CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - September 2019

Superintendent's Message

For the past three years, the School Board and I have worked together to build upon the strong foundation constructed by the leaders and educators who came before us. While we’ve followed an outstanding strategic plan, it’s time for a new blueprint for our future.

The School Board and I began this process in February by talking about what mattered most to us: Preparing our students for success in not just careers, but also in life -- and a life that’s happier because of the positive impact we made. And providing our employees the support they need to excel in their roles, and ensuring they know how valued and appreciated they are.

With that shared basic vision, we then repeated that pattern by meeting with the other important groups that make up our CCSD family: students, families, teachers, support staff, business and community partners. Filled with their insights, my senior staff and I worked closely this summer with leaders from the Georgia School Boards Association and Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement to craft a new strategic plan.

We’ve called it Blueprint because we see it as just that: a new long-range plan for our continued success. The plan, which is online here, begins with a new Vision: “Together, we will prepare the emerging generation to confidently rise up to limitless learning potential and success.”

It sets three Core Beliefs around Rigor, Relevance and Relationships:

• We believe in a growth mindset, as every student can learn, achieve and thrive.

• We believe the meaningful connections we forge with students, families and community partners positively influence how we teach, lead and prepare graduates for success in a knowledge-based, technology rich and culturally diverse world.

• We believe safe, diverse and inclusive schools are critical for successful teaching and learning and strengthening our culture of belonging, kindness and possibility.

It then builds upon those with five Priority Areas to guide our construction: Student Achievement: Equity & Access; Organizational & Operational Effectiveness; Family, Partner & Community Engagement; Positive Culture & Climate; and Quality Workforce.

For each priority area, we have performance objectives that map out the steps we need to take toward success and how we will measure our progress. We will report our progress every fall for the next five years as we follow this Blueprint to success.

This process has been a labor of love, and I’m so appreciative of our School Board and community members who helped draft our Blueprint: it truly is inclusive and community based. It’s an exciting time for our School District, with much work to be done, and we’re more ready than ever to do the work!


Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools



CCSD Transportation Recertified as Industry's Best

The CCSD Transportation Department has earned recertification of its prestigious National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Blue Seal of Excellence! This recognition program is the National standard for outstanding transportation maintenance departments and companies.

“Our commitment to excellence extends beyond the classroom to all aspects of our organization, and this recognition celebrates our Transportation department’s dedication to ensuring the safety of our school buses’ precious cargo,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Congratulations to Transportation Director Jim Georges and all of the technicians and staff who made this achievement possible!”

Learn more here.

More Great #CCSDfam News

Five CCSD teachers, Kim Bennett, Kerri Gainer, Connie Garrison, Elizabeth Huffaker and Traci Rollman – who all serve at Creekland Middle School, are the first in CCSD to achieve ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Certification for excellence in effective use of educational technology in the classroom!

Cherokee County School Board Members have been visiting schools throughout CCSD to see students already hard at work learning! A brief slideshow of photos from their visits is online here.


Cherokee Summer Internship Program

Jump Start Your Child's Career Through Internships

Thirteen CCSD high school students spent the summer learning and earning through the Cherokee Summer Internship Program! The second annual program was sponsored by the Cherokee Workforce Collaborative, through which CCSD, county government, business and industry, university and nonprofit leaders work together to support local workforce growth.

Over the summer, Alma Coffee, Awnex Inc., Cherokee County, NeoMed, Raydeo Enterprises, Roytec Industries and Universal Alloy Corporation, employed the high school students for six weeks and offered them the opportunity to not only work a summer job, but also learn about careers in their company and industry.

The Cherokee County Office of Economic Development, which formed the Collaborative in 2016, partnered with filmmakers Kris Wheeler and Patrick Sheehan to produce the above video that features Sequoyah High School senior Robbie Alden and his internship with Awnex.

The application window for students for the 2020 summer program will open in early 2020. Interested employers are asked to please contact the Office of Economic Development. Visit for more information. #CCSDfam #CherokeeByChoice


Meet a District Leader: Ernie Brown

As vehicle maintenance coordinator for CCSD, Ernie Brown is responsible for thousands of wheels that go round and round -- and the engines, transmissions and everything else that keeps school buses safely running!

“I am blessed beyond belief to be a part of one of the greatest school districts in Georgia and to lead such a great group of people in the Transportation Maintenance department," said Mr. Brown, who joined CCSD three years ago. "We have amazing talent in our shops. We work on everything as if our families' lives depend on it, and we take ownership in everything we do. Safety is the most important of our roles!”

Mr. Brown has worked his entire career in school transportation, beginning with DeKalb School System as soon as he graduated from DeKalb College. He then worked for CCSD for eight years, including as the department's first Master Technician. Mr. Brown left CCSD to work in and then head up the shop for National Bus Sales for 16 years before returning home to CCSD.

In his role with CCSD, Mr. Brown oversees its nationally certified maintenance staff and coordinates preventative maintenance, safety, fueling and inspections for the bus fleet, and all other CCSD vehicles, which include patrol cars, work trucks, delivery vans and more needed to run the organization.

Bus safety is especially personal for Mr. Brown, as not only did his now-grown children ride CCSD buses, but his wife also is a longtime CCSD bus driver!




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

Through Sept. 17: Curriculum Nights; click here to see the time and date for your school's event.

Friday, Sept. 6: Deadline to apply for CCSD's VILLA parent academy, a free program to learn about your school district and how to become more involved!

Monday, Sept. 9: Deadline to enter CCSD's Fire Safety Poster Contest for Grades K-5 and Essay Contest for Grades 6-12.

Thursday, Sept. 12: 4-6 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Partner Up! with CCSD (a free drop-in event for business and community partners to meet Principals to talk about Partners in Education)

Sept. 19: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

Sept. 20: Deadline to enter CCSD School Nutrition's first-ever Parent Recipe Contest.

Sept. 23-27: Fall Break; all CCSD schools closed.

Oct. 1: Deadline for CCSD students in Grades 6-12 to enter CCSD's Anti-Vaping Student PSA Video Contest ($500 prize sponsored by the Service League of Cherokee County!)

Oct. 14. Professional Learning Day for staff; all CCSD schools closed.

Oct. 17: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

Oct. 22: CCSD Bus Driver Appreciation Day!


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