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Gwinnett schools collecting diapers to help flood victims in Texas

Posted September 10

— Couch Middle School is spearheading a diaper collection drive to help flood victims in Texas.

The effort began in recent days and will continue through Monday. Couch Middle is accepting diapers, pull-ups, and adult diapers at the school, which is located at 1777 Grayson Highway in Grayson.

Also, Suwanee Elementary School, Grayson High School's Junior ROTC program, Grace New Hope Church, Grayson City Hall, and Dacula/Buford Fit Body Boot Camp are also partnering with Couch Middle to accept donated diapers.

Jeanine Kennedy, the Couch Middle School teacher who started the drive said there is a buzz around the building.

"The students have really embraced this drive and adopted our cause and we are looking forward to making this drive a success and showing Texas how great the Grayson cluster and community are," she said.

Devon Williams, the principal at Couch Middle, said two truck drivers with empty trailers contacted the school and have offered to take the diapers to Texas for us at no charge.

"They heard about our diaper drive and knew right away they wanted to help," he said. "These guys have such big hearts, they have offered to organize and pack the materials in their trailers. It is truly amazing how our students and the community are coming together to help people in need. It says a lot."

On Tuesday, the donated diapers will be loaded onto the trucks and will be taken to the Texas Diaper Bank, a San Antonio-based nonprofit organization that focuses on working to meet the basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities, and seniors. For more information about donating diapers to Couch Middle School, call 678-407-7272. For more information about the Texas Diaper Bank, visit texasdiaperbank.org.

Lanier High to donate to first responders

In honor of first responders and the National Day of Service on Monday, Lanier High students from the environmental club are collecting fruit snacks, granola bars, candy bars and other treats.

The students will make goody bags and donate them to local police and fire departments on Monday.

Peachtree Elementary continues Rock-A-Bye Reader

During this school year, Peachtree Elementary will continue an initiative that began a year ago. The school will welcome new siblings to Peachtree students to encourage literacy through Rock-A-Bye Reader, a first book for babies and parents.

The book will be sent home with siblings when the school learns of the birth of new babies. The Peachtree student will receive a ribbon on the Peachtree News honoring them as a "Literacy Ambassador." School officials encourage families to send a picture of the family sharing the Rock-A-Bye Reader book with the new baby. The picture will be posted on our bulletin board to celebrate reading at home.

Berkmar unveils app to battle hunger

Berkmar High School has released a new software application to help ensure hungry students at the school always have enough to eat.

The school is teaming up with Verii, a snack and refreshment company, to launch an app that will track inventory in the school's Community Assistance and Resource Effort, or CARE, Closet.

The CARE Closet is a confidential food pantry stocked with non-perishable food for high school students who don't have enough food to eat at home, but are too embarrassed to ask for help. The idea was founded by twins Lauren and Steven Seroyer, who attend Peachtree Ridge High School.

The first CARE Closet was implemented at Peachtree Ridge High School in 2015. Today there are CARE Closets at Berkmar, Lanier, Discovery and Meadowcreek high schools and plans for others at Dacula and Mill Creek high schools.

In addition to tracking inventory, Verii's technology also will monitor when supplies are taken from the closet and it will be linked to the Atlanta Community Food Bank which will assist with restocking the closet.

Special education workshops

Parents of children with disabilities from pre-K through elementary school are invited to participate in a four-session workshop, called "Parents Engaging in Early Childhood Education."

The workshop is designed to nurture and develop engaged parents, helping them to positively support their child's academic success, with an emphasis on increasing literacy skills. Participants will learn how to be a team member in their child's individual education program; find creative ways to make learning fun and engaging for their child; and ways to support their child's early literacy development.

Parents are encouraged to attend all four sessions to receive the most benefit from the workshop. Sessions are scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 4, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 23, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and Tuesday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The sessions will be presented by Gwinnett County Parent Mentors Dawn Albanese and Jackie McNair in collaboration with GCPS educators and community members.

Parent Mentors are parents who work within GCPS' special education department, providing information and support to other families who have children served in special education. The mentors have first-hand knowledge of raising a child with special needs, as they each have a child who has been served or is being served in GCPS.

Call 678-301-7212 or email dawn_albanese@gwinnett.k12.ga.us for more information.

Safety and Security Awards

Gwinnett County Public Schools has honored several people in the public safety area for their contributions during the 2016-17 school year.

Officer Lebron Smith, assigned to the Norcross cluster, was named Officer of the Year. Wanda Thompson, who works as a clerk and dispatcher, was named Civilian of the Year, and Officer Mark Woytek was given the Lifesaving AWard for performing lifesaving CPR in an off-duty incident.

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