CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - September 2020

Superintendent's Message

Woodstock High School Principal Mark Smith is known for the great care he shows for his entire school community.

One of his favorite sayings is "two words ... eight letters ... THANK YOU!" His spirit exemplifies what makes our community great, and why so many of us choose to live here and work here.

We're unbelievably and amazingly one month into this historic school year. "One month" is another two words and eight letters that also spell "thank you."

We wouldn't be here without team work. You all are on our team, whether your children are learning in our schools or at home through Digital Learning, and whether you are a parent or other family member, a teacher or support staff member, a partner or a volunteer, or a taxpayer who reads this newsletter to keep up with your community investment.

Thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your feedback as to what we can do better.

In keeping with our longtime commitment to continuous improvement in all that we do, we're continuing to improve Digital Learning, and your suggestions matter. I've said we're building this plane as we fly it, and we're now gaining altitude and focusing on details to make the in-flight experience better -- such as adding more live instruction and revising course loads. Please continue to be patient with our teachers as they learn new systems and balance their heavy workload.

Please also understand that some suggestions unfortunately cannot be fulfilled. We've shouldered a 10-percent State funding cut, and economic recovery is slow. At the same time, we're operating two school systems -- in person and Digital Learning, and our teachers also are keeping up with students on quarantine "remote learning" through Canvas.

On Thursday, three of our high schools will reopen after temporary closures. By keeping half of the students home at a time, and separating their exposure to each other by at least three days, we hope this hybrid model will reduce the need for two-week precautionary quarantines and school closures. This model will not reduce positive cases or eliminate quarantines -- as long as we're in a pandemic and aren't sheltering in place, we'll continue to see cases in our community and schools. It's also important to note that while masks reduce transmission and we support wearing them, masks are not a waiver from the need to quarantine.

Trying the hybrid model is just one of the ways we're working to keep schools open for in-person learning. Another important element is our use of substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses and School Nutrition staff. In any school year, we need substitutes, as our teachers and staff -- like all of us -- sometimes need to miss work, whether for personal medical reasons or to care for a child or other loved one. This school year, our need for substitutes is greater than ever, given the need for teachers and staff to be absent for precautionary quarantines.

We saw this need coming and surveyed the more than 700 substitute teachers who worked in our schools last year. More than 500 said they were ready to come back to work, but, understandably, not all of them are taking on assignments -- some are older and changed their mind, some are staying home with their own Digital Learning children, some prefer to only sub at their child's school. In response, we're advertising and holding training sessions, and we've trained 80 new substitute teachers so far. We hope to see more of you sign up to keep our schools running as smoothly as possible. Thank you to all our subs for working to support our teachers, who truly need these relief workers, and our students -- and thank you for encouraging others on social media to join you in service.

When it comes down to it, we're all in this together, and we'll get through it better and stronger by working together. I'll end with another of Principal Smith's favorite phrases: "#AllIn." We're rooting for WHS, CVHS and EHS ... and for all of you.

Thank you,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools





Be Pro Be Proud Georgia Promo

CCSD Supports 'Be Pro Be Proud Georgia' Job Program

Be Pro Be Proud Georgia is a new statewide initiative launched by the Cherokee County Office of Economic Development and supported by CCSD to educate high school students and young adults about careers in essential skilled trades.

The initiative’s efforts include bringing a mobile workforce workshop housed in a 40-foot custom trailer to high schools statewide. Students can climb aboard and learn about high-demand careers through interactive, hands-on activities. The workshop’s activities currently are focused on careers in Commercial Truck Driving, Health Care, Plumbing, Welding, and Robotics.

Also as part of the initiative, a website at was launched to promote 13 skilled professions with 10 percent or more growth potential. The website includes links to training and area industries that are hiring for these jobs.



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

Sept. 2: 5:30 p.m., Cherokee HS, Corky Kell Classic - Cherokee HS Warriors play in the first high school football game this season in Georgia! Tickets, which were very limited, are sold out, but the game will be broadcast on WPCH Peachtree TV and WLJA 101.1 FM.

Sept 4: 7:30 p.m., CCSD high school varsity football season kicks off its first regular games. See the full schedule posted above and here. Tickets sales for all CCSD athletic events are capped at 25% of the venue’s seating capacity. Tickets are $8; parking is $5. All events are cashless, so tickets must be purchased on the GOFan website; for more information, please contact the school’s athletic office.

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

Sept. 17: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

Sept. 21-25: All CCSD schools closed for Fall Break; no Traditional In-Person or CCSD Digital Learning classes.



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