CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - October 2021

Big picture

SUPERINTENDENT'S MESSAGE

The Power of the Penny

Dear CCSD Family,


Pennies add up to many great thoughts in our School District. For more than 20 years, pennies have funded our School District’s growth to ensure every child in our community can receive an outstanding public education.


When you make a purchase on which you pay sales tax in Cherokee County, you invest a penny on every dollar into our schools … and into the future of our community.


A Blue Ribbon Committee of business, civic and elected leaders in 2000 recommended our community use an Education Special Local Option Sales Tax (Ed SPLOST) to build a better school district during unprecedented growth in the county. Voters agreed and since have voted three times to continue the Ed SPLOST.


We’ve wisely invested these pennies over the past 20 years, and this fall -- from early voting beginning Tuesday, Oct. 12, through Election Day on Nov. 2, you’ll be asked on your ballot whether to continue the 1% Ed SPLOST for another five years. Aside from city issues in Ball Ground and Canton, there will be no other issues on the ballot, so if public education is important to you – as I hope it is – please take a minute and make a plan to vote.


I can’t tell you how to vote, but I can tell you all that Ed SPLOST has done to help our students and what we’ll do with the funding if it’s renewed.


Over the last 20 years, we’ve built 19 new and replacement schools to keep up with our community’s rapid growth. We also renovated and expanded older schools to ensure that every child attends a safe and updated school, no matter their ZIP code. We constructed world-class technology infrastructure and equipped classrooms with outstanding devices and connectivity; we purchased new school buses to replace aging and non-air-conditioned vehicles; and we acquired land for new schools as housing growth continues.


If the current 1% Ed SPLOST is continued, the proceeds will be used to fund:


• New construction projects. A new/replacement Cherokee High School near the new Teasley Middle School campus is planned, as is a new/replacement Free Home Elementary School near the current campus in that community. Both of these schools are among our oldest … the core campus of Cherokee High School is nearly 70 years old!


The renewal also would fund classroom additions and a second gymnasium at Creekview High School; classroom additions at Woodstock High School, Creekland Middle School and Oak Grove Elementary School STEAM Academy, and a second gymnasium at River Ridge High School. Safety and efficiency improvements also would be made to athletics facilities at Etowah High School and Sequoyah High School; and a much-needed professional development/training facility for teachers and support staff is planned.


• Major renovations and repairs. The proposed upgrades would benefit every school in the district, with work ranging from installing new roofs to upgrading HVAC systems.


• Continued investment in technology. With minimal State funding for technology, Ed SPLOST remains a main revenue source for infrastructure improvements and classroom hardware.


• Continued replacement of school buses. We plan to replace 30 aging buses a year over the next five years, and little State funding is available for this critical need.


• Continued land acquisition. Ed SPLOST revenue remains the main source of funding to stay ahead of residential growth and ensure we have school sites spread throughout the community for future school construction.


We’ve been retiring the “mortgage” incurred by the necessity of quickly building so many schools. With the new projects we’ve planned for the Ed SPLOST renewal, we’re on track to retire the mortgage by 2038.


Without the Ed SPLOST, our property tax rate would immediately increase by 5 mills to continue retiring our bond debt, and all construction projects, technology investments and school bus and future school site purchases would halt.


School Board Chair Kyla Cromer recently made this observation: as you shop in our community, look at the license plates in the parking lot … you’ll see many from other counties and states who are helping keep our tax burden low -- and our schools among the best in our nation!


Want to learn more? Please visit our website at https://bit.ly/CCSDsplostinfo.


Thank you,


Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools


UPDATES AND REMINDERS

COVID-19: Cases in our community, and in our schools, thankfully have continued to decline. Last week, I determined that parents and other guests could return to our classrooms and cafeterias for extended visits. Every school has been given local control to determine how to schedule these visits. If you haven't received a message from your child's school about this and you would like to make a visit, please call the school for more information.


DIGITAL LEARNING DAY: As announced last month, Wednesday, Oct. 13, will be a Digital Learning Day for CCSD high school juniors and seniors due to schoolwide administration of the PSAT for freshmen and sophomores (and select juniors). Our outstanding School Nutrition department will make to-go meal bags available to juniors and seniors for pick up the morning of Oct. 13; we will email an order form to their parents on Monday morning, with orders due by 8 a.m. Tuesday.

CCSD Education SPLOST Informational Video 2021

THANKS TO THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR

TOP STORIES

CCSD Scores Increase, Outscore State & Nation

Cherokee County School District’s Class of 2021 increased average SAT scores by 25 points and outscored the State and Nation, according to results recently released by the College Board. The CCSD Class of 2021 earned an average total score of 1125 on the curriculum-based college entrance and placement exam, which exceeds the National public school average by 87 points and the State by 48 points. The gap between CCSD and U.S. averages widened by 17 points. Learn more here.

ACCOLADES

MORE GREAT #CCSDfam NEWS

WHO IS CCSD?

Meet Joan Dillon, Transportation Coordinator of Operations - North

This month, CCSD will celebrate National Bus Safety Week with special events at schools and the District's Transportation department to thank everyone who keeps our school buses running safely and smoothly.


Nearly 30,000 students ride a CCSD school bus each day, with more than 350 buses running multiple routes every morning and afternoon!


While it's easy to see the dedicated bus drivers carrying their precious cargo throughout our community, behind the scenes -- helping them navigate their routes and maintain the mechanics of their vehicles -- are the outstanding staff for the Transportation department's two bus shops.


One such role is CCSD Transportation Coordinator, who is the team member that ensures bus drivers are assigned to all routes, including trained substitute drivers when needed. Coordinators also help parents when they contact the office with concerns and requests.


Joan Dillon is the newly named coordinator for the northern half of CCSD's routes, taking on the role this school year after 10 years of service with the Transportation department. Angie Goff is her counterpart for the southern routes, and Chris Blalock coordinates routing operations.


Ms. Dillon began her service to CCSD as a bus driver and went on to serve as a trainer and a transportation specialist.


“I love being part of what I consider a quiet but mighty team for CCSD,” Ms. Dillon said. “It is a team effort. Think of many gears turning together to achieve the same end goal each morning and afternoon."

#CCSDfam

PARENT RESOURCES

UPCOMING EVENTS

The curtain will rise this month for the Cherokee County School District's 2021-22 theatre season! All CCSD high schools, as well as select middle schools and the districtwide Academy Street Theatre Group program for elementary through high school students, will present shows throughout the school year. A full schedule, which will be updated as needed, is posted online here.

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


CCSD Varsity Football Season continues!


Oct. 7-9: 7:30 p.m., Creekview HS, Creekview High School's theatre program performances of the one-act plays “Do Not Go Gentle” and “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Tickets are $10 adults; $8 students, with advance tickets on sale online at https://gofan.co/app/school/GA10396.


Oct. 11: Student Holiday; Professional Learning Day for CCSD teachers and staff.


Oct. 11: 5 p.m., Creekview HS, CCSD Marching Band Exhibition featuring competition performances from all CCSD high school marching bands. Admission $10; $5 parking fee (cash only). Concessions from Creekview HS Band Boosters and Las Palmas restaurant will be for sale.


Oct. 12-15: National School Lunch Week with special activities and menus including Chicken & Waffles Wednesday.


Oct. 13: Digital Learning Day for CCSD high school juniors and seniors due to schoolwide administration of the PSAT for freshmen and sophomores (and select juniors competing for National Merit Scholarships).


Oct. 21: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.


Oct. 21 & 23: 7 p.m. (also a 2 p.m. matinee on 10/23), Woodstock HS, Woodstock High School's theatre program performances of "12 Angry Jurors." Tickets: $8 Adults; $6 Students.


Oct. 22, 25-26: 7 and 8:30 p.m., River Ridge HS, River Ridge High School's theatre program performances of "The Insanity of Mary Girard." Tickets: $5


Oct. 25: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Virtual Program, CCSD Special Education Parent University workshop for parents of students with special needs. Sessions will be available online; audio-only access also is available by phone. Registration is not required. Info on how to login or call-in is online here.


Oct. 28-29: 7 p.m., Cherokee HS, Cherokee High School's theatre program performances of "Amelia Earhart: Flights of Fancy." Tickets: $5


Oct. 29: 7 p.m., Etowah HS, Etowah High School's theatre program performance of "Welfarewell." Tickets: $7 General Admission; $5 Thespians/Drama Club members/Senior Citizens/Children 12 and younger.


Nov. 2: Election Day (Education SPLOST renewal is on the ballot). Student Holiday; Professional Learning Day for CCSD teachers and staff.


Nov. 4-6: 7 p.m., Sequoyah HS, Sequoyah High School theatre program performances of An Evening of One Acts: "Fortress" and "Miss Havisham’s Expectations." Tickets: $10 Adults; $8 Students

JOIN THE #CCSDFAM

CONTACT US

Bookmark our website, Like our Facebook page, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@cherokeegaschools)... keep up with our news as it happens! #CCSDfam