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CCSD Achievements!

Last Updated: 9/28/2021 1:22 PM

The Georgia School Boards Association awarded the Cherokee County School Board its 2020 Exemplary School Board designation, which honors school boards that consistently model best practices and meet specific high standards of excellence.

The Cherokee County School Board’s Student Advisor and Student Delegates to the School Board program earned the 2020 Georgia School Boards Association’s Leading Edge Award in the Culture, Climate & Organizational Efficacy category.  

CCSD’s graduation rate has reached a new high, with 90.3% of the Class of 2020 earning a diploma within four years of entering high school.  CCSD has grown its graduation rate more than 15 percentage points since 2012.

According to State data collected from Georgia public colleges and universities, when CCSD students move on to college, they’re more prepared than their classmates, as 95 percent don’t need a single remedial class.

CCSD for the third consecutive year has earned 4.5 stars (out of a possible 5) in the State’s Financial Efficiency Star Ratings measuring school districts’ spending per student in relation to those students’ academic performance – earning one of the best scores in the State.

CCSD has earned its highest marks for cultivating a positive school climate: 4 stars (out of a possible 5) in the State’s annual ratings, which measure how a community views the quality of its school’s culture and character.

All six CCSD high schools were named to U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 “Best High Schools” list, which is based on factors including academic performance, college readiness, graduation rates and success of disadvantaged students.  Five of CCSD’s high schools – Creekview, Etowah, River Ridge, Sequoyah and Woodstock – also ranked in the Top 100 in Georgia of the more than 400 high schools in the state and fell within the top 15% nationwide.  

The average SAT Score for CCSD’s Class of 2021 is 1125, which is 87 points over the National average and 48 points over the State average.  All CCSD high schools topped National and State averages on the exam!

CCSD’s Class of 2020 earned an average ACT score of 22.6, continuing to outscore both National and State averages on the competitive college entrance and placement examination.  Scores from all six of CCSD’s high schools all again landed in the top 20% of all Georgia high schools and surpassed both the State and National averages.

CCSD’s high schools all have been named 2021 AP Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and AP STEM Achievement Schools, and three – Creekview HS, Etowah HS and River Ridge HS – also were named AP Humanities and AP Humanities Achievement Schools.  Two schools – Creekview High and Woodstock High – additionally earned AP School of Distinction Honors.

CCSD students who took AP exams in 2020 earned passing scores of 3 or higher on 72% of the 4,640 tests administered, as compared to 61% for Georgia and 59% nationwide.  Assuming each exam equals one college course for which students and their parents avoid tuition costs, these CCSD students earned $4.4 Million in Georgia in-state college tuition through passing AP courses!

CCSD for its innovations in academic school choice has twice won National recognition from the MAGNA Award Program presented by American School Board Journal recognizing outstanding academic programs that advance learning… most recently for its Cherokee Academies school choice initiative to expand STEM and arts education for elementary school students.

CCSD was selected by the District Administration educational leadership organization as the 2020 Districts of Distinction award winner in the Educational Technology category.  CCSD earned the honor for its Minecraft: Education Edition initiative, which began during the 2017-18 school year when the District was selected by Microsoft to pilot the school-version of the popular video game.  

Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy teacher Karen Garland was named the 2021 Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award winner, one of only eight educators honored nationwide.  The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and Farm Credit each year together recognize the top teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for innovation in using agricultural concepts to teach across the curriculum.  

Free Home Elementary School teacher Keith Furstenberg was named the 2020 Georgia winner of the national Sanford Teacher Award, which includes a $10,000 prize.  The winners from each state were selected based on Sanford Programs’ five key traits of an inspiring educator: Reflects on Teacher Practice to Maximize Student Engagement; Builds Student Confidence and Student Resiliency; Creates an Inclusive, Respectful Learning Environment; Maximizes Assessment Results for Student Growth and Motivates Students to Succeed; Sets High Expectations while Promoting Student Choice and Student Voice.

For the third year in a row, CCSD’s School Nutrition program earned the highest honor in the State for providing fresh, healthy meals to students: the Golden Radish Award at the Platinum Level presented by Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, Education and Georgia Organics.  CCSD’s School Nutrition program also earned the Georgia Department of Education’s 2020 Vision District award for its outstanding efforts to use Georgia grown foods on school cafeteria menus.  

CCSD again earned National recognition for communications by bringing home the 2021 National School Public Relations Association Golden Achievement Award for CCSD’s communications related to the COVID-19 pandemic; CCSD is one of only 55 school districts nationwide to be recognized with this top honor.  It is the third consecutive year for CCSD to earn the Golden Achievement Award.  CCSD also earned three of the eight 2020 awards presented to Georgia school systems for excellent publications: an Award of Merit for the CCSD Connections parent newsletter, and two awards for CCSD’s annual Class Act magazine.

CCSD earned the highest total number of awards presented for excellence in communications and community engagement in 2020 by the Georgia School Public Relations Association, with 15 Gold Awards and three “Best in State” awards among its numerous honors.  The “Best in State” awards honored CCSD’s communications in regard to the COVID-19 crisis; its monthly CCSD Connections parent e-newsletter; and its Instructional Framework handbook designed to explain and guide implementation of new practices to further improve teaching and learning.