Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 10/14/22

Big picture
Congratulations to Gwen Blackwell, second-grade teacher at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, for being named CCSD's Employee of the Month for October!


Ms. Blackwell is in her 37th year as a school teacher — all 37 at OAES in grades 1-3.


Superintendent Dr. Robbie Hooker and members of the CCSD Communications Department visited OAES on Thursday morning, Oct. 13, to surprise and present Ms. Blackwell with the award. Principal Dr. Bipul Singh, his faculty and staff, and students also joined in on the surprise. Ms. Blackwell was also recognized Thursday night during the Board of Education meeting and presented with several gifts from the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses.


Any member of the CCSD community (a parent/guardian, student, staff member, community/business leader) may nominate an employee for Employee of the Month. Click here for more information.

Big picture

Announcing CCSD's Teacher of the Year Finalists

Congratulations to our three finalists for district Teacher of the Year:

  • Holly Ait, Cedar Shoals High School
  • Ashley Lankford, Cleveland Road Elementary
  • Sean Simpson, Clarke Middle School.


Dr. Neil Crosslin and Dr. Kena Worthy, CCSD's Executive Directors of Leadership Development, surprised each of the three finalists at their schools on Thursday, Oct. 13, with the announcement. The finalists will be evaluated in their classrooms next week by members of the Teacher of the Year selection committee, and the winner will be announced at the CCSD Teacher of the Year/Support Person of the Year awards banquet on Thursday, Oct. 20.


As a reminder, we will continue our TOTY/SPOTY spotlights on our Facebook page up to the Oct. 20 awards banquet.

Big picture
Big picture

Dr. Hooker's First Week as Superintendent

New CCSD Superintendent Dr. Robbie Hooker hit the ground running in his first week, starting off his first day by greeting students for morning arrival and teachers at Timothy Road Elementary and helping send off car and bus riders at Whit Davis Elementary in the afternoon.


Dr. Hooker also held a first-day convocation with district office staff, where he articulated his vision for the district and has been in numerous meetings throughout the week with administrators and staff. Dr. Hooker will continue making the rounds with additional school visits in the coming days and weeks.


Be on the lookout for more information on a series of public town hall meetings he plans to hold.

Big picture

CCSD Announces Interim Principal for Whit Davis Elementary

CCSD announces the appointment of Dr. Vickie Randolph as interim principal of Whit Davis Elementary School, effective Nov. 1. She will replace outgoing principal Dr. Dan McGuire, who has announced he is leaving the school and CCSD for a position with the Georgia Department of Education.


Dr. Randolph has over 20 years of professional experience in education and has worked since July 2021 in CCSD’s Division of Instructional Services and School Performance as a Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) specialist and MTSS Coordinator.


Click here to read more.

Big picture
Big picture

New Episode of 'Studio 595' Drops!

Check out the video below to listen to the second episode of the new CCSD podcast, "Studio 595," with Communications Department interns Kalli Samaltanos and Dillon Ross.


In this episode, Kalli and Dillon highlight Hispanic Heritage Month and speak with "Producer Alex" Marchante, CCSD's Digital Communications Specialist, about his job, his Salvadoran heritage, and what the month means to him. Producer Alex also chimes in with district news updates.


Also in this episode, Kalli and Dillon (preemptively) celebrate their 18th birthdays, which are both coming up this month, and play the "Birthday Bop or Flop" game. Plus, the ever-important pop culture updates — including adult happy meals at McDonald's and the mystery team included in the new FIFA '23 video game release.


Enjoy listening, and check back on Oct. 28 for the release of the third episode. In addition to the CCSD YouTube channel, "Studio 595" is now available for listening on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible, and iHeartRadio.

Studio 595, Episode 2: The Birthday Bash
Big picture

Clarke Central Senior Named to State Superintendent's Advisory Council

Clarke Central High School senior Copeland Grantham was among 67 students grades 10-12 across all of Georgia announced this week to serve on State School Superintendent Richard Woods' 2022-23 Student Advisory Council.


Copeland was the only Clarke County student and one of only four in the Northeast Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) area selected to the council.


Throughout the school year, the council members will meet with Superintendent Woods to provide feedback on the impact of state policies in the classroom. They will also discuss other education-related issues, serve as the Superintendent’s ambassadors to their respective schools, and participate in service projects to benefit schools and students.


Read more about the program here.

Big picture

Georgia Museum of Art Invites Students to Participate in Photography Contest

The Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) invites CCSD middle and high school students to submit original photography to its Student Photography Contest: “Athens through Our Eyes,” in response to the theme, “What does living in Athens in 2022 look like to you?”


The project accompanies a special exhibition of Southern photography titled Reckonings and Reconstruction: Southern Photography from the Do Good Fund.”


Complete contest rules and details can be found here.

  • Entry submissions are to be uploaded through two Google Forms — a student entry form and a parent/guardian permission form.
  • Winning entries will be printed and displayed in the GMOA's Education Center.
  • The deadline for contest submissions is Nov. 1.


If any student or parent/guardian has difficulty submitting forms or has other contest questions, please contact:

  • Callan Steinmann, curator of education at the Georgia Museum of Art — 706-583-0111 or callan@uga.edu.
  • Dan Smith, CCSD Fine Arts, Health, & PE Curriculum Coordinator — 706-546-7721, ext. 79505 or smithd@clarke.k12.ga.us.
Big picture

Another Salute to Dr. Xernona Thomas

See the photo gallery from the Sunday, Oct. 9 celebration reception for retired CCSD Superintendent Dr. Xernona Thomas here, and check out the video tribute to Dr. Thomas and her career below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9bMXDZPsYg
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Fall Festivals, Events at Our Schools

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Family and Community Engagement Updates

WATCH: Family University: 'Access to Mental Health'

Check out the video below (sound starts at the 2:45 mark) to watch the Family University session, "Access to Mental Health," which was held Tuesday, Oct. 11. The forum — moderated by CCSD trauma specialists, featured a live panel of experts who discussed various mental health-related issues relevant to the CCSD community.


The next Family University session is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 6-7 p.m. in the Vernon Payne Meeting Hall at the CCSD administrative offices building, 595 Prince Ave., Athens. The session, which will focus on restorative practices, will be open to the public and again live-streamed on the district YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d73NZidi4Rw

Clarke Middle’s ‘First Friday Hangout’

As a way for parents, students, and staff to feel more connected, Clarke Middle is hosting a series of events on the first Friday of every month, called "First Friday Fun Night.”


The inaugural event on Friday, Oct. 7, was a basketball night, as CMS students, parents, teachers, and principal Dr. Amanda Gorham all played basketball together. CMS Community School Organizer Stephanie Anderson, along with two of her colleagues, Cedar Shoals High CSO Tamaine Jordan and Chase Street Elementary CSO Omar Reid, helped with the event.

Howard B. Stroud Elementary Meal Center

Howard B. Stroud Elementary CSO Lolita Bryant-Moye partnered with Mt. Olive Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Athens recently to start the H.B. Stroud Meal Center. The meal center provides free, non-perishable food items to those in need. Mt. Olive SDA Church has offered to keep the center stocked.


The meal center will be available to all H.B. Stroud Elementary students, families, and staff, no questions asked. By removing the stress of food insecurity, the meal center gives the school community as a whole the opportunity to devote energy toward student achievement in a healthy, positive environment.

Big picture
Big picture

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!

Big picture
Big picture

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.”

Big picture
Big picture

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, Nov. 10, 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.

Board Advisory Committee Announces Quarterly Meetings for 2022-23

CCSD's Board Advisory Committee has announced its quarterly meeting dates for the 2022-23 school year.


The committee, which includes approximately 15 members (teachers, parents, and community stakeholders), is an advisory committee to the Clarke County Board of Education and meets quarterly with Board members and the Superintendent. The purpose of the committee is to provide an opportunity for members to share input and feedback on timely and relevant topics. Topics last school year included student attendance, budget priority areas, priorities in the selection of a new Superintendent, parent engagement, the school calendar, and compensation for teachers and support staff.


The virtual quarterly meetings will be held Wednesdays, Oct. 26, Jan. 11, and April 12, via Zoom and will be open to the public via livestream on the CCSD YouTube channel. The meetings will remain available on YouTube for on-demand viewing.

Big picture
Big picture

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.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

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.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture