Woodstock ES Earns National Certification for Digital Citizenship!

Woodstock ES Earns National Certification for Digital Citizenship!

Woodstock Elementary School has earned national recognition for its efforts to teach students digital citizenship!

Common Sense, a national nonprofit organization dedicated “to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology,” has recognized Woodstock ES as a Common Sense Certified School for Digital Citizenship.

The school was certified for its work in preparing students to use digital media safely, including how to avoid dangers such as loss of privacy, cyberbullying and plagiarism. Principal Kim Montalbano praised Media Specialist Amy VanFossen for coordinating the school’s successful certification process.

“We applaud the faculty and staff of Woodstock Elementary School for embracing digital citizenship as an important part of their students’ education,” said Liz Kline, Vice President of Education Programs for Common Sense Education, adding the school’s staff “deserves high praise” for teaching students digital citizenship skills necessary for their future success.

Ms. VanFossen will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the March 15 school board meeting.


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.



Cherokee County School Board Continues School Safety Initiative

Category : Board Briefs | CCSD

The School Board on Thursday, July 20, 2017, unanimously approved the second phase of a safety initiative to install security foyers in schools, with six projects planned for this school year.

The Board approved a proposal from Womack, Lewis & Smith for $207,500 to complete the second phase of the multi-phase project; the vote was unanimous, with Board member Kelly Poole abstaining.

Security foyers, which create a second layer of front entrance doors to better monitor visitor access, already have been successfully installed by the company at eight schools. Foyers will be installed this school year at Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, Hasty and Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academies and Indian Knoll, Knox and Woodstock Elementary Schools. Additional phases are planned to further secure other schools.

“We were pleased we had a bid and pleased it was a strong bid,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting that while only one proposal was submitted, it is for less than the amount budgeted by the School Board. Due to the special nature or the project and the company’s installation of the first phase, the lack of competition wasn’t surprising. “But if we were uncomfortable with this bid, we would have put it out again.”

School Board members heard two presentations during the meeting about upcoming pilot projects: one will improve Gifted programs for elementary school students, and the other will transform the “first day forms” process into a paperless experience for parents and staff.

The Gifted program improvements will be piloted at Avery Elementary and Macedonia Elementary Schools, with students participating in daily special advanced activities during a personalized learning time in their regular classroom, with all of these students in classrooms led by Gifted-endorsed teachers. This will replace the current model of pulling Gifted students out of all classes for one day a week for special activities.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole Holmes said the pilot will provide Gifted students with more challenging coursework without missing regular classwork or increasing their workload.

“They’re extremely excited about what could possibly be one of the greatest years we’ve had as far as our Gifted learners,” she said of feedback from students, parents and teachers, who all have been involved in the planning process. If the pilot proves successful, it will be expanded through multiple phases districtwide.

School Board member Patsy Jordan, a former CCSD Gifted-endorsed teacher, praised how the plan improves both teaching and learning opportunities.

“I’m super excited about this – I love this idea,” she said.

The second presentation focused on a pilot to replace paper registration forms with a digital system beginning in December. Mid-year enrollments will test the system, with a planned full launch for the 2018-19 school year.

The system will allow parents to provide CCSD with emergency contacts, required documents and other “first day” information for all of their children online in advance without the need to enter duplicate data. Not only will this save parents time, it also will improve CCSD staff efficiency and the accuracy of recorded information and reduce paper and printing costs.

“It’s painful,” Chief Information Officer Bobby Blount said of the current paper system, noting that much time and thought has been invested in planning the pilot. “We are tackling it through a collaborative effort.”

Dr. Michele Harcarik

The School Board approved monthly personnel recommendations, which included the appointment of a new assistant principal to fill a vacancy at Carmel Elementary School. Dr. Michele Harcarik will bring 17 years of education experience to the position, having served as a teacher and administrator in Florida and Virginia, most recently as an assistant principal in Falls Church, Va.

Thursday night’s meeting was the last to be held at the CCSD Downtown Center in the Historic Canton High School building downtown. The August 17 School Board meeting will be held in the newly constructed Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, which will dedicated the same evening.

The School Board also:

• Recognized Anne Nechvatal of Cherokee High School as the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year;

• Approved the renewal of the Partnership Agreement with Special Olympics;

• Approved the final reading of recommended updates to School Board Policies and the establishment of a New Debt Management Policy, which was a suggestion by credit rating agencies to further improve CCSD’s credit rating;

• Approved authorized CCSD School Fundraising Activities for the 2017-18 school year;

• Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;

• Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report; and,

• Approved 2017-18 employee tribunal hearing panel appointments.

School Board Member Mike Chapman was not present for the meeting.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, August 17, 2017

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.

Sixes ES Earns National Recognition for Digital Education!

Sixes Elementary School was named a Common Sense Certified School for Digital Citizenship this week by Common Sense, a national nonprofit organization dedicated “to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology.”

The school earned the recognition by preparing students to use digital media safely by avoiding dangers such as plagiarism, loss of privacy and cyberbullying.

“We applaud the faculty and staff of these schools for embracing digital citizenship as an important part of their students’ education,” said Jessica Lindl, Head of Common Sense Education. “Sixes Elementary School deserves high praise for giving its students the foundational skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st-century workplace and participate ethically in society at large.”

Assistant Principal Clay Gunter and Media Specialist Kim George coordinated the school’s certification process.

Principal Cindy Crews

“We’re honored to be recognized as a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified School,” Principal Cindy Crews said. “By preparing our students to use technology safely and responsibly, we are providing them unlimited opportunities to maximize and personalize their learning.”

The school’s leadership will be recognized by the School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the May 4 school board meeting.

Common Sense Education’s digital citizenship resources were created in collaboration with Dr. Howard Gardner of the GoodPlay Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The free resources teach students, educators and parents skills related to Internet safety, protecting online reputations and personal privacy, managing online relationships and respecting creative copyright.