Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 11/4/22

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Dr. Hooker Holds First of Six Town Halls

CCSD wishes to thank all the community members who turned out at Clarke Central High School on Tuesday, Nov. 1, for the first of six town hall meetings over the next month with Superintendent Dr. Robbie Hooker. Thank you to those who submitted questions for Dr. Hooker in advance, asked questions at the town hall, and listened to Dr. Hooker's vision for future of our district!


As a reminder, the next town hall will be Monday, Nov. 7, from 6-7 p.m. at Rocksprings Community Center, 285 Rocksprings Ct., Athens. See the graphic below for the full schedule and a bar code to submit your question ahead of time. You can also access the form to submit your question here.

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Update on 2023-24, 2024-25 Academic Calendars

Based on feedback from the Clarke County Board of Education at its Thursday, Nov. 3 work session, district staff will explore possible adjustments to the recommended academic calendars for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.


It is anticipated that the updated calendars will be recommended to the board for approval at its meeting scheduled for Dec. 15.

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College Application Fee Waivers

The Georgia Student Finance Commission has partnered with the University System of Georgia (USG), the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), private institutions, and Georgia Military College to provide application fee waivers to Georgia high school seniors during Georgia Apply to College Month.


More than 40 colleges and universities have agreed to waive their application fees for high school seniors between Nov. 1-30.


Click here to read the full press release and here to see the list of colleges and universities offering waivers, as well as the application links.

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Cedar Shoals Students Vote for First Time

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Cedar Shoals High American government and civics teacher Jesse Evans took a group of his students, and first-time registered voters, to the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections Office downtown to cast their ballots in the 2022 general election. Mr. Evans also provided the students with voting resources to help them research the candidates and issues before they hit the ballot box.


As a reminder, early voting ends Friday, Nov. 4, and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Election Day voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Go to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office My Voter Page — mvp.sos.ga.gov — to find your voting information and polling location.


Also as a reminder, CCSD schools will be closed on Election Day for a student and staff holiday.

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Clarke Middle Health Center Ribbon-cutting Set for Nov. 10

CCSD is pleased to announce a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Clarke Middle Health Center at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, and formally celebrate the expansion of CCSD’s partnership with the Augusta University/University Medical Partnership to increase access to healthcare services for our students, staff, and families.


Located on the campus of Clarke Middle School, 1235 Baxter St., Athens, the Clarke Middle Health Center is a free clinic that serves students and staff from Clarke Middle and Alps Road elementary schools and is an extension of the Medical Partnership’s mobile clinic.


Click here to read the full news release.

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Coile, Cedar Shoals Rack up Awards in National Agriscience Fair

The Coile Middle and Cedar Shoals High FFA chapters had strong showings last week in the National Agriscience Fair at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, as seven projects finished in the top 10 nationally.


Representing Coile Middle, Derriana Smith and Chizoba Emegwam (now ninth-graders at Cedar Shoals) were recognized as Gold Emblem winners after finishing fifth in the nation in the Social Systems, Division 2 competition.


Silver Emblem winners from Coile and Cedar Shoals, who finished between sixth and 10th nationally, included:

  • Katherine Smith and Sylvia Brittian (seventh-graders at Coile) — sixth place, Animal Systems, Division 2
  • Amelia Hembree and Delia McElhannon (10th-graders at Cedar Shoals) — sixth place, Animal Systems, Division 4
  • Marilin Cruz-Morales and Ashley Marroquin-Gonzalez (10th-graders at Cedar Shoals) — seventh place, Food Products and Processing Systems, Division 4
  • Derrick Brown (graduated from Cedar Shoals last May) and Nizia Ortiz (12th-grader at Cedar Shoals) — eighth place, Environmental and Natural Resource Systems, Division 6
  • Jamaria Finley (graduated from Cedar Shoals last May) — ninth place, Social Systems, Division 5
  • Patricia Rodriguez-Gonzalez (representing Coile, now a ninth-grader at Cedar Shoals) — 10th place, Power, Structural, and Technical Systems.


Bronze Level winners representing Coile were Grayson Oliver and Trevor Anderson (now ninth-graders at Cedar Shoals) in Environmental Services and Natural Resource Systems, Division 2.


These 14 winners advanced to the national competition after their projects won first place in the State Agriscience Fair at the Georgia FFA Convention last spring.

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Barrow Elementary Students Win Awards in ‘Seats of Justice’ Contest

Students from Barrow Elementary, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle, Cedar Shoals High, and Classic City High schools participated last month in the inaugural “Seats of Justice” Contest, sponsored by the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.


A dozen groups and more than 130 students ranging from elementary to high school age in Clarke and Oconee counties participated in the youth art competition, in which the students repurposed old courthouse oak chairs into works of art, illustrating what justice means to them.


A group of 56 fifth-graders from Barrow Elementary was the youngest to participate in the contest. The group’s chair project, “Justice for All,” won two awards — second place overall and the Audience Award.


Read more about each contest entry in this newsletter from the DA’s Office.

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Students Hear from Athens Civil Rights Icons

Approximately 150 students from Clarke Central High, Clarke Middle, and Hilsman Middle took a trip on Thursday morning, Nov. 3, to the Old Athens Stockade in the Normaltown area to hear from Athens Civil Rights era leaders about their experiences during a pivotal point in our history and their bravery and action in helping bring an end to segregation locally.


During the "Circle of Justice" event organized by the Clarke County Peer Leadership Team, the students heard from local Civil Rights icons Dr. Robert Harrison and Bennie McKinley, as well as Dr. Mary Blackwell Diallo, the first Black native Athenian to attend and graduate from the University of Georgia, and James Killian, son of the late Archibald Killian, Athens' first Black police officer. Mayor Kelly Girtz and Dr. Xernona Thomas, CCSD's first female and Black female Superintendent (2020-2022), also gave remarks.


The students closed out the morning by creating a mosaic mural.

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Whitehead Road Elementary Students Visit High Museum, Explore STEAM Learning

Whitehead Road Elementary’s fourth-grade students recently visited the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) learning tour. The trip was graciously paid for by the High Museum, and students learned about how artists are creative problem-solvers and thinkers.


WRES art teacher Jennifer Jones and science teacher Kelly Mason arranged the trip to prepare students for an upcoming collaborative project. Students will be learning about simple machines in science over the next couple of months. They will then utilize that knowledge and their critical thinking skills to design miniature insect carnival rides in art class. Once complete, the insect carnival will be placed in the school’s rooftop garden in hopes that it will attract many “creepy crawlies” to help the plants to flourish!

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Clarke Central to Host Fine Arts Night Nov. 10

The Clarke Central High School Fine Arts Department will host a Fine Arts Night event Thursday, Nov. 10, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the school's media center.


Come out and view work from all of the school's Fine Arts courses on display, and enjoy student group performances along with art activities and refreshments!

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Recognizing School Psychology Awareness Week

Next week (Nov. 7-11) is School Psychology Awareness Week (both nationally and in Georgia), and CCSD wishes to thank all of our school psychologists for their advocacy for and all of the work they do on behalf of our students.


Click here to read more about our School Psychology Department and for a complete list of our school psychologists and the schools they serve.

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Elementary Basketball League Play Opens!

This week marked the start of the inaugural CCSD elementary school basketball league!


Barnett Shoals, Chase Street, Fowler Drive, Timothy Road, Whit Davis, Whitehead Road, and Winterville elementary schools are participating in the inaugural season with boys’ and girls’ teams. Games are played at the gymnasium next to the CCSD administrative offices building, 595 Prince Ave., Athens, and at the Whitehead Road Elementary gymnasium, 555 Quailwood Dr., Athens.


See the full schedule below for dates, game times, and locations.

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CCSD Accepting Proposals for, seeking Public Input on ‘CCSD Connect’ Initiatives

CCSD is seeking public input on and has opened a second round of proposals for initiatives and interventions that will assist the district in addressing its Strategic Priorities for 2021-2024. We are seeking experienced organizations or individuals to provide innovative enrichment and educational programs for CCSD students. Approved proposals will be funded via federal ESSER III/American Rescue Plan funds.


There will be an informational session at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the district administrative offices building, 595 Prince Ave., Athens, to learn more about the RFP process. Click here to register for the session.


There will also be an online Pre-Proposal Conference via Zoom for interested individuals and organizations, starting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15. Click here to join the meeting.


These sessions will provide an opportunity to present questions and obtain clarification relative to any facet of the proposal solicitation. Individuals or organizations receiving approval for the proposal will receive an award notification letter on Friday, Dec. 16, which will include the next steps for their proposals.

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Family and Community Engagement Updates

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November is Family Engagement Month in Georgia!

At CCSD, our Family Engagement Specialists direct school activities and provide opportunities for family involvement. With one dedicated to each of our elementary, middle, and high schools, our FES team members serve as liaisons between schools, students, and their families, coordinate high-quality parent-education services, and provide technical assistance and counseling to teachers and home visitors of families.


Click here for more information about CCSD’s family engagement work and a list of family engagement specialists at each of our schools. Read a Family Engagement Month letter from State School Superintendent Richard Woods here. And click here for Family Engagement Month resources from the Georgia Department of Education.

ASP, 21st Century Programs Mark ‘Lights On Afterschool’ Celebration

“Lights On Afterschool” is an annual celebration every October that recognizes after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families, and communities around the nation. It draws attention to the ways our afterschool programs are supporting our students.


ASP and 21st Century Community Learning programs around CCSD took part in the celebration recently.


Learn more about CCSD’s after-school programs here.

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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, 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.
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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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