Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 5/13/22

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Congratulations to Eve Bisard, school nurse at Cedar Shoals High, for being named CCSD’s Employee of the Month for May! Nurse Bisard was announced as the Employee of the Month and honored at the Thursday, May 12 Board of Education meeting.


Here is part of what Amy Roark, CCSD’s Director of Nursing Services, who nominated Nurse Bisard for the award, said:


Nurse Bisard works tirelessly to take care of her Cedar family, and her job duties have increased significantly over the past two years due to COVID. She thinks outside the box to find solutions and truly goes above and beyond to meet the needs of students every day.

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Nurses Recognized at Board Meeting

On Wednesday, May 11, we celebrated National School Nurse Day, honoring the more than 95,000 school nurses across the U.S. and 25 here at CCSD who make a difference in the lives of children every day.


Since 1972, National School Nurse Day has been set aside to recognize school nurses for the role they play in educational settings. It is celebrated every year on the Wednesday of National Nurses Week, which runs from May 6-12, ending on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the 19th-century nurse credited with being the founder of modern nursing.


The 2022 theme for National School Nurse Day was "Bridging Healthcare and Education," recognizing school nurses for "providing care coordination, advocating for quality student-centered care, and collaborating to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential."


CCSD's dedicated team of nurses was recognized at the Thursday, May 12, Board of Education meeting.

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ARES Students Named Winners in Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest

On Friday, May 6, co-founder TJ David of International World Peace Rose Gardens (IWPRG) and Ranger Mari Hayden of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta visited Alps Road Elementary for a special presentation recognizing the school for having two winners in the 2022 Inspirational Messages of Peace Contest.


More than 2,400 students from Georgia, California, South Dakota, and Washington, D.C. in the U.S. and China, India, and Gaza internationally participated in this year’s competition. And out of 350 contest entrants in Georgia, eight from ARES were recognized Friday.


Third-grader Carlos Green was named a contest winner for his short poem, “Peace,” while first-grader Londyn Chambers, who has since enrolled at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, was named a winner for her poem, “Celebrating Dr. King.” Both Carlos and Londyn were invited to participate Thursday, May 12, in the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden 30th anniversary celebration at the national park in Atlanta, read their poems from the podium of the Heritage Sanctuary at Ebenezer Baptist Church (Dr. King’s home church from 1960-1968) and attend the unveiling of plaques engraved with their winning messages that will be displayed in the rose garden for a year.


Six other ARES students were also recognized Friday for earning “honorable mention” in the 2022 contest: Aisha Clift, Tylen Campbell, Matinah Andani, Mattlyn Clark, Daveney Hughes, and Cherish Campbell.

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Middle School Students Tour Memorial, Museum in Montgomery

Thanks to a grant received by the Athens-Clarke County Library and support from the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and Public Education Matters Georgia, CCSD had the opportunity to take 40 eighth-grade students — 10 from each of our four middle schools — to Montgomery, Alabama, on Wednesday, May 11, and immerse them in an honest overview of the darkest part of our nation’s history.


After arriving in Montgomery, the group started the day at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which memorializes the more than 4,400 Black men, women, and children who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. The names, etched on pillars throughout the memorial, included Rufus Moncrief of Clarke County (1917).


The group then visited the Legacy Museum, located on the site of a former warehouse where Black people were forced to labor, and had an interactive history tour of racial injustice in America — from the slave trade to racial terrorism and the Jim Crow South, to an examination of mass incarceration.


Both venues were opened in 2018 by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit based in Montgomery that, for more than 30 years, has provided representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes and has helped overturn the convictions of multiple people who spent time on death row. On the bus ride to Montgomery, students watched the film “Just Mercy,” which chronicles in part the work of attorney and EJI founder Bryan Stevenson and the nonprofit.

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BHL Media Center Receives Grant for Purchases of Diverse Books

Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle media specialist Davina Swaim was one of 35 educators across the U.S. who were recently awarded a $2,000 Educators Making a Difference Grant by We Need Diverse Books. The nonprofit advocates for “essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”


Ms. Swaim said being awarded the grant “means the world” to her and that the grant money will be used to purchase more books featuring diverse characters and artwork for the media center walls. She writes:


“As a school library media specialist, I hold my mission to protect students' freedom to read near and dear to my heart. Students need to see themselves in books. Seeing oneself in a book creates a sense of belonging and offers students an opportunity to become a part of a larger human experience. Through reading, students build connections, step into someone else's shoes, and gain the ability to see beyond their own world. Books offer not only an escape but also a chance to learn to see things from another perspective. Children who grow up reading naturally do better academically as well. Students will read more when they connect to the characters and stories presented. The grant from We Need Diverse Books will go a long way to making our library at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School a place where every student can feel like they belong, and that makes my media center the heart of the school. I wouldn't have it any other way!"

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Howard B. Stroud Elementary Holds Annual ‘Day of Service’

Students at Howard B. Stroud Elementary celebrated the school’s annual “Day of Service” on Friday, May 6, by welcoming Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz for a visit and then spending the rest of the day participating in school-based projects and learning about various community-based organizations that serve Athens and Clarke County. The event was organized by Stroud STEM teacher Kim Whitehead and her project committee.


Activities included:

  • a visit from Ann Peden Studios and a lesson in “upcycled art,” where students created vases using recycled jars and old magazines and newspapers with words and pictures that described themselves.
  • learning about CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and the importance of nursing as a service.
  • learning about the importance of dental health care from a Department of Public Health hygienist and collecting toothbrushes to pass out to a local homeless shelter.
  • a lesson from Keep Athens Clean and Beautiful representatives in how litter travels.
  • a presentation from Butterfly Dreams Equine Therapy and the services it provides. Students brought peppermints to donate to the horses served by Butterfly Dreams.
  • a lesson from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in how it uses drones for community safety.
  • a lesson from the University of Georgia’s forensics program on fingerprinting and evidence collection.
  • a visit from firefighters from the ACC fire station on Hull Road and their truck.
  • a visit from local veterinarian Dr. Jeff Legato of Sycamore Veterinary Services, who discussed with students the importance of vet care and how to properly approach a pet.

Students also picked up litter on the school campus, planted a vegetable garden, planted new plants in the perennial flower garden at the front of the school, and painted birdhouses to place around the campus.

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Howard B. Stroud Elementary Invites Participation in Career Fair

Howard B. Stroud Elementary is planning its career fair for Monday, May 23, with a focus on careers with vehicles. Local businesses, trade, and business people who have a vehicle associated with their career are invited to participate.


The career fair will primarily run from 8:30-11:30 a.m., but afternoon accommodations can be made. Please bring along your vehicle and any tools of your trade that you can share with the students. Participants will be provided with signs with your company/business name and light refreshments. Each grade level will be visiting the fair and will be ready to ask you questions about what you do, how much education you need, where you studied, how you got your job, what you like best about what you do, etc.


Those interested in participating should respond by Monday, May 16, to Career Fair Committee chair Angela Smith at smitha2@clarke.k12.ga.us or 706-369-1893.

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District to Again Provide School Supplies for All PK-8 Students

The Clarke County School District will again be purchasing school supplies for all students grades PK-8 for the 2022-23 school year. All items on the supply lists will be provided without charge.


Each school will communicate with their families the process to pick up supplies. Several of our schools also have supply closets for families needing additional support.

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Budget, Millage Rate Public Hearings Announced

The Clarke County Board of Education gave tentative approval to the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget Thursday, May 12, and has announced three public hearings on the proposed budget and millage rate.


The following public presentations and hearings will be held in the Vernon Payne Meeting Hall of the district administrative building, located at 595 Prince Ave., Athens:


  • 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19 — Budget Presentation and Millage Rate Hearing
  • 6 p.m. Monday, May 23 — Budget Presentation and Millage Rate Hearing
  • 5 p.m. Thursday, June 2 — Millage Rate Hearing


Click here for the full press release.

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Registration Open for CCHS Summer Sports Camps

The Clarke Central High School Athletic Department has announced the dates for its upcoming summer sports camps. Camps will be offered in basketball, soccer, tennis, softball, track and field, wrestling, and volleyball.


All camps are available for ages 6-14, except for tennis, which will be for ages 12-14. All camps are from 9 a.m. to noon on their respective dates.


Click here for more information and to register.

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Updates from the Department of Community Schools

Department Makes Presentation to School Board

At the May 5 Clarke County Board of Education work session, Dr. Lawrence Harris, CCSD’s Chief of Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships, and Ms. Soraia Felgenhauer, Director of Community Schools, presented to the board about the department’s work and gave an update on where the district stands in its first full year of implementation of the community school strategy and model.


See the video of the presentation and board member questions and comments below (first 54 minutes of the video), and view the presentation slides here.

CCSD BOE Work Session 05/05 Part 2 of 2
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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, June 2, 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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Museum of Art to Host Family Day Event

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will host "Family Day: Technologies of Nature" from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 21.


Click here for more information. The museum is located at 90 Carlton St., Athens.

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Volunteers Sought for AthFest

Local nonprofit AthFest Educates is seeking volunteers for its 2022 AthFest Music & Arts Festival, June 24-26.


Proceeds from the festival make it possible for AthFest Educates to award grants to support K-12 music and arts education in our community. To date, AthFest Educates has awarded over $532,000 in grants to CCSD schools and local non-profit programs. Volunteer shifts are generally four hours long and include a volunteer T-shirt, free parking during your volunteer shift, and snacks during your volunteer shift.


Learn more and register to volunteer here.

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