picture with Joshua Cornett, a second-grader at Chattahoochee Elementary School in Duluth on Tuesday. Cornett was awarded $5,529 after he was chosen as a winner of a summer reading program sweepstakes. (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

DULUTH — Joshua Cornett had to revise his first reaction to a large check he recently received.

It wasn’t awesome. It was totally awesome.

That’s how the Chattahoochee Elementary School second-grader, 7, reacted to the news that he received $5,529 toward college savings because he participated in a summer reading program. Joshua was one of five winners from across the state who participated in the program, “Every Hero Has a Story Sweepstakes” from the Path2College 529 Plan. The Duluth Library also received $1,529.

His mother, Amy, didn’t figure they’d win, but saw a bookmark about the contest, and signed up anyway.

For Joshua, reading all depends on the book.

“Sometimes fun, sometimes it’s not fun,” he said.

His favorite book came from the series “Ready, Freddy! No. 9: Shark Tooth Tale,” which follows the story of a first-grade shark expert who gets into mischief, but eventually tries to earn enough money to buy a fossilized shark tooth.

The Cornetts visited the library about every other week during the summer. Joshua’s parents, Amy and Bryan, said they had started a college fund for him and his younger sister, but this deposit would certainly help.

The family learned about the winnings from an email, which Bryan forwarded to his wife, and asked, “Is this legit,” he said.

“Did we really enter this? Is this something we actually did,” he said.

A phone call later also confirmed the news.

“It’s a great boost to his savings account,” Amy said. “We were thrilled to have a little extra money for that. Of course by the time he goes to college, it may cover a couple of books. It’ll be helpful.”


Joshua Cornett, a second-grader at Chattahoochee Elementary School in Duluth on Tuesday, poses for pictures with family, friends, school and library officials. Cornett was awarded $5,529 after he was chosen as a winner of a summer reading program sweepstakes. (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Joshua was presented the oversized check at his school on Tuesday as he posed for pictures with his classmates who were on hand for the event.

It’s the sixth year the Path2College 529 Plan and the Georgia Public Library have partnered on the program to encourage children to read throughout the summer.

Liz Forester, deputy director of the Gwinnett County Public Library, said 34,400 children across Gwinnett participated in summer reading, which was a 24 percent increase from last year, and narrowly missed the all-time high in 2010, which was 35,300.

Forester said there’s a nationwide emphasis to reading, including a push from pediatricians who encourage it. A program that libraries participate in across Georgia encourages kids to read 1,000 books before kindergarten.