CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - October 2020

Superintendent's Message

Whether you traveled or stayed home over Fall Break, I hope you were able to enjoy extra time with your family.

This newsletter is filled with CCSD family celebrations: awards, accomplishments and an inspiring story about Joy Silk, our supervisor of Digital Learning, who will undergo surgery on Friday to donate a kidney to a Cherokee High student in urgent need. As a parent perfectly commented on Facebook: "This is what #CCSDfam really means."

Families come together to support each other whenever there is a need, and our CCSD family is no different. When times are stressful, as they are during this pandemic, this spirit of community is even more important. I am so grateful to be a part of our CCSD family with you.

Families work together through challenges, and I appreciate your support as we continue to overcome hurdles in our "current normal." To that end, I know the families of our three high schools currently operating under the hybrid model -- Creekview, Etowah and Woodstock High Schools -- are counting down until Oct. 9, the tentative end date for this temporary solution, and awaiting the official word on what will happen next.

I will announce that official decision on Monday, Oct. 5, but please be assured that, as long as new case totals remain low, all three high schools will reopen as planned on Tuesday, Oct. 13, with the traditional in-person instruction model. October 12 is a school holiday for students and teacher work day already on our official calendar, and there are no plans to change that.

Why can't I make the decision today? Two words: Fall Break. So far, we've seen no signs of a spike due to the increased social activity and travel that accompanies such a break, but we truly need a few more days to see if one is coming.

Several other important announcements to share:

Wednesday, Oct. 14, will be a Digital Learning Day for all high school seniors and for all juniors not taking the PSAT; assignments will be provided by teachers through Canvas, just as they were in the spring. This measure is needed to allow for expanded social distancing for our juniors who will be taking the lengthy practice college entrance exam at their schools that day.

The Express Gateway system, the online system that allows parents to make updates to emergency contact information for their children as needed throughout the school year, opens today at This system is activated after the Back to School Gateway first-day forms process ends.

State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods has made an important announcement about plans for statewide mandated testing. As the federal government appears unwilling to grant his request to waive Georgia Milestones testing, he has decided to greatly limit how the test results will be used. Read more here about his decision, which I strongly support.

Thank you,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools




CCSD Honors Best of the Best with Support Staff Awards

CCSD's second annual Support Staff Employees of the Year Awards honored the best of the best!

The awards program recognizes one Support Staff Employee of the Year from each of CCSD’s schools, centers and central office divisions, and one overall CCSD winner is selected for each of three categories: Elementary School; Middle School/High School/Centers; Central Office. These overall winners are selected by a committee of retired educators and community leaders.

The overall winners are: for Elementary School: Ana Mirsajedin, parent facilitator for Oak Grove Elementary School Fine Arts Academy; for Middle School/High School/Centers: Linda Heinz, Principal’s secretary for Creekview High School, who retired in May; for Central Office: Debra Basone, secretary for the CCSD Transportation Department.

“We can’t thank our support staff often enough – they serve our students, assist their colleagues and keep our schools and our organization as a whole running as smoothly as possible every day,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Each member of our CCSD family is appreciated, and I’m so grateful for them and the opportunity to recognize them in a special way through this annual awards program. Congratulations to our honorees and thank you for all that you do!”

Each received gifts thanks to the continuing support of event sponsors: Presenting Sponsor, the Cherokee County Educational Foundation; Platinum Sponsors, ABM Industry Groups LLC, Guaranteed Seamless Gutters and Credit Union of Georgia; and Silver Sponsors, Cobb EMC and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Read more here about the winners and see the names of all the honorees.


School Bus Drivers & Students Bring Cheer to Veteran

CCSD will celebrate School Bus Driver Appreciation Day on Oct. 20, but we appreciate these dedicated members of our #CCSDfam every day! They are special to our students -- and as this heartwarming story that appeared on NBC Nightly News on Monday reminds us - they are special to our entire community! Watch it here.


Dr. Kerry Martin, CCSD Executive Director of Administrative Leadership for Elementary Schools

Renowned as a top educator, administrator and basketball coach, Dr. Kerry Martin now is bringing her A-game to the CCSD Office of School Operations.

In her new role as executive director of administrative leadership for elementary schools, Dr. Martin support and leads CCSD's elementary school Principals in their everyday responsibilities, as well as with specific challenges including student discipline and reassignment requests.

“I am excited to offer support to the administrative teams in this high-performing district. I am a team player and believe in the power of collaboration," she said. "I am thrilled to serve in this role!”

This is Dr. Martin’s 31st year in education, and her 29th year of service with CCSD. Prior to joining CCSD, she taught middle school reading and math in Interlachen, Fla. She moved to CCSD in 1990 to teach at Etowah HS and coach basketball. She also taught at Dean Rusk MS and Woodstock HS and as a CCSD special education facilitator before beginning her tenure as a Principal.

As a Principal, Dr. Martin guided a generation of River Ridge Zone students - first at Arnold Mill ES, then at Mill Creek MS and finally at River Ridge HS, before her appointment to serve in the CCSD central office beginning this school year.

"Dr. Martin is an exceptional leader and coach, who excels at encouraging educators and administrators," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. "We know she will help our elementary school Principals grow intro even stronger leaders and support them in ensuring our students receive the education and support they need to succeed."



Please check your school’s website and social media for school event information.

Oct. 12: Student Holiday - no school for students; Professional Learning Day for employees.

Oct. 14: PSAT Testing Day for CCSD High School Juniors; Digital Learning Day for all CCSD high school seniors and all juniors not taking the PSAT, with assignments provided by teachers through Canvas.

Oct. 15: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

Oct. 20: CCSD Bus Driver Appreciation Day! Please join us in thanking these VIPS!

Nov. 3: Election Day. Student Holiday - no school for students; Professional Learning Day for employees.


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