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Share your opinions, read the latest news, debate the issues facing Cobb County School District, with special focus on public schools located in East Cobb.

One Team. One Goal. Student Success.

Retired educator Betty Gray fires up an auditorium full of current principals and assistant principals as one of several guest speakers Tuesday morning at Kennesaw Mountain High School at the 2014 Cobb County School District Leadership Kickoff. Staff/Kelly J. Huff


In his first opportunity to appear before about 600 principals and other administrators since being appointed interim superintendent, Chris Ragsdale unveiled his slogan for the coming year: “One Team. One Goal. Student Success.”

The Cobb educators gathered at Kennesaw Mountain High School on Tuesday as part of the leadership kickoff for the new school year, which begins Aug. 4.

The program featured a pre-taped interview with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, in which Ragsdale asked the senator about topics such as leadership. Isakson discussed each topic before introducing a speaker to take the stage and also share thoughts on the issue.

Veteran educator Betty Gray, who was former Gov. Roy Barnes’ teacher at South Cobb High School and who served on the Cobb Board of Education from 1993 to 2008, talked about how students should be the top priority.

State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), chairman of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, addressed leadership.

Retired Dickerson Middle School principal Carole Kell, mother of Cobb Superior Court Judge Tain Kell, spoke of teamwork, and Marietta Daily Journal publisher Otis Brumby touched on community engagement.

“This was the first chance that I had to get in front of all these 600 people and let them know what is going to be different for our school district,” Ragsdale said after the event. “The theme is teamwork, being part of the team, and taking that a step further is customer service, having that laser focus for what’s going on in the classroom.”

Ragsdale told the group there are two types of positions in the district: teachers and those who serve them.

“We have a new vision,” Ragsdale said. “We’re going to be one team with student success as the goal, and we’re starting a new day for the Cobb County School District.”

Gray, who chaired the school board when Ragsdale was the district’s technology chief, said she is pleased to see him in the superintendent’s role.

“I think Chris, No. 1, he’s youthful and his vision is clear,’ she said. “He’s not clouded, and I think he knows from his own educational experience that education is important and it’s essential and therefore it needs to be provided for everybody, for all of our students.”

Gray is optimistic about the future of the school district.

“As I talked to young people there today — I don’t know why I’m saying young people, but when you’re 81 you can call anybody young — I’ve seen so many of these people grow, and I know how they feel about kids. They think the focus is on kids, and that’s as it should be. That’s the focus on the team as outlined by the superintendent, and Johnny Isakson tied all of this together: that it’s a collective kind of enterprise, that public education is too critical for us not to give it our best shot.”

If the test scores from schools in south Cobb are not as high as other parts of the county then the resources need to be brought to bear to help those students improve their performance, said Gray, who lives down the road from Pebblebrook High School.

“Opportunity ought to be available to all regardless of the zip code,” Gray said.

Leadership, said Tippins, who served on the school board with Gray before his election to the Georgia Senate, is all about people.

“You can have ideas and plans and theories, but it’s people that you’re leading, and that’s where the focus in leadership ought to be is on the personal side of it,” Tippins said.

Tippins said he is pleased with what he’s seen from Ragsdale.

“I think he’s trying to build consensus, he’s listening to people,” Tippins said. “He already knew what the status of the school district was because he didn’t have to come from the outside, but I think he’s doing a great job, and his emphasis on building a team and working together with people, listening has an awful lot to do with that, and I think that’s one thing about it. He’s a good listener and he gets a lot of good input from a lot of different people.”

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Jon Gillooly, July 22, 2014. Read the original MDJ article HERE.) 

Southeast Homeschool Expo is July 24-26

The 2014 Southeast Homeschool Expo is July 24-26 at Cobb Galleria Center.
An expo devoted entirely to the display, sale and discussion of educational materials with entire exhibit hall displays of materials by the best Christian, secular and specialty publishers. New homeschoolers, classical homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers – everyone will find something for them at the 2014 Southeast Homeschool Expo.
Expo hours are Thursday: 10am-4pm; Friday: 10am-9pm; Saturday: 10am-5pm. Admission is $20 online; $30 at the door. Located at Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway Atlanta. More Info: 770-594-1266 or 


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MBCA Now Enrolling for Ninth Grade

MBCA Mt Bethel Christian Academy logo

Registration is open for Mt. Bethel Christian Academy’s Upper School, ninth grade only. Now enrolling for August 2014. Visit them online at or call 770-971-0245 to schedule a tour.

The Upper School will be located at 2509 Post Oak Tritt Road in East Cobb.

Thank you for advertising with EAST COBBER. 

Cobb Retired Educators will meet in August

Cobb Marietta Retired Educators will meet Thursday, August 14, at 11:30 at the First United Methodist Church located on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.  The featured speaker will be Mike Zarem from Teachers Retirement System.  Lunch will be served for $15. 

RSVP to Debby Overstreet  More information can be found at  

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New principals named at Cobb schools

Three new principals were named recently by the Cobb School Board, with each starting July 1.

  • Patricia Alford was appointed to principal of Durham Middle School from assistant principal at Dickerson Middle School;
  • Liss Maynard was named principal at Clarkdale Elementary School from assistant principal at Mableton Elementary School;
  • Tricia Patterson was named principal at Tritt Elementary School from assistant principal at the same school; and

Gail Johnson resigned as principal at Campbell Middle School, effective June 26.

(Excerpted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Read the entire article HERE.) 


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State Releases School-Level CRCT Data

Cobb County Schools

Click here for an analysis of Cobb County School District CRCT data for 2014, along with school-by-school scores.


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Board petitions for new math test


The Cobb school board recently voted 6-0 to sign a petition asking for a new option in Georgia’s standardized math tests.

Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said there are two different methods to teaching math in the state. Discreet math is the traditional method, where there are separate courses for subjects such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The other method is integrated math, which combines elements of each subject.

Right now, Georgia’s standardized test, which starting in the upcoming school year will be known as the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, is geared toward integrated math. The petition asks the state to give school districts the second option of a test geared toward discreet math.

Angelucci said Georgia is one of only four states in the nation to use the integrated math model. She hopes the petition can help change that.

“You have to lead by example,” she said.

Mary Elizabeth Davis, Cobb’s chief academic officer, said Cobb currently uses the integrated math model. 

(Excerpted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Read the entire article HERE.) 

BoE takes stand against federal food rules

Randy Scamihorn


The Cobb Board of Education finds the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 hard to swallow.

School board members have long complained about food standards contained in the act, which is related to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

But following a 6-0 vote with David Morgan absent Thursday, those complaints are now documented in a resolution.

“Over 50 pages of federal regulations outlining nutritional standards and requirements for all foods sold in schools is excessively burdensome on local school districts and unnecessary for the purposes of reducing childhood obesity,” the board’s resolution states.

“Families should be empowered and enabled to make food choices for children with support of their local school districts.”

School board members, such as Randy Scamihorn, have said the federal government is going too far with the regulations.

“This is an effort by people who want to get into other people’s lives,” said Scamihorn, the board’s vice chair. “It’s overreach.”

Though the school board doesn’t have the authority to change the new lunch rules, Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said the size of the Cobb School District might get people’s attention.

“We’re the second largest school district in Georgia,” she said. “Maybe (Michelle Obama) will notice.”

In 2012, school lunches were overhauled to meet the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act’s regulations, which include calorie limits and mandatory whole grain breads. On July 1, similar standards will apply to snack foods sold in school vending machines.

Angelucci said students often throw away their lunch food because they don’t want it, and the lunches don’t have enough calories to support students who have sports team practices after school.

The regulations would also ban foods not meeting the new standards from being sold on campus during school hours. This could rule out doughnuts or Chick-fil-A biscuit fundraisers, which provide sizable revenue to schools.

According to Zach Thomas, owner of the Chick-fil-A on Macland Crossing Circle in Marietta, biscuit sales raised $182,680 for Cobb schools last year.

The school board envisions having other school systems join to create a wider effort that will be noticed nationally.

Scamihorn also predicted the regulations won’t always be followed.

“People will quietly ignore it,” he said. “Americans resent being told what to do from on high.”

A one-page letter outlines the Cobb school board’s opposition to the rules, including a host of grievances. These include the fundraising impact, lower participation in school meal programs, the lack of federal funding to go along with the new regulations and the possibility of more rules in the future.

Schools not complying with the regulations could see a financial penalty of up to $20,000, according to Unless the law is changed, schools do not have the choice of opting out or delaying the implementation of the standards.

The school board’s resolution came the same day a proposed ban on large sodas in New York City was struck down by the New York State Court of Appeals. The court ruled the city’s board of health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, according to the New York Times.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, June 27, 2014. Click HERE to read the original article)

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Bidding a Fond Farewell to Walton HS Teacher Dr. Hester Vasconcelos


Dr. Hester Vasconcelos, or “Granny Hessie” as her students affectionately call her, is one of the most inspirational teachers I have ever had. As a student in her AP Spanish Language class at Walton High School, she has taken my love for Spanish and life in general to a level I would never dream of. One of the most memorable experiences of my life thus far was Walton’s annual trip to Spain over winter break, in which we visited seven Spanish cities and had an intensive Spanish study experience at the Universidad Pontificia of Salamanca, Spain. This entire trip last year was planned by her as an effort to give her students a true Spanish exposure. It turned out to be a trip of a lifetime!

Dr. Vasconcelos contributed in many other ways to the Walton community. She brought to Walton the International Spanish Academy (ISA), a prestigious high school program that allows students to get a Spanish high school diploma in addition to their American one. She sponsored the startup of Walton’s Spanish National Honor Society, which has grown to over 100 yearly members. She ran the AP, SAT, and ACT exams  for many years. She also teaches a gifted endorsement class to teachers all over Georgia to fortify their teaching skills of gifted students. This led her to create a weeklong summer institute at Walton for AP teachers.

It is with much sadness that she announced her retirement from Walton High School at the end of the 2014 school year. I can tell you this: Walton will not be the same place without her. On behalf of the Walton community, thanks Hessie for all you have done! We love you and will miss you so very much!

(Written by Zack Flagel)


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CCSD Summer Hours

Beginning the week of Monday, June 2 and ending Friday, July 25, all CCSD Central and School Offices will be open Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 5pm; all offices will be closed on Friday.

Classes will resume for the school year on Monday, August 4, 2014.


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