The Clinch Connection

Clinch County School System

Superintendent's Message

As this semester draws to a close, I am thankful for the many activities, trips, engagements, competitions, parent programs and everyday classroom activities that our students have experienced this school year. While we have kept some of the changes in place that we made during the pandemic, the return to normalcy has brought an action-packed semester full of fun and learning for our students. I know our students and staff are all looking forward to a much-deserved Christmas break!

Our goal as a school system is to help prepare our students for their next step in life - no matter what path that may be. This is a PK-12 effort. From the time they step in our classrooms as four-year old children until they graduate from high school as young adults, we are striving to prepare them to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Thank you for your support of our school system – it’s a great time to #GrowClinch!

Better Together! Our PK-12 Facility

The start of the school year also brought the start of construction on our new PK-12 facility. The schedule is on track for a move in date of August 2024.

In the layout below, the building labeled 1 and 2 includes the administrative offices and the lunchrooms on the first floor, with the media centers on the second floor. There is a concrete wall that runs down the middle of this building (both floors), separating the two sides. There are only two inside doors where someone can get from one side to the other: on the bottom floor, the door is in a closet and on the top floor, it is in the technology repair room. Students will not have access to either of these doors.

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Everything to the left of the center is PK-5 and everything to the right of the center is 6-12. On the PK-5 side, building 8 is the current high school gym that will receive external renovations to match the new school. Plans are still being finalized for inside renovations to that building, which will also be used for PK-5 PE activities. Grades PK, K, 1, & 2 will be on the first floor of the buildings labeled 3 & 4. Grades 3, 4, & 5 will be on the second floor of those buildings.

For the 6-12 side, the buildings labeled 5 are the academic classrooms. Grades 6-8 will be housed on the first floor and grades 9-12 will be housed on the second floor. The building labeled 6 is the new gym and building 7 is the CTAE wing where career classes will be located. Students in middle school (grades 6-8) will operate on a different class schedule, lunch schedule, activity schedule, etc. than high school students (grades 9-12).

The parking lot area in front of the new school is where the current high school is located. During the summer break of 2024, that building will be demolished before the 2024-2025 school year begins.

We are excited to follow the construction of our new facility that will offer even more opportunities for our students! #GrowClinch #BetterTogether

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What's Happening In the Schools?

Panther Project Success

Through a joint effort with the Clinch County Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce, Clinch County High School has launched Panther Project Success, a multi-pronged workforce development program designed to connect high school students to local industries.

Last year, our seniors completed a senior seminar notebook and that is being expanded this year. Students complete a YouScience profile that matches their interests and aptitudes to careers and jobs to fill Georgia’s workforce needs.

In addition to the YouScience profile, students create a resume and reference list. They also practice job and college applications.

CCHS teachers met with local industries and businesses during the in-service day on October 11. They toured Conner Holdings, Mauser, Lee Container, and Clinch Memorial Hospital. They participated in a lunch and learn that was sponsored by the development authority and included representatives from other local businesses as well.

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In February, all seniors will be scheduled for mock interviews with local community members where they will receive instant feedback following the interviews. Later in the spring, a career fair will be held.

At the end of April, a select group of seniors will participate in “Industry Ready Boot Camp” which will be organized through Coastal Pines Technical College. Students will receive an intensive week of training with topics that include OSHA Industry Certification, Fork Lift Driving training, basic skills training, and other topics identified by local business leaders. Students participating will be guaranteed an interview with local industry partners.

In preparation for "life after high school," a group of our students recently participated in the Skills Challenge USA where they competed against students from 22 other high schools across South Georgia. Our Construction team (Hamp Williams, Chase Peagler, and Gavin Moten) placed first out of six teams in the Team Building competition and Josh Zuniga placed 6th out of 22 students in the masonry competition.

Three of our high school students (Hunter Metts, Gavin Moten, and Keith Smith) recently attended Georgia Power's Klondike Career Day where they were exposed to skilled trade careers with Georgia Power.

For more information about Panther Project Success, contact Carra Goodman, CTAE director.

Composting Critters

CCEMS students recently traveled to Jekyll Island to learn about Georgia's sea turtle adaptations and species. During the trip, funded by the Oettmeier Foundation, students were engaged in ways to conserve and protect our ocean, land, and environment. Upon their return, they explored problems to solve within the school and ways to give back to the community.

CCEMS students discussed food being wasted at lunch and wanted to have a bin for specific items to be donated to local nonprofits and other organizations. Students also identified recycling as a need within our community. They wanted to learn how to compost within the school and connect their vermicomposting project through gardening.

Students are composting coffee grains from the teacher coffee bar, tea bags from the lunchroom, and a small portion of veggies/fruits from student lunches for vermicomposting to compost soil for Jesus and Jam’s Greenhouse. Students will be growing vegetables in the spring, using soil from composting, for the senior citizen center.

Why did we choose worms?

Worms are super recyclers that turn kitchen scraps into compost that can help plants grow and thrive. Worms are an integral part of a healthy ecosystem. Worms are decomposers and an important part of providing healthy soils for farmers to grow food and soil. Homerville is surrounded by farmland and soil. Healthy soil is the foundation of a productive farm.

Students are making connections in math by measuring worms, temperature, ratios, proportions, PH balances, and light.

Computer science integration plays an important role because students are using micro bits to determine temperature and how worms are affected by light using python text coding and sensors.

Some of our 7th grade students traveled to the CCHS construction class to build their very own worm composting bin.

Students are creating a “Composting Critters” podcast. Students upload episodes biweekly updating their audience about their project. Check the link below to listen.

All gifted students in K-7 are involved in the project, and both 4th and 7th grade advanced classes have an important role in it. CCEMS teachers and students are very excited about this vermicomposting journey!

Student Ambassadors

For the first time, CCHS students are participating in the Georgia Secretary of State Student Ambassador Program. Students engage in Georgia civics, encourage voter registration among their peers, and volunteer within their community.

During the kickoff event in September, our group was offered a private tour of the Capitol. They were able to attend one of Governor Kemp's press conferences and meet both Governor Kemp and former Governor Nathan Deal.

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The program also involves a competition among high schools where teams earn points for volunteering and participating in community and civic events. CCHS is currently leading our region in points. Activities they have logged points for include serving as poll workers on election day, attending local government meetings, holding opinion polls at the school, and volunteering with Hands on Homerville. Some of these ambassadors will also have the opportunity to serve as a Page during the upcoming Legislative Session in Atlanta.

Life Skills

Our 7th grade students are getting more than they anticipated this school year. Not only are they learning their math skills in new and fun ways, they are also learning about life skills. Each Friday, these students learn different skills to help them in real life. From learning how to speak to others to learning about credit scores, each Friday has been something to look forward to.

Our 7th graders started by learning how to hold conversations with others and ask appropriate questions, as well as understanding the importance of making eye contact and the correct use of body language. They practiced that concept in class and took it to the halls of CCEMS.

We then focused on cheering for others, speaking kindness, and spreading joy to others by being leaders. We did this through rock, paper, scissors, as well as a team number game. The students did a great job encouraging one another and learning how to lead by being a team player.

We moved on to learning about our credit scores, writing checks, and calculating interest on credit cards and mortgages, which are all a part of our 7th grade standards. The students loved this so much that they have asked to play the credit game again and again.

Who says learning isn't fun? Our 7th graders are fabulous and have a great time learning these skills and putting them to use, not only in our school, but in our community as well. We are #growingclinch and we are proud to be a part of it!

Hog Show

Our FFA hosted the second annual hog show and sale in November. Twenty-two students in grades 3-10 participated in this year's event. The students had been feeding, grooming, and raising hogs since August. Students who participate are dedicated to tending to the hogs 7 days a week, after school and on the weekends.

Congratulations to Breana Herlocker for Grand Champion and Braden Herlocker for Reserve Champion. Other awards include:

  • Market Class I: Breana Herlocker, Raife O'Neal, Caroline Fulton
  • Market Class II: Callie Smith, Sam Steedley, Harper Fulton
  • Market Class III: Braden Herlocker, Braxton Railey, Vanessa Moylan
  • Showmanship Grades 3-5: Harper Fulton, Raife O'Neal, Jackson Steedley,
  • Showmanship Grades 6-7: Caroline Fulton, Braxton Railey, Madaline Goss
  • Showmanship Grades 8-10: Vanessa Moylan, Alec Goodman, Sam Steedley
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Thanks to the many sponsors who made the hog show a success for these students. Our corporate sponsors of Lee Container and Kane Manufacturing provide the facilities, feed, and supplies for a successful show.

During the sale, our students raised over $50,000! Thank you to the buyers and donors: Aaron Walker, Ag South, Altman & Barrett Architects, The Avriett House, Berry Fresh, BYRT CPA, Clinch Memorial Hospital, Cogdell Berry Farm, Conner Holdings, Cornelius Farms, Kenneth & Dolly Lee, LBPM Insurance, Farm Bureau, Homerville Feed & Seed, First Baptist Church, Farmers & Merchants Bank, GA STAR Landscape Supply, Hart Honey Farms, Heritage Builders, Homerville Jewelers, J&C Honey Company, James Landrum, JCI Contractors, Judge Clay Tomlinson, Lane Air Farming, Langdale Fuel, Moylan Honey Company, Representative John Corbett, Roundtree Funeral Home, Senator Russ Goodman, The Shaw Company, Strickly Blue Farms, Superior Berries, Superior Pine, The Honey Shack, Robert & Layne Varnedoe, WJ Griffis Farms.

Student Government

The goal of CCHS student government is to develop leaders who help themselves and others do the right thing to be successful in our school and community. Members of the student government are elected by their peers to represent their class throughout the year.

Members of the student government have been busy this year with a variety of activities including:

  • Deliver the morning announcements
  • Assist with the Huxford Library's 50th Anniversary celebration
  • Volunteer with Hands on Homerville
  • Coordinate the Veterans Day program
  • Plan Homecoming Theme, Spirit Days, and Competitions
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Band of Pride

Our band has been busy this year and not just under the Friday night lights! The Band of Pride recently traveled to two band competitions. One competition was at Pierce County High School and consisted of 20+ bands. This event was very competitive and had the hardest judging. The band received awards for excellent auxiliary, excellent drumline, excellent band, 3rd place drumline, 3rd place drum major, and superior drum major.

For the second competition, the band traveled to Berrien High School. This competition consisted of 8 bands and is the competition where the band received the highest scores. The band received straight superior ratings and awards for superior band, superior auxiliary, superior drumline, superior drum major, and 1st place Drum Major. They band also won the Spirit Award and the Colonels award. The Colonels award is only given to bands who received straight superior ratings.

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The band has grown quite a lot in the last year in terms of size and musicianship. The band has almost doubled in size over the years and the band has greatly improved in playing. Mr. Willie Weeks, band director, recently said, "The attitude of the band is becoming very positive. All students in the band program will be quality leaders and role models in our community."

In January, we plan on taking a trip to ABAC to participate in a concert band clinic. In the month of February, we hope to bring many students to represent our school in the SouthEastern United States Honor Band at Troy University!

Counseling Services

Students today need someone to talk to more than ever. Growing up in a post-covid world, navigating social media issues, dealing with increased academic pressures and increased mental health diagnoses – the list could go on and on. We have added an additional counselor at CCEMS this year and with the addition, the counseling services have also increased.

At the beginning of the school year, EMS teachers completed a needs assessment to help assess social, emotional, and behavioral needs and concerns. As a result of the needs assessment, the following activities have been implemented this school year:

  • Individualized Academic Advising in 6th & 7th grades: Each student in 6th & 7th grade is scheduled a time to meet with a counselor to discuss grades, attendance, and missing assignments. They also review the Powerschool login process so they know how to check the information 24/7.
  • Re-instatement & Addition of Small Groups – prior to COVID, small groups for “Groovy Girls” (2nd grade) and “Boys to Gents” (3rd Grade) were quite popular with the students. The topics focus on character education and helping students make ethical decision, learn social skills, and reframe their mindset to identify positive perspectives. With a return to “normalcy” this year, those groups have been re-established and new groups have been added, particularly for 6th & 7th grade girls. During lunch, students are invited to have lunch in the counselor’s office to provide a safe place to learn conflict resolution skills and talk about everyday issues.
  • Classroom guidance – additional topics have been added to this year’s classroom guidance lessons to include cyberbullying and social media awareness.
  • ABE (Alternative Behavior Educator) modules – students who need additional support in behavior interventions can be provided access to ABE, which teaches positive behavior skills and can monitor progress over time.
  • Well Cheq – a new web-based app that allows students to check in every day. Students log in and answer two questions: “how are you feeling today” and “overall how are you doing.” The data is immediately accessible to the counselor to see who may need an extra check-in that day.

For more information about counseling and guidance services, contact Marie White or Ali Taylor at CCEMS and Chasity Luke at CCHS.

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We wish you a Merry Christmas 🎄 | By Clinch County Elementary Kindergarten | Facebook

More Info on Our System Webpage

Looking for more information about our school system? Lots of great information can be found on our system webpage. Click here for the homepage.

Click here for prior editions of The Clinch Connection.

Click here for employment opportunities in our system.

Click here for breakfast and lunch menus.

Central Office, (912) 487-5321:

Lori James, Superintendent,

Denise Brown, Assistant Superintendent,

Jason Bell, Director of Operations,

Susan Fortner, Director of Student Supports,

Liane Register, Director of Finance,

Alison Smith, Director of Student Services

Clinch County Elementary/Middle School, (912) 487-5385:

Caroline Lankford, Principal,

Heather Bell, Assistant Principal,

Sam Jordan, Assistant Principal,

Clinch County High School, (912) 487-5366

Jerri Lynn Spivey, Principal,

Rance Morgan, Assistant Principal,

**Initial Release Date December 2022