CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - July 2020

Superintendent's Message

Throughout this pandemic, I’ve asked you to reflect on different ideas. Grace. Patience. Flexibility.

Today, I ask you to hear one more: Unity.

It seems every day as a nation and a community there is a new issue that divides us. Our school district does not need to be divided.

While we may have two teaching models as we begin this school year, all of the children we serve are our children. I hope to see first-day photos on social media, not only of kids in polos at the bus stop, but also of kids in PJs booting up their laptop. Your kids are our kids, no matter what choice you made for where they're learning this school year.

While we will have some teachers who serve students in only one model, all of the teachers who serve are our teachers. If a teacher opts to take leave, they are still a part of our family, and we care about them. If your child's teacher takes leave or resigns, we will do our best to fill that important role with a qualified teacher from our applicant pool or our team of long-time substitute teachers. We have 500 retired teachers, parents and community members signed up to serve as temporary substitute teachers if needed ... we've heard from more who want to join us, so we are opening up training sessions next month, and those details are at the end of this newsletter.

We have adopted recommended measures to keep our students and staff safe. We already have spent millions on these safety efforts, with more to be spent, totaling at least $4 million.

We strongly recommend and encourage all students wear masks at school, and are providing reusable masks to them, and we will continue to adapt our strategies and improve safety measures. All staff will be required to wear masks when they cannot social distance; additionally, we're providing plastic face shields to staff, upon request, so they can benefit from a plastic barrier but still move around their classroom as they teach or fulfill other essential roles.

You may not agree with our reopening plan, but let me make this clear: I care about every child we serve and every employee who serves alongside me, and the families, community organizations, and business partners who together make up our #CCSDfam ... as does our School Board and as does my leadership team that has been working around the clock to prepare for reopening. My son, my daughter and my daughter-in-law work in our schools. Two of our School Board members have children in our schools, and another Board member’s wife is a teacher in our schools. We all have a vested interest.

School begins one week from today. Please social distance when you can and mask up when you can't; wash your hands; be kind. Please teach your children to do the same. We need our entire community working together to protect the state of public health so we can reopen in person, on time.

What we know about COVID-19 changes almost daily, and we must be nimble in our response. This flexibility does not start and end with the first day of school -- it will be a mindset for the school year.

We are stronger together. We are better together. We are #CCSDunited.


Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools



First Day Facts: Your CCSD Back-to-School Guide

CCSD's First Day Facts is a two-page, one-stop shop for back-to-school information. Be sure to read up on everything from the cost of lunch to how to make sure you receive emergency notifications. And, most important, whether your children will be learning Traditional In-Person or Digital Learning, don't forget to visit the Back-to-School Gateway, which opens July 29, to check your emergency contact information, let us know whether your child will ride the bus, apply for free or reduced-price meals and much more!
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Salute to the CCSD Class of 2020!

CCSD celebrated the Class of 2020 with graduation ceremonies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. While social distancing requirements limited attendance, they did not limit the pride and joy of the annual event. Check out photos from all of the ceremonies in the CCSD Photo Galleries!
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All Aboard! Wheels Are Up for CCSD School Buses

Our nationally-certified CCSD Transportation Department is ready to roll for the first day of school!

The Department is fully staffed, trained and prepared with new protocols in place to keep buses cleaner and safer for students. We have reached a new milestone in our efforts to replace outdated buses with air-conditioned models, as we now have reached 81% replacement; additionally, all special education buses are air-conditioned.

How do I look up my child's bus stop? The CCSD Bus Stop Look-Up webpage will open on July 29. Please read the eLink user instructions on the webpage first. The system is continuously updated as new stops are added; if you don't see your child's stop listed, please call the school's front office.

How do I know if my child's bus is running late? The Versatrans My Stop Bus Tracking System allows you, through its website or mobile app, to track your child's bus beginning 15 minutes before its usual arrival time in the morning and afternoon. You can log in now, but the system will display "no student found" until the routes are actually running on Aug. 3. IMPORTANT CHANGE: All usernames and passwords have been changed for this year. The username is your child's Firstname.Lastname (the first letter of each must be capitalized). The password is your child's date of birth with no spaces (for example, July 27, 2010 would be entered as 07272010.).

How old must my child be to walk home from the bus stop by himself? School bus drivers will not permit children in third grade or younger to get off the bus in the afternoon without a parent or other designated adult present at the bus stop. The school will attach a yellow tag to the backpack of all students in these grades for this safety purpose.

How do I know when to yield to a stopped school bus? Please be sure to review the rules of the road posted online here and please drive slowly and carefully whenever you're in a school zone. #SafeCherokee




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

July 29-31: Various times and dates, All CCSD Schools, Walk-Though/Open House events. This year, these events are limited to students new to their schools, with scheduling based on grade and/or students' last names.

Aug. 3: First Day of School for both Traditional In-Person and Digital Learning students!

Aug. 20: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

Sept 4: 7:30 p.m., High school varsity football season kicks off its first regular games. As soon as CCSD's schedule is set, we will post it on our website and social media.

Sept. 7: Labor Day; all CCSD schools and offices closed; no Traditional In-Person or Digital Learning classes.



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