News You Can Use, Jan. 4-10, 2021


    The Bridges Peachtree Corners and Ingles Markets teamed up recently to help families in need at GIVE Center West. Joe Sawyer, the president of the Bridges Peachtree Corners, spearheaded efforts to deliver turkeys, groceries, coats, and belts to families.  

    Photo collage of GIVE Center West students and families

    Buice Center had a busy end to the first semester...

    • The school honored Veterans recently by hosting a lunch during which students and staff expressed their appreciation for the special guests.
    • The GCPS Book Mobile stopped by the school. With books placed outside the bus in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, students could safely select books of interest.
    • Fridays have been extra special at the Buice Center as a variety of Food Trucks have dropped by providing staff with tasty culinary options for lunch.

    **Pictures are available here.

    Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory donation to GCPS' Community-Based Mentoring ProgramThe families of some members of the GCPS Community-Based Mentoring Program African-American Boys and African-American Girls priority received an unexpected holiday gift thanks to the generosity of some of the program’s supporters. Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory donated $500, which was matched by the mentoring program, and two anonymous GCPS employees donated an additional $475. The money was used to purchase Walmart gift cards for the families. “We are grateful to receive these donations from our trusted and caring supporters,” said James Rayford, director of Academic Support. “2020 was a tough year for everyone, especially for some of the families involved with the program. Hopefully, this gesture added a little holiday joy to our families during this pandemic.”Sweetwater MS donations

    A number of Sweetwater Middle School families received holiday food support thanks to members of Kappa Lambda Chi, a military fraternity, and The Nett Church. Members of both groups provided fresh produce, turkeys, and food boxes to more than 35 families.   

    Engineering students at Paul Duke STEM High School created a winter wonderland and held a drive-thru Snowman Extravaganza and Light Show over the holiday season. The life-sized snowmen were designed and made from a student-created Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. More than 25 eight-foot high snowmen were made and painted by students and faculty members. Visitors to the drive-through event were asked to bring canned goods. The event raised $530 and 500 cans of food were collected and donated to the Norcross Co-Op. Pictures can be seen here.


    GCPS teamed up with Gwinnett County Community Services and Goodr, a local non-profit, to provide snack packs to local students and their families. The packs were filled with locally sourced food, tailored to young children. They also contained activity sheets developed and designed by GCPS to help students continue to learn over the winter break. Kim Holland, GCPS director of Early Learning and School Readiness, says the partnership between GCPS, the county, and Goodr is impactful. She adds, “The partnership has given us the opportunity to provide our Play 2 Learn families, at all 42 title I schools, generous snack packs. In addition, we provided Samsung Tablets to the families who are learning digitally. The tablets are provided through funding from the GCPS Foundation.” Play 2 Learn is a program focused on building the capacity in parents to be their child’s first teacher as well as providing an opportunity for students to be in a group setting. Caregivers bring child(ren) (ages birth to five) to a 90-minute session each week. Activities are modeled and facilitated by a certified staff member utilizing best practices for readiness skills in communication, language and literacy, cognitive development, social-emotional development, approaches to play and learning and motor skill development. “As we all know, there is a great need for additional food assistance, education, and technology to access educational resources during this unprecedented time,” Holland said. “We hope that these resources helped families with food needs, as well as promote educational learning over the winter break.” Pictures from the event at Cedar Hill Elementary School can be seen here.


    Some Knight Elementary School students and their families had more food options to choose from over the winter break thanks to the school’s staff and parent outreach liaison. Started three years ago by Knight Elementary’s Heather Scott, the Box of Love Project provides families in need with non-perishable food items such as, peanut butter, jelly, macaroni and cheese, rice, beans, cereal, etc. This year Scott worked with Allison Morant, Knight Elementary’s parent outreach liaison, to identify families in need, create a list of non-perishable foods and recruit volunteers who would donate the items. Cox adds, “We created a Sign-Up Genius and not only did our teachers start signing up to donate, but the Sign-Up Genius was shared with their families and members of the Knight Elementary community which helped make this project a success and bigger than the year before. This year more than 100 boxes were donated between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we were able to serve more than 40 families. Knight Elementary is a very special place and has a family-like feel. We love being able to help our families and look forward to repeating our efforts in 2021.” Pictures can be seen here.


    Parsons Elementary School recently received additional facemasks thanks in part to a newly hired GCPS substitute teacher. Myeong Jang secured nearly 1,000 facemasks for students and staff after contacting and working with Atlanta K-News and the Georgia Atlanta Association of Beauty Suppliers. Pictures can be seen here.


    GCPS reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to the fight against cancer with its participation in the 2020 Relay For Life event. Because of COVID-19, this year’s Relay event, like many other events this past spring, was different. In March, event organizers announced that the Relay event would be rescheduled from its original date of May 8 to Halloween weekend because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite cancellation of the rescheduled event, the Gwinnett community remained dedicated to Relay. In all, Gwinnett County Relay For Life teams raised $368,527.04. Of that total amount, nearly half (47% or $173,350.14) was raised by GCPS teams.


    Jalavis Wilson, an 11th grade student at South Gwinnett High School, has been named the first-ever recipient of the Atlanta Falcons High School Man of the Year Award presented by Georgia Power. Modeled after the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the Atlanta Falcons High School Man of the Year honors one high school football student-athlete who embodies excellence on and off the field. The Falcons are believed to be the first NFL organization to present an award of this type to a local high school student-athlete. This year, Wilson participated in providing free meals and haircuts to the homeless, assisted with his high school’s annual coat drive and participated in several community cleanup projects in both Atlanta and Miami, where his father lived. Wilson’s father battled illness and had a stroke earlier this year, which made communication difficult, especially during a global pandemic. Eventually, Wilson’s father passed in October. Days after the funeral, Wilson returned to South Gwinnett High to play for his school and teammates. In the game, the junior defensive back forced a game-deciding fumble in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Comets. The Falcons honored Wilson in front of his mother, South Gwinnett Head Coach Steve Davenport, and South Gwinnett Assistant Head Coach Cortez Allen at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during halftime of the Falcons Week 15 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A video acknowledging Wilson can be seen here. Pictures can be found here.


    Van Troung, a chemistry teacher at South Gwinnett High School, is a recipient of a Society for Science & the Public STEM Research Grant. The grant provides support to middle school and high school teachers engaging their students in authentic scientific research. Troung is among a select group of 100 educators nationwide and one of five in the state of Georgia that were awarded the grant. The teachers, who hail from 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will each choose from a selection of 13 high-quality kits amounting to $1,000. The kits will ensure educators have what they need to encourage scientific inquiry in all settings, regardless of whether they are guiding their students remotely, in-person, or through a hybrid model. The kits are distributed through the Society’s STEM Research Grants program and are funded by Regeneron.

    Kyle Lewis, GCPS alumni and Seattle Mariner

    He starred in high school and college and now he’s excelling in the professional ranks. Kyle Lewis, a Snellville native and 2014 graduate of Shiloh High School, is Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2020 American League Rookie of the Year. The Seattle Mariners outfielder, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Baseball draft, batted .262, hit 17 home runs and had 41 Runs Batted In during the 2020 season. 










    Gwinnett County Public Schools will be closed Monday, January 18, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is a holiday for all students and staff.

    The Gwinnett County Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 21, at 7 p.m.

    Tuesday, January 26, is a digital learning day for all students. This will be an asynchronous learning day where students will learn from home, providing teachers additional days for planning during the semester. 


    GCPS has launched Season 2 of the ‘Teaching Gwinnett’ podcast, a district-produced podcast, which features in-depth and informative interviews. The latest episodes are as follows:

    Episode 4: GCPS counselors on getting good grades and applying for college during the pandemic; GCPS counselors discuss the challenges of helping students during the pandemic, how they ensure no one is left behind and what students and parents should be doing now to prepare for college.

    Episode 3: COVID-19 and Gwinnett County Public Schools. The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Director, and Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Associate Superintendent of School Improvement and Operations discuss COVID-19 and schools.

    Episode 2: A revealing conversation with GCPS Chief Equity and Compliance Officer Tommy Welch. Dr. Welch discusses the importance of equity, the district’s efforts in this area, and his own classroom experiences.

    Episode 1: A fun conversation with Rebecca Carlisle, GCPS’ 2020 Teacher of the Year. Our TOTY discusses teaching in pandemic times, the challenges and rewards of teaching, and what fuels her passion for teaching.

    Find the podcast on Anchor, Spotify, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Pocket Casts, iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, and the district website.

    Subscribe today!

    GCPS families have a new tool that makes it even easier to access their student’s information on the Parent Portal. New this fall, GCPS parents can use their smartphones to access ParentVUE to find their student’s schedule, grades, assignments, and more! The ParentVUE mobile app is available in Google Play for Android devices and the App Store for Apple (iOS) devices. If you don’t have a Parent Portal account yet, now’s the time to get one. Learn more and register for an account online.