District PTA Recognizes Outstanding Principal, Nurse and PTA Units

District PTA Recognizes Outstanding Principal, Nurse and PTA Units

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Category : CCSD

Acting 13th District Director Amanda Weber, District Outstanding Principal Mark Smith of Woodstock HS, and Cherokee County Council of PTA Chair Kathy Strom.

Cherokee County School PTAs, volunteers, support staff and administrators won multiple awards at the recent District PTA annual Spring Conference held April 26 in Canton. Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith was named Outstanding Principal for District 13, and Mill Creek MS Nurse Thania Molina was recognized as Outstanding School Nurse for District 13. Georgia PTA is comprised of 13 geographic districts; the 13th District covers northwest Georgia and includes Cherokee County, as well as Forsyth, Gordon and Whitfield counties.

At the Cherokee County Council of PTA level, Johnston ES Principal Amy Graham was selected as Outstanding Elementary School Principal, and Mill Creek MS Principal Dr. Kerry Martin was honored as the Outstanding Middle School Principal.

Model PTA awards were presented to Little River ES, Bascomb ES, Hickory Flat ES, Indian Knoll ES, Mill Creek MS and Woodstock HS. These schools, plus the addition of Mountain Road ES, were also named Outstanding Local Units for 2016-17.

Other District 13 award recipients included:

Visionary Award (tie)

  • Sue Palermo, FD Johnston ES
  • Scott Steinbrenner, Little River ES

Birney Butler Outstanding Educator

  • Reginald Kimball, Little River ES

Outstanding School Nurse

  • Thania Molina, Mill Creek MS

Outstanding Principal

  • Mr. Mark Smith, Woodstock HS

Best Ideas Awards

  • FD Johnston Joke Book

Model PTA Awards

Elementary Schools

  • Little River ES
  • Bascomb ES
  • Hickory Flat ES
  • Indian Knoll ES

Middle Schools

  • Mill Creek Middle School PTSA

High Schools

  • Woodstock High School PTSA

Outstanding Local Unit – 750 and below

  • 3rd place –Hickory Flat
  • 2nd place – Mountain Road
  • 1st place – FD Johnston

Outstanding Local Unit – 751 and above

  • 3rd place – Indian Knoll
  • 2nd place – Bascomb
  • 1st place – Little River

Outstanding Local Unit – Middle School

  • 1st place – Mill Creek MS PTSA

Outstanding Local Unit – High School

  • 1st place – Woodstock HS PTSA

Hearst Family School Partnership Awards

For Standard 1: Communicating Effectively

  • Bascomb ES

For Standard 5: Sharing Power

  • Mill Creek MS

For Standard 6: Collaborating with the Community

  • Little River ES


For Overall – all 6 standards

  • Mill Creek MS


District 13 Scholarship Awards ($200 each)

  • Jasem Amer, Bascomb ES
  • Tate Suders, Bascomb ES
  • Emlyn Bailey, Clayton ES
  • Gavin Coleman, Bascomb ES
  • Alexandra Hofstetter, 12th grade Cherokee HS
  • Maritza Augustin, Matt ES
  • Christian Mores, ET Booth MS

CCSD to Launch Canvas: An Online Learning Management System for Students, Parents and Teachers

Canvas logo

The Cherokee County School District this summer will launch Canvas: an online learning management system for students, parents and teachers.

The Canvas system was piloted successfully this school year in select classes to replace CCSD’s Aspen student and parent portals. Schools are contacting parents now to begin the simple account set-up process for a seamless districtwide transition to Canvas for the 2017-18 school year.

Canvas offers teachers and students greater opportunities for teaching and learning, and parents can access more information about their child’s courses, assignments, calendars and academic progress. Through Canvas, parents also can message teachers and easily reset their own password. This brief video highlights the system’s benefits.

“Our School District long has been a leader in the effective use of technology, and Canvas is another tool for continuous improvement,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Education is evolving with today’s emerging generation, and that means more of the online learning opportunities and digital backpacks that Canvas offers. I strongly believe that Canvas will take us to the next level in teaching and learning, and we already are preparing our teachers to fully harness its potential.”

Parents of students in kindergarten through fifth grade will continue to receive their child’s homeroom teacher name at the school’s walk-though/open house event. Students in Grades 6-12 will receive schedules via an email sent to their CCSD Office 365 account; the schedules subsequently also will be emailed to parents.

Parents are encouraged to learn more about Canvas by setting up an account; detailed instructions are online here. To set up an account, which takes only a couple of minutes, parents need the student ID (5 or 6 digits) and GTID (10 digits) for each of their children, who all can be added to one Canvas parent account. These IDs are in the Aspen system or can be obtained from the school’s front office. The Aspen system will be offline for public use as of June 30, 2017, so parents are encouraged to look up these IDs and any other data they want to save before then.

In addition to direct access via the myccsd link, the CCSD website also will feature an app-style button link on its homepage; Canvas also offers a highly-rated app (listed under Canvas by Instructure in app stores) for mobile devices. A CCSD Canvas help desk already is operational, and emails may be sent to CCSD Technology staff here. Plans are underway to provide parents with sign-up assistance and information at school open houses and curriculum nights.

Message from Superintendent: Investigation at Sequoyah HS

Category : CCSD

On behalf of the Superintendent, this is to advise that Sequoyah High School is investigating rumors of a photo posted on social media. The rumored photo contained a gun with the message “The end is near,” but no other details. In an abundance of caution, CCSD School Police is investigating this rumor. To compound the situation, a parent acting on information received from her student, called 911 this morning and made an erroneous report of an emergency; as a result, multiple law enforcement agencies arrived at the school, but after quickly assessing the situation, determined there was no emergency or threat. Anyone with any information, including a screenshot of the rumored photo, should contact CCSD School Police Department at (770)479-1871. The Cherokee County School District takes the safety and security of students very seriously. Students and their parents are reminded that making terroristic threats is a crime for which there are consequences.
Barbara P. Jacoby
Public Information, Communications & Strategic Planning
Cherokee County School District
P.O. Box 769 Canton, GA 30169

Woodstock HS Names New Head Softball Coach

Category : CCSD

A new head softball coach is headed to Woodstock High School!

Alex Gray, recently approved by the Cherokee County School Board as a new physical education teacher at Woodstock HS, will take over as head softball coach for the 2017-18 school year. Coach Gray brings 11 years of experience to the 7A Lady Wolverine program, including several State playoff appearances.

Alex Gray

Alex Gray

“We are excited to welcome Coach Gray aboard,” Woodstock High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Tonya Sebring said. “His coaching experiences and competitive nature make him a great asset to our athletic program. I look forward to him challenging our athletes and working with our team toward the goal of hanging additional championship banners for the Wolverine Nation.”

Coach Gray graduated from Valdosta State University, where he played on the school’s baseball team. Upon completion of his baseball career, he entered into coaching, serving as an assistant with the Valdosta State University Women’s Fast-Pitch program in 2002. He left to pursue a career in the corporate sector, but quickly realized coaching was his true passion.

While working to acquire his teaching certification, Coach Gray served as a community coach in the Valdosta area. He landed his first head-coaching job at Richmond Hill High School in 2008, where his team finished with a record of 15-13 and qualified for State playoffs. From there, he transitioned to the well-respected program at Lowndes High School.

With an overall coaching record of 67-34, he took his team to the Elite 8, won back-to-back region Championships (2010, 2011), was a two-time Region Coach of the Year and signed nine players to college scholarships. In 2012, his peers selected him as the Head Coach of the South All-star Team in Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Summer Softball Showcase.

In 2012, Coach Gray accepted the position of Assistant Softball Coach for the University of Connecticut for two years, followed by a year on staff at Ball State University. Although he considered the opportunity to coach at the Division 1 level an honor and a great experience, Coach Gray decided to return home to Georgia to settle down and start a family. Last year, he served as the Head Softball Coach at Oglethorpe County High School, where he led the Lady Patriots to the Sweet 16 for the first time in the school’s history.

CCSD High Schools Named to “Best High Schools” List!

U.S. News and World Report Silver MedalThree Cherokee County School District high schools have been named to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools” list!

Etowah High School, River Ridge High School and Woodstock High School earned spots on the magazine’s prestigious list based on multiple factors, including college readiness, academic performance, graduation rates and success of disadvantaged students. Only 6,000 of the country’s 22,000 public high schools were named to the list released this week.

“We know our schools are outstanding, and it’s both exciting and reaffirming to see them receive national recognition for achievement and continuous improvement,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Congratulations to these schools, their students and parents, teachers and staff, partners and volunteers!”

Etowah HS was ranked No. 1812 in the country out of 22,000 public high schools nationwide, with River Ridge HS at No. 1921 and Woodstock HS at No. 1961 – all three within the top 10 percent of U.S. schools. The three schools won Silver Medals from the magazine, which awards gold, silver and bronze recognitions. Data for the rankings is based upon the 2014-15 school year, according to the publication.

Woodstock HS Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Semi-Finalist!

A.J. Cox

A.J. Cox

A Woodstock High School senior has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semi-finalist!

A.J. Cox is one of only 700 students nationwide to qualify for the final round of the national competition. These semi-finalists are considered to be among the best and brightest of the 3.5 million graduating seniors in the nation’s Class of 2017

Semi-finalists are chosen based on academic achievement including outstanding performance on the ACT or SAT, personal character, leadership and service activities; application is by invitation only. Only 161 students will be honored as finalists at a White House ceremony.

The Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to honor and recognize extraordinary graduating seniors.

“The achievements of these outstanding students deserve acknowledgement,” said Marina C. McCarthy, Chair of the Commission on Presidential Scholars. “The most precious resource of the United States is its talented young people.”

A.J. is an exemplary student, and earlier this year also was named a 2017 National Merit Scholarship finalist… one of the most prestigious recognitions for graduating high school seniors! His outstanding performance on the SAT earned him the title of Woodstock High School’s STAR Student through the statewide recognition program, and A.J. recently was named a regional finalist in the national Coca-Cola Scholars competition.

In addition to academic success, A.J. also has earned titles for his talents as a public speaker, academic bowl team member and competitive swimmer including his recent triumph as the 7A State Champion in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. He’s active in his school and community and is a promising young leader, noted by his selection to serve as a sophomore on the Model Atlanta Regional Commission.

Seventeen CCSD Students Place in Georgia PTA Reflections Fine Arts Contest!

Category : CCSD

Seventeen Cherokee County School District students placed in the 2016-17 Georgia PTA Reflections fine arts contest, with three winning first place!

The annual contest gives students in all grades and abilities the opportunity to create original works of art in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts for the opportunity to earn recognition at the school, district, state and national levels. This year’s theme was “What is Your Story?”

CCSD’s State-level winners are:

Dance Choreography
First Place: Madeline Fiscarelli, Etowah HS, Grade 9

Madeline Fiscarelli

Madeline Fiscarelli

Film/Video Production
First Place: Sidney Samuel, Hickory Flat ES, Grade 5
Third Place: Barbora Kocsis, Sequoyah HS, Grade 11

Second Place: Willa Faulkner, Macedonia ES, Kindergarten
Honorable Mention: Kayla Lambert, Etowah HS, Grade 9

Willa Faulker

Willa Faulkner

Sidney Samuel

Sidney Samuel

First Place: Clayton Tucker, Dean Rusk MS, Grade 6
Second Place: Raven Winant, Sequoyah HS, Grade 12
Third Place: Michael King, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Grade 4
Third Place: Huck Wallace, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Grade 3
Honorable Mention: Preston Johnson, Indian Knoll ES, Grade 5, Special Artist
Honorable Mention: Brooks Keehley, Sequoyah HS, Grade 9
Honorable Mention: Ryan Weber, Bascomb ES, Grade 4, Special Artist

Clayton Tucker

Clayton Tucker

Theme Search Award
Shelby Rice, Bascomb ES, Grade 5, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”

Shelby Rice

Shelby Rice

Visual Arts
Second Place, Chrissy Ginter, Sequoyah HS, Grade 12
Third Place: Chloe Mnich, E.T. Booth MS, Grade 8
Honorable Mention: Alexia Prewett, Johnston ES, Grade 5, Special Artist

3D Art
Second Place: Cade Strom, Cherokee HS, Grade 10

Cherokee County School Board Appoints New and Reassigned Assistant Principals and Administrators

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, April 20, 2017, approved the appointment of new and reassigned assistant principals and other administrators for the 2017-18 school year.

The list of appointments is the final piece in the School District’s three-month process to fill leadership positions due to retirements, promotions and growth.

Dr. Hightower praised School Operations and Personnel Management staff for their diligence and dedication in completing the significant hiring and promotion effort. The group of new leaders, he said, is “simply phenomenal.”

The new and reassigned administrators approved Thursday are:

• Dr. Amanda Ruiz: Supervisor, Middle School/High School Curriculum
• Steven Payne: Coordinator Curriculum Support (Social Studies/Career, Technical and Agricultural Education)
• Joy Silk: Coordinator Curriculum Support (Digital Content)
• Angie Goff: Transportation Coordinator of Routing
• Lt. Jay Baker: Lieutenant, School Police Department
• Connie Henderson: Coordinator of Payroll
• Angela Greene: Assistant Principal, Arnold Mill ES
• Michelle Calkins: Assistant Principal, Boston ES
• Lauren Roach: Assistant Principal, Canton ES STEM Academy
• Rachel Wasserman: Assistant Principal, Carmel ES
• Susan Bruno: Assistant Principal, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy
• Kerry Estep: Assistant Principal, Hickory Flat ES
• Jennifer Landry: Assistant Principal, Indian Knoll ES
• Tammie Anderson: Assistant Principal, Knox ES
• Emily Spira: Assistant Principal, Knox ES
• Patricia Nay: Assistant Principal, Macedonia ES
• Yolanda Torres: Assistant Principal, Woodstock ES
• Leah Bleisath: Assistant Principal, Creekland MS
• Nicholas Zomer: Assistant Principal, Creekland MS
• Dr. Dianne Steinbeck: Assistant Principal, Dean Rusk MS
• Leigh Rogers: Assistant Principal, E.T. Booth MS
• Lawrence Gluckson: Assistant Principal, Freedom MS
• Dr. Lea Campos: Assistant Principal, Woodstock MS
• Charles Ingham: Assistant Principal, Cherokee HS
• Dr. Judy Wright: Assistant Principal, Cherokee HS
• Ken Nix: Assistant Principal, Etowah HS
• Cassandra Mathious: Assistant Principal, Etowah HS
• Stephanie Barber: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Stephanie Norris: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Mike Santoro: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Heather Phillips: Assistant Principal, Sequoyah HS
• Chris Bennett: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Dan Gagnon: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Nancy Henson: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Lori Etheridge: Teacher on Special Assignment, Mountain Road ES
• Nate Cline: Teacher on Special Assignment, R.M. Moore ES

During the meeting, the School Board also heard a positive report from Citigroup Global Markets, which was approved to issue and sell bonds for voter-approved Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) uses, and from Davenport & Co. financial consultants.

The presentation reported that CCSD’s recently improved credit rating and already strong reputation made for a successful bond sale, noting that the numerous interested buyers allowed for the interest rate to be lowered to 2.56% overall, while yielding $21.8 Million in funding for SPLOST projects.

The School Board also heard a presentation on a new type of school bus that has been successfully piloted this school year and will be proposed for expansion next school year.

The “Type A” bus, which is smaller and lower to the ground, will be used for CCSD’s special needs preschool children. The buses are equipped with seat belts, air-conditioning, a lower first step and all standard bus safety features.

“These are built like a bus and perform like a bus,” Transportation Director Jim Georges said, noting the “Type A” buses will be easier to drive and run on regular unleaded gas instead of diesel.

The proposed order of seven buses, which will be incorporated into the recommended budget presented to the School Board for review next month, will cost $423,143 – which is $224,876 less than the same purchase of traditional buses.

The School Board also:

• Announced CCSD’s observation of April as the Month of the Military Child and Friday, April 21, as the related Purple Up Day;

• Heard presentations from Student Delegates Kayla Brader of Woodstock HS and Meghan Hines of Etowah HS;

• During Public Participation, the Cherokee Chorale, a CCSD Partner, presented $500 grants to each of CCSD’s seven middle school chorus programs, as well as a gift to the family of the late E.T. Booth MS chorus teacher Kevin White;

• Recognized Creekview High School senior Austin Miles for achieving a perfect ACT score;

• Recognized E.T. Booth Middle School Media Specialist Amanda Graves as winner of the 2017 Georgia Library Media Association Intellectual Freedom Award;

• Recognized Clark Creek ES STEM Academy as 2017 Georgia winner of the Program Excellence Award Presented by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association;

• Recognized CCSD Counselors of the Year;

• Recognized CCSD 2017 Spelling Bee Winner Sharon Pradeep of Little River ES;

• Recognized 2017 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl first-place District, Regional and Divisional Winners;

• Recognized CCSD Region and State Technology Fair Winners;

• Recognized Clark Creek ES STEM Academy’s BrickMasters, a FIRST Lego League Robotics Team, as winners of the Research Presentation Award at State Finals;

• Recognized Region and State athletic champions;

• 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 special lease agreements;

• Approved the surplus of a small parking lot adjacent to the former Building B; and,

• Met in executive session to review a real estate matter and litigation, but took no action upon returning to open session.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, 2017; Strategic Work Session at 6 p.m.

Sequoyah HS Senior Wins National Merit Corporate Scholarship!

A Sequoyah High School senior has won a National Merit corporate scholarship!

Alex Morrison

Alex Morrison

Alex Morrison, who earlier this year was named a National Merit finalist, this week was named the winner of a National Merit Textron Scholarship. He plans to pursue a career in radiology.

Textron Inc., through the Textron Charitable Trust, provides scholarships annually to National Merit finalists who also are children of its employees. The multi-industry company based in Providence, RI includes operations in aerospace technology, commercial products and financial services.

Alex is one of only about 1,000 distinguished high school seniors nationwide to win corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

Sequoyah HS Earns International Skills Diploma Seal!

Sequoyah High School has been approved for a State-approved diploma seal!

The school successfully applied to the Georgia Department of Education for authorization to issue the International Skills Diploma Seal to eligible graduating seniors beginning this school year.

Georgia International Skills Diploma Seal

The program recognizes students who complete an “international education curriculum and engage in extracurricular activities and experiences that foster the achievement of global competencies… it is a signal to employers and higher education institutions that a student is prepared to participate in the global economy.”

To earn the designation, students must: complete at least three credits in the same world language and/or English for Speakers of Other Languages; at least four credits in courses determined to have an international focus (e.g., international economics, world/non-US history, world geography, etc.), at least four extracurricular activities and experiences with global themes and/or in global contexts (e.g., exchange programs, international and language clubs, travel abroad), 20 hours of community service involving a global/cross-cultural public service project and a capstone presentation on the knowledge gained in these courses and activities.

Sequoyah High School will be recognized for this accomplishment by State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods at a ceremony later this month.

“We’re proud Sequoyah has earned this prestigious seal of approval to further recognize outstanding students with strengths in this field,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “This new honor builds upon our School District’s success in developing and promoting a variety of programs to best prepare students as they plan and pursue their future career paths.”

Sequoyah HS joins three other CCSD schools in offering the seal: Cherokee HS, Etowah HS and Woodstock HS.