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CCSD Schools Win State Honors for Excellence in Education

Posted On: Thursday, August 5, 2021

CCSD School Bell Awards 8 5 21

Two Cherokee County School District schools have earned top state honors for excellence in education, and a third received recognition for an outstanding school business partner.

Indian Knoll Elementary School and Macedonia Elementary School both have won the prestigious School Bell Award from the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals, and Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy earned the Education Patron Award.

The Association presents the School Bell Award to no more than 10 schools in Georgia each year in recognition of outstanding curriculum and organizational leadership initiatives. Eleven CCSD schools have been honored over the past 10 years, and it’s a rare feat to see two schools honored in one year.  

“Congratulations to these outstanding schools and their entire school community for the dedication and care needed to earn such distinguished statewide accolades – we’re so proud of you and so grateful for all that you do,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “These awards could not be earned without the effort of the teachers, staff, partners, volunteers and Principals who work together to continue improving our services and support for every child.”

Indian Knoll ES, led by Principal Kim Cerasoli, earned the award for its Language Club program.  Macedonia ES was recognized for its Social Squad program initiated by former Principal Dr. Carolyn Daugherty, who now leads Bascomb ES.  

Through Indian Knoll’s Language Club, students who are learning English as a second language are invited and encouraged to attend instructional language development sessions before school.  Certified teachers create meaningful hands-on activities, writing lessons, and games that enhance language skills to students to enjoy during this time.  Students who participate can earn ice cream coupons and positive shout-outs on the morning news. 

“A natural biproduct is that the participants have built positive relationships with their teachers and other students who have similar needs and have truly become a community of learners,” Principal Cerasoli said. “Last year’s test scores also support a positive educational impact from this innovative program.”

Macedonia’s mission statement is to celebrate academics, innovation, and character, and as part of its initiative to reinforce positive behavior, the school launched the Social Squad.  Staff including administrators, counselors and the school psychologist meet with small groups of students, based on teacher recommendation, during lunch times to build positive relationships school wide.  

“The staff lead lunch conversation to hear students’ thoughts, ideas, concerns and good news, while building social skills, communication and friendships,” Principal Dr. Daugherty said.  “This also keeps staff abreast of student needs.”

The Education Patron Award recognizes an outstanding educational supporter, and Clark Creek’s honored partner is EF2 Education First Fund Realty Team: Dr. Keith Ingram and Bruce Swanson.  Dr. Ingram, a retired CCSD Principal, and Mr. Swanson, through their Partner in Education agreements with Clark Creek, as well as many other CCSD schools, donate a portion of their commission from home sales and purchases back to the CCSD school that their client chooses.  In addition to these generous donations, EF2 also sponsors student and staff activities at schools throughout the year.  Over the past three years, EF2 has donated more than $8,600 to Clark Creek ES STEM Academy and more than $128,000 throughout CCSD.

“Of course, we are appreciate the financial give-back program EF2 offers, we really appreciate their time and investment,” Principal Joey Moss said.  “We are grateful for their eagerness to show up with a smile and a new idea or way to support our educators!”

The three schools will be formally recognized and presented with their awards at the Association’s Fall Principals’ Conference, and they will be recognized by the Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools and School Board at this month’s School Board Meeting.

Recent past CCSD School Bell Award winners are: 2019, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy; 2017, Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy; 2016, Bascomb ES; 2015, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy and Woodstock ES; 2014, Canton ES STEM Academy; 2013, Free Home ES; 2012, Liberty ES; 2011, Oak Grove ES.

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