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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Captain Planet, SCANA Energy donate learning gardens to GCPS

More than 350 students at Mountain Park Elementary in Lilburn paid a dollar to the “Movember” charity to wear a fake mustache throughout the school day, and about 100 more wore mustaches drawn on their faces. (Special Photo)

More than 350 students at Mountain Park Elementary in Lilburn paid a dollar to the “Movember” charity to wear a fake mustache throughout the school day, and about 100 more wore mustaches drawn on their faces. (Special Photo)

For students at a Lawrenceville elementary school, classroom lessons will soon include the outdoors, fruit and vegetable tasting and their own garden.

Holt Elementary is the first school to receive a learning garden from a joint partnership between the Captain Planet Foundation, SCANA Energy and Gwinnett County Public Schools. The learning garden was installed last month as part of Captain Planet’s Small Grants Program, which funds 700 school gardens that develop garden-based lessons tied to kindergarten through fifth grade Common Core Standards.

Captain Planet officials said this approach ensures that every student has an opportunity to learn about and taste fresh fruits and vegetables while building an appreciation and understanding of food origins and natural cycles. They want to encourage the idea that the garden is an extension of the traditional classroom, and not an extracurricular activity.

Lessons are in math, science, social studies, health and language arts.

Greater Atlanta Christian named Apple Distinguished School

Greater Atlanta Christian School was recently recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2013-15. It’s the fifth straight year GAC has been awarded this distinction, which means the school provides “enhanced education opportunities, innovative learning, stellar leadership and overall educational excellence.”

An Apple Distinguished School must practice qualities of a 21st century learning environment, engage teaching and learning methods that capitalize on students who are mobile, collaborative and creative, and have a systematic approach and ongoing process for evaluation and assessment of results for education improvement and sustainability.

Movember at

Mountain Park Elementary

A teacher, counselor and Principal D. Allan Gee at Mountain Park Elementary in Lilburn grew facial hair in November to support the “Movember” campaign, which supports awareness for prostate cancer research. But on a recent Friday, more than 350 students paid a dollar to the Movember charity to wear a fake mustache throughout the school day, and about 100 more wore mustaches drawn on their faces.

Norcross City Council to honor Pinckneyville Middle students

A group of about 20 students from Pinckneyville Middle, who recently participated in a trash pickup around Peachtree Corners, are scheduled to be honored at the Norcross City Council meeting on Monday.

The students collected 20 large trash bags of litter around more than three miles in Peachtree Corners at an event organized by long-time resident Duane Jenkins.

Jenkins said Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson will give the students a mayoral proclamation, and Gwinnett County Fire Chief Casey Snyder will give a letter of commendation.

“This will be my first mayoral proclamation and I believe this is something that will stay with the children for the rest of their lives,” Jenkins said.

30 Duluth Middle students attend ‘Step Up to Manhood’ workshop

A mentorship workshop coordinated by Duluth Middle seventh-grade science teacher Jermaine Shakespeare was attended by 30 students last month. Two Gwinnett principals, Dion Jones of Roberts Elementary and Ricardo Quinn of Chesney Elementary, were among 12 speakers who shared motivational and personal stories of success.

The topics covered changes for male students during their teenage years, entrepreneurship, networking, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol.

Bernard Grace, an administrative intern at South DeKalb High, told the group to “be your own man.”

“Think, walk and speak like where you want to go,” Grace said. “Don’t think, walk and speak like your favorite rapper. Don’t make decisions as Kanye West would.”

Faculty members at Duluth Middle donated ties to the students, and they were also given tickets to Gwinnett Gladiators, Atlanta Hawks and Georgia Tech games. The students were asked to wear shirts and ties to school on Tuesdays as symbols of their commitment to set a higher standard. They joined Shakespeare’s after-school boys leadership club.

Organizers have planned a similar event for the spring.

Keith Farner writes about education. Good News from Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Daily Post.