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

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.


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

Isabelle Riddle

Isabelle Riddle

A Cherokee County School District high school senior has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semi-finalist!

Isabelle Riddle of Sequoyah High School is one of only 700 students nationwide selected to advance to the final round of the national competition. They are considered among the most distinguished graduating high school seniors of the nearly 3.5 million students in the Class of 2017 nationwide.

Honorees are selected based on academic achievement including exceptional performance on the ACT or SAT, personal character, leadership and service activities; application is by invitation only. Only 161 students will be named finalists this spring and be invited to a White House ceremony.

“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.”

The U.S. President Scholars program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor top graduating seniors.

Last month, Isabelle was named a 2016-17 Coca-Cola Scholar… one of only 150 students nationwide selected for the $20,000 scholarship. She also was named the STAR Student for Cherokee County based on her exemplary academic performance, and is her school’s Student Delegate to the Cherokee County School Board.

An AP Scholar with Distinction, Isabelle has won the PSAT Academic Achievement Award and an Academic Letter. She has served as National Honor Society President and Student Government Treasurer and volunteers for HFDA Gives Back (a service club she founded) and MUST Ministries as a Summer Lunch Coordinator. Isabelle also has won awards for her dancing talent from the Georgia State PTA Reflections Contest and One National Dance Competition.


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

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

Willa Faulker

Willa Faulker

Sidney Samuel

Sidney Samuel

Photography
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 Minich, 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.


Eight CCSD High School Seniors Named 2017 Georgia Scholars!

Photos of CCSD 2017 Georgia Scholars

Eight Cherokee County School District high school seniors have been named 2017 Georgia Scholars!

Through the Georgia Scholar program, the Georgia Department of Education identifies and honors high school seniors who have achieved excellence in all phases of school and community life including carrying “exemplary course loads” and excelling in all courses, successfully participating in inter-scholastic and extra-curricular activities. Only 183 graduating seniors from schools across Georgia will receive the honor, which includes a seal for his or her diploma.

The CCSD honorees are: from Creekview HS, Austin Griffin, Michelle McCord, Austin Miles, Jack Pace and Haleigh Streak; from River Ridge HS, Cecelia Fornuto; from Sequoyah HS, Daniel Gordon; and from Woodstock HS, Abbey Barrett.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to each of our 2017 Georgia Scholars,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “These students have exemplary academic performance but they’ve also gained soft skills by taking on leadership roles within their schools and communities. I am confident we will hear great things about their accomplishments in the near future.”


Avery ES Wins CCSD Elementary School Academic Bowl!

Avery ES team members and coaches celebrating their first-place victory are, from left to right, front row: Cameron Thrower, Dakota Youngblood, Tatum Carmichael, Christina Warren, Adriana Palmer; back row: Coach Ruth Knott, Carina Rossi, Andrés Klementzos, Captain Xander Candelario, Captain Kinley Sikes, Cody Webb, Coach Kristi Eno and Principal Dr. Lisa Turner.

Avery ES team members and coaches celebrating their first-place victory are, from left to right, front row: Cameron Thrower, Dakota Youngblood, Tatum Carmichael, Christina Warren, Adriana Palmer; back row: Coach Ruth Knott, Carina Rossi, Andrés Klementzos, Captain Xander Candelario, Captain Kinley Sikes, Cody Webb, Coach Kristi Eno and Principal Dr. Lisa Turner.

Avery Elementary School is the winner of the Cherokee County School District’s annual elementary school academic bowl!

The four league winners who played in the semi-final rounds on Saturday were Avery, Arnold Mill, Free Home and Sixes Elementary Schools. Avery and Arnold Mill then “battled it out” in the final round, with Avery edging Arnold Mill by 10 points for the win.

Avery ES team members and coaches are: Cameron Thrower, Dakota Youngblood, Tatum Carmichael, Christina Warren, Adriana Palmer, Coach Ruth Knott, Carina Rossi, Andrés Klementzos, Captain Xander Candelario, Captain Kinley Sikes, Cody Webb and Coach Kristi Eno.

Arnold Mill ES team members and coaches are: Cullen Moore, Aijaz Syed, Nate Griesbeck, Drew Gintert, Dellaina McCarty, Caden Banks, Kaiden Smith, Mitchell Gallion, Sarah Conkle and Coach Christina Dowdy.

Arnold Mill ES team members and coaches celebrating their second-place win are, from left to right, front row: Cullen Moore, Aijaz Syed, Nate Griesbeck, Drew Gintert, Dellaina McCarty, Caden Banks, Kaiden Smith, Mitchell Gallion, and Sarah Conkle; back row: Coach Christina Dowdy and Assistant Principal Dr. Christy Bowling

Arnold Mill ES team members and coaches celebrating their second-place win are, from left to right, front row: Cullen Moore, Aijaz Syed, Nate Griesbeck, Drew Gintert, Dellaina McCarty, Caden Banks, Kaiden Smith, Mitchell Gallion, and Sarah Conkle; back row: Coach Christina Dowdy and Assistant Principal Dr. Christy Bowling.


CCSD Credit Rating Continues to Improve, Save Taxpayer Dollars

Category : CCSD

The Cherokee County School District’s credit rating continues to improve — an achievement that saves taxpayer dollars.

The School District’s already positive Aa3 and AA- levels, as rated by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s financial service companies, were upgraded this week to Aa2 and AA- Positive, another step toward the goal of acquiring the top AAA rating from both agencies.

“A perfect rating is our goal, which is a challenge, as factors such as State funding and the local economy are considered, but we’re up the challenge,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting CCSD’s Division of Financial Management led by Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Owen deserves high praise for its efforts to upgrade the rating. “Our credit rating impacts costs including rates for insurance and for borrowing, and continuous improvement saves taxpayer dollars by keeping those rates low.”

Moody’s upgraded its rating to Aa2 from Aa3 to reflect CCSD’s improved financial position, as a result of strong revenue performance, enhanced expenditure controls and replenished reserves, and improved revenue due to an expanding tax base as the local and State economy recovers. The company specifically noted among CCSD’s credit strengths its use of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proceeds to retire bond debt from school construction and other capital infrastructure costs.

Standard & Poor’s revised the outlook on its AA- rating to Positive from Stable, which reflects an opinion of “improved financial performance” and points to an increasing likelihood of achieving AAA within the next two years if CCSD’s funding reserves continue at current levels or increase.

The company cited as strengths CCSD’s operating performance, strong available fund balance and moderate overall debt coupled with local economy and tax base growth. Standard & Poor’s also upgraded CCSD’s management score to Good from Standard, noting improved financial operations, such as budget development and monitoring, in the past two fiscal years.

Dr. Hightower said efforts are underway to further improve CCSD’s financial position including an adjustment of the tax collection timeline to as it relates to the timing of the annual infusion of local tax dollars into the operating budget.


15 CCSD Students Earn Honors at State Technology Fair

CCSD Technology Fair logo

Fifteen Cherokee County School District students earned top honors at the Georgia Educational Technology Fair!

The School District entered 46 projects into the State Fair based on students’ outstanding first-place performance at the Regional competition coordinated by Mill Creek MS Assistant Principal Dr. Richie Carnes. The 15 students who placed at State competed there against more than 1,000 other students in a range of categories such as robotics, animation and project programming.

CCSD students who placed first, second or third at State are:

First Place
Shaaz Ali, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy – Literacy Challenge
Evan Fistel, Dean Rusk MS – Robotics
Averie LaBarbera, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy – Video Production
Riley Mulkey, Dean Rusk MS – Animation
Christopher Newhouse, Woodstock HS – Technology Literacy Challenge

Second Place
Connor Campbell and Ethan Durst, E.T. Booth MS – Audio Production
Adam Nay and Cateline Ward, Etowah HS – Video Production
Reagan Pastor, Creekland MS – Internet Applications
Tyler Richards, Sequoyah HS – Project Programming

Third Place
David Holbrook and Tyler Wilson, Carmel ES – Mobile Apps
Brett Lougheed, Dean Rusk MS – Project Programming
Matt Moore, Creekland MS – Digital Game Design
Jack Sapere, E.T. Booth MS – Animation
Chandler Stevenson, Freedom MS- Robotics
Byron Sullivan, Sequoyah HS – Digital Game Design

Two students, Christopher Newhouse and Byron Sullivan, also won $250 scholarships at the State Fair.

Students who earned first-place at Regions will be recognized for that achievement and subsequent placement at States by the Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools and School Board at the April 20 School Board Meeting.