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Keith Farner

Stories by Keith

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Georgia Gwinnett College to offer more non-traditional class times, formats

The school will offer a weekend cohort for students studying education.

GCPS issues hundres of stop-arm school bus violation warnings as citations begin in January

Motorists passing stopped school buses were mailed warnings in recent weeks after the violation was recorded by a stop-arm camera the district recently installed on dozens of buses. As of Dec. 19, Gwinnett County Public Schools printed and mailed 856 warning letters to drivers, while the most sent out on a single day was 100 on Dec. 9. District spokeswoman Sloan Roach said there are still 3,460 detections in various stages of processing.

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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Mulberry teacher touched by students' generosity

Because patients like Ollie at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta miss holidays, Roberts and the students decided to donate teddy bears, soft blankets and cards in memory of Ollie and in support of Roberts’ brother, Anthony. They gave more than 30 cards, 30 bears and 15 blankets.

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Report analyzes effects, future of $400 million Race to the Top grant

The Georgia Department of Education recently asked the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education to perform an independent review of its work.

Georgia Gwinnett College teacher education growth feeds GCPS

GGC is dwarfing other state colleges and universities in the number of student teacher placements in GCPS. Associate Superintendent Frances Davis reported in November to the Gwinnett County Board of Education that GGC during the 2013-14 school year placed 569 student teachers in the school system, up from 545 in 2012-13.

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Little Mulberry Park Christmas tree blossoms into community effort | PHOTOS

Walk along the path inside Little Mulberry Park, and just steps away from the water is a makeshift Christmas tree that’s developed into a community effort for those who use the park regularly. There are red and silver garlands draped around miniature stocking ornaments, candy canes and ornaments of apples and pomegranates.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Deal awards two grants to GCPS for STEM

Gov. Nathan Deal announced that Gwinnett County Schools was among 18 award winners for the Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that provides more than $4.5 million to local education authorities, schools, institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations to further advance student achievement in Georgia.

Gwinnett residents voice concerns with Advanced Placement materials

They mainly focused on the College Board’s offering of Advanced Placement U.S. History, which resident Kathy Hildebrand called a “biased and inaccurate view of many important facets of American history.” Hildebrand referenced several examples in history that she said were ignored or minimized, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II and the Civil Rights movement.

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School Board approves redistricting, allows some permissive transfers

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recommended to the School Board, which accepted it with a unanimous vote, that permissive transfers be allowed for residents in three areas.

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Police activity causes lockdown for Brookwood schools

A suspicious person briefly fled from police as they attempted to take him into custody.

Gwinnett Student Leadership Team to celebrate 20 years

The GSLT program that gave students memories like Stegeman’s will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday at the Gwinnett Center with a program that begins at 5 p.m. Nancy Ward, executive director of the GSLT, said celebrating milestones is one aspect of leadership, and the organization wants to thank the partnership support from the school system and business community.

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Flu hitting Gwinnett? Six schools report uptick in absences

Gwinnett County Public Schools officials in recent days have distributed information and reminders this week about flu season after six schools have reported at least 10 percent of their students absent.

Greater Gwinnett Championship names 2015 charity recipients

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation will receive proceeds from next year’s Greater Gwinnett Championship, tournament officials announced on Wednesday.

GCPS College and Career Ready results remain static, beat state averages

In Gwinnett County Schools, the overall score of 81.9 was just below last year’s 82.8, while the elementary school average dropped from 85.1 to 83.7, middle school improved from 74.9 to 85.7 and high school dropped from 86.2 to 73.2. The College and Career Ready Performance Index scores were released on Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Education based on data from the 2013-2014 school year.

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Gwinnett County Schools makes more changes to redistricting map

According to new maps released, some students who attend Peachtree Elementary will now attend Simpson Elementary.

Missing Norcross woman found

A Georgia Tech student and Norcross resident was missing but has been found after it was discovered she had been in an accident.

Gas prices could reach $2 in next 15 days

Motorists are saving an average of $10 for a tank of gas compared to this time last year. Gasoline prices crept closer to $2 a gallon last week and nothing is slowing them down. Domestic oil supply is at a three decade high and forecast to keep growing. Meanwhile, the price of oil fell to its lowest level in five years.

Firefighters respond to separate blazes Saturday in Duluth

Two separate fires within minutes of each other on Saturday afternoon brought Gwinnett firefighters to a house and apartment complex in Duluth.

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GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Duluth High Chamber Orchestra to travel to Midwest Clinic

The Duluth High School Chamber Orchestra will perform Dec. 17th to 20th at the McCormick Place Center in Chicago. Duluth along with North Gwinnett Middle and Creekland Middle are the only Gwinnett schools that have performed in the prestigious event.

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Sunrise Baptist Church hosts live nativity program

It was the fifth year the church has put on a live nativity, and the program resumes from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The program included a processional of shepherds and wise men and other characters dressed for the nativity scene. About 150 people attended Saturday’s program that included Christmas carols and a narration of the story of Jesus’ birth.

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Arrest made in connection to Auburn home invasion homicide

Brian Whitfield, 45, was killed Dec. 6 during a believed home invasion-robbery at his home on Flowery Branch Road in Auburn. Gwinnett police previously said a 2005 Dodge Ram “Rumblebee” edition was stolen after the home invasion.

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State championship excitement builds at Archer High

There are diamond rings, a “Beat Colquitt” scrawled out or a list of teams the Tigers knocked off on their championship path to the Georgia Dome. Championship success is not new to the 6-year-old school after the Tigers have excelled in wrestling and softball. But this is unchartered territory for the football program — and the rest of Gwinnett County has noticed.

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Parsons Elementary fifth-graders learn how to code

Students in teacher Michaela Austin’s class participated in an “Hour of Code” on Wednesday, which was an international awareness effort to promote computer programming for students. It coincided with Computer Science Education Week which was organized by code.org where celebrities and elected officials learned how to code. The promotions worked at Parsons. Last year, Austin’s class was the only one in the school to participate. This year, every student was offered a chance to learn about coding.

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Buford Middle School stuffs the bus with hundreds of toys for needy kids | VIDEO | PHOTOS

Buford Middle School students brought about 600 toys to “stuff the bus” on Wednesday for underprivileged kids in the community.

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Trip Elementary kindergarteners flourishing in dual language immersion program | VIDEO

Nearly five months into the first dual language immersion program in Gwinnett, the format is yielding results that have exceeded expectations for district officials. While English-Spanish programs are also underway this school year at Annistown Elementary and Bethesda Elementary, Trip Assistant Principal Virin Vedder said parents are pleased.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Three Gwinnettians named to Deal's Education Advisory Boards

The four boards are comprised of school superintendents, principals, teachers and local school board members from each congressional district who will meet with the governor and his staff over the next year to provide input on education policy issues facing the state.

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Maxwell High students delight in delivering Christmas to Quinn House kids | VIDEO

Students and teachers alike wore Santa hats, sang Christmas carols — some with custom lyrics — as they organized and filled trash bags with gifts destined for the Quinn House.

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Brookwood, Peachtree Corners parents voice concerns with redistricting proposal

About 300 people attended a public hearing where the school board heard mostly concerns about children being moved to a new or different school.

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In partnership with White House, GGC increases STEM commitment

The Lawrenceville school has committed to five primary goals for its graduates by 2020 in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The Obama administration and college presidents like GGC’s Stas Preczewski attended several events at the Reagan Building in Washington to discuss building networks between high schools, colleges and communities.

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Microsoft reps offer career examples to South Gwinnett students

That thought process was common among the students in teacher Keithe Williams’ class on Thursday as they heard from four representatives from Microsoft who offered ways to access scholarships, mentorships and software downloads that would otherwise cost 10s of thousands of dollars.

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Gwinnett school teachers' salaries, lifetime earnings rank below neighboring districts

The report this week came from the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit that advocates for policies at federal, state and local levels it believes will increase the number of effective teachers.

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Gwinnett County Public Schools updates redistricting plans

School district planning officials made four changes to the maps, including adding Collins Hill to the affected clusters where students will go to new or different schools next school year.

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Rob Woodall to give commencement speech at Georgia Gwinnett College

The school announced on Wednesday that Woodall would give the keynote address at the fall commencement ceremony, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 18 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Maxwell High students to give Christmas gifts to 80 Quinn House children

It’s the 16th year Maxwell has sponsored children to give gifts, and they’ve raised money to buy those gifts by donating services they learn at the school. Generally, Maxwell students commit to giving or raising $100 to $150 for three gifts for the children, typically from 2-years-old to 14-years-old. A bonus, teacher Christine Pulliam said, is to give the children something they may need in the winter, such as a coat or galoshes.

Gwinnett 911 call center costs surpassing revenues

Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash told Gwinnett legislators on Monday that the county’s using funding reserves, and subsidies would be required in the future because of changes in technology and behavior. In an annual pre-General Assembly meeting with local lawmakers at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, Nash said Gwinnett, Cobb and Columbia counties have been an exception to other areas of the state who are ahead in dealing with this issue.

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J. Alvin Wilbanks tells Gwinnett legislators to embrace Common Core

Wilbanks made his annual remarks in a pre-General Assembly meeting with the lawmakers at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. In a presentation, he said he was in favor of Common Core standards in Georgia.

Gas prices in Gwinnett falling below $2.60

Several gas stations around Gwinnett were below $2.60 per gallon of regular unleaded on Monday afternoon, according to gasbuddy.com, including an Exxon on Scenic Highway in Lawrenceville at $2.55.

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GGC’s Stas Preczewski to attend White House College Opportunity Summit

The summit is expected to focus on building sustainable collaborations in communities with strong K-12 and higher education partnerships to encourage that students go to college, and support colleges to work together to dramatically improve persistence and increase college completion, especially for first generation, low-income and underrepresented students.

#Gwinchat provides teachers a new way of professional development

Two Gwinnett teachers have started a weekly Twitter chat where they discuss current topics in education. It features hashtags, retweets and participants from across the country who log on to Twitter.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Primrose School of Five Forks donates $1,000 in groceries to Salvation Army

Students at Primrose School of Five Forks have spent the past month completing extra chores at home to earn money for families in need. After combining their earnings totaling $500, school owner Gil Benjamin matched the amount bringing the total shopping budget to $1,000.

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Lawrenceville Christmas Tree lighting jump-starts holiday season | VIDEO | PHOTOS

Hundreds of revelers visited the Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville Thursday night for the 27th annual Christmas Tree lighting.

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Lawrenceville Baptist church continues tradition of serving Thanksgiving meals | VIDEO | PHOTOS

First Baptist Church of Lawrenceville served nearly 200 meals on Thursday to local residents who are homebound, in the hospital or don’t have family nearby.

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Four Hoschton-area athletes to compete in Ga. Dome in Punt, Pass, Kick competition

Stites and three other Hoschton-area athletes who competed at Rabbit Hill Park, Walker Myhand, 7, Brock Pellegrino, 11, and Olivia Shaw, 10, finished in the top four of all competitions in Georgia and Alabama, and have reached the championship round of the competition on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

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Methodists accept offer to sell Simpsonwood to Gwinnett County, Peachtree Corners

The group has entered into contracts with Gwinnett County and the City of Peachtree Corners for a total of $16 million for the sale of the 227-acre property.

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Georgia Gwinnett College hands out Top Claw Awards

Georgia Gwinnett College recently honored eight employees for its newly developed Top Claw Award, who the college said go above and beyond to make exceptional contributions to support the school’s educational mission.

Georgia high school writing test results improve

Ninety-six percent of 11th grade first-time test takers met or exceeded the standard on the Georgia High School Writing Test this year, up from 94 percent last year, according figures released on Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Education.

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Knight Elementary students learn about healthy cooking, eating

The thinking that kids that age only prefer chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and hot dogs is not true, and Hopkins’ belief was confirmed during a recent visit to Knight Elementary. Hopkins, owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch Public House in Buckhead, visited Knight through a program sponsored by the Captain Planet Foundation and Scana Energy.

GOOD NEWS FROM SCHOOLS: Gwinnett School Board honors schools with positive climates

The Gwinnett County Board of Education on Thursday honored local schools that were recognized by the Georgia Department of Education for developing and maintaining a positive school climate. The DOE recently recognized 28 GCPS schools for their implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports programs.

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Radloff Middle activates Junior Leadership Corps | VIDEO

During a program in the school’s gym, the students participated in an activation ceremony for a Junior Leadership Corps, which formally recognizes its first corps of cadets. The ceremony featured the promotion of eighth-grader Tracy Meadows to second lieutenent, and an official proclamation read by organization advisor Lt. Col. Grandvial Quick.

Common Core critics bring objections to classroom materials to Gwinnett School Board

Many of the issues the residents brought centered on age inappropriate materials, political and social agendas and religious views that were either encouraged or omitted.

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