Clayton ES PE Teacher Wins Awards, Grant for Walking Program

Clayton ES PE Teacher Wins Awards, Grant for Walking Program

Category : CCSD

Clayton ES PE teacher Coach Anne Cross, left, is presented with the Walk in Circles Award by Patti Pittman, North Georgia Region School Outreach Coordinator for the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center.

Clayton Elementary School’s PE teacher is a State award and grant winner!

PE teacher Coach Anne Cross recently won a first-place Fire Up Your Feet award and $1,500 grant and a Walk in Circles Award from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center.

Fire Up Your Feet is aimed at increasing physical activity before, during and after school, and provides resources and rewards to schools for outstanding programs. Clayton ES and Coach Cross also earned a runner-up Fire Up Your Feet award and $250 grant last fall.

Coach Cross earned the awards for her initiatives including the Get Yourself Moving (GYM) walking/jogging before-school and recess program. In addition to tracking their laps, students also measure their steps during the day, as they travel from class to class, to the cafeteria and other destinations… all of which adds a math component to their healthy practices. Sometimes, according to Coach Cross, students even choose to take “the long way” back to class to earn more steps.

“Our school is already very active, but most any physical challenge that I put before our student body is accepted and well-received,” Coach Cross said. “The students tell me that I am crazy for thinking that they can log as many miles as I challenge them to do, but so far they always meet the goals I set for them.”


CCSD PTAs, Staff & Parents Win Top Georgia PTA Awards

Category : CCSD

The Cherokee County School District swept top Georgia PTA Awards for Principals, school nurses and school PTAs!

The Georgia PTA presents statewide awards to outstanding educators, PTAs and parents at its annual conference, and CCSD claimed an impressive list of high honors. The CCSD winners were recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the Board’s September meeting.

Dr. Kerry P. Martin

“We’re extremely proud to see our parents and employees applauded at the State level, as they our vital to our School District’s success,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “The PTA devotes thousands of volunteer hours in our schools, raises significant funds for school needs and advocates on behalf of our schools, our teachers and public education… and we can’t thank them enough for their dedicated service.”

Dr. Kerry Martin, Principal of Mill Creek MS, won the Outstanding Principal Award for middle schools.

“To be named Outstanding Principal of the Year is a huge honor,” Dr. Martin said. “I am committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to make our school the best it can be. In the end, it’s all about the students. If they, too, believe that I’m outstanding, that is the validation I need to continue doing what I love, supporting students in a positive way.”

Whitney Nolan

Whitney Nolan, Principal of Hickory Flat ES, won the Outstanding Principal Award for elementary schools.

“Just to be nominated for this award by our nationally recognized PTA at Hickory Flat is both an honor and a blessing!” she said. “Serving this community as principal is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. I have stated many times that as the leader of Hickory Flat Elementary, I do not want the community to follow me — I want the community to join me. Being selected as the Outstanding Principal Award recipient for doing what I absolutely love makes it that much sweeter.”

Thania Molina

Mill Creek MS School Nurse Thania Molina won the Georgia PTA Outstanding School Nurse Award. After earning local and District 13 PTA honors, she was recognized as the best school nurse in the state for the significant and exceptional service she provides to the students and staff of her school.

Two CCSD PTA parent volunteers earned the prestigious Visionary Award: Sue Palermo of Johnston ES and Scott Steinbrenner of Little River ES. This high honor recognizes PTA volunteers who demonstrate an “above and beyond” approach to addressing and resolving community issues and concerns.

Sue Palermo

Scott Steinbrenner


CCSD PTAs swept the elementary division for the top honor of Outstanding Local Unit, with Little River Elementary School winning first place, Johnston Elementary School placing second, and Bascomb Elementary School ranking third.

The Georgia PTA recognizes excellence by school PTAs in fulfilling the organization’s various standards, and two CCSD PTAs won recognition for their projects.

Mill Creek MS was honored as the best in Georgia for Standard 1: Welcoming All Families. Little River ES was named tops in the State for Standard 4: Speaking Up for Every Child.

“We feel very strongly that Mill Creek MS should be inclusive of all students and families,” Dr. Martin said, noting the school PTSA last school year for its “Welcoming All Families” project made a specific effort to ensure students with special needs were included in recognitions such as Student of the Month and embraced programs including the Special Olympics and Exceptional Children’s Week.

“During Exceptional Children’s Week, we cherished the theme, ‘Every Child is a Different Kind of Flower and Together Make a Beautiful Garden,’” she said. “All students were supplied packets of wildflower seeds in science class to promote the message of inclusion. Our PE teachers embraced the week by modifying activities to promote empathy exercises to teach tolerance and understanding.”

Little River ES PTA made children with special needs the focus of its “Speaking Up for Every Child” project.

The PTA enlisted the participation of local businesses to help raise funds to enhance the school’s observance of Exceptional Children’s Week and arranged for a local drama troupe to educate and engage all students through a special performance.

Clark Creek ES STEM Academy PTA earned the Presidents Membership Award. Outstanding Advocacy Awards were earned by the PTAs of: Johnston ES, Mill Creek MS, River Ridge HS and Woodstock HS. Platinum Target Membership Awards were earned by the PTAs of: Hickory Flat ES, Mountain Road ES and Sixes ES.

The following schools earned Model PTA Awards: Bascomb ES, Freedom MS, Hickory Flat ES, Indian Knoll ES, Johnston ES, Little River ES, Mill Creek MS, Mountain Road ES, River Ridge HS and Woodstock HS.

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

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.

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

Woodstock HS Student Wins Prestigious Legion of Valor Award!

Katlyn smiles after the award is presented. She is one of only two recipients in Georgia and north Florida this year.

Watch this brief video about the outstanding Cadet and her award!

A Cherokee County School District student has won the prestigious Legion of Valor Award, the highest honor a Junior ROTC cadet can receive!

Woodstock High School Navy JROTC Cadet Lt. Commander Katlyn Deveau is one of only two cadets in Area 12, which includes all of Georgia and Northern Florida, to win the honor this year.

Lt. Mark Fagan, the school’s Senior Naval Science Instructor, presented the award to Katlyn as a surprise during her first period Naval Science class on Wednesday morning.

Navy JROTC Cadet Lt. Commander Katlyn Deveau, center, with her Legion of Valor award; she is pictured with her parents, Mark and Shannon Deveau.

Katlyn also was presented the Cadet Achievement ribbon for outstanding performance as a cadre at Area 12 Leadership Academy.

Her parents, Mark and Shannon Deveau, were present for the award and shared their proud congratulations with their daughter afterwards.

Lt. Mark Fagan presents Katlyn with the prestigious Legion of Valor award during Naval Science class at Woodstock HS.

CCSD Teacher Named Top Work-Based Learning Educator in Georgia!

Ms. Lloyd is congratulated by Dwayne Hobbs, program delivery manager for the Georgia Department of Education’s Career, Technical and Agricultural Education program.

A Cherokee County School District teacher has been named the top Work-Based Learning educator in Georgia!

Donna Lloyd, a Career Pathway teacher at Creekview HS, has won Georgia’s Work-Based Learning “Top Gun WBL Educator” award!

The award is presented by the Georgia Department of Education’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education division; the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Resource Network; and the Work-Based Learning/Youth Apprenticeship Affiliate of the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education as part of their annual conference for select Work-Based Learning (WBL) teachers.

During the conference held during summer break, the best of the best WBL teachers from across the state are given the chance to compete and hone their skills; the WBL program gives students the opportunity to receive credit while working in an environment related to their Career Pathway.

Throughout the three-day conference, participants were awarded points for their performance in group activities and the quality of documents created.

Individual events were: create a speech to students, parents, school staff, and business owners; create an end-of-year infographic, which provided important milestones of their individual programs; set up display booths; create business cards and program pamphlets; and create student employer recruitment materials. Group activities were: mock presentation to the school leadership team and breakout “escape game” that required teamwork, communication and recognizing the skills of others.

Ms. Lloyd was named winner of the “Top Gun WBL Educator” award for her top score!

She will be congratulated by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools during the August 17 School Board meeting.

PHOTO: Ms. Lloyd is congratulated by Dwayne Hobbs, program delivery manager for the Georgia Department of Education’s Career, Technical and Agricultural Education program.

CCSD Teacher Named to Georgia Professional Standards Commission Board

Category : CCSD

Beth Townsend

A Cherokee County School District teacher has been named to an important State education board!

Beth Townsend, a Sixes Elementary School special education teacher, was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate to serve on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Board.

“The PSC is a very important organization for ensuring our State’s public schools employ highly qualified teachers who are committed to educator ethics,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We are honored one of our teachers was selected for this role, as our School District is dedicated to the same mission. We know Ms. Townsend will represent herself, her school, our District and our profession well!”

Ms. Townsend will serve on the Educator Ethics Committee, one of two standing committees for the 18-member Board, which sets rules and standards for educators, certifies educators and holds educators accountable for meeting rules and standards.

The Committee meets monthly to review referrals from the Commission’s Ethics Division and make recommendations regarding probable cause and whether to take action, such as to issue a reprimand; or deny, suspend, revoke, or reinstate certificates, permits and licenses. The State will pay Ms. Townsend’s expenses to serve at the monthly Committee meetings in Atlanta.

CCSD School Wins Prestigious Georgia School Bell Award!

OGES logo The Cherokee County School District continues its Georgia School Bell Award-winning streak with Oak Grove Elementary School Fine Arts Academy earning the prestigious honor for 2017!

The Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals presents the distinguished Award to 10 schools in Georgia each year in recognition of outstanding curriculum and organizational leadership initiatives… this is the seventh consecutive year that at least one CCSD school has been honored.

GAESP logo

Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, led by Principal Penny Valle, earned the award for her program, “Anchor Standards.” The selection committee selects exemplary initiatives that result in positive change and demonstrate strong involvement of staff, students, parents and community.

“Anchor Standards” is a school-wide initiative through which teachers identified specific learning goals for each grade level, subject and grading period to be prepared for, tracked and updated through collaboration within Professional Learning Communities teacher groups. Administrators, community partners, volunteers and parents all play a role in the program’s success, and a Data Room provides a place to review results and talk strategy.

Principal Penny Valle

“We continually analyze the impact of prioritizing standards and aligning the targeted content and language objectives to show student mastery of key concepts and skills,” Principal Valle said. “So far, the results indicate significant student achievement growth in math and reading due to the implementation and focus on anchor standards.”

The school will be formally recognized and presented with the Award at the Association’s Fall Principals’ Conference in Savannah, and they will be recognized by the Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools and School Board at the School Board Meeting on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.

“We’re so proud of Oak Grove and Principal Valle for earning this impressive recognition in honor of their work to continuously improve classroom instruction,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Digging into data gives our teachers a better understanding of each individual child’s learning needs — where each needs more help or more challenges – and this impressive initiative does just that. Congratulations to the entire school community, as everyone played a role in this success, and their efforts and care are much appreciated!”

Recent past CCSD winners are: 2016, Bascomb ES; 2015, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy and Woodstock ES; 2014, Canton ES STEM Academy; 2013, Free Home ES; 2012, Liberty ES; 2011, Oak Grove ES.

Eight CCSD Schools Named National Beta Schools of Merit

The E.T. Booth Middle School Beta Club last school year organized a Veterans Day dinner for veterans in the community and their families.

Eight Cherokee County School District schools have been named 2017 National Beta Schools of Merit.

Cherokee, Creekview and Sequoyah High Schools and Creekland, Dean Rusk, E.T. Booth, Freedom and Mill Creek Middle Schools earned this recognition by supporting the youth service organization on their campuses.

National Beta Club logoNational Beta Club, which is the largest nonprofit educational youth organization in the nation, includes Senior clubs for students in grades 9-12 and Junior clubs for students in grades 4-8. Its mission is “to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among elementary and secondary school students.”

The Schools of Merit honor recognizes schools’ “dedication to academic excellence, leadership development and commitment to celebrating students’ achievements,” according to Bob Bright, chief executive officer of the National Beta Club.

The schools were recognized this week at the 2017 National Beta Convention in Orlando, Fla.

“We want every student to graduate with excellent academic preparation to succeed in college and career, and we also want them to develop strong character,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Offering Beta Clubs in our schools is one of the ways we grow leadership skills and a passion for community service in our students.”

The Superintendent and School Board will recognize these schools at the Aug. 17, 2017 School Board meeting.