CCSD Lead Nurse Named a Statewide Award Finalist!

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.


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.”


Johnston ES Wins National Healthy School Award

Category : CCSD

Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2017 America’s Healthiest Schools Bronze Award logo

Johnston Elementary School has been named to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2017 list of America’s Healthiest Schools!

The school won a Bronze Award from the national organization for making changes that promote healthier eating and physical activity for students and staff. Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is an evidence-based national initiative to create healthier school environments where children can thrive.

Schools are recognized for such efforts as serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models.

Principal Amy Graham and PE teachers, Michael L’Esperance and Josh Philpot, will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the School Board’s August meeting.

CCSD Salutes School Nurses on National School Nurse Day

Category : CCSD

National School Nurse Day Collage

While a Band-aid and a little TLC can go a long way, the needs presented in Cherokee County School District school clinics every day require much more of the professionals who staff them.

Today is National School Nurse Day, and we hope you’ll join us in thanking the school nurses who keep our students healthy, safe and ready to learn.

The District’s team of 43 school nurses serve all of CCSD’s schools and centers, and provide nearly 42,000 students as well as 4,500 full-time and 1,000 part-time employees with services ranging from first-aid to emergency response.

School nurses dispense medication to students, care for medically fragile children and stand ready to administer CPR, an EpiPen or an AED in a life-saving situation to anyone on campus. They screen children for health concerns, teach about proper hygiene and wellness and raise awareness in school communities about the benefits of preventative care.

“School nurses save lives,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We appreciate their service, their professionalism and their commitment to continuous improvement… but most importantly, we appreciate how much they care.”

CCSD School Nurses
CCSD Lead Nurse Gwen Chambers, 1988
CCSD Lead Nurse Jami Stefano, 2011
Sherrie Smith, ACE Academy, 2007
Betty Miller, Arnold Mill ES, 2010
Sandra McFarland, Avery ES, 2000
Kim Bishop, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, 2013
Rebekah May, Bascomb ES, 2015
Amber Thayer, Boston ES, 2007
Lisha Smith, Canton ES STEM Academy, 2006
Stefanie Schoeller, Carmel ES, 2002
Denise Blackwell, Cherokee HS, 2012
Joy Harrison, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, 2013
Teresa Tatum, Clayton ES, 1995
Carol Reed, Creekland MS, 2016
Amanda Hansell, Creekview HS, 2014
Christine Lynch, Dean Rusk MS, 2015
Wanda Ligon, E.T. Booth MS, 2002
Cathy Alexander, Etowah HS, 2002
Sharon Sullivan, Free Home ES, 2004
Dana Oden, Freedom MS, 2000
Kristy Hough, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy, 2015
Mariellen Metraw, Hickory Flat ES, 2000
Renee Michael, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, 2014
Maria Hicks, Indian Knoll ES, 2011
Laure Carroll, Johnston ES, 2008
Ivanka Ivanova, Johnston Preschool Center, 2015
Allison Rhodes, Knox ES, 2011
Charlene Dalfonso, Liberty ES, 2005
Resa Breitbart, Little River ES, 2005
Pam Tomeny, Macedonia ES, 2008
Thania Molina, Mill Creek MS, 2016
Janet Jarvis, Mountain Road ES, 1996
Vicki McGill, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, 1995
Deana Fronebarger, R.M. Moore ES, 2001
Tricia Griffith, Ralph Bunche Center, 2015
Kim Bearden, River Ridge HS, 2005
Erin Krantz, Sequoyah HS, 2015
Sue Dyer, Sixes ES, 2003
Kathy Thomas, Teasley MS, 2015
Dawn Beasley, Tippens Education Center, 2007
Tayler Cahill, Woodstock ES, 2015
Vickie Hyde, Woodstock HS, 2008
Traci Baggett, Woodstock MS, 2015

CCSD to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week with Special Events

Category : CCSD

Students at Arnold Mill Elementary School enjoy their CCSD School Nutrition meal in the cafeteria.

To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available with school breakfast, the Cherokee County School District will celebrate National School Breakfast Week with special events March 6-10!

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign theme, “Take the School Breakfast Challenge,” reminds the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy, energizing start to the day for students. Students will be encouraged to participate with special menus, decorations and cafeteria events.

Events planned for CCSD’s celebration include a special fruit-and-granola offering on Tuesday, March 7, as well as “Breakfast for Lunch” on Wednesday, March 8, including French toast, sausage, fruit crisp and potatoes.

Middle schools participated in a breakfast competition during the month of February, and the school with the largest increase in participation will win a visit from Freddie the Falcon on Friday, March 10!

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education they can,” said Tina Farmer, CCSD School Nutrition Director. “National School Breakfast Week helps us educate parents and students about all the healthy and appealing choices we offer.”

The School District serves more than 6,000 breakfast meals daily through the federally funded School Breakfast Program. School nutrition professionals prepare breakfast and lunches every day that meet federal nutrition standards – limiting fat, calories and sodium – and encourage students to choose from the fruits, vegetables and whole grains offered with school meals.

Breakfast is offered daily in all CCSD schools and includes the following healthy options: whole-grain pancakes and waffles, chicken and sausage biscuits, whole-grain breakfast pastries and cereals along with a choice of fruit or juice and low-fat or skim milk.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program to all children and to promote the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles. The “Take the School Breakfast Challenge” is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association, Kellogg’s and Potatoes USA. Parents and students can follow the fun on

For more information about CCSD schools meals, visit or

School Board Recognizes Creekland MS, CCSD Staff for Saving Student’s Life

Category : CCSD


The Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools thank Creekland MS School Nurse Chrissa Hofstetter, Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman and CCSD School Operations Director Debra Murdock for their life-saving actions.

The Cherokee County School Board at its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, recognized Creekland Middle School and Cherokee County School District staff for saving a student’s life.

Creekland Middle School sixth-grader Caden Cherry was participating in physical education class on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 when he experienced cardiac arrest and lost consciousness.


Creekland Middle School sixth-grader Caden Cherry is welcomed onstage at the Cherokee County School Board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower. Caden experienced cardiac arrest at the school on Sept. 29, and was resuscitated by school staff.

Creekland MS School Nurse Chrissa Hofstetter, Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman and CCSD School Operations Director Debra Murdock, who was on campus for another reason, immediately responded by administering CPR and use of an AED. Their life-saving actions resuscitated and stabilized Caden so he could be transported by first-responders to the hospital.

“We employ school nurses, equip our schools and train our staff so we can respond to moments like this,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “We never want to see a child suffer a medical emergency, but we prepare, and we are so grateful to be able to celebrate Caden and thank our staff.”

The school’s response also included important efforts by: PE teachers Ray Catlet, Jacob Cheshire, Keith Fountain, Julie McRae, Stacy Rich and Matt Rumble; Counselor Cathy Harris; Secretary Maralee Tabor; and Assistant Principal Lovenia Houston, Dana Phillips and Brent Williams.

All were recognized by the Superintendent of Schools and School Board at Thursday’s meeting.

Caden’s twin brother, Cooper, provided school staff with vital information during the response, which greatly assisted them in saving his life.  Cooper joined his brother onstage for the School Board recognition.


Caden Cherry’s twin brother, Cooper, provided school staff with vital information during the response, is thanked by the School Board and Superintendent.

Caden since has been released from the hospital and visited Creekland MS on Monday, Oct. 10, for the first time since his medical emergency to thank Nurse Hofstetter and the school.  Students and staff, who sent well-wishes while he was hospitalized, lined the halls to welcome Caden back.


Students and staff line the halls of Creekland Middle School to welcome Caden on Monday, Oct. 10, for his first visit since his cardiac arrest.

During its pre-meeting work session, the School Board heard updates from the Superintendent and his staff on issues including the upcoming AdvancEd accreditation renewal process, the School Improvement Plan process, the Instructional Framework development, 2017 State legislative session priorities, the “Opportunity School District” constitutional amendment and Five-Year Strategic Plan update.  The School District’s accreditation, formerly known as SACS-CASI, will be up for renewal by AdvancEd next year, with the agency’s external review team scheduled to visit in late January.

The Superintendent also announced that there would be no formal boundary redrawing process for the 2016-17 school year; the only attendance zone adjustments planned are for neighborhoods not yet under construction that will be assigned to Ball Ground ES STEM Academy.

The School Board also:

  • Recognized seven CCSD high school seniors named 2017 National Merit Semi-Finalists;
  • Recognized nine CCSD educators as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEE);
  • Recognized 27 CCSD schools and their PE and health teachers for being named Governor’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll Honorees;
  • Recognized E.T. Booth MS student Hannah Culver for being named to the State School Superintendent’s 2016-17 Student Advisory Council;
  • Recognized CCSD parent John Cline for being named to the State School Superintendent’s 2016-17 and 2017-18 Parent Advisory Council;
  • Recognized Woodstock ES Teacher Kristen Brooks and CCSD Technology Network Analyst Carol Dickerson as “Apple Teachers;”
  • Approved a proclamation in honor of Retired Educators Day on Sunday, Nov. 6;
  • Approved the renewal of Partnership Agreements with the American Cancer Society, Cherokee County 4-H and Reinhardt University and Approval of New Partnership Agreement with Georgia Ensemble Theatre;
  • Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;
  • Approved the disposal of surplus property through the annual CCSD auction on Nov. 5;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved special lease agreements; and,
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations including the appointment of Todd Sharrock as an Assistant Principal at Woodstock High School where he currently serves as a Teacher on Special Assignment.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, November 3, 2016; 6:30 p.m. school boundaries public hearing

CCSD Expands After-School Healthy Snack Program

The Cherokee County School District is expanding its efforts to ensure hunger doesn’t stop student learning.

The School District is growing its after-school healthy snack program, which provides free snacks at schools in attendance areas with qualifying levels of students who receive free or reduced-price meals.  Nearly one-third of CCSD’s students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Through the federally funded program, snacks that meet healthy eating standards are available to students participating in regularly scheduled after-school educational or enrichment activities, such as CCSD’s After School Program, tutoring and extra-curricular clubs.

In addition to the five CCSD schools already participating, the program will begin Sept. 12 at Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy, Clayton Elementary School, Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy and Knox Elementary School.  It will be expanded later this fall to Cherokee High School, Etowah High School and E.T. Booth Middle School.

“The research is clear: hunger negatively impacts students… it hinders their learning, increases behavioral issues and affects their physical, mental and emotional health,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “While in an ideal world, every child would receive adequate nutrition without our support, the reality is that some students struggle to get enough to eat.  We want to do our part to ensure that every child is ready to learn and that includes not being distracted by hunger.”

27 CCSD Schools Named to Georgia’s SHAPE Honor Roll!

CCSD Shape Honor Roll - Little River ES 9 1 16

Little River Elementary School PE teachers, from left to right, Laurie Hall, Reggie Kimball and Josh Sams show off the prestigious Governor’s SHAPE Honor Roll Platinum award the school has achieved. Little River ES and 11 other CCSD schools earned the top honor… an increase from seven schools last year!

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

The awards recognize schools’ commitment to the health and well-being of Georgia’s students through fitness and nutrition.

CCSD’s total number of honorees is an increase from 24 last school year!  The State named 218 schools statewide (out of more than 2,600) to the Honor Roll… with CCSD claiming 12% of the total! Print

Schools can earn Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze medals; CCSD has increased from seven to 12 Platinum winners:

Platinum winners (12 of 125 statewide): Avery ES, Boston ES, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, Clayton ES, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Indian Knoll ES, Johnston ES, Knox ES, Little River ES, Macedonia ES, Mountain Road ES, Sixes ES

Gold winners (6 of 14 statewide): Creekland MS, Dean Rusk MS, E.T. Booth MS, Freedom MS, Mill Creek MS, Woodstock MS

Silver winners (8 of 62 statewide): Arnold Mill ES, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Canton ES STEM Academy, Hickory Flat ES, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, Woodstock ES, Teasley MS, Etowah HS

Bronze winner (1 of 17 statewide): River Ridge HS

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

These schools and their Physical Education teachers will be recognized by the Superintendent of Schools and School Board at the October 13, 2016 School Board Meeting.