Please see the following message to parents from Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:
Today, we found silver linings in our rain clouds.
No one wants to hear a forecast for rain on the first day of school. It soaks those new school clothes and backpacks, but, of greater importance, it also makes the morning traffic more challenging and dangerous.
Our teachers and leaders carried on, many getting drenched as they greeted car riders in the process, but remaining enthusiastic and welcoming. And you carried on, too, and we appreciate the patience and kindness you showed, especially as buses were slowed by the rain and car rider lines grew long.
We also appreciate your patience with our new systems, especially the issues some of you experienced looking up your child’s bus stop information online. I’m sorry to all those who were inconvenienced, and I’m happy to report we’ve solved the problem with the elimination of the log-in screen for Bus Stop Look Up.
The rain may have slowed us all down this morning, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 42,000 students who arrived excited and ready to learn or the 2,600 teachers who arrived prepared and ready to teach.
What a privilege it is to welcome these children back to school, to guide them toward success in their careers and lives, and to celebrate their accomplishments and failures. Yes, their failures, as we want our students to feel confident enough in their classrooms to dream big, sometimes fail big, and then try big again. We’re “Educating the Emerging Generation,” and that mission can’t be fulfilled without this willingness.
Today, we welcomed thousands of preschoolers and kindergarteners for their first-ever #CCSD1stDay, as well as many more who are new to our community and those who are in a new school.
We made a big change with the difficult decision to close Canton Elementary School at the end of last school year to allow Cherokee High School the ability to expand as desperately needed. The Canton Elementary students and teachers have found new homes, with most at R.M. Moore and Knox Elementary Schools. We ask these communities to welcome their new families with open arms and hearts, as your children will follow your lead. Making new friends is a first-day tradition as old as school itself, and the opportunity to make so many more friends is indeed another silver lining.
Our students will learn many lessons this year, and not just those required by Georgia Standards of Excellence. They begin their day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a time for prayer or reflection, learning the importance of respecting our country and the rights of all. While it is your role as a parent to teach your child character, we are committed to aiding you, through Character Education lessons, community service learning and positive behavior initiatives. We’re also investing more resources into stepping up our STEM instruction in middle and high schools, and ensuring our career classes train our students for the careers of today and tomorrow, including the opportunity to earn beneficial industry certifications.
We view our role as serving the whole child, which is why we’re grateful our School Board has invested in enhancing Student Services, which includes school counselors, school nurses and social workers. We want to be there for all of our students and their families when they are struggling and need our staff’s support or a connection to a resource in the community.
We’re also grateful for the School Board’s commitment to safety and security and the greater funding provided in this year’s budget for hiring additional police officers, installing more security foyers and front entrance camera and buzz-in systems, and enhancing our tip line with the use of the SafeSchools Alert system.
Last night, we shared a video on our social media platforms (available here on our YouTube Channel) to raise greater awareness of the SafeSchools Alert system and our commitment to safety and security. If you have not watched it already, I hope you will take a few minutes to do so today. The video features Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds, myself and a united force of our community’s law enforcement and public safety officers and first responders. We appreciate all that these heroes do for our community every day – like the Sheriff’s Office crossing guards who were out in the rain controlling traffic on our roads this morning -- and their commitment to serve and protect our schools and our children.
Today was rainy, but silver linings sparkled everywhere you looked. You certainly can see that sparkle in the faces of your children in the photos you shared with us on social media. One of my favorites is of four Mill Creek Middle School students laughing together under an umbrella at the bus stop.
The coming school year will have more rainy days… and some which you may feel like are rainy only for you. We are here to help you and your children weather those storms and celebrate the rainbows that follow.