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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Field trip to D.C. enhances history teachers' knowledge

Special Photo
 Teachers Bruce Young of Archer High School, Delores Dalton of Duluth High School, Michael Savage of Central Gwinnett High School and Joe Bernstein of Peachtree Ridge High School viewing original maps used by Gen Sherman on his march through Atlanta 

Special Photo Teachers Bruce Young of Archer High School, Delores Dalton of Duluth High School, Michael Savage of Central Gwinnett High School and Joe Bernstein of Peachtree Ridge High School viewing original maps used by Gen Sherman on his march through Atlanta 

About 30 high school American history teachers recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where they gained knowledge that will be used to create lesson plans that can be accessed by all Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers.

The field trip was funded by a Teaching American History grant, which the school system won from the U.S. Department of Education. During the five-day journey, the teachers participated in workshops, listened to lectures and got behind-the-scenes looks in museums and the U.S. Capitol.

“The experience was truly an educational opportunity for all of them,” said Debbie Daniell, the school system’s director of social studies. “It was truly an opportunity of a lifetime. ... I am absolutely sure that every teacher came away with increased content knowledge, and that will translate into increased student achievement in the classroom.”

Some of the highlights of the trip included getting to see Gen. William Sherman’s original maps of his march through Atlanta, which are stored in vaults at the National Museum of American History. The group of teachers also met with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and got to watch the Senate confirm Leon Panetta as the defense secretary.

Many of the opportunities were arranged by historian Herman Viola, who is the curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Daniell has traveled to D.C. before, but it was her first time traveling to the nation’s capital with fellow educators.

“I was honored and humbled to be in the presence of such American history scholars we have teaching our students,” she said. “They were a fabulous group of highly engaged professionals that represented Gwinnett County Public Schools in the utmost of ways.”

GCPS receives

Emmy Awards

The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has once again recognized Gwinnett County Public Schools Television for its efforts in educating and informing the school district’s stakeholders through its original programming.

The Academy recently presented the school district two Emmy Awards for “Love that Book!”

The school system was announced as a winner during the 37th Annual Southeast Regional Emmy Awards Gala in Atlanta. At the event, the Academy recognized the best of the region’s 2010 visual media.

The GCPS TV original production was honored in the following two categories:

• Outstanding Achievement: News and Program Specialty Excellence, Category 15 DE, Children/Youth (12 and under) Program — “Love That Book!”

Peggy Shivers, media development manager (retired in 2011); Kolinda Scialabba, information specialist; Chris Smith, communications specialist and Brookwood High graduate; and Randall Tolliver, freelance editor

• Outstanding Achievement: Crafts Achievement Excellence, Category 49B, Editor — Short Form — “Love That Book!”

Greg LaHatte, director of broadcast and distance learning; Chris Smith, communications specialist and Brookwood High graduate; Randall Tolliver, freelance editor

“We are pleased that the Academy recognized GCPS TV for a children’s show category,” said LaHatte, the school district’s director of broadcast and distance learning. “‘Love that Book!’ is another way our school system promotes reading as a critical area for student success.”

Hosted by storyteller and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Carmen Deedy, each episode of “Love That Book!” takes students on a reading adventure as they explore a featured book, a cool new book, and an oldie but goodie.

In creating the television series, the award-winning team worked in collaboration with staff members, students and local personalities.

That collaboration included GCPS TV staff members Peggy Shivers and Kolinda Scialabba. As producers, they worked with the school district’s language arts and media services departments, as well as students from Sugar Hill Elementary who sang the opening song under the direction of music teacher Tiffany English.

The show also features other Gwinnett students. In addition, Broadcast and Distance Learning staff members Chris Smith and Randall Tolliver, along with Mark Coughlin, created the introduction and theme song for the series.

“Love that Book!” first premiered on GCPS TV in the fall of the 2010-11 school year.

GCPS TV, the educational access channel for Gwinnett County Public Schools, began operations in 2001 and can be seen by Gwinnett County cable subscribers. GCPS TV’s programming also is streamed live at www.gcpstv.org.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.