31 CCSD Schools Named to Georgia’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll

31 CCSD Schools Named to Georgia’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll

Category : CCSD

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower participates in the lunchtime walking club at Sixes Elementary School – a Platinum-level honoree – with Coach Shona Roberts and students.

Thirty one Cherokee County School District schools have been named to the Governor’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll!

The recognition honors their commitment to the health and well-being of Georgia’s students through fitness and nutrition… an increase from 27 last school year!

The Honor Roll program recognizes and rewards the schools, students and teachers that demonstrate excellence on measures of SHAPE participation, data reporting, and student wellness. The Governor’s SHAPE initiative is a statewide program merging governmental, philanthropic and academic and
business communities to address childhood obesity.

Schools also receive prizes from the SHAPE program ranging from banners to sports equipment based on the medal level they achieved.

The 31 CCSD schools and their PE and Health teachers who made the recognition possible were recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the Board’s Sept. 14 meeting:

PLATINUM (14 of 96 statewide)

Avery ES
Chance Cain, Jason Fitts

Ball Ground ES STEM Academy
Jennie Allen

Bascomb ES
Ed Koschewa, Nettie Mosteller and Barry Stafford

Boston ES
Rena Ehlers and Scott Lambert

Clark Creek ES STEM Academy
Chris Sears, Kaila Muecke and Michael Bergeron

Clayton ES
Anne Cross

Indian Knoll ES
Scott Barber and Jason Bermudez

Johnston ES
Michael L’Esperance and Josh Philpot

Knox ES
James Adams and Debbie Buckner

Liberty ES
Sherri Knox, Jose Lago and Rick Meyers

Little River ES
Laurie Hall, Reggie Kimball and Joshua Sams

Macedonia ES
J.J. Cantrell and Brooke Hopkins

Sixes ES
Casey LeMaire and Shona Roberts

Woodstock MS
Rusty Harrelson, Darren Clark, Josh Foster, Lynn Kavanaugh and Sam Young

GOLD (7 of 25 statewide)

Creekland MS
Ray Catlett, Keith Fountain, Julie McRae, Stacy Rich and Matt Rumble,

Dean Rusk MS
Jake Hester, Syretha Marble, Steve McGowan, Janet Roach, Paul Singer and Julie Swanson

E.T. Booth MS
Daniel Barkes, Amanda Candelario, Phil Dutko, Bill Elliott, Trip Holton, Deborah Krug, Mike Roga, Erin Schuler, and Leigh Anne Shaw

Freedom MS
Karen Baker, Steve Blackwell, Patty Bonk, Laura Dunlap and Brad DuVall

Holly Springs ES STEM Academy
Amanda Anderson and Sharon Peters

Mill Creek MS
Thomas Fountain, Jana Galloway, Eliot Gaylean, Matt Harrelson, Donna Ross and Dana Townsend

Teasley MS
Don Deaton, Paige English, Connie Gaddis and Brian Puckett

SILVER (9 of 55 statewide)

Arnold Mill ES
Pat Neder and Allyson Phillips

Canton ES STEM Academy
Katie Manley and Pam Davis

Etowah HS
Lindsey Alexander, Courtney Hatchett, Brandon Chester, Howie DeCristofaro, Rob Graner, Charles Higdon, Rodney Hunter, Chris Pack, Kim Robertson and Greg Robinson

Free Home ES
Keith Furstenberg

Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy
Clint Shaw and Griff Tatum

Hickory Flat ES
Corinne Ingram

Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy
Chris O’Cleary

River Ridge HS
Julie Winfield, Scott Bradley, Sarah Goodbread, Deb Lea and Barry Lakes

Woodstock ES
Stefanie Cunningham and Scott Fortes

BRONZE (1 of 16 statewide)

Woodstock HS
Jeff Brown, Brent Budde, Kingston Clark, Anita Dodd, Alex Gray, Jarred Hughes, Josh Pierce,
Mike Powell, Mallory Ranfos and Tom Sheehan

CCSD Announces School-Level Teacher of the Year Winners

Category : CCSD

Congratulations to the Cherokee County School District’s School Teachers of the Year winners!

At the start of every school year, each CCSD school is asked to select its own Teacher of the Year.  These school-level winners now are eligible for the honor of Cherokee County School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year!

The Districtwide competition will be judged by a panel of community leaders based on applications submitted by the school-level winners.  The CCSD winner will be surprised in his or her classroom by the Superintendent of Schools this fall and will be honored, along with each school’s winner, at the 2018 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration in November.

The CCSD winner will be entered into the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

2018 CCSD School Teachers of the Year

Lynda Frederickson, ACE Academy

Tasha Cox Stancil, Arnold Mill Elementary School

Holly Miller, Avery Elementary School

Renay Wigley, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy

Judy Eason, Bascomb Elementary School

Jennifer Haygood, Boston Elementary School

Laurie Maselli, CCSD Preschool Centers

Cathy Fitts, Canton ES STEM Academy

Heidi Sansone, Carmel Elementary School

Shannon Hemphill, Cherokee High School

Nicole Brookshire, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy

Rebecca Heard, Clayton Elementary School

Chad Lanier, Creekland Middle School

Jason Hardin, Creekview High School

Mindee Calabrese, Dean Rusk Middle School

John Wilson, E.T. Booth Middle School

Brandon Grummer, Etowah High School

Kelly Wilkie, Free Home Elementary School

Janelle Haysman, Freedom Middle School

Mark Thompson, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy

Jennifer Bledsoe, Hickory Flat Elementary School

Valerie Wallace, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy

Angela Barnes, Indian Knoll Elementary School

Erin Myers, Johnston Elementary School

Amy Dickinson, Knox Elementary School

Danielle Kononen, Liberty Elementary School

Megan Mayfield, Little River Elementary School

Kirsten Hargadon, Macedonia Elementary School

Kathleen Burns, Mill Creek Middle School

Amanda Farmer, Mountain Road Elementary School

Heather Burgess, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy

Amberly Brown, R.M. Moore Elementary School

Amanda Sue Farist, River Ridge High School

Julie Geoghagan, Sequoyah High School

Dr. Kyle Shugart, Sixes Elementary School

Cassandra Fainter, Teasley Middle School

Kristen Irwin, Tippens Education Center

Carla Page, Woodstock Elementary School

Jamie Vogan, Woodstock High School

Stephanie Vidrine, Woodstock Middle School

Board Briefs: School Board Hears Plans for Relieving Cherokee HS Overcrowding



Etowah HS student delegate Katie Bishop leads the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The School Board on Thursday, September 14, 2017, heard plans for a public review of options to relieve overcrowding at Cherokee High School.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said he and his senior staff have been closely monitoring Cherokee High School enrollment, which now tops 2,600 — and developing options to provide relief.

While the campus is not “critically overcrowded” due to solutions already implemented, the Superintendent has committed to gathering public input to make a recommendation for School Board action… to take effect in the 2018-19 school year.

“This is a transparent process,” Dr. Hightower said.  “We will hold meetings that are open to the public, and we want to hear from everyone who has an opinion or concern about the possible solutions.”

Not only is the campus now home to 14 mobile units with 28 classrooms and 22 floating teachers, but 700 students crowd the cafeteria for each lunch period.  Only 196 students – a fraction of the 458 seniors – are able to park on campus (no underclassmen have the opportunity); and hallways, restrooms and other infrastructure cannot comfortably accommodate any further growth.

“Unfortunately, due to our School District’s decades of rapid growth coupled with a tax base that cannot generate enough revenue for us to ‘pay as we go’ with construction, we have a ‘mortgage’ to pay off from our aggressive building and major renovations plan… and not enough borrowing capacity to fund construction of a new high school ($70+ Million) in the next five years,” Dr. Hightower said.

While Dr. Hightower already had advised the School Board of his plans to include construction of a new high school campus to relieve Cherokee HS, which will take approximately three years to build, in the 2021 Education SPLOST referendum, he said Thursday that he strongly believes a solution is needed now.

“If we were two years from a solution, I might say we could do double sessions or another solution that would only involve Cherokee High School’s campus,” Dr. Hightower said.  “But we’re not in that kind of timeframe.”

To begin the recommendation process, Attendance Focus Group Meetings will be held Oct. 9-12 (a detailed schedule is below).  These meetings are open to the entire community: parents, employees, volunteers, partners, neighbors.  At these meetings, the Superintendent’s staff will share current data, projected growth and possible solutions.

The most important factors the Superintendent will take into consideration when reviewing these solutions are whether the changes will negatively impact teaching and learning and whether the recommendations will be fiscally responsible.  He will make a recommendation to the School Board at its November meeting, with a vote scheduled for the December meeting.

“No matter what options are considered during the process, I want our employees to know they will not lose their position with CCSD because of the solution the School Board chooses.  You will have a home,” he said.  “We’re in growth mode, and we need all the teachers and staff we have… and we’ll need more as we continue to grow.”

Several possible solutions already are being floated by parents in the community involving various schools in the Cherokee Innovation Zone, including ACE Academy.  All would require a shift of students or programs… and would need additional analysis as part of this input process.

The schedule of meetings is below – the public can attend any and all meetings, all of which are from 7 to 9 p.m.:

Canton ES STEM Academy: Oct. 9

Knox ES: Oct. 10

R.M. Moore ES: Oct. 11

Cherokee HS and ACE Academy: Oct. 12 at Cherokee HS auditorium

Also on Thursday, the School Board voted to advertise the CCSD Downtown Center, which is the name used for the offices at the Historic Canton High School building, and adjacent larger corner parking lot for sale.

The School Board also:

• Heard Strategic Work Session presentations on “Trends in Education” including topics such as the Canvas learning management system, the Balanced Literacy model, middle school STEM activities and a pilot program to use cameras in classrooms to improve instruction;
• Recognized Woodstock High School Navy JROTC Cadet Lt. Commander Katlyn Deveau as winner of National-level Legion of Valor Award;
• Recognized Georgia PTA State-level award winners;
• Recognized 19 CCSD educators for earning Apple Vanguard certification;
• Recognized 16 CCSD educators for earning Microsoft Innovative Educator Classroom certification;
• Recognized 10 CCSD educators as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts;
• Recognized 31 CCSD schools and their PE and Health teachers for being named to the Governor’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll;
• Recognized Creekview HS Senior Elhana Kelley for her election to the Area 1 North Region FFA Officer Team;
• Approved a proclamation in honor of Constitution Week;
• Approved a proclamation recognizing September as National Attendance Awareness Month;
• Approved the renewal of Partnership Agreements with Cobb EMC, Hobgood Baseball Inc., North Georgia Regional Education Services Agency, Piedmont College and Sequoyah Regional Library System; • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips; • Approved monthly financial reports;
• Approved the issuance of a tax anticipation note;
• Approved the surplus of property to be sold at CCSD’s annual surplus auction on Oct. 7 (more information posted here);
• Approved granting an easement to the Cherokee County Water & Sewerage Authority;
• Approved special lease agreements;
• Approved monthly personnel recommendations; and,
• Approved the annual contract with Ninth District Opportunity Inc.

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

Creekview HS senior Elhana Kelley is congratulated by the Board and Superintendent for her election to the Area 1 North Region FFA Officer Team.

The School Board recognized PE teachers from CCSD schools that were named to the Governor’s SHAPE Honor Roll.

The School Board recognized CCSD teachers for earning Apple Vanguard Certification as well as those earning Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert certification.

The School Board recognized Georgia PTA State-level award winners for 2016-17, including Model PTAs, Outstanding Principals, Outstanding Units, membership awards, as well as the 2017 Georgia PTA Outstanding School Nurse– Thania Molina from Mill Creek MS.

CCSD Celebrates School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists

Sixty-five speech-language pathologists – or SLPs, as they also are known – serve CCSD’s students who have difficulties with communication.

The Cherokee County School District is celebrating its School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists as part of the statewide appreciation week for these professionals.

Sixty-five speech-language pathologists – or SLPs, as they also are known – are highly trained professionals responsible for evaluating and treating CCSD students who have difficulty with communication.

Students who struggle with language also may struggle with understanding instruction, expressing what they know, or with making friends… but the work of speech-language pathologists assists them in overcoming these challenges.

“I know the positive difference these professionals make in the lives of children. I appreciate them, and hope you will join me in thanking them for their service,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “From teaching a child to say her first words to teaching a significantly impaired child to ask for help using a communication device, their contributions to the lives of students with these special needs are tremendous and long-lasting.”

Five Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists!

National Merit semi-finalists photosFive Cherokee County School District high school seniors today were named 2018 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists!

They are: of Etowah HS, Joseph Young; of River Ridge HS, twin sisters, Claire and Irene Chen, and Simon Yang; of Woodstock, Preston Alsup.

“Congratulations to these extraordinary students, their families and their teachers!” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We are proud of your continued academic achievement on the path to college and career success. Our Merit Scholar semi-finalists are known for their accomplishments in the classroom and through extra-curricular and community activities, and we look forward to seeing them progress through this process… and, we hope, to earning scholarships!”

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which oversees the prestigious competition, has named 16,000 semi-finalists, who were selected from a pool of 1.6 Million students based on outstanding 2016 PSAT scores. Less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors are named semi-finalists.

To be considered as a finalist, the students next will submit a detailed application noting their academic achievements, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors; an endorsement and recommendation from a high school official; and an essay. Students also must earn SAT scores that confirm their PSAT performance.

The anticipated 15,000 finalists will compete for 7,500 scholarships worth about $32 million, which will be awarded in the spring.

AT&T, Comcast Offer Cherokee County Families Lower-Cost Internet Options

As CCSD, and other school districts around the country, expands its use of a digital environment for curriculum content delivery, the need and preference by students to access these resources anytime and from anywhere is steadily increasing.

These links outline lower-cost options available to Cherokee County families that face financial challenges in accessing the Internet and the criteria you must meet to qualify for the services from either company.



CCSD Schools, Offices Re-opening Sept. 13, 2017

Category : CCSD

UPDATE 1:51 p.m. 9/10/17: Based upon Governor Deal’s declaration of an emergency and multiple weather briefings with Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency relative to impending heavy rains, strong wind and potential flooding and power loss from Hurricane Irma, the Superintendent of Schools is closing Cherokee County School District schools and offices and cancelling all district operations for Monday, Sept. 11, and Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.


We’re closely monitoring forecasts and the potential impact the storm may have on the community and our schools. Our Emergency Operations Facilitator is participating in National Weather Service debriefings and meetings with the county Emergency Operations Center. Information about how we will notify parents of any school closures, early dismissals or delays is here: http://cherokeek12.net/emergency-notifications/

CCSD Class of 2017 Earns Record High Scores on ACT

ACT Scores Chart

The Cherokee County School District continues to excel at preparing students for college and career success!

Scores released today show the Class of 2017 exceeded previous record high averages on the challenging ACT college entrance and placement examination. The students’ performance on the test also continues to top National and State averages!

“Our mission is to ‘educate the emerging generation’ in preparation for the challenges of higher education and the workplace, and these results show our community that our teachers are achieving that goal,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We are so proud of these students and their teachers, and we are so grateful for the leadership of our School Board and the support of our community that enables us to continuously exceed expectations!”

The CCSD average ACT composite/total score on the curriculum-based test is 23.2, rising from 23.1 last year and from 20.8 over the past decade; the State average increased to 21.4 (now ranked as the fifth in the U.S. among states that test at least half their students), and the National average rose to 21. Students earn a score on a scale of 1 to 36; the ACT is taken in lieu of or along with the SAT. Class of 2017 SAT scores are expected to be released later this month.

The CCSD Class of 2017 earned the system’s highest-ever scores across all subjects: Reading (24), English (22.9), Math (22.3) and Science (23) – and all of these subject scores exceed State and National averages. The number of CCSD seniors taking the ACT also climbed to 1,688, up from 1,623 the previous year.

When CCSD students enter college, according to State data, they also are more prepared than their peers, as 91.5 percent of graduates who enroll in a state college or university don’t need a single remedial class.

School and individual student ACT results are closely reviewed by Principals and their leadership and data-management teams to develop instructional improvement plans. Counselors also use the data to refine recommendations as to which entrance exams best position individual students for college admission and scholarship success. The ACT will be administered in CCSD this year on Sept. 9, Oct. 28, Dec. 9 and Feb. 10.

“While we celebrate these results, we remain focused on ensuring every student receives the best education possible and fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to us by their parents,” Dr. Hightower said. “Our country’s public schools provide a vital service to 51 million students and their families, and I believe there’s no greater public school system in our country than the one we have here in our community. We care about your children. We care about your children’s future. We care about your children’s future success.”

ACT Scores Chart

ACT Scores Chart

ACT Scores Chart

CCSD Statement on River Ridge High School 8/31/17 Incident

Category : CCSD

Dear Parents,

On behalf of the Superintendent, this message is to provide you with more information about a story currently circulating in the media and on social media regarding an incident at one of our high schools.

In this regard, a River Ridge High School math teacher on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 erroneously told two students their shirts with campaign slogans were not permitted in class. Her actions were wrong, as the “Make America Great Again” shirts worn by the students are not a violation of our School District dress code. The teacher additionally — and inappropriately — shared her personal opinion about the campaign slogan during class.

The school’s Principal immediately met with and apologized to these students and their families. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower is deeply sorry that this incident happened in one of our schools; it does not reflect his expectation that all students be treated equally and respectfully by our employees.

While we cannot discuss disciplinary action against a teacher, we can assure you that the students face no disciplinary action. The Superintendent also is instructing all Principals to meet with their teachers and staff to review the dress code and remind them that their political opinions should not be shared with students.

Thank you for entrusting us with your children each day. We care about them and their future success!

Barbara P. Jacoby

Chief Communications Officer

Cherokee County School District


Test of CCSD Emergency Notification System on Sept. 1

The Cherokee County School District tested its School Messenger emergency notification system on Sept. 1, 2017.

As part of the test, we sent test messages to all CCSD parents and the emergency contacts they provided to their children’s schools, and all CCSD employees.

Between 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Sept. 1, parents should have received emails, texts and phone calls to the email addresses and phone numbers you provided to your child’s school. If you did not, please contact your child’s school next week to verify the information we have on file.

To receive School Messenger texts, you must additionally opt-in to the system by texting any one of the following words to the number 68453: subscribe, opt-in or yes. You should receive an automatic response that you’re registered for messages; if you don’t, please contact your wireless provider, as some do not accept SMS messages.

On the home page of this website, you’ll see a red “Emergency Notifications” button that links you to useful information about our notification system and other related topics.

The safety of our students and employees is a top priority; thank you for trusting us with that responsibility.