Cherokee County School District Announcements CCSD Wins National Awards for Communications The National School Public Relations Association annually honors the best publications and electronic media produced by school districts nationwide as part of their communications efforts. The district earned a Merit Award for Focus on the Future, its first course catalog solely focused on high school Career Pathways, which was distributed to all eighth-grade students to use with their parents, as they review elective options for high school. The district also earned Honorable Mention awards for Class Act, its annual magazine published at the start of the school year, and Excellence in Writing for its annual Teacher of the Year finalist announcement. The Office of Communications is made up of Chief Communications Officer Barbara Jacoby, Director Carrie McGowan, Coordinator Penny Dempsey, and Administrative Assistant Anne Reed. School Board Approves Budget With Teacher Raises, No Millage Increase The Cherokee County School Board recently approved a budget for this school year that improves teacher and support staff compensation and keeps class sizes low without a millage rate increase. The general fund budget for day-to-day operating costs was approved at $538 million, which includes $20 million to increase salaries for teachers and support staff and fund a recruitment and retention bonus. The total budget, which also includes construction projects such as the new replacement Cherokee HS and Free Home ES, debt service, and a strong emergency reserve, was approved at $832.8 million. The full budget is posted online at CherokeeK12.net/open-ccsd, as is CCSD’s Financial Facts report, which explains the budget through short articles and infographics. The millage rate was approved to remain at 17.95 mills, which is the same as last year when the rate decreased significantly by 1.5 mills. Some property owners will see increased tax bills due to higher property assessments caused by increasing home and land prices. The school board does not determine property value. Cherokee HS Student Ranked Nationally for French Proficiency Senior Eylianis Gomez-Culbert earned the gold medal for French 2 and is ranked sixth in Georgia and seventh in the nation after earning an impressive score on her national world language exam. Her teacher is Dr. Claire L. Bell. Sixes ES Wins Prestigious School Bell Award The Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals presents the School Bell Award to no more than 10 schools in Georgia each year in recognition of outstanding curriculum and organizational leadership initiatives. Sixes ES, led by Principal Dr. Ashley Kennerly, earned the award for its Teacher Toolbox professional development program, which is for all the school’s teachers and is designed to “add additional instructional tools to their toolbox so that as they recognize needs among students in their class, they have a diverse repertoire and materials necessary to address individualized learning needs,” Dr. Kennerly said. Indian Knoll ES Teacher Receives International Technology Education Award Technology lab teacher Kristen Brooks was recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education as an ISTE 20 to Watch winner. The award recognizes 20 rising leaders in technology education worldwide. Honorees are selected based on their successful use of technology to improve education, and their dedication to improving the teaching profession through technology. Two Graduates Earn National Merit College Awarded Scholarships Cherokee HS’s Griffen Bon and Sequoyah HS’s Paige Falcomata are among the top 3,000 Class of 2023 graduates nationwide to win National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. The awards provide up to $2,000 annually for as long as four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. Both Bon and Falcomata earned National Merit University of Alabama Scholarships. Bon plans to study computer science, and Falcomata plans to study accounting and statistics. National Merit Scholars are selected based on their high school accomplishments and potential for college success. Etowah HS Students Place at International Career Competition Seniors Samantha Durst, Temilola Oloruntoba, Katie Shay, and Hannah Stack earned Excellence Awards and seventh place overall in the public service announcement contest at the recent HOSA Future Health Professionals International Leadership Conference held in Dallas, Texas. It’s the first time the school’s chapter has earned a top 10 international ranking. The students, who are members of Etowah’s HOSA chapter, created a PSA focused on mental health awareness for the competition. The video earned first place in the state HOSA competition, which qualified the team to compete at internationals. The school’s HOSA advisors are Career Pathway healthcare science teachers Megan King and Amber Thayer. Scholarship Awarded to i-Grad Virtual Academy Graduate ABM Industry Groups, LLC, which provides custodial services for CCSD schools, each year awards a $1,000 scholarship to one graduating senior from each of CCSD’s traditional high schools. This year, the company announced it would expand its donation to include a winner from i-Grad, CCSD’s online high school. The inaugural winner is Class of 2023 i-Grad Virtual Academy graduate Kaliyah Thompson, who will be attending Georgia State University to study nursing. ABM scholarship winners are selected by a committee of retired CCSD educators and ABM representatives based on a student’s involvement in school and community activities and service, personal essays, and references. Thompson is a member of the Kennesaw State University-sponsored Black Student Union organization, volunteers with the Just Coding Consultants computer coding group, and works for her family’s catering business and at a local Torrid store.