CCSD 2017-18 Report Shows No Schools “Critically Overcrowded”

CCSD 2017-18 Report Shows No Schools “Critically Overcrowded”

Category : CCSD

For the fifth consecutive year, none of CCSD’s schools are considered “critically overcrowded,” reflecting long-standing successful management practices and School Board policies governing student enrollment growth forecasts and school construction project planning.

A report with additional information is available here.

CCSD Starts 2017-18 School Year With Record 41,213 Students

Category : CCSD

UPDATE 8/4/17: The Cherokee County School District’s enrollment today reached 41,774 students… which is an increase of 369 students from last school year’s Day Four.  Today’s total remains under the peak-enrollment projection of 42,299, but enrollment has increased by 561 students since the first day of school.

UPDATE 8/3/17: The Cherokee County School District’s enrollment today reached 41,723 students… which is an increase of 427 students from last school year’s Day Three.  The total has not yet reached the peak-enrollment projection of 42,299, but has increased by 510 students since the first day of school.

UPDATE 8/2/17: Enrollment reached 41,566 students Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017… which is an increase of 421 students from last school year’s Day Two.  While the total has not yet reached the peak-enrollment projection of 42,299, CCSD increased 353 students from the Aug. 1, 2017 opening of school.

10-day enrollment chart

The Cherokee County School District started the 2017-18 School Year with a smooth and successful opening on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.

Enrollment reached 41,213 for the first day of the 2017-18 School Year at CCSD’s 41 schools and centers, according to preliminary attendance reports… 494 more students than last year’s first day (Day 1 of the 2016-17 School Year’s student enrollment was 40,719). The School District anticipates enrollment will continue to rise over the course of the school year to more than 42,299 students.

“It’s an incredible achievement for an organization of our size to consistently operate so effectively not only throughout the year, but even on day one,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “That success happens due to significant planning and hard work behind the scenes. I appreciate all of our employees’ preparations for today, and we’re extremely grateful for the strong support we receive from the families we serve and our partners and volunteers. We’re a family, and we’ve had a great start to what will be an outstanding year!”

The School District’s 4,700 employees, including 260 new teachers, operate CCSD campuses and support facilities throughout Cherokee County; and CCSD’s fleet of 402 buses transport approximately 70 percent of the student population through 1,500+ daily bus routes.

Elementary school students are using new instructional materials for reading and writing classes for the first time in more than a decade thanks to the School Board’s significant investment in these resources. Safety and security is being further enhanced with the second phase of security foyer installations and the recent deputizing of CCSD’s School Police Department officers, who, in addition to their long-held Georgia POST certification, now also are authorized by the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to serve and protect beyond school campuses.

The School District has launched two new technology initiatives to improve operations: the Canvas learning management system, which expands teaching and learning opportunities and gives parents more access to their child’s lessons and progress; and K12Payment Center, a new meal pre-payment account system that enhances internal efficiency while still maintaining online depositing and purchase tracking for parents.

School District policies related to environmental/temperature concerns are being followed at all campuses, including: limiting the time students spend on school buses; allowing students to bring bottled water on school buses; and following guidelines for rescheduling and cancelling outdoor athletic/band/extra-curricular activities, when necessary, due to high temperatures.

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

CCSD 2017-18 Kindergarten/First Grade Registration Set for March 23 & 24

The Cherokee County School District has set the dates for 2017-18 registration for kindergarten and first-grade students who are entering school for the first time.

Registration will be held at all CCSD elementary schools 3:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23, 2017 and 9 a.m. to Noon Friday, March 24, 2017.

Flier: CCSD Registration for 2017-18 Kindergarten and First Grade Set for March 23 – 24

Spanish translation: CCSD Registration for 2017-18 Kindergarten and First Grade Set for March 23 – 24 – SPANISH

Want to learn more about CCSD’s outstanding kindergarten program? Read the new edition of CCSD’s “Ready to Learn” brochure.

For information regarding documents needed for registration, please see the Student Enrollment section on the Forms page.

Children must be 5 years old on or before September 1 in order to be eligible for kindergarten, and 6 years old on or before September 1 to be eligible for first grade, according to Georgia law.  If your child does not meet these criteria, you might check with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) for information on 4-year-old programs.

Additionally, the School Board’s Admission/Enrollment Policy may be viewed in the CCSD Online Policy Manual .


Report: No CCSD Schools Reach ‘Critically Overcrowded’ Levels

The 2016-17 Cherokee County Inventory of School Housing shows the impact of returning enrollment growth and indicates several areas where additional classroom space will soon be needed.

Additionally, 2016-17 marks the fourth consecutive year during which none of the School District’s schools are considered “critically overcrowded,” reflecting long-standing successful management practices and School Board policies governing student enrollment growth forecasts and school construction project planning.

The below chart uses this school year’s 20-day enrollment count (Aug. 25, 2016) to measure the percentage of overcrowding. School Board Policy defines “critically overcrowded” as when a school exceeds 140% of its enrollment capacity and meets other criteria, including use of all existing portable classrooms. Pursuant to the School Board’s Critical Overcrowding Policy (FDBD), the impact of actual student enrollment is evaluated annually after the 20th day of classes, which is when attendance traditionally peaks, to determine critically overcrowded schools and what, if any, action is needed.

The effort to eliminate “critical overcrowding” in the School District began in 2001, with an aggressive, multi-tiered Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (Ed SPLOST) plan proposed by a Blue Ribbon Committee of community leaders and approved by the School Board for inclusion on a local ballot referendum.  This plan to “bond” future sales tax revenue, which has been extended twice by voters over the past decade, continues today with new construction and renovations, strategic land purchases, replacement school buses and emerging technologies for students and staff.

Unfortunately, if portable classrooms were not available, 11 schools would be operating at 100% or more of their capacity.  It should be remembered that, while portable classrooms provide relief for classroom instruction, they do not alleviate overcrowding in media centers, cafeterias, restrooms and hallways. The schools are: Free Home ES, Liberty ES, Woodstock ES, Creekland MS, E.T. Booth MS, Mill Creek MS, Woodstock MS, Cherokee HS, Creekview HS, Sequoyah HS and Woodstock HS.  Of those 11 schools, five are operating at more than 120% capacity… a decrease from seven reaching that level last school year: Free Home ES – 126%, Creekland MS – 126%, Woodstock MS – 121%, Cherokee HS – 133% and Sequoyah HS – 137%.

Staff continues to analyze this new data to determine recommendations that may be needed to address overcrowding in preparation for the next school year(s).  Data is compiled and analyzed year-round to monitor not only enrollment growth, but also the local real estate market, development trends, local birth rates and other demographics … in order to best determine when and where new and/or replacement school facilities are needed.

Relief has been provided to Dean Rusk Middle School, which had one of the highest levels of overcrowding in the School District last year.  With its opening this month, the School District gained capacity at that location, and also at its four elementary feeder schools — Hickory Flat ES, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Indian Knoll ES and Mountain Road ES — as the sixth-grade students from those facilities now attend Dean Rusk MS in its new Grades 6 – 8 grade configuration.  Additionally, Sequoyah HS will add classroom capacity as it gains the original Dean Rusk MS facility into its footprint later this school year!

Again, it should be noted that all new and replacement school construction and renovations in the School District are funded by Education SPLOST revenue.  Voters will again have the opportunity to authorize the School District to continue its capital outlay plans, as the School Board has called for a renewal of the Ed SPLOST in November.

2016-17 CCISH Chart

The 2016-17 Cherokee County Inventory of School Housing shows the impact of returning enrollment growth and indicates several areas where additional classroom space will soon be needed.