Better Together

News from the Clarke County School District • 4/1/22

Pearson Hired as New Winterville Elementary Principal

During a called meeting Thursday, March 31, the Clarke County Board of Education approved the hire of Dr. Carletha Pearson as the new principal of Winterville Elementary School beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

Dr. Pearson, who currently serves as assistant principal at Whitehead Road Elementary, will officially start in her new role June 1. She replaces former Winterville principal Dr. Donna Elder, who was hired as the Clarke County School District’s Executive Director of Federal Programs in January 2022. Dr. Melanie James, who has served since then as interim principal, will resume her role as assistant principal next school year.

Click here to read the full news release.

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Large Equipment Grant Helps CCSD's Agricultural, Health Science Programs

Cedar Shoals High agriscience teacher Julie Throne is pictured with some of her students after AgPro Companies of Athens delivered a John Deere 2025R compact utility tractor to the school campus for Throne’s class last week.

The tractor was purchased by CCSD as part of a $99,829 CTAE (Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education) large equipment grant awarded by the Georgia Department of Education in October 2021 through American Rescue Plan ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Competitive Grant funds.

The tractor and several other purchases through the grant will help enhance the district’s CTAE programs, specifically the agricultural and health science pathways, by providing students with hands-on experience using state-of-the-art, industry-standard equipment.

Click here to read more.

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4 Clarke Central Students Named Governor’s Honors Finalists

Four Clarke Central High students have been named finalists for the 2022 Governor’s Honors Program (GHP). Pictured above, from left, are finalists Sofia Balsamo (World Languages, Chinese), Ayanna Lonon (Communicative Arts), Nico Willman (Communicative Arts), and Makenna Mincey (Social Studies). Ayanna, Nico, and Makenna are juniors, while Sofia is a sophomore.

GHP is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students. The program offers instruction that is different from the typical high school classroom and is designed to provide students with enrichment in their area of talent so that they can become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.

Learn more about the program here.

Congratulations to these students for this exceptional accomplishment, and a special thanks to Clarke Central ESOL Department chair Jodi Bogla and English teacher Stephen Castile at Cedar Shoals High for their work in coaching these students through the intensive GHP application and interview process.

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Cedar Shoals Teacher, Fulbright Recipient Returns from Trip to Morocco

This week, Kelli Bivins, an ESOL teacher at Cedar Shoals High and 20-year veteran of CCSD, is returning home after recently traveling to Morocco to complete the International Field Experience portion of the Teachers for Global Classrooms Fulbright award she received during the 2019-20 school year from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

During the trip, Ms. Bivins and 16 other educators from around the U.S. studied how Global Education is enacted in both rural and urban educational institutions from pre-K through the University level and in several locations throughout the country. She hopes to take back and incorporate into CCSD what she has learned from her educational journey exploring Global Education and to further collaborate with colleagues she met from the U.S. and Morocco.

Below are some of the pictures from her trip — including stops at elementary and high school classrooms and the group's visit to Mohammad V University in Rabat.

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Green Life Student Art Contest Winners Announced

The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government has announced the winners of its 2022 Green Life Student Art Contest. The annual art contest falls under the umbrella of the ACCGov Green Life Awards, which recognize environmental leaders in the community. The theme of the 2022 contest was “Growing a Greener Tomorrow” and featured submissions of art, poetry, photography, and videography.

The winners will be recognized during a virtual ceremony April 14, and their works will be displayed at the Georgia Art Museum’s Education Center, 90 Carlton St., Athens, from Tuesday through Sunday, April 19-24, during hours of operation. The center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1-2 p.m. on Sundays.

Contest winners from CCSD for 2022 include:

•Basma Ghareeb, Kindergarten, Barrow Elementary

•Lucille MacDuffee, Kindergarten, Whit Davis Elementary

•Lois Smith, 1st Grade, Timothy Road Elementary

•Mackenzie Good, 2nd Grade, Winterville Elementary

•Margot VanHassel, 2nd Grade, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary

•Adriana Suiza, 2nd Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Ethan Mathis, 3rd Grade, Barnett Shoals Elementary

•Auryn Freeman, 3rd Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Max Selleck, 3rd Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Logan Singleton, 3rd Grade, Barnett Shoals Elementary

•Zara Smoot, 3rd Grade, Barnett Shoals Elementary

•Hannah Adcox, 3rd Grade, Barnett Shoals Elementary

•Gabriela Famham, 3rd Grade, Barnett Shoals Elementary

•Ronan Rhicard, 3rd Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Lila Vasant, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Jayden Mulamoottil, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Mariam Ahmed, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Mickie Pettis, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Bella Summers, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Hugh Kane Hill, 4th Grade, Whit Davis Elementary

•Alexia Gil-Chavez, 4th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Hugh Kane Hill, 4th Grade, Whit Davis Elementary

•Paloma Lucia Morales-Matt, 5th Grade, Chase Street Elementary

•Omar Ghareeb, 5th Grade, Barrow Elementary

•Zariah Cofer, 6th Grade, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle

•Arrow Ruskin Callahan, 6th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Willow Selleck, 6th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Ceciley Vandemiet, 6th Grade, Coile Middle

•Bryanna Elizalde Castro, 6th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Makaylah Ballard, 6th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Flora Lomax, 7th Grade, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle

•Zoey Fortuin, 7th Grade, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle

•Sterling Williams, 7th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Claire Bruner, 8th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Daly Carpenter, 8th Grade, Clarke Middle

•Daniel Choi, 11th Grade, Cedar Shoals High

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CMS Students Talk Energy Conservation with Mayor

On March 24, during Energy Education Week, a group of Clarke Middle students had the chance to meet with Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz and chat about energy and resource conservation.

During the visit, organized by CCSD’s Department of Community Schools, members of the school’s Science, Energy and Adventure Team (SEAT) presented to the mayor details of their 2021 energy education project, “We’re All in This Together,” which earned the team the National Junior School of the Year award from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. In turn, the mayor spoke with the students about the ACC unified government’s effort, goals, and objectives around conservation and environmental stewardship.

At CMS, the SEAT team is sponsored and guided by teacher and 21st Century After-School Program coordinator Audrey Hughes, who was a 2021 recipient of NEED’s Excellence in Energy Award for her efforts in science and energy education. She previously taught at and was Science and Energy Team sponsor at Hilsman Middle, where her students earned National Junior School of the Year and Georgia School of the Year recognition for their team project in 2019.

Since last summer, the SEAT teams at CMS and Hilsman (now sponsored by HMS teacher Laura McGreevy) have partnered together on community education efforts in the afternoons and on weekends while working at their individual schools to educate fellow students about energy and resource conservation. “Adventure” was added to the team names to allow for more outdoor education opportunities. As a result of the successful partnership, the teams will enter NEED’s 2022 STEM competition as a combined unit.

Click here to view the 2021 award-winning presentation, which the CMS SEAT team to presented to Girtz, and click here to learn more about NEED.

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Updates from the Department of Community Schools

Pedestrian Safety Project

Our Community School Organizers continue to impact our school community in many ways.

Through observation, discussion, and brainstorming with school administrators, community members, the Athens-Clarke County Traffic Engineering Division, and the Georgia Safe Routes to School Program, one of our CSOs, Omar Reid, has created a two-phase project on Nacoochee Avenue behind Chase Street Elementary.

Phase one has been completed and involved repainting the sidewalk and clearing the debris. Phase two, which will be complete in late June, will involve adding flashing school zone signs and crosswalk lights, similar to improvements that were made on Chase Street. Having more signs and crosswalk lights will alert drivers to the high concentration of children and should encourage them to treat the area with special care and attention.

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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

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Last chance to participate in school communications surveys

The deadline for participating in the CCSD SCoPE Surveys on school communications is Friday, April 1. Access to the survey will close at midnight on Friday night. If you have not already participated, please click on the appropriate links below and complete your survey before the deadline. If you have already taken the survey, we sincerely thank you.

We will be receiving the results as part of a broader communication audit with the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and will share our findings with you. We will also be using the information to make any improvements in our school communications program, which we will share with you as well.

Participation is completely anonymous, and the survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete.


Family Survey:

Community Survey:

Staff Survey:

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Welcome to the Strategic Plan Corner!

Did you know that CCSD has a strategic plan? We do!

The 2021-2024 Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Education on May 13, 2021, and can be found here. For website navigation, go to, go to the “About CCSD” tab at the top of the page, and click on “Strategic Plan 2021-2024.”

Starting this month, we will periodically provide updates on what we’re doing and what we plan to do to make progress in each of the five strategic priorities.

Last week, we provided a summary report to the board on each of the plan’s 41 initiatives. Check out that update here to see how it’s going so far. And stay tuned to learn more about how our work is connected to the strategic plan.

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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, April 14, 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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International Street Festival Set for April 9

The University of Georgia's annual International Street Festival (also known as ISF or Street Fest) was created in 1999 and promotes internationalization and cultural awareness within the Athens community. The free event is student- and family-friendly and boasts an attendance of 3,000-5,000 visitors each year.

The 2022 festival will be held Saturday, April 9, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Tate Student Center Plaza and Lawns.

Click here for more information.

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Georgia Museum of Art to Host Italian Renaissance Fest

The Georgia Art Museum at the University of Georgia, 90 Carlton St., Athens, will host a free Family Day Renaissance Fest on Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Discover the exhibition “Wealth and Beauty: Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Renaissance Florence” and attend the Renaissance fair, complete with special sword demonstrations, face painting, interactive gallery experiences, and other family activities. Complete an art activity at home using the free Family Day To-Go art kit. Kits will available for pickup starting at 10 a.m. April 9 through the end of day Sunday, April 10, while supplies last.

Click here for more information.

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