CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - April 2019

Superintendent's Message

Spring is finally here, and we're now in the home stretch of our school year, as we focus on mastering those last lessons... and preparing for one of my favorite days: high school graduation.

I'm happy to share plenty of good news in this month's newsletter, including an update on the legislative issues we tracked until the final hours of the session last week and a new initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.


We're very thankful to report that the proposed State legislation that caused us the greatest alarm - a threat to our "balanced calendar" in the form of a mandated statewide school calendar and "Education Savings Account" vouchers for private schools that would sap critical funding for public education -- both failed to muster enough support to pass. As the General Assembly is on a two-year cycle, we do anticipate these proposals may come back again next year... and we will keep you informed. Bottom line: our 2019-20 school calendar will not change from what the School Board approved last year.


We've run the numbers, and we'll be able to add five more minutes of learning to the school day for elementary school students next year without disrupting bus routes. Beginning in August, the school day will start at 7:35 a.m. for all elementary school students. The schedules for our other schools will remain unchanged. As we continue to raise expectations for learning, while still allowing time for recess, friendship and fun, every minute helps.


No matter what you call it - vaping, Juul-ing, e-cigarettes – or how harmless the devices may seem, let’s clear the air: these are dangerous devices not permitted in schools. Over the past year, we've stepped up our efforts to raise awareness among students about the dangers... and we need your help. Below you'll find a factsheet about vaping that we're also posting on our website and social media platforms -- please join us in sharing it to raise awareness throughout our community. We'll next be developing a new informational video for all middle and high school students to watch in class (we'll provide you with a link as well) and, through our CCSD Police Department's Parental Awareness for Safe Schools (PASS) initiative, developing a program to present at parent meetings in partnership with the PTA.


When I was honored to begin my service as your Superintendent, one of my goals was to create a recognition program focused on instructional excellence. This spring, I began presenting the third annual Game Changer Awards, which recognize four honorees each year: Instructional Excellence for a CCSD classroom teacher, Instructional Support for a CCSD staff member, Instructional Leadership for a Principal or CCSD administrator, and Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes a CCSD employee or a community member. So far, I've awarded the Instructional Excellence honor to E.T. Booth Middle School eighth-grade teacher Amy Loiselle (who's pictured above with me) and Instructional Support to CCSD’s Supervisor of Digital Learning Joy Silk. You can learn about them both here... and watch on our social media and website for my surprise presentations to two more outstanding honorees.


Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools


CCSD Summer Discovery Now Accepting Applications!

CCSD is expanding its week-long summer enrichment program to all rising first- through fifth-graders!

CCSD Summer Discovery program will be offered at Hickory Flat & Liberty Elementary Schools, and open to all CCSD students. Two sessions -- all taught by CCSD teachers -- will be offered (9 a.m.-Noon; 1-4 p.m.) June 3-7. The cost for the week-long program is $100 for one session or $190 for two sessions. Parents provide transportation and lunch.

From "Magic for Muggles" to "Leapin' Legos," the program offers a menu of fun-filled educational classes focused on math, science, fine arts, sports and much more. The course catalog and the application form now are both online here. Don't delay - applications and tuition fees are due by Friday, May 3! #CCSDSummer


Honoring CCSD's Support Staff Employees of the Year

The Cherokee County School District celebrated the important role of support staff at its inaugural Support Staff Employee of the Year Awards in March. The celebration honored one Support Staff Employee of the Year from each of CCSD’s schools, centers and central office divisions. The 46 honorees were recognized by the Superintendent of Schools and School Board members, enjoyed a reception with their family and CCSD leaders and received a plaque and gifts funded by presenting sponsor, Cherokee County Educational Foundation, and other generous sponsors. Learn more -- including who was recognized from your child's school!


CCSD Positive Athlete Inspires Fellow Students

Want to be inspired? Check out CNN's feature on Matthew Lane, an Etowah High School senior basketball player and Positive Athlete Georgia honoree, who overcame cancer and now shares his story with students. The story features footage from his recent visit to speak to Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy fifth-graders. As Matthew says: "Stay positive. Stay positive. Stay positive." #CCSDfam


Meet CCSD's Five New Principals for 2019-20

The Cherokee County School Board at its March meeting approved the appointment of five new Principals to fill vacancies for next school year.

The five new Principals are: for Clayton Elementary School, Carrie O’Bryant; E.T. Booth Middle School, Todd Sharrock; Knox Elementary School, Jennifer McIntosh; Sixes Elementary School, Dr. Ashley Kennerly; and Woodstock Middle School; Michael Santoro. The five new Principals enjoyed a meet-and-greet reception with the School Board, Superintendent and senior staff prior to the School Board meeting, which was sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Each of these new Principals will bring to the role significant experience in teaching, team-building, coaching, inspiring and leading,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “They understand our mission and are committed to ensuring every child we serve receives the best education possible for the greatest future success. We’re looking forward to seeing all that they will accomplish!”

Learn more about them here.



Explore Careers Through Summer Internships

CCSD is partnering for the second year with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development to offer high school students an outstanding career education opportunity: the 2019 Summer Internship Program! Click here to learn more about and apply for this six-week program to learn & earn this summer. #CherokeeByChoice


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

April 10: Support CCSD's military kids and families by wearing purple on Wednesday, April 10, for Purple Up Day. Learn more here about Georgia's observance of April as Month of the Military Child. #GAMilitaryChildMonth

April 11: 6 p.m., Cherokee Arts Center, CCSD Middle School art show opening reception. Admission is free.

April 11-13: 7 p.m. nightly and 2 p.m. April 13, Etowah High School, Drama Club’s production of the musical “Beauty and the Beast.” Admission is $10; $5 for children 12 and younger.

April 11-13: 7:30 p.m., Woodstock High School, Drama Club’s production of “You Can’t Take It with You.” Admission is $8; $5 for students/senior citizens.

April 18: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

April 18-20, 22: 7 p.m., River Ridge High School, Drama Club’s production of “Radium Girls.” Admission is $10 (free for children 10 and younger.)

April 25: 6 p.m., Cherokee Arts Center, CCSD High School art show opening reception. Admission is free.

April 27: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., River Ridge High School, Cruise the Ridge Car Show benefitting the RRHS Band Program.



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