Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 10/7/22

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Welcoming Dr. Hooker, Celebrating Dr. Thomas

It was an evening of transition at CCSD on Thursday, Oct. 6, as Dr. Robbie Hooker was sworn in as the district's next Superintendent during a called Board of Education meeting. Dr. Hooker took his oath, administered by Superior Court Judge Eric Norris, with his wife, Karen, by his side.


As we prepare to welcome Dr. Hooker to work on Monday, Oct. 10, and begin a new era of leadership, we are also celebrating the wonderful, three-decade-plus career in education of outgoing Superintendent Dr. Xernona Thomas, whose final day of work was Friday, Oct. 7.


The community is invited to a retirement celebration for Dr. Thomas on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 3-5 p.m. at the University of Georgia Continuing Education Center's Magnolia Ballroom, 1197 Lumpkin St., Athens. RSVP to the celebration by scanning the QR code below.

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CCSD Launches New Tip Line

The Clarke County School District has launched the CCSD Tip Line, a new way for students, staff, family members, and the community to report various safety- and security-related tips to district and school officials and give "applause" for good deeds done and accomplishments by students and staff.


All tips are anonymous by default, but you do have the option of including your name and contact information. Once received, your tip will be investigated by the CCSD response team.


To submit a tip, please enter the tip in the text box, the category most closely aligned with what it falls under, and the location. You can also call in your tip by dialing 706-229-7243.


Click here for more information on to use the tip line and where to access it on the district and individual school websites.

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AthFest Educates Grants Support Music, Arts Education in CCSD

Local nonprofit AthFest Educates, a key CCSD partner and promoter of K-12 music and arts education locally, has announced its 2022-23 grants for CCSD teachers and community educators.


This year, the organization is awarding $46,901 to local K-12 educators and youth development specialists. Grant amounts include $26,431 for music and arts programs and experiences for young people, $750 for educator professional development, and $19,720 for instruments and equipment. These grants bring the total of AthFest Educates grants awarded to date to $579,000.


Funds for the grants come from individual donations from community members and grants to the organization, including a Georgia Council for the Arts grant — as well as profits from the annual AthFest Music & Arts Festival and AthHalf Half Marathon & 5K.


Click here for a full list of grant awardees.

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Partnership Supporting CCSD Middle School Student-Athletes Expanded

The University of Georgia has partnered with the CCSD to expand an after-school academic tutoring and sports mentoring program designed to advance middle school students’ success in the classroom and on the athletic field.


Building on the success of a pilot program conducted last spring with 45 students at Hilsman Middle School, UGA President Jere W. Morehead has provided funding to continue the program at Hilsman and extend it to Clarke Middle School this school year.


Read the article from UGA's news service on the expansion here.

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CCSD Students Benefit from Newly-established UGA Endowment

The University of Georgia Office of Public Service & Outreach recently announced the inaugural Bobbi Meeler Sahm Service and Outreach awards, which will benefit several local projects.


Awards that will directly impact CCSD students include:

  • the University of Georgia Medical Partnership Grant, in partnership with CCSD and the Athens YMCA, in which project partners will create interactive medical simulations to introduce K-12 students from underrepresented populations to the study of medicine.
  • and the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, where funds will support virtual-reality learning experiences to educate students in CCSD schools and at Sandy Creek Nature Center on the importance of Georgia’s coastal environment.


Click here for more on the awards.

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Beam Signing Ceremony Held for new Cedar Shoals Field House

CCSD leaders and Cedar Shoals High officials, coaches, and student-athletes took part in a beam signing ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 4, for the upcoming field house at Waters-Wilkins Stadium.


Click here for more photos from the event. Go Jags!
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CCSD is now on Spotify! Listen to playlists for both Clarke Central High School and Cedar Shoals High School, based on the years they were established, with "Groove Like It's 1971" and "Get Down Like It's 1973"!


Plus, listen to our study playlist, "The Grind Never Stops" for the best studying experience.


Follow CCSD on Spotify by searching "Clarke County School District" to see new updates to playlists and keep an eye out for new playlists to come!

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Family and Community Engagement Updates

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Family University: 'Access to Mental Health'

The Department of Family and Community Engagement will be hosting its second Family University session of the year from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the Vernon Payne Meeting Hall at the CCSD administrative building, 595 Prince Ave., Athens.


The topic is "Access to Mental Health," and a live panel of mental health experts will be on hand to talk about issues related to child psychology, trauma, anxiety, depression, self-harm, codependency, substance misuse and abuse, mental health among LGBTQIA+ populations, and mental health among Black and Brown communities — including Latinx/Hispanic communities.

CCSD trauma-informed specialists Caron Hope and Mary Catherine Hawks will moderate the forum.


The public is invited to attend, but for those who cannot attend in-person, the forum will be streamed live and available later for on-demand viewing on the CCSD YouTube channel.


Spanish-speaking families and caregivers are encouraged to attend and ask questions in Spanish, and a district interpreter will be in attendance for assistance as well.

Haircuts for Kids

LaMarcus Mattox from Studio 74 in Winder visited Gaines Elementary on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and donated his time by giving some of our young male students haircuts. Mr. Rodney Robinson, the Communities in Schools site coordinator and Family Engagement Specialist at Gaines, has arranged for students to have a cut once a month, sponsored by several neighborhood businesses.


The students also received a surprise visit from CCSD Superintendent Dr. Xernona Thomas.

CMS Initiative Aims to Restore Greenspace

Clarke Middle Community School Organizer Stephanie Anderson partnered with Cofer's Home and Garden Showplace to provide mums and pansies for CMS students to plant in their outdoor classroom green spaces.


This activity was part of the CMS Greenspace Restoration initiative, led by teacher Audrey Hughes and PTA parent Rinne Allen. The students planted over 300 pansies, eight large mums, and other miscellaneous plants while learning about soil, plants, and teamwork. Athens Community Career Academy school counselor Ariel Gordon arranged for a group of her students to assist in their community service project.

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Community Vendors Needed for Family Fun Day

CCSD is seeking additional community vendors to participate and share the fun with us at our fall Family Fun Day event, set for Saturday, Oct. 22, at Southeast Clarke Park.


Prospective vendors, please click here for the vendor form and additional information so you can join us and share or highlight the great things happening in our schools and community.

H.B. Stroud Career Network Coming in January

Starting in January 2023, the Department of Family and Community Engagement will launch its H.B. Stroud Career Network in partnership with Innovative Healthcare.


Families at Howard B. Stroud Elementary will have access to take the following classes on-site at the school and receive certification:


  • Certified Nursing Assist
  • Phlebotomy
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • CPR
  • Patient Care Technician


Tuition assistance will be available for families who qualify. While students attend school, their parents/caregivers can also attend the same school as their child and model the importance of education and reaching out for opportunities.


Stay tuned for future updates on this new partnership.

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Bus Drivers Wanted!

CCSD is now hiring bus drivers. Hourly pay ranges from $18-$26, and we offer part-time and full-time schedules, a $1,500 signing bonus (for full-time employment), and full benefits. It's a rewarding and flexible career move.


Click here to see what's waiting for you behind the wheel!

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How to Address Questions, Concerns

Have a question or concern that you'd like to address? CCSD has put together a matrix of who to reach out to depending on the situation.


Please click here to view this information. You can also go to CCSD's main site at clarke.k12.ga.us, go to the "I Want To" tab at the top of the page, and select “Ask a Question/Submit a Concern.”

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Board of Education News

The Clarke County Board of Education welcomes community feedback. Here are ways you can share your voice:

  • Contact BOE Members: Click here to view a list of the BOE members and their contact information.
  • Attend a Meeting: Next regular meeting is Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. (in-person and broadcast on the CCSD YouTube channel).
  • Board Briefs: Click to read the "Board Briefs" overview from meetings.
  • Public Comments: Click here for information on how to sign-up to speak at a regular BOE meeting.
  • Review Policies for Review: View and comment on district policies pending public review.
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CCSD COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Opportunities

As a reminder, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are available at the Hilsman Health Center. Call 706-546-7463 to make an appointment. The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday.

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CCSD Alums to Take Part in Athens Hip Hop Harmonic Community Show Oct. 20

The Athens Hip Hop Harmonic invites all CCSD students, families, faculty, and staff to its fall show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center, 230 River Rd., Athens. The event is free and family-friendly, and no tickets are required.


Launched in August 2021, the Athens Hip Hop Harmonic is a multi-year collaboration between the local Hip Hop community and the UGA Hodgson School of Music, supported by UGA’s Arts Lab.


This special show will feature several local hip-hop artists, including Clarke Central High School alums Ishues, Cassie Chantel, and Ngeve. The emcee will be Cedar Shoals High School social studies teacher and peer leadership mentor William "Montu" Miller.


Each artist was paired with a UGA composer to co-create new music together. The show features UGA's Jazz Combo, African-American Choral Ensemble, Wind Symphony, and Contemporary Chamber Ensemble performing their co-creations.

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