CCSD Celebrates Third Annual Bus Driver Appreciation Week Breakfast!

CCSD Celebrates Third Annual Bus Driver Appreciation Week Breakfast!

CCSD school bus driver Sonny Carmichael salutes the crowd with a wave of a celebratory muffin, as he is recognized for 52 years of service.

Watch a video from the celebration here!

The Cherokee County School District Transportation Department on Tuesday celebrated its third annual Bus Driver Appreciation Week breakfast.

School bus-themed decorations graced tables and walls.

The School District’s 500 bus drivers, monitors, specialists, technicians and administrators were treated to breakfast provided by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at CCSD’s bus shops in Holly Springs and Woodstock.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Community Development Officer Janet Read gave sponsor remarks, thanking bus drivers for their service. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and Transportation Director Jim Georges also shared messages of appreciation. School Board members attended at both locations to show their appreciation.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower speaks with school bus driver Kay Saunders and thanks her for taking care of students each day.

“Our school bus drivers carry the most precious of cargo, and they do so with great pride and professionalism,” Dr. Hightower said. “We value our school bus drivers and invest in continuous training to assist them in maintaining safety at all times. We hope that everyone in our community will join us in thanking school bus drivers for all they do to care for our children!”

Everyone in attendance received a gift bag, with gifts provided by community partners including Chick-fil-A restaurants of Cherokee County, Roly Poly in Towne Lake, Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center and Waffle House. Credit Union of Georgia and Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q provided door prizes.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Community Development Officer Janet Read praises CCSD’s school bus drivers for their commitment and love for children.

CCSD bus drivers every day transport 29,000 students along routes totaling 20,000 miles. In addition to the District’s event, many CCSD schools and PTAs organized special activities to thank bus drivers for all that they do.

School Board Vice Chair Mike Chapman, center, and School Board Member Patsy Jordan, herself a former school bus driver, right, talk with bus driver Louisa Vital before the breakfast.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta provided a small gift with a sweet message for bus drivers at the breakfast, which the organization sponsored.

CCSD Transportation Director Jim Georges thanks school bus drivers for their hard work and diligence in transporting thousands of students to and from school.

CCSD school bus drivers were treated to breakfast today as a celebration of School Bus Driver Appreciation Week at both the Holly Springs and Woodstock bus garages. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta sponsored the event.

CCSD school bus driver Thomas Thorpe picks up a Chick-fil-A biscuit and coffee at the Bus Driver Appreciation breakfast, sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

School Board Member Patsy Jordan, a former school bus driver, takes a seat behind the wheel to check out one of CCSD’s new smaller buses for its preschool program.


CCSD School Named Finalist for Top Statewide STEM Education Award!

STEM Education Awards logoA Cherokee County School District school has been named a finalist for a top statewide STEM education award!

The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative have selected Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy as a finalist for its 2017 Georgia STEM Education Awards.

The Georgia STEM Education Awards recognize schools, programs, and companies in a range of categories for outstanding efforts and achievements in supporting and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education in Georgia. Clark Creek ES STEM Academy is a finalist in the STEM Certified School category. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on November 3 at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta.

“We’re so proud to see Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy recognized at the state level for its achievements in teaching and learning,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “A Title I school, Clark Creek serves children who face challenges many of their peers do not, so the school’s ability to exceed schools statewide in the crucial area of STEM education makes this honor that much more impressive. Congratulations to the entire school community!”

This is the second time for Clark Creek ES STEM Academy to be named a finalist for these awards, having previously been recognized in 2016. The school, led by Principal Joey Moss, also recently was honored as the Georgia winner of the 2017 Program Excellence Award presented by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.

In 2015, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy earned the prestigious State STEM Certification… only the 11th elementary school in Georgia to earn this commendation, and the first in Cherokee County.


CCSD Schedules 2nd Round of Attendance Area Focus Group Meetings

A second round of Attendance Area Focus Group meetings to review possible solutions to Cherokee High School overcrowding has been scheduled to provide information responsive to audience questions.

The public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, and Thursday, Oct. 26, at Cherokee HS.

Miss the first round of meetings? Here’s the staff presentation: CCSD 2017 Attendance Area Focus Group Meetings Presentation.


CCSD High Schools, Theatre Group Raise Curtain on Fall Shows

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Category : CCSD

Cherokee County School District high schools and its Academy Street Theatre Group program are ready to raise the curtain on fall shows!

Academy Street Theatre Group
CCSD’s K-12 theatre program
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
7 p.m. November 16, 17 at Cherokee High School (LOCATION CHANGE!)
Tickets: $5

Cherokee High School
“Proof”
7 p.m., October 26, 27
“Nanna’s Naughty Knickers”
7 p.m., Nov. 10, 11 (DATE CHANGE)
“Elf on the Shelf”
Special Education Program Annual Holiday Play
7 p.m., December 1
“A Night of Shakespeare”
7 p.m., December 15
Tickets: $5

Creekview High School
“Free”
7 p.m., October 12, 13, 14
“The Glass Menagerie”
7 p.m. December 1, 2
Tickets: $5

Etowah High School
“Radium Girls”
7 p.m., October 19, 20, 21
Tickets: $7; $5 drama club members

River Ridge High School
“Love/Sick
7 p.m., October 19, 20, 21, 23 @7pm
Tickets: $10, “buy one, get one free”

Sequoyah High School
“Smoke on the Mountain”
7:30 p.m., October 18, 19, 21
Tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door; $5 for drama club members

Woodstock High School
“Great Gatsby”
7:30 p.m. November 9, 10, 11 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 11
Tickets: $10 adults; $7 students and senior citizens


CCSD Announces Annual Child Find Efforts

What is Child Find?

The purpose of Child Find is to identify, locate, and evaluate children and youth, who are suspected of having or have a diagnosed disability or developmental delay, in order to provide free appropriate Special Education services. The Cherokee County School District serves children from 3 years through 21 years of age.

How can children be referred?
The referral process must be initiated by the parent. Please direct the parents of children suspected of having a disability to CCSD (770) 479-1784.

When should a child be referred to Child Find?
A child should be referred when:
• A health or medical disorder interferes with development and or learning
• A child seems to have difficulty seeing or hearing
• A child appears to have social, emotional or behavioral difficulties that affect his/her ability to learn
• A child has a diagnosed progressive or degenerative condition that will eventually impair or impede the child’s ability to learn
• A child seems to have difficulty understanding directions like others that are his/her age
• A child’s speech is not understandable to family or friends
• A child has difficulty with reading, math, or other school subjects

What is Special Education and who is eligible for services?
Special Education is instruction designed to meet the unique learning strengths and needs of individual students with disabilities from ages three through twenty-one. A child must be evaluated and identified as having a disability to be eligible for Special Education and/or related services. Disability categories are: speech/language impairment, specific learning disability, traumatic brain injury, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, visual impairment, hearing impairment, orthopedic impairments, autism spectrum disorders, and other health impairments.

Where can I find out more about Child Find?
Call CCSD at (770) 704-4315 for additional information.


CCSD Lead Nurse Named a Statewide Award Finalist!

Category : CCSD

Jami Stefano

A Cherokee County School District nurse is a statewide award finalist!

CCSD Lead Nurse Jami Stefano is a finalist for the March of Dimes 2017 Georgia Nurse of the Year Awards, which recognize exceptional patient care, compassion, and service.

Hundreds of nurses are nominated in 15 categories ranging from Advanced Practice to NICU to Public Health. The nominations are reviewed and scored by high-ranking nurse leaders to determine the finalists.

Ms. Stefano, who began her service with CCSD in 2011, is one of only three school nurses statewide named to the elite group, which includes 200 nurses from hospitals, medical centers, healthcare systems and universities. She previously was honored with the 2015 Georgia PTA Outstanding Nurse Award in recognition of her work as the School Nurse at Bascomb Elementary School.

The finalists will be honored, and the 2017 Georgia Nurse of the Year Award winners for each category will be named, at the Nurse of the Year Awards on Nov. 4 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta – Buckhead.

#CCSDfam


CCSD Launches Inaugural Parent Academy Program

Category : CCSD

The inaugural CCSD VILLA class members take a group photo with School Board Members and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and members of his senior staff, and Lisa-Marie Haygood of the Georgia School Boards Association. Class members are: Donnamarie Alcott, Jamie Bobo, Buster Cushing, Robert Ditchen, Judith Dobbs, Samantha Dunn, Lauren Hekking, Bob Kovacs, Monica Orrico, Corrie Riggs, Robin Schorr, Katie Roller Schulz, Dawn Stastny, Kathy Strom, Kyle Tomeny and Kathy Winiarczyk. Not pictured: Bob Kovacs.

The Cherokee County School District this week launched its inaugural parent academy program.

Developed by the Georgia School Boards Association, VILLA (Volunteer Instructional Leadership Learning Academy) offers parents the opportunity to learn more about the public schools in their community. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, CCSD became the first school district in the state to pilot the program and will be featured in a GSBA video to promote VILLA.

School Board Member Kelly Poole speaks to the VILLA class during its first session, as Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower looks on.

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer brought up the idea of creating such a program during her re-election campaign, and said she was glad to partner with GSBA to make it a reality.

“The goal is for you to learn more about CCSD and take what you learn back out into the community and be advocates for CCSD,” Board Chair Cromer told the inaugural class during its first session on Tuesday night.

Applications were accepted from parents throughout the community, and the class of 16 participants will attend six sessions this fall including a field trip to several CCSD schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said he hopes to make the free program an annual offering, noting the first session was a great success.

VILLA logo“We truly appreciate the community’s interest in learning more about our operations and joining our School Board and employees in advocating for public education, our schools and our students,” Dr. Hightower said. “Our schools are stronger with our community involved, and VILLA is an outstanding opportunity to engage with parents.”

Through VILLA, participants will learn more about CCSD, including an overview of its governance model and the role of School Board members, Major System Priorities and CCSD day-to-day operations. The program includes question-and-answer sessions with School Board members, the Superintendent and senior staff. The program ends with a graduation dinner, sponsored by CCSD partner, Credit Union of Georgia.

Inaugural class members are: Donnamarie Alcott, Jamie Bobo, Buster Cushing, Robert Ditchen, Judith Dobbs, Samantha Dunn, Lauren Hekking, Bob Kovacs, Monica Orrico, Corrie Riggs, Robin Schorr, Katie Roller Schulz, Dawn Stastny, Kathy Strom, Kyle Tomeny and Kathy Winiarczyk.

#CCSDfam

The class of 16 parents from the community will attend six VILLA sessions presented by the Cherokee County School Board and CCSD staff.

 


CCSD Teacher Wins State Career Education Grant

Category : CCSD

Celebrating the grant are, from left to right, Freedom Middle School Careers teacher Amanda Whitmire, Learning Blade Vice President Joshua Sneiderman and Freedom MS Principal Sheila Grimes.

A Cherokee County School District teacher has won a State career education grant valued at $2,000!

Freedom Middle School Careers teacher Amanda Whitmire has been selected for the Learning Blade Middle School Grant Program: a partnership between Thinking Media/Learning Blade and The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

She is one of only 54 recipients selected statewide, and the sole winner from CCSD.

The program introduces more than 100 STEM careers and technologies to students through a literacy based format through which they solve problems, increase their STEM career knowledge, and learn about new career options.

“I believe Learning Blade will not only enhance student achievement, but also support college and career readiness,” Ms. Whitmire said.

PHOTO: Celebrating the grant are, from left to right, Freedom Middle School Careers teacher Amanda Whitmire, Learning Blade Vice President Joshua Sneiderman and Freedom MS Principal Sheila Grimes.


CCSD Senior Earns Perfect ACT Score!

Category : CCSD

Katherine Relick

A Cherokee County School District senior has achieved a perfect score on the ACT!

Woodstock High School senior Katherine Relick earned the top composite score of 36 on the college entrance and placement test.

On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score. Only 2,760 out of the more than 2 million students who took the exam in 2017 earned a score of 36.

Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead, according to ACT.  The exam includes English, mathematics, reading and science sections; each section is scored on a scale of 1-36, and the composite score is the average of the four.

In addition to this accomplishment, Katherine is her school’s Student Delegate to the School Board and Vice President of Student Government and a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Women in Science & Engineering, Science National Honors Society, Math National Honors Society and Giving Children Hope Club, for which she serves as President.

A Superintendent’s Key Scholar, Katherine has earned the University of Georgia Merit Award, was selected for and completed the Teen Leadership Cherokee program and volunteers as an Anna Crawford Children’s Center Student Advisor and for SPLASH (a volunteer group that teaches children with special needs to swim), Cherokee Family Violence Center and as a Sunday school teacher for her church.

Katherine will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the School Board Meeting on October 19, 2017.

#CCSDfam


Woodstock MS Math Teacher Named CCSD 2018 Teacher of the Year!

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower surprises Cherokee County School District 2018 Teacher of the Year Stephanie Vidrine with flowers during class midday at Woodstock Middle School.

Watch a video from the surprise presentation here.

Woodstock Middle School teacher Stephanie Vidrine shapes math lessons into stories that remain in students’ hearts and minds long after the equations are solved.

Her extraordinary gift for teaching her students, especially those who struggle with math, resulted in an equally impressive honor presented on Tuesday: Cherokee County School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

“Mathematics,” the 20-year teacher said, “is so much more than manipulating numbers and following procedures.  It is art, beauty, creativity, patterns and connections to other mathematical concepts and life experiences.”

The CCSD Teacher of the Year is selected by a panel of community leaders who evaluate applications from each school’s Teacher of the Year; school winners are selected by their peers.

Dr. Hightower gives Ms. Vidrine a congratulatory hug after the announcement that she will represent CCSD as its 2018 Teacher of the Year.

“We’re so proud of her,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower told a room full of Ms. Vidrine’s students after announcing their teacher’s honor. “She’s committed to you and what you do on a daily basis.”

Ms. Vidrine will be honored in November at the annual “Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration” sponsored by Credit Union of Georgia and other community partners.  She also will serve as CCSD’s nominee for Georgia Teacher of the Year; the winner will be named in the spring.

A special new prize for CCSD’s Teacher of the Year was announced as part of Tuesday’s surprise presentation: Shottenkirk Automotive Group – Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton is giving Ms. Vidrine a one-year lease of the vehicle of her choice!  Already overwhelmed by the initial announcement of her new title, Ms. Vidrine was clearly delighted by the additional surprise.

Sales Associate Ed Denovellis, left, and General Manager David Booth present Stephanie Vidrine of Woodstock Middle School with a giant key while telling her that, as CCSD Teacher of the Year, she has won a one-year lease of the car of her choice from Shottenkirk Automotive Group – Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton.

“I’m going to park the van in the garage!” she said, with a laugh, as she received a giant glittering gold key to celebrate the gift.  She then turned to her students to thank them. “You guys are my heart and soul… you make me better.”

Ms. Vidrine, who is a two-time school-level Teacher of the Year having previously earned the honor at Etowah High School in 2001, discovered her passion as a middle school student.

Her eighth-grade pre-algebra teacher had looked her in the eye and said: “You’ll never be any good at math.”

Never say never.

Dr. Hightower tells the class about Ms. Vidrine’s qualities and accomplishments that made her stand out from CCSD’s 39 other Teacher of the Year school-level winners.

Ms. Vidrine dedicated the next three years of her studies to deeply understanding math and connected with an Algebra II teacher who believed in her. She earned a perfect score on her Algebra II exam and found her perfect career.

“From that point forward, I wanted to teach mathematics and provide for my students the opportunity to achieve and excel in mathematics no matter their previous level of performance,” said Ms. Vidrine, who went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education from the University of Georgia.

Her addition of storytelling to math concepts totals a successful combination for students, who appreciate her so much that they stay in touch long after they’ve advanced, graduated and even pursued their own careers in math.

“She teaches in a way that almost prevents you from forgetting,” one student shared. “Almost every unit she taught had a personal story to it… and every story she told always related back to what we were learning, and everyone got excited when she announced she had a story to tell us.”

Woodstock Middle School Principal David Childress adds his congratulations and accolades for a teary-eyed Ms. Vidrine during the surprise announcement.

Principal David Childress recruited Ms. Vidrine to Woodstock Middle School from Etowah High School, where he previously worked alongside her as a fellow math teacher.

“She has a love for teaching the students who often struggle in math,” he said. “Stephanie is a powerful ball of mathematical energy.”

The proof of her powers, he said, is in the numbers: all of her students earned proficient or better scores on their State exams, and pulled CCSD’s highest marks for performance growth.

The improvement comes from hard work – on her part and on the part of her students, like those who choose to attend daily remediation classes she volunteers to hold during lunch.

As one student puts it, her class is like a Dr. Seuss book: a story, a lesson, a delight.

“Her teaching is like no other,” she said. “She is a teacher who I will never forget.”

From left to right: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower poses with Cherokee County School District 2018 Teacher of the Year Stephanie Vidrine and Shottenkirk Automotive Group – Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton General Manager David Booth.

Dr. Hightower leads Ms. Vidrine’s class in applauding her selection as the CCSD 2018 Teacher of the Year.

David Booth, General Manager for Shottenkirk Automotive Group – Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton, adds to the surprise announcement by telling Ms. Vidrine she has won a one-year lease for the car of her choice at his dealership.