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Berkmar High School to celebrate 50th anniversary

Friday, October 28th, 2016

A festive event is planned for next to week to celebrate Berkmar High School’s golden anniversary.

It’s scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 and includes food prepared by culinary arts students, music from fine arts students and student-led tours of the school. Berkmar memorabilia from across the decades will be on display. At 3:45 p.m. a program will begin in the theater with videos and a number distinguished guest speakers, including community leaders and alumni, who will reflect on the school’s community and students over the years.

Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist will read a proclamation at the event declaring the date Berkmar High School Day in honor of its 50th year.

 berkmarThe school’s had 10 principals, including recently retired Jim Markham and Archer High Principal Ken Johnson. Its current principal, Al Taylor, has led the school since December 2013.

The account of the school’s history said that it was unusual for its time in construction and design, as it was one of three schools in the United States with moveable partitions and few windows. It was also the only school in Gwinnett County in 1966 with air conditioning, carpeted floors and electrical heat. Classrooms could be formed by placing portable partitions into desired shapes and sizes to satisfy each individual teacher. As enrollment increased two significant additions were made to its sprawling campus.

The school was formed from the consolidation of Lilburn and Bethesda high schools, and the name came from the combining of two voting districts, Berkshire and Martins. Lilburn and Bethesda were the last of 10 high schools to be consolidated in Gwinnett. Since there was such great rivalry, it took several years to agree upon a name and a location for the new high school.

The first enrollment was 425 students from eighth-grade through 12th grade. This school year, it has 2,951 students.

GCPS receives latest Golden Radish Award

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Representatives from the Georgia Department of Education and Department of Agriculture pose for a picture with representatives from Gwinnett County Public Schools after the district received the Golden radish Award for farm to school accomplishments.

School districts across the state were honored this week under the Gold Dome for what they’ve done in the farm to school movement.

Gwinnett County Public Schools was one of 53 school districts, a group that educates more than one million students, to receive the Golden Radish Award. The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests, to gardening with students, and is awarded at gold, silver, bronze, and honorary levels. Districts were evaluated on their work in 10 activities of farm to school.

GCPS received a gold award during the 2015-16 school year, and has received similar awards in recent years.

 The school district counted more than eight million meals that served at least one locally grown item. Every Wednesday was a “try day” where students could sample a bite-sized taste of a locally grown item. Students enjoyed everything from grape tomatoes to Moroccan spiced carrots. Students participated in 266 standards-based lessons, including learning about plant life cycles and composting.

“Our ultimate goal here at the department is for communities to take ownership of their school cafeterias, similarly to how we all push for excellence in the classroom, the arts and athletics,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said in a press release.

Alice Rolls, who is the executive director for Georgia Organics, said as part of this program, schools teach academic standards in school gardens, support the local economy through local food purchases for school meals, and fight childhood obesity and other preventable food-related diseases. Continue reading

ITTI Global Foundation gives GCPS Schools $9,000!

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Mr. Ho Jin Yoon from ITTI Global Foundation Inc. presented GCPS Foundation with a $9000.00 check to be dispersed into seven GCPS schools! Parsons Elementary School – $1,000, Baggett Elementary School – $1,000, Burnette Elementary School – $1,000, Duluth Middle School – $1,000, Hull Middle School – $2,000, Peachtree Ridge High School – $2,000 and Maxwell High School – $1,000.


GCPS Foundation Senior Executive Director Aaron Lupuloff accepts the $9,000 check from Mr. Ho Jin Yoon from ITTI Global Foundation Inc.

Gwinnett County Public Schools announces Teacher of the Year finalists

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

This year’s finalists for the annual award are Lisa Hamilton of Pinckneyville Middle School, Brittany Mayweather of Mulberry Elementary School, Jamie Lynn McFarland of Rock Springs Elementary School, Alex Robson of GIVE Center West, Brian Sinyard of Chattahoochee Elementary School, and Luke Smith of Norcross High School.

Six teachers moved one step closer to a career milestone on Wednesday when Gwinnett County Public Schools named them finalists for the district’s Teacher of the Year award.

This year’s finalists for the annual award are fourth-grade teacher Brittany Mayweather of Mulberry Elementary School, Jamie Lynn McFarland, who teachers students with severe and profound intellectual disabilities at Rock Springs Elementary School, fourth-grade teacher Brian Sinyard of Chattahoochee Elementary School, eighth-grade social studies teacher Lisa Hamilton of Pinckneyville Middle School, sixth- and seventh-grade teacher Alex Robson of GIVE Center West and math teacher Luke Smith of Norcross High School.

The overall winner — and three level winners — will be announced at a banquet on Nov. 10 at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. All 135 local school Teachers of the Year will be recognized that evening.

 A selection committee of GCPS educators narrowed the field from 25 semifinalists who had been selected from the list of 135 local school TOTYs. The committee is made up of former teachers of the year, local school administrators and central office staff.

Committee members will look for original teaching methods, study the teacher’s teaching philosophy, review special class projects the teacher has initiated, and consider the influence the teacher has had on the teaching practices of his/her colleagues. They also will review each teacher’s educational degrees and civic activities. Continue reading

Gwinnett schools among STEM finalists

Monday, October 10th, 2016

The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative announced Peachtree Ridge HS, Mason ES and White Oak ES were chosen as finalists for the fifth annual awards that recognize and celebrate education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Several schools across Gwinnett were recently named finalists for the fifth annual awards that recognize and celebrate education in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative this week announced the finalists, and they included Peachtree Ridge High School, Mason Elementary School and White Oak Elementary School. Cisco Systems was also named a finalist in the corporate outreach category. The finalists were chosen from more than 180 nominations.

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.

“We applaud each of this year’s finalists for their extraordinary efforts to bolster awareness about the importance of STEM and for their hard work to increase student participation in science, technology, engineering and math programs,” said Michael Robertson, director of TAG-Ed.

Lanier High principal receives national award for leadership

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Lanier HS Principal Reuben Gresham

Just two and a half years after he was named principal of Lanier High School, Reuben Gresham was recently honored by a national organization that focuses on academies.

Gresham was awarded the Henk Koning Exemplary Educator Award by the National Career Academies Coalition, which recognizes an academy educator who has made a significant contribution to the success of a career academy. Gresham has been the principal at Lanier during the growth and development of its four academies — the Center of Design and Technology, Life and Health Sciences, Global Business and Leadership, and Multimedia and Fine Arts.

Gresham works with a leadership group that includes an academy coach and academy leads who work directly with administrators and counselors to ensure students are supported. Gresham’s vision was 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, investigate interests, receive academic support, and participate in lessons that expose and bolster important soft skills needed in the modern workforce.

“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,” Gresham said in a press release. “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.” Continue reading

Voting underway for Gwinnett entry in $100,000 grant contest

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

sharon-smithVoting is underway at where Brookwood Elementary and Meadowcreek Elementary are finalists for one of six $100,000 educational grants.

It’s called the Farmers Insurance Thank Americas Teachers, Think Big Challenge.

Sharon Smith, a Reading Intervention Teacher and Literacy Coach at Brookwood Elementary School, proposed creating iBLAZE — Intervention that Builds Leaders in Academics Zeroing in on STEM and Entrepreneurship. The program’s goal is to provide free bi-weekly after-school intervention sessions which would provide students with an additional three hours and 30 minutes of weekly academic support.

 The learning would be integrated and applicable to two collaborative projects — the construction of an outdoor garden and creation, and maintenance of an aquaponics system. Six national winners will be determined by public vote.

Voting will be available during the month of October, and an email address is required to vote. Continue reading

GSMST named a National Blue Ribbon School

Friday, September 30th, 2016

IV Bray called Wednesday’s announcement for the Gwinnett School of Math Science and Technology a “fantastic honor” not just for the school, but for the Gwinnett district.

GSMST was among 329 school across the country — and the only school in Georgia — named a National Blue Ribbon School, a selection program for public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where studentsachieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

The program is in its 34th year, but has given the coveted award to less than than 8,500 schools. Simpson Elementary in Peachtree Corners was honored in 2012.

On Nov. 7 and 8, the U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize the 279 public and 50 private schools at an awards ceremony in Washington.

“This recognition is certainly prestigious and I am tremendously proud of our students, faculty, staff, and community partners,” said Bray, GSMST’s principal. “But what stands out to me is the fact that we have fulfilled our mission in record time.”

Bray noted the school is in its 10th year, but for the first three years, it didn’t promote a senior class, so its 875 alumni come from six graduating classes. Continue reading

Central Gwinnett High, Ga.-PCOM partner on Health Career Academy

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Students at Central Gwinnett High School and 25 students from the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee have come together for the second semester of a Health Career Academy program at the school for those interested in the health care field as a career.

Students at Central Gwinnett High School are getting a firsthand view of relevant social issues through medical topics like brain health, sexual health and healthy living.

They received on Friday the first of multiple visits this school year from 25 students from the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee. The juniors began the second semester of a Health Career Academy program at the school for those interested in the health care field as a career.

Assistant Principal Jade Gillispie said students are excited to join the program and learn more about health care.

“What’s most import is not only have they received for themselves, but they take back what they have learned and share with other students as well,” Gillispie said in a press release. Continue reading

Baldwin Elementary dedication salutes namesake Beauty Baldwin

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Baldwin Elmentary School held its dedication ceremony saluting Beauty Baldwin whose name adorns the new Norcross school.

Gwinnett County Public Schools CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks delivered the dedication address, and Baldwin added her acknowledgments at the end of the program.

A former teacher and administrator, Baldwin became the superintendent of Buford City Schools in 1984 and was the first black female school superintendent in Georgia. In 2014, she founded the North Metro Academy of Performing Arts, a charter school in Gwinnett, where she currently serves as board chair.

Baldwin Elementary School is located at 123 Price Place in Norcross.