Issue 11.97 | Tuesday, March 13, 2012
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
SUWANEE, Ga., March 13, 2012 -- Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) is the 12th largest public school system in the United States and the largest in Georgia, with an enrollment of more than 162,000 students. The student population, which has, at times, grown rapidly and with great diversity, has created a tremendous need for training new leaders.
This could be an overwhelming task for an unprepared system. Realizing this, Gwinnett County Public Schools developed its Quality-Plus Leader Academy, which provides committed educational professionals a clear path for development. The Academy develops leaders, readying them to lead 21st century schools.
The Quality-Plus Leader Academy (QPLA) is a locally created initiative that serves as an umbrella to cover all activities associated with the development of GCPS leaders. Its goal is to increase student achievement by identifying, recruiting, selecting, developing, training, and supporting local school leaders to be highly effective. The Aspiring Leader Program (ALP) and the Aspiring Principal Program (APP) are specific QPLA programs dedicated to this goal, for teachers aspiring to be assistant principals and for assistant principals aspiring to be principals. The goal is to build internal capacity, enabling GCPS to develop aspiring leaders and strengthen the retention of school leaders.
GCPS's culture of leadership stability, vision, and longevity has not occurred by happenstance. Rather, our school district has built a strong pipeline to develop tomorrow's leaders to meet the demands created as higher student enrollment and leaders retiring. That pipeline has fed the wave of new educators who now lead Gwinnett schools. These new leaders have been developed through programs of the QPLA, and receive ongoing support, and just-in-time training as they work with experienced leaders in developing an understanding of the school's culture, operations and initiatives. There is also a Leader Mentor Program providing individualized support for new leaders through one-on-one meetings and small-group support sessions.
GCPS has invested heavily in building internal capacity by leveraging in-house professional learning as part of its strong, vibrant, and successful organizational culture. These include:
"Everything rises and falls on leadership" holds true for any
size or type of organization, even in our schools. Being a successful
school principal today requires exceptional expertise.
County Public Schools is committed to having effective leaders in every
Gwinnett school. This is evidenced by the district's time, resources and
attention to develop quality-plus leaders. It's part of the focus on becoming
a system of world-class schools. World-class schools are led by quality-plus
MARCH 13, 2012 -- Ah, springtime! At least it feels like spring already, only nine days away.
We've had mild winters before. We may eventually pay for it with more bugs and fleas and ticks this summer.
But hasn't it been great (for us with cold feet especially) for the winter to be so mild so far this year. I say "so far," for you keep expecting a harsh winter blast, perhaps with snowfall, to arrive any moment. Or else we'll soon have an horrific tornado season, because of the warmer temperatures of the season.
All during February, we were concerned about the warmer weather, seeing daffodils erupting earlier than normal, but remembering in previous years seeing them with snow all around them. "When will the snow arrive?" we wondered, thinking surely it would happen any day.
But no. So far, the entire Eastern Seaboard has seen much warmer-than-normal weather, all unexpected, and perplexing. Eastern states with ski runs have had to have their man-made snow machines going strong. No doubt the critters around us are as confused and questioning as we have been about the weather.
So perhaps the beautiful budding trees we are seeing now are merely in step with the season, and will soon be enjoying the warmth of the sun during the early spring and summer.
It's always exciting to see the springtime arrive in all its splendor. It's just that it's arriving early this year, making the year unusual to begin with. But we sure like it.
* * * * *
On February 25 in 1919, Oregon became the first state to levy a gasoline tax. The state highway commission had launched a "Get Oregon Out of the Mud!" campaign to build better highways, but the problem was that only the people who drove horseless carriages really needed the paved roads. (Today Oregonians pay 31 cents per gallon on gasoline.)
A Republican state legislator named Loyal Graham hit upon a way to make the people who used the roads foot the bill: a gas tax amounting to a penny a gallon (about 12 cents in today's money). Within 10 years, all 48 states and the District of Columbia were levying gasoline taxes.
The Georgia Legislature has been holding back for years on raising the gasoline tax. Georgians pay only 29.2 cents per gallons in taxes. The highest gas taxes in the nation are in Connecticut (49.6), New York (49.5) and California (49.1.) State Gas Tax in Alaska is only 8 cents a gallon, while the lowest in the Continental USA is in Wyoming (14.0), New Jersey (14.5) and South Carolina (16.8).
* * * * *
Gwinnettians, more than any other county residents in Georgia, know what diversity means, with the county's varied population.
It wasn't exactly diversity, but it was migration, which brought the first wave of diverse citizens to Georgia. These are the people many first referred to as "Yankees," as they moved South for good jobs, better weather, and often, to be near their grandchildren, as their children had first moved South.
What has this brought? We were astounded in recent elections to see Georgia communities approving first one, then another, proposal for Sunday sales of liquor or drinks. In the presidential primary recently, lots of jurisdictions approved alcohol votes, and not by small margins, either. The only two that failed were in Jeffersonville (by one vote) and in Bainbridge.
Diversity has greatly changed Georgia. Who would have thought, just a few years ago, that these alcohol bills would pass so readily!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Graphic Communications Corporation of Lawrenceville, a WBENC certified female-owned and managed company. Graphic Communications is a dynamic full-service print, large-format inkjet and photographic output, fulfillment, point-of-purchase and multi-media communications company. The firm has a digital media and graphic design department for both print and Internet use. Graphic Communications has been awarded the Chain of Custody certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). Only a select group of printers in Georgia can provide eco-conscious customers with paper with the FSC or SFI logos, which ensure that the paper is from a well-managed, certified, sustainable forest and that the chain of custody from forest to pulp and to paper manufacturer to merchant---has not been broken. Graphic Communications' biggest strength is its ability to meet tight deadlines along with the ever-present demands for high quality and attention to detail. This ability makes the printing process seamless for its clients. Three of its greatest competitive advantages are: 1) listening; 2) being organized for speed; and 3) being detail fanatics. All of its associates are committed to giving customers exactly what they want, when they want it. Simply, at Graphic Communications, the customer's needs are the driving forces behind everything it does, from investment in technology to the friendly voices that still answer the telephone. For more information, go to http://www.gccprint.com.
come back repeatedly, they will offer you free rooms and other hard-to-resist
enticements. They are confident you will leave with empty pockets. Give
it up and they will bombard you with offers for however long it takes.
It's true that some gamblers seem to beat the system and win millions,
but many of them have also lost it all.
Rob Woodall invites high school art students in the Seventh Congressional
District to participate in the 2012 Congressional
Art Competition. The winner will be invited to attend the 2012 Congressional
Art Competition: An Artistic Discovery Opening Exhibition on Wednesday,
June 20, 2012, at the U.S. Capitol, where his or her work will be displayed
in the hall leading from the U.S. House office buildings to the U.S. Capitol
for one year. ?
Last year's winner was Michelle Partogi of the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, who painted a graphic commentary on the Jewish Holocaust.
Suwanee Police offer safe driving course on April 12
The Suwanee Police Department is offering a two-hour program for new teen drivers and their parents designed to give young drivers fresh attitudes and more confidence behind the wheel.
The Suwanee Police Department's Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) program will be offered, in cooperation with the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Suwanee Police Department, 373 Buford Highway.
This free course makes parents/guardians more aware of their own driving behaviors, assists parents in helping their teens to become safe drivers, and offers strategies for required supervised practice driving time. PRIDE is not a hands-on, "how-to" program. The classes are free. Those taking the class do not have to be a resident of Suwanee.
Class space is limited and advanced registration is required. A parent is required to accompany participating teens. To download an application, visit www.suwanee.com or contact Officer Elias Casanas at 770-904-7612. The registration deadline is March 23.
Gwinnett Fire Chief Bill Myers had good news for Gwinnett homeowners. Telling county commissioners of the results of an inspection by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), he reports that Gwinnett County has retained a Class Four rating for its fire suppression capabilities. The ISO is a leading independent source of information about property/casualty insurance. This retention of the Class 4 rating comes after a 41 percent increase in population since the last ISO visit in 1996.
A community's ISO class rating is one factor that insurance companies consider when setting residential and commercial property insurance premiums.
Myers attributes the positive rating to several factors, including a commitment to standards set by ISO. However, Gwinnett also showed an ambitious expansion program in the last 15 years that added 10 new fire stations and engine companies, two ladder/truck companies, eight ambulances, one squad, one technical rescue unit, one new battalion, a centralized and fully equipped reserve apparatus program and additional fire personnel. Myers also said that training was a major factor in the rating, along with continually improving the County's fire training academy.
For more information about programs and services provided the Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Department or to find a fire station near you, visit the county's Web site at www.gwinnettcounty.com.
Center launches online gift registry to support patients
Medical Center (GMC) has recently launched MedGift, an online gift registry
designed to provide support for patients. The new resource, powered by
RelayHealth, lists patients' specific "Needs, Wants and Wishes"
during treatment and recovery, similar to any other gift registry. The
new service is now available to patients across the GMC system, which
provide acute care, outpatient services, cardiovascular, orthopedic and
neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services.
Jeffrey D. Nowlin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Gwinnett Health System, says: "GMC leadership sees this technology as another form of patient empowerment, allowing them to draw strength from their community in the healing process and relieve any sense of isolation they might experience. MedGift bridges communities through technology in a safe information platform while promoting goodwill."
MedGift was initially born from the experience of a 23-year old ovarian cancer patient, Diem Brown, a former MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge participant. Following her participation in the reality show, Brown experienced depression and a sense of helplessness as she coped with chemotherapy, expensive medical bills and new challenges such as finding an affordable human hair wig. While many offered to help, Brown didn't have a way to accept, organize and keep track of the many kind offers of assistance. It was this situation that inspired her to create MedGift.
GGC has first internship for student at Georgia's capitol
For Georgia Gwinnett College senior Meiling Lamquach-Holt, an internship at Georgia's Capitol has added a real-world dimension to her textbook understanding of political science.
"You can read about how it's supposed to work, but until you see how it's done, you don't know how difficult it is to pass a law," says Lamquach-Holt, who began her internship in January with Rep. Carl Rogers, chair of the House Higher Education Committee, and Rep. Chuck Martin, chair of the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee.
The Political Science Practicum program matches GGC students with internship experiences that expand on classroom studies. Since its inauguration last summer, the program has matched seven students with unique experiential learning projects. Lamquach-Holt is the first intern to work at the state capitol during the legislative session.
Singing for Mrs. Pettigrew, by Michael Morpurgo
"Short stories are not normally my cup of tea, but Michael Morpurgo in "Singing for Mrs. Pettigrew" adopts an unusual tactic: He alternates his stories with chapters explaining why he is writing a particular story, and why it came out of his mind. (The explanatory chapters are in slightly smaller type.) This tactic adds depth to the book, often in beautiful ways, allowing the reader to understand the writer and the story better. It's best shown by the first three words in the book: 'Explain yourself, Morpurgo.' This is a good read, done well, which won't tax you, but will make your sigh and think." One more item: Morpurgo is an English author who wrote "War Horse." --eeb
Brigadier General Count Casimir (or Kazimierz) Pulaski came from Poland to fight in the American Revolution (1775-83). Frequently hailed as the founder of the American cavalry, he served in the Continental Army from late 1777 and died during the Siege of Savannah in October 1779.
Casimir Pulaski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on March 6, 1745, to members of an old and influential branch of the Polish aristocracy. His family became heavily involved in the 1768 conspiracy to free Poland from Russia's political influence. Pulaski joined the effort and quickly exhibited an ability to command against Russian troops.
In 1771 the Polish government implicated Pulaski in a plot to abduct Stanislaus II, the Russian-controlled king, and accused him of treason. Pulaski sought protection in France and in 1773 briefly commanded an international force during the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774).
By 1777 the Revolutionary War in America had caught Pulaski's attention. He obtained the help of Benjamin Franklin, one of the American ambassadors in France, and sailed for America in June 1777. Pulaski quickly submitted his name to the Continental Congress for an officer's commission. Pulaski's past military commands and his reputation as a skilled cavalry officer did not cause George Washington or the Continental Congress to accept him immediately. They had grown weary of Europeans who applied for military service and did not live up to their vaunted reputations.
So Pulaski unofficially joined Washington's forces on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania, where he led a small force of horsemen and helped protect the Continental Army during its retreat. His fervor for the American cause and ability in battle convinced Washington and Congress to accept Pulaski as a brigadier general and appoint him "Commander of the Horse." He fought at the Battle of Germantown, also in Pennsylvania, later that year and briefly stayed at Valley Forge, Penn., during the winter of 1777-78. Most contemporaries who met Pulaski agreed that he excelled as a daring and energetic horseman; one friend described him as a soldier who fought with the force of ten men.
(To be continued)
GwinnettForum is provided to you at no charge every Tuesday and Friday. If you would like to serve as an underwriter, click here to learn more.
Send your thoughts, 55-word short stories, pet peeves or comments on any issue to Gwinnett Forum for future publication.
We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from GwinnettForum, but if you need to unsubscribe, click here.
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
© 2012, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
"Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book."
MORE COPIES AVAILABLE
Previously out of print, Elliott Brack's 850-page history, "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is now available again. Since its original publication, the book was declared the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence for documenting Georgia history by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. It is also the winner of the Gwinnett Historical Society's Whitworth-Flanigan Award for 2011 for preserving the history of Gwinnett County.
The book includes 143 demographic and historic tables, with more than 4,000 names in the index, and 10,000 names in the appendix.
Two versions of the book are available. The hardback edition is priced at $75, while a softback edition is $40. Books are available at:
You can also order
books through the Internet. To do that, go to www.elliottbrack.com
to place your order. For mail orders, there is a $5 shipping and handling
fee. Purchases are also subject to the 6 percent Georgia sales tax.
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
IN THE COMING WEEK
Business after Hours: 5:30 p.m., March 13, Sears Store, 1428 Buford Highway, Buford. Each member business attending is eligible or drawing for GE 18 cubic foot refrigerator. Details: visit www.visitbuford.com.
Blood Drive by the American Red Cross: Noon to 5 p.m., March 15, Norcross City Hall. Visit redcrossblood.org and enter "norcrosspolice" to schedule an appointment.
Annual Dinner, Blaze 4 Life: 6 p.m., March 15, Happy Valley Restaurant, 5495 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross. Proceeds to support Blaze 4 Life, Inc. Violence Prevention Programs and promote human trafficking awareness in Gwinnett County.
Soupbowl Benefit: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 17, Hudgens Center for the Arts, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. This third annual event will have over 300 handmade bowls for sale made by local artists. Each purchase includes a free serving of soup, chili and bread. Info: www.thehudgens.org or call 770-623-6002.
NEXT WEEK AND ONGOING
Success Lives Here Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., March 23, Sugarloaf Country Club. Speaking will be Clyde and Sandra Strickland, Lawrenceville philanthropists, who are the 2012 Gwinnett Chamber Citizens of the Year. For more information, call 770 232-3000.
Open House at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 24. Included is an overview of the college plus sessions providing information about financial aid, student success programs, student clubs and majors. A special session is provided for parents. To learn more, go to www.ggc.edu.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
© 2001-2012, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.