Berkmar Middle School seventh grade language arts teacher Janice Brown has always had a love for reading and works diligently to ignite that same passion for her students. After hosting a classroom library of her own for years, she sought another way to expose children to books.

Thanks to Brown and Berkmar Middle School, Lilburn’s residents now have another opportunity to keep reading. Brown helped create Berkmar Middle School’s little free library, making the school a part of the “world’s largest book-sharing movement,” which seeks to “build community, spark creativity, and inspire readers,” according to littlefreelibrary.org.

Readers are able to take a free book from the library with the hope that they will return to add a book to the collection.

Berkmar Middle School is located at 4355 Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn. It serves about 1,200 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.

GCPS schools awarded Bosch Community Fund Grants

Five Gwinnett County schools have earned grants from the Bosch Community Fund for their unique STEM projects. Central Gwinnett High School, Jackson Elementary School, Mill Creek High School, Osborne Middle School and Paul Duke STEM High School were awarded a combined total of more than $49,000 in grant money.

The Bosch Community Fund awards up to $3 million in grants annually to projects with a science, technology and environmental focus. The five Gwinnett schools were selected as grant recipients based on their commitment to and excellence in STEM education, according to a news release.

Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville received a grant for its project, “STEM Learning Experiences and Career and Technical Student Organization Growth.” The grant will support the growth and development of membership and leadership in three student organizations: Technology Student Association, Women in Technology, and The Drone and Cybersecurity League. Funding will support a variety of associated costs, including equipment and field trips.

Jackson Elementary School in the Peachtree Ridge cluster received a grant for its project, “STEMtastic Lab Growth.” This lab provides the school’s diverse population of students access to explore areas of STEM in a way that engages their imagination and encourages creative thinking. As many students lack exposure to technology in their homes, funding will provide for resources that include iPads and Chromebooks.

Mill Creek High School in Hoschton received a grant for its project, “EPIC STEM Experiential Learning.” This project-based, innovative, collaborative and cross-curricular program is designed to give students an authentic learning experience that relates to engineering, science, math, and language arts while using an inquiry-driven approach. Grant funding will support materials and tools purchases.

Osborne Middle School in the Mill Creek cluster received a grant for its project, “Extending Beyond Classroom Walls with STEM and PBL.” The program will provide 7th grade students the opportunity to actively explore authentic, real-world problems that incorporate multiple areas of STEM research and design. Specifically, funding will provide calculator-based ranger motion detectors, virtual reality goggles, Differentiated Inquiry Lab bundles and Logitech stereo headseats.

Paul Duke STEM High School in Norcross received a grant for its project, “Engineering Applications at Paul Duke STEM.” The grant will support the design, development and construction of a school garden and environmental lab to include aquaponics and rainwater recycling. This funding will also support a collaboration between the school’s dance program and mechatronics course to create animatronic stage elements for an upcoming production.

Crawford receives GHCC President’s Recognition for Education Award

Nury Castillo Crawford, the director of Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Community-Based Mentoring Program for Latino students was named the winner of the 2019 Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Recognition for Education Award.

The GHCC honored Crawford for her work with the school district at the 31st Annual GHCC Gala in June. The mentoring program is designed to eliminate the graduation inequities that are prevalent not only in Georgia but nationally.

Crawford is also the president of the Georgia Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents and the CEO/founder of 1010 Publishing, a small publishing house that focuses on the dissemination of literary works in a bilingual format, according to the GHCC website.

Crawford was also invited to throw out the first pitch at a Gwinnett Stripers game during Hispanic Community Appreciation night.

Brookwood English teacher receives Education First grant

Dr. Amber Simmons, a Brookwood High School English teacher, is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from Education First in partnership with the Novo Foundation for a project aimed to support and improve literacy and a culturally responsive community at Brookwood.

Simmons’ project focuses specifically on students who are English learners and those with social and emotional learning challenges and/or emotional and behavior disorders to help close the literacy achievement gap when compared to the rest of the school.

Simmons believes her project has the potential to make English language learners, refugees and a variety of at-risk students feel celebrated, understood and seen by providing them with access to texts that include characters, scenarios or language that reflects their out-of-school experiences. This will help increase the students’ overall emotional well-being while also supporting the literacy goals and community building.

Brookwood teacher named to ‘40 under 40’

Brookwood High School’s Cindy Quinlan was selected as part of the University of Georgia’s Class of 2019 “40 Under 40” list.

The integrated entrepreneurship teacher, who is also the school’s Careers and Technical Education Department chair and GCPS Entrepreneurship Pathway lead, has garnered national recognition for her work with Real EDGE, a nonprofit whose goal is to integrate an entrepreneurial mindset into core instruction at all grade levels.

GCPS students, staff receive Peach State Federal Credit Union scholarships

Two dozen Gwinnett County Public Schools students and staff members earned scholarships from Peach State Federal Credit Union.

The financial institution awarded more than $169,000 in scholarships and educational grants to the following recipients:

$2,000 Career Advancement Scholarship Recipients:

Nichole Aman, Cedar Hill Elementary

Jami Baars, Parkview High

Megan Brockington, Archer High

Ebony Extra, GCPS Special Education and Psychological Services

Minnie Freeman-Wreh, South Gwinnett High

Cindy Gay, Osborne Middle

Lachelle Kegler, Hull Middle

Jill Lambes, Mulberry Elementary

Morgan Mendes, Beaver Ridge Elementary

Monica Morall, Phoenix High

Alexis Pickett, McConnell Middle

Teosha Teasley, Jenkins Elementary

Rona Williams, Collins Hill High

Stephanie Wolfsohn, Jackson Elementary

$2,000 Legacy Student Scholarship Recipients

Emily Bacik, Parkview High

Claire Beaumont, North Gwinnett High

Alyssa Dula, Peachtree Ridge High

Blaine Galbreath, Duluth High

Riley McNeill, Grayson High

Sadie Walsh, Mountain View High

$2,000 School System and Community Honoree Scholarship Recipients

Rick Cost Legacy Student Scholarship: Erin “Y” Kim, Duluth High

Dr. Frances Davis Legacy Student Scholarship: Micah Rae Hixson, Grayson High

Louise Radloff Scholarship: Amilyn Bess Gurta, Mill Creek High

J. Alvin Wilbanks Educator Scholarship: Taylor Rose Benton, Brookwood High