Recent News

With inspirational messages, GCPS welcomes 1,200 new teachers


Jamie Lynn McFarland told herself she wouldn’t cry, but those who know her, like Nikki Mouton, said she could set a timer to it.

McFarland, the reigning Teacher of the Year in Gwinnett County Public Schools, gave an emotional speech on Tuesday at the Infinite Energy Center at an orientation event to more than 1,200 teachers who are new to the district or brand-new to education.

McFarland teaches special education students who have severe and profound intellectual disabilities at Rock Springs Elementary. Mouton, as executive director of curriculum and instruction with GCPS, has heard McFarland’s message before, and expected the emotional and passionate message.

“I believe that as educators, it is absolutely imperative that we do a better job of intentionally teaching our general education students how to interact with, build relationships with and value their peers with special needs,” McFarland said.

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Brookwood, Mill Creek students receive Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful scholarships


Two Gwinnett high school students have received $1,000 scholarships based on their commitment to protecting Gwinnett’s resources and inspiring others to get involved in community initiatives that improve the environment.

Meyer Anne Hudson from Mill Creek High School and Dan Diener of Brookwood High School were each awarded a Youth Advisory Council scholarship from Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. GCB established the Green Youth Advisory Council in 2014 to serve as a youth leadership group of rising environmental stewards. High school students throughout Gwinnett County Public Schools are nominated by their teachers to serve on the council for one year.

GCB’s Green and Healthy Schools Coordinator, Brenda McDaniel, said in a press release that the two students stepped into leadership roles immediately as co-presidents of the 2016-2017 Green Youth Advisory Council.

“They both assisted with educating and engaging high school students from across Gwinnett County in hands-on environmental programs that impacted local and global environmental challenges,” McDaniel said. “They also collaborated with other youth and county leaders to promote suitability and civic engagement.”

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Norcross High School Foundation receives $22,500 in grants


The Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence recently received two grants that it will use to support an after school program.

Overall, the grants are worth $22,500, and they come from the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia, which gave $10,000, and the Waffle House Foundation, which gave $12,500.

The money will be used for the After School Matters program, which targets academically at-risk ninth- and 10th-grade students with limited family economic resources. The mission of the program is to raise the graduation rate and prepare students for a career or college path. The vision of the program is to increase a student’s engagement with school, cultivate talent, lift self-confidence and decrease the likelihood of risky behaviors.

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Teachers, students learn side-by-side at math institute


Paul Brinkley has taught at Lawrenceville Elementary for five years, and each summer he spends several days learning some new perspectives on how to teach math.

“Sometimes teaching gets old,” he said. “This kind of puts a spice into what we teach.”

Brinkley spoke on Thursday outside a classroom at Jenkins Elementary, where he worked with fifth-graders at the 14th math institute hosted each summer by Gwinnett County Public Schools. The eight-day professional learning program that ended Thursday offered new tips and strategies for teachers, some 700 of them, and about 1,500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade at 15 schools.

Last week, the district trained master trainers and cluster trainers on research-based instructional practices, and this week, they took what they learned and brought it to other teachers and modeled instruction, with students coaching teacher participants along the way.

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Brookwood High teachers earn state honors


Two Brookwood High teachers were recently recognized as tops in their field.

Amber Simmons was named the Georgia Council of Teachers of English 2017 Teacher of the Year, while Ashley Allgood was named 2017 Georgia Latin Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Classical Association.

Simmons’ honor recognizes a language arts teacher who understands the issues in teaching literacy skills, demonstrates awareness and implementation of the best practices in teaching language arts, and influences colleagues at a local, state and national level. Simmons was honored at the state level in February, and now will represent Georgia in the National Council of Teachers of English High School Teacher of the Year competition.

For Allgood, the Teacher of the Year Award is presented to a member of the Georgia Classical Association who is distinguished as a teacher of Latin through the performance of students and through exceptional efforts to enhance the teaching of Latin in the state.

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Four Gwinnett art students receive gold medals


Four students in three Gwinnett high school art programs recently received gold medals as part of the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards — an upgrade after they earlier this spring received gold keys at a regional competition in Georgia.

They hail from the Gwinnett School of Math, Science, and Technology, North Gwinnett High School and Parkview High School.

The artwork and students are “Reminisce,” by Allison Chan of GSMST, honored with teacher Jennifer Griner, “Gray Out” by Isabelle Aboderin of North Gwinnett, with teacher Dallas Gillespie, “A Fish out of Water” by Rachel Chang of North Gwinnett with teacher Debi West, and “Orange My Orange” by Cassidy Moncrief of Parkview and teacher Alexandra Scott. Moncrief’s piece won an additional designation, the American Visions Award, one of only 12 such medals given nationally.

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