EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Starting today, Gilmer County Schools has shut down the 6th Grade of Clear Creek Middle School to attempt to stem a rise in numbers of positive cases within the grade level.
Those numbers are coming from both students and staff according to a letter from Gilmer County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs stating that they would be closing due to the increase.
Effective until November 4, 2020, students will be at home with learning devices as a part of the distance learning platform that the school has had in use since the early spring outbreak of the virus. However, it is not exactly the same program as the school system has since improved and evolved their distance learning programs with added software and procedures.
Since August, some students have already been a part of the virtual classrooms and students in school have received instructions on using Google Classroom as well.
At this time, Downs states that all of the system’s other schools and grade levels will keep operating as they have been, remaining open for students.
In a letter to parents, Downs said, “Recognizing the challenges closures pose for many families in our community, we are making this decision with a heavy heart but for the greater good. Our priority is always the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”
As of last Friday, October 16, 2020, the school system had 7 students absent with positive tests for COVID-19 and 133 students quarantined for possible exposure.
According to the school system’s website;
4125 – Students enrolled in GCSS
7 – GCSS Students Absent with a Current Positive COVID-19 Status
133- GCSS Students Quarantined for Possible Exposure
526 – Total Number of GCSS Employees
7- GCSS Employees Absent with a Current Positive COVID-19 Status
32 – GCSS Employee Who Has Been Exposed and is Quarantined or Reporting to Work as an Essential Employee*
The Board of Education is holding meetings this week as their regularly scheduled monthly meetings. FYN will update new stories if new information becomes available.
UPDATE: New information from Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs has confirmed a firearm was involved with the incident at Clear Creek.
According to reports, several transportation employees detained the individual until help could arrive. Dr. Downs stated, “The School Resource Officer from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) stationed at Clear Creek Middle School adjacent to the transportation facility was able to use the Centegix Crisis Alert System to place the school in lockdown instantly and respond immediately to arrest the individual.”
While the Sheriff’s Office continues investigation, the suspect is currently in custody, and is being held at the Gilmer County Detention Center.
Dr. Downs went on to add, “Our district is fortunate to be supported by a School Board and Board of Commissioners who recognize the need and work together to fund GCSO School Resource Officers at each school. Steps taken by our system to have these School Resource Officers and the Centegix Crisis Alert System in place today has proven invaluable in ensuring the safety of our students and staff.”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – On the afternoon of February 27, 2020, an incident involving a disgruntled employee of the Gilmer County School System resulted in a lockdown at Clear Creek Middle School.
According to a statement from the Gilmer County School System, the lockdown was precautionary. The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office was called in to handle the situation and the school system says the incident was “quickly contained.”
The incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. when the employee began “a disturbance at the transportation facility next to Clear Creek Middle School out Yukon Road.
The school also offered the following in their statement, “In a lockdown, all doors and windows are locked and noone is allowed either on or off school campus. Please know that our students were not in danger. This was implemented as a precautionary measure toward ensuring their safety.”
Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs confirmed that a disgruntled employee showed up in a threatening manner, but declined to comment further saying that the incident is still being investigated by the Gilmer Sheriff’s Office. However, she did also confirm that there was no major injuries or damage to the facility during the incident.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Georgia Milestones Assesment System (GMAS) scores were released this month after the state embargo was lifted at the end of July.
Presented to the board, these scores show results from the 2018-19 school year as well as recent years for comparisons. While grades 3-8 separate scores into Math, ELA, Reading, Science, and Social Studies, High School scores are presented as End Of Course test results.
Chief Academic Officer Lottie Mitchell presented these results to the board in August noting the trends the county has seen in the last five years in levels 2-4, whereas Milestones scores are ranked by levels (level 1 – Beginner / Level 2 – Developing / Level 3 – Proficient / Level 4 – Distinguished). Mitchell also told the board that while the schools did retest this year, they are going to participate in retesting in the 2019-20 school year. In 3rd Grade, they can retest in Language Arts. In 5th Grade and 8th Grade, they can retest in Reading and Math.
In Math, Grades 3-8, Mitchell highlighted the 2019 scores which saw seven of the eight groups scoring above the State’s average. While Mountain View’s 4th Grade did decrease, they are still above the average as well. Only Clear Creek Middle School’s 7th Grade group was below average in Math, but they only missed the average by one percent.
“We are very pleased in Math,” said Mitchell as she pointed out the county’s relation to the state.
In ELA (English Language Arts), Mitchell noted that while the county did generally perform close to the state’s average in most of the groups when comparing levels 2-4, the chart on the right shows four groups above average when looking only at the percentage of those who score at Level 3 – Proficient and Level 4 – Distinguished.
Mitchell addressed the charts differences saying, “We are moving more of our developing up to our proficient.”
In Reading and Vocabulary, Mitchell said, “For the past few years, we have not had anyone. When we first applied for the L4GA Grant, we didn’t have anyone who was above the state average… This year Clear Creek 7th Grade was above the average. We are showing improvement. Sometimes we have a little dip, but we are overall showing improvement.”
With six of the eight groups showing high scores than five years ago, Mitchell said they are happy for the improvements. While administration is excited for the math scores, much of their concern and focus have been on improving these scores. She noted several initiatives to achieve that goal such as a new phonics program, increasing student time in tech and balanced literacy, increases in training and guided reading, and reading rewards programs that have already shown success in GMS and CCMS among other initiatives.
Additionally, she credited the success that CCMS has seen to a new program, WIN, that alligns students in groups according to their MAP scores to allow those of similar skill levels to improve together.
In Science and Social Studies, Mitchell noted that in recent years, only 5th and 8th Grades take these tests. Both grades beat the state average in Science and 8th Grade beat it in Social Studies. While 5th Grade did not score above average in Social Studies, they did scores just below, by one percent, similar to Clear Creek’s 7th Math group. This did, however, show a dip in scores compared to last year.
In High School End of Course Tests, only two groups beat the state average. However, Mitchell instead pointed to the growth the county has seen in the last five years. From 2015 to 2019, 9th Grade Lit percentages have gone up 33.1 percent, from 52.99 to 85.88 percent. U.S. History percentages have gone up 36.58 percent, from 36.96 to 73.54percent. Economics percentages have gone up 35.49 percent, from 48.99 to 84.48 percent. In the past year alone, Physical Science scores went up 13.97 percent, from 70.72 to 84.69 percent.
Addressing the dip in Math scores, Mitchell pointed back to the higher math scores in lower grades saying, “We are sending students up to the high school with a stronger foundation and proficiency to do the rigorous math such as Algebra I and Geometry.”
Additonally, Principal Carla Foley is also arranging schedules to provide additional support in the fall for 9th grade lit and Algebra I to give the a year to master the content rather than one semester.
Mitchell said the Milestones scores not only showcase the successes of Gilmer County, but they are allowing answers and responses like these to address the issue areas in order to spread the success to all areas of the schools.
GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – While parents and students have been shopping back to school for a while in preparation of this week, this is the week that kids will return to classes on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, in Gilmer County across all six schools.
Today is the kickoff with open houses going all day starting with Pre-K through 5th Grade meeting from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., 6th Grade through 8th Grade meeting from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and 9th Grade through 12th Grade meeting from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Additionally, each school will adhere to these school day times according to the Gilmer County Charter School Systems website:
Clear Creek Elementary School
Start Time: 7:50 am
Dismissal Time: 2:50 pm
Ellijay Elementary School
Start Time: 8:05 am
Dismissal Time: 3:05 pm
Mountain View Elementary School
Start Time: 8:10 am
Dismissal Time: 3:10 pm
Clear Creek Middle School
Start Time: 7:45 am
Dismissal Time: 2:45 pm
Gilmer High School
Start Time: 7:45 am
Dismissal Time: 2:45 pm
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Walk into a restaurant and check the health scores, chances are, you won’t see a lot of 100’s. Sure, you will, hopefully, see a lot of high 90’s scores, but not that elusive 100.
This week, however, the Gilmer County School’s Nutrition Services not only managed to score a 100 in the latest health inspection, but they found that score in every school within the system.
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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Authorites at Gilmer Schools have cleared the threat at Clear Creek Middle School with the following information.
The lockdown is now clear. There was no threat found. In an effort to prevent this from happening, we have several procedures in place to monitor restroom use. We will continue to investigate the situation to find who is responsible. If found, students will receive school consequences and be charged for making terroristic threats. Please know safety is always the first priority at CCMS. We will continue to treat any and all threats seriously to protect our students. As parents, you are always invited to our monthly SGT meetings to provide us with feedback and suggestions. Our next meeting will be Feb. 28 at 7:25 AM. We need to work together as a school community to prevent these issues.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – School authorities have revealed information about a possible threat written on a bathroom wall at CCMS.
The Gilmer County School System alerted the county to the lockdown earlier today.
Previous threats have been found in Gilmer Schools with nothing coming from the threats. However, the school system has repeatedly stated in the past that they take all threats seriously. They currently have law enforcement investigating.
The official post of information from the schools follows.
Atthis time, CCMS is under a lockdownwith law enforcement investigating a threat written on a bathroom wall. At this point there is no reason for panic. Please do not tie up the phone lines.
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Authorities responded to a threat made against Clear Creek Middle School yesterday, December 12.
When school officials were made aware of the threat, according to a statement on their Facebook, they informed law enforcement and proceeded with disciplinary action. Investigations were handled by the SRO and Sheriff’s Office.
At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has stated that the student has been removed from the school pending possible criminal charges and school tribunal.
Both the school system and sheriff’s office have made statements about taking every threat to a school serious and addressing the issues as such.
East Ellijay, Ga. – The Gilmer Christian Learning Center (CLC) opened the doors of its new addition at the Clear Creek Campus this week to dedicate the building and allow the public to see where students will be learning and growing in the coming years.
The new campus adds on to the already well-established work being done at the High School campus located on Bobcat Trail between Gilmer High School and Gilmer Middle School.
As stated in Executive Board Member Loy Jarrett’s opening remarks of the Dedication Ceremony, the CLC began as a dream from Joel Stembridge. With the dream accomplished in 1985, Jarret went on to say that this building represents “Joel’s second wish.”
Jarret said the CLC exists to, among other things, teach kids about self-image, individual achievements, people skills, and spiritual foundation. As the mind, body, and soul make up a person, the soul stands most important.
“Life is a marathon,” said Jarret, “It’s not just a sprint… The more that we can expose these kids to this marathon, the more that they will improve our next generation.”
Accomplishing the 20-month long process, the building stands completed. With only interior items like landscaping, shelving, and supplies left to put the finishing touches in, CLC Director Jennifer Colson said the Gilmer CLC Clear Creek Campus will achieve its deadline to be ready for classes this fall. With students already lined up from last years class registrations, the building will begin seeing use in just a few weeks.
With one 7th grade class and one 8th grade class, the cycle changes every 9 weeks to help reach as many students as possible. More than that, Colson says they are excited to have the new building in the Clear Creek campus and will be looking to host 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the building as the system goes through changes to its schools’ restructuring in the coming years.
s Director, Colson says she will be splitting her time between the two buildings in order to support the staff of the CLC’s two locations.
Colson spoke at the Dedication Ceremony to offer thanks for those who donated, volunteered, and provided in every way for the new building. She also noted that the CLC program will be moving into the new building debt-free, an amazing feat as the CLC is a completely non-profit organization.
Thanking God for provisions and guidance, Colson said it has been astonishing as people have continuously volunteered and donated time and time again for the expansion. Whether it was volunteers working, others financially supporting, and professionals donating services, the progress has marched on to prepare the new facility as Colson states, “It’s just been amazing to see how the community has come together and said ‘We believe in CLC. We believe in the mission of this ministry. We believe our seventh and eighth graders need to hear about Jesus daily.'”
Check out these photos and more from the ceremony and open house at FetchYourNews’ Facebook Page.
Daddy/Daughter Dinner & Dance Fundraiser for CCMS Wrestling
When: March 17, 2018 at 6 p.m.
Where: Agricultural Center at Clear Creek Middle School
Cost: $25 per couple, $5 for each additional daughter
Cost includes: Dinner, flower for each daughter, and picture
Dinner will include: Barbecue, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, green beans, roll, and dessert
If you wish to purchase a ticket, please contact Michelle Bentley at Chick-Fil-A, Monica Berry at Huff’s Drug Store or Melissa Galloway at Clear Creek Middle School.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County Charter School System has received results for 2017’s CCRPI. Releasing the following information, the schools have shown marked improvement in testing since last year.
The schools utilize this information when creating plans for next year as they see what areas need help and what areas have succeeded with current teaching methods.
These scores also indicate an above average scoring for most of the county’s schools, as well as an above average score overall for the district, which is an obvious improvement over years passed.
The following is a release from Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes:
The Georgia Department of Education released the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) 2016-2017 school year data on November 2nd.
The CCRPI is Georgia’s statewide accountability system, implemented in 2012 to replace No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress measurement (AYP). It measures schools and districts on a 100-point scale based on multiple indicators of performance.
Five of Gilmer County Charter Schools six schools saw an increase in their CCRPI scores compared to their 2016 scores.
Ellijay Elementary School (EES) made an impressive gain of 13.6 points with a 2017 CCRPI score of 81.1, compared with a 2016 CCRPI score of 67.5. Lauree Pierce, principal at Ellijay Elementary School, stated, “The data indicates that EES is heading in the right direction. To add to the excitement, changes implemented in the 2017-18 school year are sure to have a positive effect on these numbers next year.”
On Nov. 3, Pierce and her administrative staff cooked a steak lunch with homemade desserts for all EES staff to show appreciation for all their hard work.
Gilmer Middle School is comprised of fifth and sixth grades and each grade receives a CCRPI score. The fifth grade receives an elementary CCRPI score and the sixth grade receives a middle school CCRPI score.
According to the scores released, the state’s 2017 CCRPI average was 72.9 for elementary schools, 73 for middle schools and 77.00 for high schools. The state CCRPI average was 75.
For Gilmer County Charter School System, the averages for elementary, middle and high school were 74.3, 79.1 and 71. The district average is 75.2, which exceeded the state average.
The numbers are based on data from the 2016-2017 academic year. The CCRPI incorporates 50 points for achievement, 40 points for progress and 10 points for achievement gap. The score can also include additional Challenge Points.
Ellijay Elementary, Gilmer Middle and Clear Creek Middle are well above the state CCRPI average; however, there is still continued work to be done.
Gilmer High Schools’ graduation rate is well above the state average and we are working to close the gap on CCRPI performance at the high school level.
Our teachers, leaders, and staff have worked diligently to focus their efforts on student achievement and success. The hard work and dedication of each school’s team led to the improved CCRPI scores and they should definitely be commended.
Ellijay, GA – Gilmer County saw recognition during October’s Board of Education (BOE) meetings for teachers selected as Teacher of the Year for each school in the system. Within 24 hours of their official recognition at the board meeting, one of these teachers would be named the Gilmer Teacher of the Year.
Recognized for Ellijay Primary School, Casey Whitley is a 14-year veteran teacher who has a Masters Degree in Special Education as well as a certification for Special Education for Pre-K to 12th grade. She has taught at Ellijay Primary School for three years. Prior to EPS, Whitley was the preschool specialist at Gilmer Head Start. She and her husband have three daughters of their own.
She says the best part of teaching is watching students progress. She has been called an advocate for her students as her Principal reports she builds engagement resources and strategies for student success.
Recognized for Ellijay Elementary School, Connie Dean is an ESOL teacher and Secretary of the School Governance Team. She works to support students as a leader of several student service projects.
Dean also was a part of a Grant allowing students access to the EES Media Center one day a week for most of the Summer.
Recognized for Mountain View Elementary, Arlene Bryan is a 30-year veteran of special education. Her administration nominated her due to a continuous impact on children through high expectations and her efforts as a role model for fellow teachers.
Bryan will be retiring this year from Mountain View. Administration continued to praise her humility throughout her years of service.
Recognized for Clear Creek Middle School, Adam Palmer serves as the Chorus Teacher and the Cross Country Coach. Palmer was praised for a unique ability in the school to work with all students to improve character building in daily lessons.
His administration’s nomination praised the lasting effects of his teacher-student relationships that they say have improved the school’s quality.
Recognized for Gilmer High School, Mary-Melissa May is in her sixth year of teaching at the high school where she teaches Honor Biology and coaches the Swim Team. She also serves on the GHS Leadership Team as the Science Department Chair. Constant hard work sees May researching best practices for teaching Biology and sharing in Professional Learning Communities (PLC).
Not only does she coach the GHS Swim Team, but May was reported by her administration as instrumental in starting the varsity team four years ago. She also took 10 swimmers from Gilmer to state competition last season.
As for the teacher who received prestige as the Gilmer County Teacher of the Year, recognized from Gilmer Middle School, Shannon Goble was treated to a surprise announcement early in the morning of October 17.
As she was “pulled from her classroom” for a quick word with one of the faculty, her students and fellow teachers prepared the hallway where she teaches for a warm reception for the announcement. Returning, Goble rounded the corner on her hall to a flood of cheers as students and teachers alike waved a banner of congratulations and offered flowers for her.
Shannon Goble is called always positive and helpful by her peers who also say she shows she cares through a friendly and kind nature. Even her students note she always smiles and is funny as she helps them with their daily lessons.
Administration says it is her servitude that shows them she is all about the people she interacts with daily.
Goble herself says she never really thought about achieving Teacher of the Year for her school, much less for the entire system. She told FYN, “There is nothing better. It let’s you know that what you are doing truly matters.”
Goble said she never doubted her students appreciated her as they share their happiness with her, but it is something more to also know her colleagues think so highly of her.
With over 20 years of educational experience, Goble worked in the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) prior to teaching. She has been teaching 5th grade for most of her years at GMS.
Speaking of the award, Goble said she wants to continue her efforts as she has been for all of her years. Saying that just like the kids she has to continue learning new things and improving every day, Goble commented, “I think of myself as a big kid.”
ELLIJAY, GA – Following a trend that seems to be crossing most of North Georgia, Gilmer County Schools have reported that they will close on Monday, August 21, 2017.
In a release from Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, safety concerns were partial reasoning for the cancellation as the peak of the event is set to occur just before the normal parent pick-up times for Ellijay Primary and Clear Creek Middle school causing darker conditions in the high traffic area and time. Another concern of the School System is the congestion on roads as North Georgia could expect hundreds of thousands of visitors and travelers.
Some counties, such as Georgia’s Towns County, are expecting 30,000 to 50,000 visitors alone. Venues are also selling out quickly for the even. Brasstown Bald has already sold all 450 tickets it made available for viewing.
The increased traffic of those who may be traveling to Gilmer or even through Gilmer could increase congestion making a later release unfeasible for the school system.
Dr. Wilkes also reports that the schools are siezing the opportunity for education as they will be spending class time lecturing about the solar event, safety, and proper care during the eclipse including a pair of “pair of NASA approved viewing glasses as they depart school on Friday afternoon prior to the eclipse.”
See the full release below and find a link for more information of the Eclipse and North Georgia’s place in the “totality.”
Due to safety concerns, Gilmer County Schools will close all schools on August 21, 2017 for students and 190-day (or less) personnel.
This date coincides with the first total solar eclipse to occur across the entire continental United States in 99 years. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, and casts its shadow on the Earth below. The event will begin at approximately 1:00pm with the sky becoming darker until approximately 2:36pm when the eclipse reaches “totality” just to our north and the sky begins to lighten again. Gilmer County falls in a region expected to experience a 99% eclipse.
The darkest time of this event is occurring just minutes before we would normally begin parent pick-up for Ellijay Primary and Clear Creek Middle school. This means students would be moving about in crowded loading areas and parking lots in much darker than normal conditions. According to EMA officials, large crowds are expected on our roadways as viewers attempt to make their way to and from the total eclipse area just to our north where several festivals are planned to celebrate the event. Delaying parent pick-up would cause remaining parent pick-up times and school dismissals to be late thus placing student drivers, buses, and parents in greater congestion.
To capitalize on this incredible learning opportunity, our schools will be educating our students on the science of this event. Safety will be emphasized, including the dangers of looking at the sun at any time, even during the apex of the eclipse without the use of special safety glasses or other approved means; doing so is likely to result in permanent eye damage. Each student will receive a pair of NASA approved viewing glasses as they depart school on Friday afternoon prior to the eclipse.
The safety of our students is always our number one priority. By closing the schools we ensure the safety of our precious students, as well as the many GCCSS employees. I hope that you and your children are able to spend quality time together experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime event in an enjoyable and safe manner at home. Please visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/ to learn more about the solar eclipse safety.
There really is something very special about music. Many times I only find myself listening to music while accomplishing something else. I listen while I work, sometimes even as I write. A night like that of May 2 allows people to stop and enjoy music for the joy and expression it offers.
Some people attended for their children or family, others to support a friend. All were treated to a very special display of musical talent as both the 8th Grade CCMS Band and the Gilmer High School Symphonic Band took the stage for their 2017 Spring Concert.
The night actually began before either band took the stage as the pre-show entertainment showcased the Gilmer Jazz Cats drawing people in to their seats with songs like Elvis Presley’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love, a crowd favorite.
Directed by Jessica Nohner, the 8th Grade Band set the rhythm for the night with Forward March, Ash Lawn, and Old Time Rock & Roll before joining with the GHS Symphonic Band to provide one song together. Honoring those in military service, the Marches of the Armed Forces not only allowed the audience to see the combined talents of both bands, but also showcased the service of veterans in the audience as they stood for their branch of service.
Closing out the night, the GHS Symphonic Band presented some recognizable songs alongside classical songs with Farandole, GREASE!, On a Hymnsong with Phillip Bliss, The Lion King, and Stars and Stripes Forever.
The halls of Dalton State College(DSC) were filled with pieces of art as the school held an art showcase for outstanding young artists.
Throughout DSC you could see the large variety of pieces being displayed from students grades fifth through twelfth. Art students and teachers submitted these pieces from Gilmer Middle School(GHS), Clear Creek Middle School(CCMS), and Gilmer High School(GHS). Each piece of artwork had its own touch of genuine creativity.
Art teacher Christy Hensley proudly spoke about her students and their artwork. Among some of the most recognized names of the night were Abby Dotson and Hannah Carter, Beth McClure, Elyza Dantin, Samantha Evans, and Natalie Hensley who all have amazing artistic talent and had more than one piece displayed.
Students’ families and friends all joined for the admiration of all the wonderful artwork. The night was a true success for DSC, GMS, CCMS, GHS, their students, and families.