Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 4/15/22

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Congratulations to Rodney Robinson, family engagement specialist and Communities in Schools coordinator at Gaines Elementary, for being named CCSD’s Employee of the Month for April! Mr. Robinson was announced as the Employee of the Month and honored at the Thursday, April 14 Board of Education meeting.


Here is part of what his colleague who nominated him for the award said:


“Mr. Robinson is a great asset to our school, as he is always willing to go the extra mile and find the best solution for any situation that a student encounters. Our students love Mr. Robinson and he loves them, and our school is a better place because he is here.”


Click here for the full presentation (starts at 1:45 mark).


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


Click here for more information.

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Clarke Central’s Ragsdale Named High School Journalism Teacher of the Year

Clarke Central High journalism teacher David Ragsdale has been named the 2022 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.


Ragsdale, who has been the faculty adviser for the school’s award-winning Odyssey Media Group and Iliad literary-art magazine since 2001 and co-chairs the school’s English department, was selected for the award from among 16 teachers nationally. The press association is owned and operated by Columbia University. Ragsdale was previously named a Distinguished Adviser by the association in 2019.


Click here for the full press release and here to learn more about Mr. Ragsdale.

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CCSD’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition for 10th Consecutive Year

CCSD has been honored as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation for the 10th consecutive year. Now in its 23rd year, the designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding commitment to music education through achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.


To qualify, CCSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.


“CCSD is honored to once again receive this designation,” said Dan Smith, the district’s Fine Arts, Health & Physical Education Curriculum Coordinator. “Music education is an integral part of educating the whole child, as learning opportunities in the fine arts create spaces for students to apply and connect skills across all content.”


Click here to read the full news release.

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Gorham Named Principal at Clarke Middle

During a called meeting March 31, the Clarke County Board of Education approved the hire of Dr. Amanda Gorham as the new principal of Clarke Middle School, a position she has held on an interim basis since December 2021.


Dr. Gorham was named following an extensive selection process that included interviews with Clarke County School District administraton and representatives from the CMS Local School Governance Team (LSGT).


Dr. Gorham brings to CMS two decades of experience serving students in Title I public education. She worked as a teacher, coach, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and principal in rural, urban, and suburban schools districts in grades pre-K-12 and was principal at Macon County Middle School prior to joining CCSD in 2018 as an associate principal at Clarke Central High School. She later became Director of Alternative Education for the district, supporting students at Classic City High School and the CCSD Learning Center.


Click here to read the full press release.

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Coile Middle FFA to Hold Spring Plant Sale

Still looking for some additions to that spring garden/around the house? The Coile Middle School FFA will be holding its spring plant sale next Thursday through Saturday, April 21-23, from 4-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.


More than 60 plant varieties will be available. A price sheet can be found by scanning the barcode on the flyer with your mobile device. For more information, contact Coile FFA advisor Emily Courson at coursone@clarke.k12.ga.us.

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Updates from the Department of Community Schools

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District Attorney Speaks to CMS Students

Clarke Middle's Community School Organizer Stephanie Anderson invited District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez of the Western Judicial Circuit (Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties) to speak to several CMS seventh- and eighth-grade students on Wednesday, April 13.


The students have been learning about local government and the criminal justice system in their classes and had a chance to expand on that by listening to and asking questions of the DA. Ms. Gonzalez spoke to the students about the role of the District Attorney and how she approaches the juvenile justice system and challenged them to think critically about the issues facing the community and how laws are interpreted and applied in the judicial system.


After her talk, many of the students stood in line for the opportunity to chat one-on-one with DA Gonzalez, shake hands, and take photos with her.

CSOs Take Part in State Training Session

CCSD's Community School Organizers attended the Whole Child Model/Community School Training on March 30. The training was held in Atlanta and led by Georgia Department of Education program specialist Bryan Smith.


The Community Schools Department continues to pursue Community School Certification for our seven cohort schools: Stroud, J.J. Harris, Alps, and Chase elementary schools; Clarke Middle; and Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals high schools.

April is National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month

Bilingual and multilingual learners are one of the fastest-growing populations in U.S. schools. In 2021, English Learners represented 9.1% of all K-12 students in the U.S. Sixteen percent of CCSD students are English Learners with 1,284 currently actively enrolled in ESOL classes


The district's Translation and Interpretation Department welcomes any and all feedback and suggestions to improve our accessibility to schools. We are constantly learning and growing toward a more inclusive and accessible English Learner community. Let us know how we can support you!


For more information, contact:


•Ana Camacho - Bilingual Translation & Interpretation Assistant

camachoa@clarke.k12.ga.us

706-546-7721, Ext. 79404


•Katie Greenwood - Bilingual Translation and Interpretation Assistant

greenwoodk@clarke.k12.ga.us

706-546-7721, Ext. 79405

Mark Your Calendars for CCSD Family Fun Day

CCSD’s Division of Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships will again host the spring Family Fun Day event on Saturday, April 23, from 2-5 p.m. at Holland Park, 250 Vincent Dr., Athens.


Come learn about the different organizations serving the youth of our community and enjoy free food, games, and music, along with a pop-up park, vendors, and prizes. The event will be held at the youth baseball/softball fields at the back of the complex.


For more information, contact Alex Borges, Family and Community Engagement Specialist, at borgesa@clarke.k12.ga.us.

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LSGT Elections Set for April 20-27

Local School Governance Team (LSGT) elections for CCSD schools will be held April 20-27.


Voting will launch on Wednesday, April 20, and will remain open through the close of business Wednesday, April 27. We will again utilize the Election Runner software, and each individual voter will receive an email from Election Runner linking them directly to the appropriate ballot.


The results for all elections will be publicly shared April 29.


Click here for more information.

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Feedback Sought on Social Studies Resources

CCSD is requesting stakeholder feedback in the process of adopting new Social Studies resources for grades 6-8 and high school U.S. History. Teams of CCSD teachers have evaluated numerous proposals and have finalized their recommendations to be reviewed by other stakeholders and approved by the board of education.


In this survey, you will have a chance to evaluate the suite (combination) of resources that each grade level/content area has recommended. Electronic access to all materials can be found in the survey, but if you prefer to review physical copies, you can find middle school materials in the front office of all middle schools and high school materials at the front desk of the CCSD district office, 595 Prince Ave., Athens.


The survey will close on Friday, April 29.

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Educator Career Fair

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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 and go to the "I Want To" tab at the top of the page.


For further questions, please contact communications specialist Scott Thompson at thompsons3@clarke.k12.ga.us

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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, May 12, 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 Clinics

CCSD is providing free COVID-19 testing clinics for students and staff. Clinics will be held in schools across the district. Rapid antigen tests (results in 15 minutes) and PCR tests (results in 24-48 hours) will be available. No appointment is necessary, but registration is required.


Testing Clinic Information

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YWCO Seeks Girls Club Counselors

The Athens YWCO Summer Girls Club is accepting applications for camp counselors June 1 through July 15.


Girls Club offers programming for girls that is fun, educational, and relevant to them. The camp is aimed at empowering campers to "dream big" and not limit themselves. The goal of the camp is to introduce campers to the skills they need to strive for their goals, and also help them develop the skills. Additionally, they want to provide campers with role models from their own communities.


Camp leaders want their staff to reflect the diversity of their campers, and bilingual speakers are encouraged to apply. In addition to looking for classroom counselors, specialty counselors for dance, music, and physical education are being sought.


For more information, contact Becky Galvin directly at 706-354-7880 or bgalvin.ywco@gmail.com.

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