The Cherokee County School Board tonight heard plans to further extend the closure of all Cherokee County School District schools and offices through the previously scheduled Spring Break.
The School Board, as part of its monthly required meeting, reviewed a status update from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower that included his announcement that the closure would be extended.
Digital Learning Days will continue through April 3, then Spring Break will be observed from April 6-10 with no online lessons. While there will be no online classes during Spring Break, CCSD School Nutrition, as previously announced, will continue its weekly delivery of to-go meals for students to designated school and community sites on Monday, April 6, as well (details at http://bit.ly/CCSDserves).
“While our students and employees might be unable to enjoy Spring Break travel plans they may have made before this crisis affected our world, we see the value in breaks even as most are homebound,” Dr. Hightower said. “We hope Spring Break will be a time for our students and teachers — and all the parents who have been helping their children with learning — to rest, recharge and reflect.”
Dr. Hightower said while he does not want to extend the closure longer than absolutely necessary, he also is dedicated to providing families with advance notice, as he understands the significant impact this has on them.
The School Board also unanimously approved Dr. Hightower’s proposal to continue paying full-time and part-time salaried employees during the closure. Additionally, while not salaried, part-time kindergarten paraprofessionals and School Nutrition workers and long-term teaching substitutes also will be paid.
The meeting was brief, and special precautions were taken including how far apart School Board members and the few staff members present were seated. All staff and student recognitions were postponed to follow social distancing protocols.
The School Board approved several critical agenda items including personnel appointments for next school year and the construction contract for the Woodstock Middle School classroom expansion and Woodstock High School secondary gym and classroom building.
The personnel appointments included naming several more new Principals for next school year: Dr. Julie Dutko, currently an assistant principal at Teasley MS, will lead Ball Ground ES STEM Academy; Matt Freedman, currently Principal at Woodstock ES, will lead Little River ES; and Ann Jordan, currently an assistant principal at Woodstock ES, will step up to lead there. Debbie Ritter, currently a learning support specialist in CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction, will oversee the CCSD Preschool Centers as its Principal. Additionally, the School Board named a new head football coach for Etowah High School: Matt Kemper, who has led the Roswell High School program for the last three years, and also will teach PE classes.
Retiring Principals Karen Carl of Little River ES and Victoria Thom of CCSD Preschool Centers did not attend the meeting due to the special preventative measures, but Dr. Hightower recently thanked both for their longtime service at a meeting with their fellow Principals. Ms. Thom already has announced her post-retirement plans: she will work as co-administrator for the Mountain Education Charter High School campus in Pickens County.
Construction on the Woodstock MS/HS addition, which is planned to begin as soon as possible and is currently scheduled to be completed by August 2021, was awarded to McKnight Construction with a $9.8 million proposal. The project will be funded with Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) revenue and State construction funds earned for expansion due to increased enrollment.
The School Board additionally approved monthly financial reports, construction reports, and special lease agreements. The School Board also was recognized in honor of School Board Member Appreciation Week in Georgia.