Three CCSD High School Seniors Named National Hispanic Scholars

Three CCSD High School Seniors Named National Hispanic Scholars

Three Cherokee County School District high school seniors have earned National recognition for outstanding test scores and academic performance!

Julia Kochansky of Cherokee High School, Kelly Hart of Creekview High School and Anabelle Paulino of River Ridge High School all have been named National Hispanic Scholars by the College Board.

Julia Kochansky

The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes only the top 2% of the more than 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the Practice SAT nationwide.

To be eligible, students, as juniors, must earn qualifying high scores on the Practice SAT, as well as a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and have at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino ethnic

Kelly Hart

heritage.  This ancestry can be from any of the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, or Venezuela.

Anabelle Paulino


CCSD Exceeds State College & Career Readiness Average, Increases Score

CCSD CCRPI 2015-16 Scores

The Cherokee County School District for the fifth consecutive year has exceeded the State’s average score under the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) system that annually assesses student academic achievement and progress… and increased its average score by more than 3 points!

The School District’s average CCRPI score for 2015-16 released today by the Georgia Department of Education is 81.6, up from 78.2 the previous year, and exceeding the Georgia average of 73.6.  Averages at all three levels of CCSD schools – elementary, middle and high – increased; no schools scored below 64.

Individual pieces of data used to formulate CCRPI, such as Georgia Milestones assessment results and graduation rates, are analyzed by school and CCSD data management and leadership teams upon receipt throughout the year.  As a result, CCSD’s efforts to track college and career readiness and address school performance issues are not halted while waiting for the State to calculate a score based on these metrics.

Additionally, School Board Policy provides for an administrative team to intervene whenever the Superintendent of Schools determines action is needed.  The process, which has been utilized three times in recent years, sends a team of CCSD leaders to the school for a thorough operational review with specific recommendations issued for changes.

Annual CCRPI scores do serve a purpose for CCSD: the 2014-15 CCRPI scores were designated by the School Board as the benchmark for achievement for our Strategic Waiver System reform model; we now are working to improve annually on those benchmark scores… which these new results illustrate is being accomplished.

“We applaud the hard work underway by students, teachers and staff in schools across CCSD to ensure that every student is as successful as possible, which we know also requires the support of parents, families, volunteers and partners,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “Thank you to everyone who plays a role in preparing our future generation for college and career readiness… together we’re successfully ‘Educating the Emerging Generation!’

2015   CCRPI 2016   CCRPI
Arnold Mill 76.2 77.5
Avery 80.3 87.1
Ball Ground 68.9 75.7
Bascomb 87.8 93.1
Boston 84.8 81.7
Canton 60.0 68.7
Carmel 75.0 83.1
Clark Creek 75.7 78.5
Clayton 75.6 75.9
Free Home 84.9 76.6
Hasty 62.4 64.5
Hickory Flat 82.6 88.4
Holly Springs 56.9 68.6
Indian Knoll 72.4 78.8
Johnston 81.3 80.0
Knox 68.5 78.3
Liberty 72.1 81.3
Little River 76.2 73.9
Macedonia 86.9 88.6
Mountain Road 69.5 83.3
Oak Grove 65.6 76.7
R.M. Moore 69.1 84.5
Sixes 80.0 83.3
Woodstock 75.1 77.4
STATE MS AVG 71.2   71.5
CCSD MS AVG 77.6 81.3
Creekland 78.9 84.4
E.T. Booth 84.3 86.4
Dean Rusk 78.7 82.1
Freedom 84.5 80.6
Mill Creek 74.8 78.6
Teasley 63.7 74.3
Woodstock 82.4 85.3
STATE HS AVG 75.8 75.7
CCSD HS AVG 83.0 85.6
Cherokee 79.7 71.8
Creekview 82.9 88.7
Etowah 88.0 85.1
River Ridge 83.1 89.5
Sequoyah 84.7 90.4
Woodstock 83.8 90.2
STATE AVG 75.5 73.6
CCSD AVG 78.2 81.6


CCSD Hosting Open House for Reviewing English Language Arts Instructional Resources Options

The Cherokee County School District is hosting an open house for stakeholders to review possible new English Language Arts instructional resources for Grades K-5.

The event, which is open to teachers, parents and other stakeholders, is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 15, in Room H21 at 1020 Keeter Road, Canton.

CCSD Educational Programs staff will be onsite to answer questions, and there will be evaluation and comment opportunities.

Resources on display will include:

Reading Writing Phonics
Guided Reading with Bookrooms and/or Classroom Libraries Units of Study—Lucy Calkins Fundations
Benchmark Advance Benchmark Advance X
Scholastic X X


School Board Approves Important Plans for CCSD’s Continuous Improvement Efforts

Category : CCSD

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, approved three important pieces in the School District’s continuous improvement efforts: the newly formatted annual update of the Strategic Plan, the new Instructional Framework and the newly formatted School Improvement Plans.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and his staff guided the Board members through the plans, which all are focused on improving teaching and learning throughout CCSD.

The five-year Strategic Plan, which is updated annually and incorporates goals set by departments and schools to achieve the School Board’s Major System Priorities, has been realigned to accreditation agency AdvancED’s “Standards for Quality School Systems,” which the organization will use in its review early next year for CCSD’s accreditation renewal.

“We’ve intentionally simplified the plan without sacrificing any accountability,” Dr. Hightower said.  “We think this will be an effective format for us going forward.”

The Instructional Framework (IF) is a set of expectations that will guide how CCSD teachers design instruction and assess student learning.  Just as CCSD adopts standards outlining expectations for students’ learning, the IF sets expectations for teachers’ instructional practices.

Full implementation of the IF spans a period of four years.  Teachers will continue to work for the rest of this school year in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to further study the IF standards and how they compare to current practices.  On the Staff Development day, scheduled for Jan. 2, 2017, all teachers will attend Zone meetings for additional guidance from Principals and Educational Programs’ staff on the IF implementation plan.

Board Chair Kyla Cromer thanked staff for their considerable work on the project, noting that she has heard very positive reviews from parents who attended stakeholder meetings including Georgia PTA President Lisa-Marie Haygood, a Sequoyah High School parent.

“She said ‘This is going to be what sets Cherokee County apart,’ and I agree with her,” Ms. Cromer said.

The newly formatted School Improvement Plans approved Thursday were based on “gap” analyses completed districtwide to compare CCSD schools to schools with similar demographics not only within the District, but also statewide.  The resulting comparable data provided Principals better information to use in setting two three-year goals, versus the former “laundry list,” and each goal was required to be “smart, specific and measurable.”  The majority of the goals – 41 – focus on literacy.

“I think the goals are fantastic.  They’re not only trying to bring up the bottom… but also extend the top,” Board Member Clark Menard said, noting he especially appreciates the “totally metric-driven goals.”

The Board also recognized and thanked members of the citizen committee, led by Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Buzz Ahrens, that successfully campaigned for the continuation of the Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).  Voters in the Nov. 8 election overwhelmingly voted to continue the Education SPLOST: 78,796 voters for a total of 73% said “yes” to the continuation… more voters than the four previous Ed SPLOST successful votes combined.  The School Board on Thursday approved a resolution officially declaring the election results.

“Education SPLOST funds are integral to the continued success of our School District,” Dr. Hightower said, noting the renewal allows CCSD to continue to use sales tax revenue to pay for school construction, renovation projects, technology upgrades, buying buses, acquiring land for future schools and retiring bonds.  “This success would not have been possible without the advocacy efforts of the citizen committee… thank you!”

During the meeting section when Board members bring up new issues, Mike Chapman asked his fellow board members whether they would consider reviewing board member compensation.  School Board Members for CCSD, the ninth-largest school system in Georgia, receive $600 a month for their service… which is significantly less than most large school systems, such as eighth-largest Henry County (which has only 14 more students than CCSD), where members receive $16,000 a year.

Board members, who noted the compensation had not increased in 15 years and any increase would not take effect until current members’ next terms — if re-elected, agreed to take up the issue at the Jan. 19 meeting.  If approved, an increase would require local legislation by Cherokee County’s State Legislative Delegation.

The School Board also:

  • Recognized Canton Elementary School STEM Academy as winner of the 2016 Georgia STEM Education Award for Elementary Schools;
  • Recognized CCSD Teacher of the Year Brian Carnes of Sequoyah HS;
  • Recognized the 2016-17 Reinhardt University/CCSD Mathematics Tournament winners;
  • Recognized State and Region Champions including Creekview HS softball, cross-country and competition cheerleading teams and coaches and Sequoyah HS and Etowah HS One-Act Play competition cast and crew members and directors;
  • Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations;
  • Approved the Board’s local governance training plan including a Feb. 11 retreat;
  • Approved a 2017-18 attendance area map correction.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017