CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - July 2022

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Superintendent's Message

Dear CCSD Family,


Two special dates bookend our school year: the first day and graduation. Both fill our hearts with joy as we celebrate the possibility of every child.


Given the recent tragedy of Uvalde, our hearts are heavier this back-to-school season. But, as I committed to you after the tragedy, we have worked this summer to improve the safety and security of our schools.


As I announced last month, we are hiring additional POST certified police officers to join our CCSD Police Department. They will be part of a new group of officers assigned to serve only elementary schools, which replaces the system of officers being assigned to elementary schools in addition to the high school or middle school where they are stationed.


We will begin the school year with five officers in this group, with each assigned a cluster of neighboring elementary schools. We will expand the group to eight to 10 officers next semester, with further expansion possible to lower the officer to school ratio. This phase-in plan allows us time to recruit high quality officers, order equipped patrol cars and other equipment and provide any additional training required. This summer, our officers participated in a multi-agency, active shooter drill, which is just one example of the additional training they regularly undergo to be prepared for possible emergencies.


We also have been implementing other initiatives to strengthen school security, with the installation of additional and updated security cameras, the addition of teacher and staff badge readers to more doors so they also can be locked at all times, and the expansion to all middle schools of the new "panic alert" teacher and staff badge system now in use at our high schools.


This school year, we also will be piloting a new visitor management system to run active warrant background checks on all visitors (we already require criminal background checks for all volunteers who will be alone with students) and piloting the use of camera "buzz in" systems at entrances in addition to the already equipped main entrance.


Our Principals all have been tasked with reviewing safety concerns on their campuses, and these safety plan reports will be reviewed by our police department for further improvements. Additionally, our police department will be conducting unannounced safety audits at our schools throughout the school year to identify other areas for improvement.


Police Chief Buster Cushing, who joined our force after a successful career with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, has assembled a department made up of officers with outstanding experience in all aspects of police work. I have confidence in every one of them. I also have confidence in Chief Cushing's ability to work with Sheriff Frank Reynolds, his longtime colleague, to immediately respond together to emergencies without confusion or delay.


As I shared after Uvalde, we strongly believe that supporting the well-being of our students also is critical to ensuring school safety. Our CCSDcares initiative, which will continue this school year, offers all students additional support, especially those struggling with emotional and mental health issues.


We also strongly believe in the importance of "see something, say something." Several potential incidents in our community have been avoided thanks to observant people who reported their concerns. Our Vector Alert system allows for students, parents, teachers and staff and community members to report safety concerns by phone, text, email, online message or app, with the option to do so anonymously. Please use this system to "see something, say something" and help us keep our students and staff safe.


Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

The First Day Facts report, which you can check out by clicking on the image above, highlights what's new this school year and what you need to do before the first day.


FORMS: The Back-to-School Gateway for online first-day forms opens Monday, July 25. Please complete these forms as soon as possible so we have current emergency contact information for your child. The process to opt-out of student surveys will be through a separate ParentSquare message to all parents this fall.


BUSES: The Bus Stop Look-Up webpage will open on Tuesday, July 26, so you can check your child's bus stop times for pick up and drop off. The Versatrans My Stop Bus Tracking System, which allows you to track your child's bus on its way to the bus stop each morning and afternoon, will begin working when buses roll on Monday, Aug. 1.


SCHEDULES: All CCSD middle school and high school students will receive their class schedules in their CCSD email on Wednesday, July 27, by the end of the day. Student password reset help is online here. Their parents will receive the schedules through a ParentSquare email. You must activate your ParentSquare account, if you have not already, in order to view the schedule, and instructions will be included in the email. The ParentSquare help desk is parentsquare@cherokee.incidentiq.com. Parents of CCSD elementary school students will receive their homeroom teacher assignment by ParentSquare email on July 27.


OPEN HOUSES and SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Walk-Throughs & Open Houses are scheduled at various times on Thursday, July 28, and Friday, July 29, with the schedule posted online here. The events are an opportunity to find your child's classrooms, meet teachers and staff, drop off school supplies (school supply lists are online here) and join the PTA.


FIRST DAY: The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 1. Parents of younger students are welcome to walk their child to their classroom on the first day. The calendar for the school year is online here.


MEALS: As the USDA has not extended its pandemic relief program, CCSD will return to providing meals at no cost or reduced cost only to families who qualify based on income. Please complete the online free and reduced price meal form at www.lunchapplication.com. Paid meal prices will remain at 2019-20 rates with no increases. You can check you school meal account balance online here and add more funds online or send a check or cash with your child to school.


AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM: Rates for the After School Program, offered until 6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at elementary schools, have increased to $12 per student per day to cover operating costs. Detailed information and registration forms are online here.


COMING SOON: The new edition of our Class Act magazine, which is filled with CCSD news and important information, will come home in your child's backpack the first week of school. It also will be posted on our website at www.cherokeek12.net.

THANKS TO THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR

ACCOLADES

MORE GREAT #CCSDfam NEWS

WHO IS CCSD?

Meet CCSD's Newly Appointed School Leaders

The School Board at its June meeting approved the following additional leadership appointments for this school year:


Jessica Bunce will serve as an assistant principal at Woodstock ES. A 20-year educator, she most recently worked as a Special Education lead teacher for Cartersville City Schools.


John Hughes will serve as an assistant principal at Woodstock HS. An 18-year educator, he most recently worked as a Spanish teacher at E.T. Booth MS and is a past Teacher of the Year winner.


Clatrina Lane will serve as an assistant principal at Clark Creek ES STEM Academy. A 23-year educator, she most recently worked as a school improvement coach for Fulton County Schools.


Meredith Rocker will serve as an assistant principal at Clark Creek ES STEM Academy. A seven-year educator, she most recently worked as Clark Creek’s academic facilitator.


Justin West will serve as an assistant principal at Sequoyah High School. A 13-year educator, he most recently worked as a history teacher at Sequoyah and has coached its football, basketball and golf teams.

#CCSDfam

PARENT RESOURCES

UPCOMING EVENTS

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


July 28-29: Various times and dates, All CCSD Schools, Walk-Though/Open House events. The schedule is online here.


Monday, Aug. 1: First Day of School. This year's school calendar is online here.


Aug. 5: CCSD's Varsity Football season kicks off with scrimmages on Aug. 5 and 12, with regular games starting Aug. 19. The schedule is online here.


Aug. 13: 8 a.m., Etowah River Park, Chick-fil-A Moo've It 5K Run benefitting the Cherokee County Educational Foundation and Cherokee County Special Olympics.


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


Sept. 5: All CCSD schools and offices closed for Labor Day.

JOIN THE #CCSDfam

CCSD is seeking applicants for several newly opened Special Education – Elementary School teacher jobs for the upcoming school year! These positions offer competitive compensation packages with outstanding benefits, a balanced school calendar, a wonderful work environment and caring team, and opportunities for professional development and advancement. Join the #CCSDfam & apply now online here. Questions? Contact CCSD Recruiter Lindsay.Bowley@cherokeek12.net and 770.704.4256.

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