The Cherokee County School Board and CCSD School Nutrition staff congratulate Judy Johnson Memorial Scholarship winners, center of front row: Sequoyah HS graduate and current Kennesaw State University junior Erin Wehunt, left, and Cherokee HS Class of 2018 graduate Jayme Bricker.The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, July 19, 2018, approved the installation of security foyers in 15 more schools, speeding up the project at the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools and his Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee.
The foyers will be constructed over the next year at Avery ES, Bascomb ES, Boston ES, Clayton ES, Hickory Flat ES, Johnston ES, Macedonia ES, Mountain Road ES and Sixes ES, and Creekland MS, E.T. Booth MS, Freedom MS, Mill Creek MS, Teasley MS, and Woodstock MS.
“We’ve made it a priority to complete these foyers at a faster pace to further secure more of our schools,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We appreciate the School Board’s strong support of our commitment to continuously improve safety and security.”
With Thursday night's approval of a $641,000 proposal from Womack, Lewis & Smith, which has constructed the other security foyers in CCSD schools, only seven schools – which have more challenging designs to retrofit – will lack the foyers.
Dr. Hightower asked the Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee, which was formed following the Sandy Hook tragedy, to meet again following the Parkland school shooting and evaluate CCSD’s safety and security systems and practices.
The Committee of law enforcement leaders, educators and parents, following a series of meetings including school tours, presented Dr. Hightower with recommendations, which he and the School Board are putting into action.
The School Board, with its approval of the Superintendent’s recommended Annual Budget this summer, paved the way for numerous recommended improvements including the hiring of additional police officers, the installation of buzz-in systems at the main entrances of high schools, and speeding up the construction of security foyers.
The School Board on Thursday also heard an update from Chief Human Resources Officer Rick Beaulieu on hiring for the new school year in response to reports other metro Atlanta school systems are facing significant staffing issues. Unlike those school systems, CCSD is in very good shape, he said, with only eight teachers still to be hired from a strong group of candidates.
“We feel like this is a good news story,” Dr. Hightower said, noting CCSD also can boast a 96% teacher retention rate, which is six points higher than the National average. “We’re really proud of our work to hire and retain the best teachers and staff.”
On Thursday, the School Board also approved monthly personnel recommendations, which included the appointment of Joy Silk as the new supervisor for digital learning in the Office of Curriculum & Instruction.
The role’s responsibilities include overseeing further development of the Canvas learning management system and its use as a blended learning tool, and supervising CCSD’s media specialists and media centers. A past CCSD Teacher of the Year, Ms. Silk has 18 years of service as an educator with the District and most recently served as coordinator for digital learning in the same department.
“She’s been a pivotal person in the department, and we’re so proud of her,” Dr. Hightower said.
The School Board also:
• Recognized Indian Knoll ES Media Specialist Jennifer Lewis as the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year;
• Recognized State and Regional Champions including members of the Cherokee HS track team;
• Recognized CCSD’s Office of Communications as winner of five National awards from the National School Public Relations Association;
• Recognized CCSD School Nutrition for winning a Georgia USDA Best Practice Award for Farm to School Programs;
• Recognized Cherokee HS senior Jayme Bricker and Sequoyah HS graduate and current Kennesaw State University junior Erin Wehunt as recipients of the 2017-18 School Year Judy Johnson Memorial Scholarship from the Cherokee County School Nutrition Association;
• School Board Chair Kyla Cromer congratulated her fellow School Board members on their recent recognition by the Georgia School Boards Association as a Quality School Board and briefly spoke about plans to seek the Distinguished level of recognition from the organization;
• Heard a report from Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole Holmes on her attendance with a group of select staff and Principals at the Annual Model Schools Conference earlier this summer, at which CCSD was presented with the Innovative District Award and at which staff led two sessions on effective instruction;
• Approved the final reading of annual School Board Policy updates including a formal cash management and investment policy as recommended by crediting agencies to move CCSD closer to a perfect triple-A credit rating, as well as a policy change requested by School Board Member Clark Menard to expand the Public Participation open forum opportunity to every School Board meeting;
• Approved authorized school fundraising activities for the 2018-19 school year;
• Approved monthly financial reports;
• Approved the 2018-19 school year Tribunal Hearing Panel appointments for certificated personnel recommended for employment contract termination or suspension;
• Approved the School Board Attorney’s recommended plan for the 2018-19 school year local school board governance training;
• Approved a final vote to approve the 2019 fiscal year millage rate, which is unchanged from the current rate; and,
• Approved the surplus of the original North Canton/L.R. Tippens Elementary School and its property tract and advertising it for sale.
Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018