CCSD Middle Schools Offer Variety of High School Credit Courses

CCSD Middle Schools Offer Variety of High School Credit Courses

Cherokee County School District middle schools are expanding their selection of high school credit courses, with subjects offered including Physical Science, as pictured at Dean Rusk Middle School.

The Cherokee County School District is continuing to expand the menu of high school credit classes offered in its middle schools.

More rising eighth-graders now have the opportunity to get a jump on graduation requirements, with 14 different high school courses available across CCSD middle schools. While course offerings vary by school, each middle school offers at least eight high school-level classes.

“Starting high school with several credits boosts students’ confidence and provides more room in their high school schedule to explore electives including career paths,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “This opportunity also opens the door for some students to graduate early if they continue to accelerate their academic path in high school. It’s one of our strategies to continuously improve academic achievement and our graduation rate.”

For 2017-18, all seven CCSD middle schools will offer

• Honors GSE Algebra I
• Accelerated Honors Algebra I and Geometry A
• Physical Science
• Spanish I
• Beginning Band I
• Beginning Chorus I

The School District has long offered Spanish I, physical science and accelerated 9th/10th grade mathematics for academically advanced students, but CCSD expanded high school credit offerings in fine arts and other elective areas in the last few years to allow more students to earn high school credit ahead of their freshman year.

Beginning Band I was added to all middle schools for 2013-14, then CCSD launched a major expansion of course offerings for 2014-15, including orchestra, visual arts, drama, chorus, business and technology, and drafting and design. Languages offered have expanded to include French and Latin at several schools, as well as a limited offering of German and Chinese.

The high school science and math courses are taken in lieu of eighth-grade science and math, while world language courses are taken in lieu of eighth-grade reading class. The fine arts and business classes can be taken as electives instead of a Connections class. Students who qualify to take physical science or algebra are required to take the End Of Course exam (EOC) for that class just as a high school student would.

Parents should contact their child’s middle school for more information on earning high school credit and the eligibility/availability for these classes.

Cherokee County School District middle school students, including those at E.T. Booth Middle School as pictured, can choose from an expanding menu of high school credit courses in electives like band and chorus, as well as in advanced academics.


Board Briefs: School Board Honors Retiring Superintendent of Schools

Board Briefs - Dr. Petruzielo HonoredThe School Board on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 unanimously voted to recognize retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo by naming the new Educational Services Facility in his honor.

Dr. Petruzielo, who is retiring at the end of the month and served at his final School Board meeting on Thursday, was humbled by the recognition, noting that the past 17 years of service to the Cherokee County School District “have been the best of my 50-year career in education.”

“I was expecting a plaque,” Dr. Petruzielo joked after the surprise honor was announced. “This is an extraordinary honor and an unbelievable recognition. I don’t think that in my career I’ve ever felt as appreciated as I do this evening!”

Dr. Petruzielo, whose leadership and accomplishments were celebrated with numerous standing ovations, went on to thank: CCSD teachers, noting how much he appreciates their “sacrifices and hard work”; his wife and family; his senior staff; School Board members; local education reporters; his dedicated executive secretary and administrative assistant; and the community’s “incredible” PTA volunteers and leaders.

“I hope everyone will agree that I am leaving the School District in good shape and in good hands,” Dr. Petruzielo said. The much-needed administrative facility is under construction on the Bluffs Parkway in Canton and will open in August 2017. A dedication ceremony for “The Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility” will be held upon the facility’s completion.

School Board members praised Dr. Petruzielo for his dedication and success and thanked him for his service on behalf of students, parents and the broader community; and expressed appreciation for the professional relationships he built with them.

“Sir, you have set the standard for education,” said Board Member Rick Steiner, who stood to deliver his message as a sign of respect. Mr. Steiner noted his heroes are his father; his wrestling coaches; Ted Turner and Muhammad Ali, for whom he worked; and that he adds Dr. Petruzielo to that list: “You have taught me how to be a leader.”

Board Briefs - Dr. Petruzielo RetirementBoard Vice Chair Patsy Jordan wiped away tears as she thanked Dr. Petruzielo for beginning a life-changing journey for her… from his recommendation that she be hired as a CCSD teacher 17 years ago to serving alongside him on the School Board dais. “It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she said.

The meeting included several other surprise recognitions for Dr. Petruzielo, including establishment by the Cherokee County Educational Foundation of a professional development annual scholarship in his name. The “Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Leadership Award” is a $1,500 annual award that will be granted by CCEF to the most outstanding graduate of the CCSD Superintendent’s Leadership Academy for teacher-leaders, a capacity-building program instituted by Dr. Petruzielo. The grant enables the winner, who will be selected by his/her peers, to participate in additional professional development opportunities.

“Dr. P is a visionary with unsurpassed leadership,” CCEF Board President William “Billy” G. Hasty Jr. said as he announced the scholarship. Since its establishment in 2012 with Dr. Petruzielo’s support, CCEF has issued more than $80,000 in grants to the School District’s teachers, students and schools, with another $25,000 to be awarded in February. “It has been such a pleasure to be a part of this and witness all that is happening in the School District. You’re an inspiration.”

Following recognition of CCSD for its third consecutive inclusion in annual Advanced Placement (AP) District Honor Roll Recognition, which celebrates school districts with increasing percentages of student participation and success in the AP Program, Dr. Petruzielo was honored by The College Board, which administers the Program. “During your tenure, you have opened the door of opportunity for so many students,” Kendall Hawkins with The College Board said in her remarks praising Dr. Petruzielo for increasing student access to not only AP courses, but also to SAT and PSAT testing. Since Dr. Petruzielo’s arrival in 1999, CCSD has seen dramatic increases in participation and passage rates for these courses and tests… 108% increase in SAT participation, 260% increase in PSAT participation and 809% increase in AP participation.

During the Public Participation section of the meeting, longtime CCSD teacher Anita Geoghagan praised Dr. Petruzielo for his passionate advocacy for teachers and public education. “You didn’t take no for an answer even when there were times when that would have been easier,” she said.

The School Board’s regular meeting followed a Strategic Work Session, during which Dr. Petruzielo and his staff briefed the Board on important issues, including: a 2016-17 CCSD budget forecast in light of the Governor’s release of his proposed State budget for next year and anticipated State legislation (an initial CCSD report in this regard is attached); a capital outlay program update; the most recent status report on the Governor’s “Opportunity School District” local school State takeover plan; and a draft 2016-17 CCSD Organizational Chart.

During its regular meeting, the School Board also:

  • Approved a three-year employment contract for Dr. Brian V. Hightower, whom the Board unanimously appointed last month to serve as the next Superintendent of Schools, from Feb. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2019;
  • Re-elected Patsy Jordan to serve as Vice Chair for a second one-year term;
  • Recognized Teasley MS as a Georgia 2015 Reward School for outstanding student progress, designating it as among the top 10% of Title I schools in Georgia;
  • Recognized Johnston ES for being named a Platinum-Level Fit Friendly School by the American Heart Association… making it the first in CCSD to earn this National recognition. Lynn Ziner, youth market director for the Association, attended the meeting to present Johnston ES with the plaque;
  • Recognized CCSD Adaptive PE teacher Amy Aenchbacher as Recipient of 2015 BlazeSports Triumph of the Human Spirit Award for making a significant impact in Georgia through adaptive sport and recreation;
  • Recognized 2015-16 Reinhardt University/CCSD Mathematics Tournament Winners;
  • Recognized State and Region Champions from Creekview HS Competition Cheerleading, Softball and Volleyball teams and Sequoyah HS Volleyball team;
  • Adopted the Georgia Education Coalition (GEC) 2016 Legislative Priorities;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved 2015-16 School Improvement Plans (SIPs);
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved monthly update on capital outlay projects; and,
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations.

Next School Board meeting: 7 p.m. Feb. 4, 2016


Teasley MS Named a State Reward School for Highest Progress

Category : CCSD

Teasley Middle School has been recognized as a 2015 Reward School: Highest-Progress by the State for its increased student achievement from 2011 to 2014. The Reward School designation recognizes top performing Title I schools in Georgia each year, and Highest-Progress schools are among the top 10 percent of the state’s Title I schools in improving the performance of all students over a three-year period on state assessments.

Title I is a federal program that provides additional resources to schools serving a high number of economically disadvantaged families. More than half (53%) of the students at Teasley MS qualified to receive free or reduced cost meals last year.

“The Teasley MS administrators, teachers and support staff are all to be commended for their outstanding efforts to ensure that the students with the most challenges are given every opportunity to succeed,” said Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools. “In the Cherokee County School District, we embrace the fact that it takes unequal resources to meet unequal needs, and this recognition is evidence that the additional supports and programs enacted at Teasley MS are having the desired effect, which is driving up achievement for all students, including those who face some very real challenges in all parts of their lives.”

Teasley MS Principal Dr. Sue Zinkil said staff and students are very appreciative of all the support they receive from the School District and the community to help students succeed.

“The Superintendent and his staff could not be more supportive of schools like Teasley that need more flexibility and assistance in meeting the needs of our students,” said Dr. Zinkil. “I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work put forth by our parents and families, as well as the Teasley staff, to ensure their students’ success.”

Teasley MS serves 1,400 students in grades 6-8 in Canton. It is part of the Cherokee Innovation Zone and enrolls students from Canton ES, Clayton ES, Hasty ES, Knox ES and RM Moore ES. It was named a “Distinguished Breakout Middle School” by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals in 2013 and was a finalist for the Georgia Family Friendly Partnership Award in 2014. The Technology Association of Georgia named Teasley MS as a finalist in its State STEM Awards in 2015.

For more information about the Reward Schools designation, please see the announcement on the Georgia Department of Education website.