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Cobb County Schools CLOSED for Winter Break

Cobb County Schools will close for the Winter Break on Monday, December 22, 2014, and resume for students on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. Staff will return on Monday, January 5, 2015.


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Cobb County Schools announces graduation dates


The Cobb County School District has released dates, locations and times for the 2015 Spring Commencement Schedule. Pope and Kell will hold ceremonies on Thursday, May 21. Lassiter, Sprayberry, Walton and Wheeler ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 22. For locations and times, please visit

(Source: Cobb County Schools)


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Cobb County School District Releases Results of School Enrollment/Population Study


Click on image to enlarge

In order to help Cobb County School District officials better determine student enrollment projections and capital improvement programs related to demand for new schools, remodels or additions, the Cobb County School Board hired Davis Demographics & Planning, of Riverside, California, to  conduct 10-year student population projection study through 2023. The purpose of the $77,400 report was to research Cobb’s demographic trends, see how these trends may affect future student population and to assist in making facility adjustments that may be necessary to accommodate the potential student population shifts.

Cobb School Board Chair Kathleen Angelucci says it is important for the district to address potential enrollment concerns sooner rather than later  because it significantly affects the budget and capacity, or staff numbers. “It is always better to be proactive than reactive,” Angelucci continues.“Preparedness is key in good management.”

“Planning for and accommodating enrollment growth is particularly challenging, and even more so in areas with limited land options such as within the East Cobb community,” adds Scott Sweeney, East Cobb School Board Member. “East Cobb area high schools Lassiter, Pope, Sprayberry, Walton and Wheeler each have fewer than 50 acres and are surrounded by developed land.”

Of East Cobb’s 35 elementary, middle and high schools, five schools stand out in how greatly their enrollment numbers should increase over the next
decade. Brumby Elementary, which has a capacity of 751 students and currently serves about 1,200 students, is expected to increase by more than 400
students. Following a similar trend, Dodgen and East Cobb middle schools could each be tackling increases between about 300 and 700 students. In area high schools, Walton and Wheeler are looking at reaching student enrollments of about 3,400 students each— Walton up from more than 2,700 students this year and Wheeler nearly 1,900. Capacity at each high school is about 2,100-2,300.

Sweeney says bottom line Cobb is a great place to live with excellent schools and great employment opportunities, which factors into why people  continue to move here and the population increases.

“In addition to county population growth, many East Cobb community senior citizens are selling their homes to families with school age children drawn to the area because of the quality of the schools,” he says. “For example, before Eastside Elementary School was rebuilt, its enrollment was close to 900 students.

Today, the enrollment is closer to 1,200 students. What accounted for that enrollment growth? It wasn’t due to new housing development. Some of the growth could be attributed to families choosing public rather than private schools.”

He went on to say that he believes the district will work diligently to accommodate the East Cobb area’s student enrollment growth with school facility expansion or replacement as warranted. “It wasn’t too long ago that the school district had nearly 700 portable/trailer classrooms. Because of Cobb County’s continuing support for Education SPLOST funding, and the district’s commitment to make facility improvements, the portable classroom
count is 93 today. Fifteen of those are at Brumby Elementary School alone.”

Within the report is a “Ten Year Projection Methodology” section that details the factors included in the findings and why they were used. These include the calculation of incoming kindergarten classes, additional students from new housing, the effects of student mobility and a detailed review of planned residential development within Cobb Schools. Projection methodology used in this study combines historical student population counts, past and present demographic characteristics, and planned residential development to forecast future student population at the study area level.

The report included updating district mapping, using the Cobb Schools’ past three years of geocoded student data files, developing and researching pertinent demographic data, identifying current and future residential development plans and preparing a 10-year student population projection. According to the report, readers are reminded that this is a “snapshot” of current and potential student population based on data gathered in fall 2013. Population demographics, development plans, funding opportunities and school district priorities can change, therefore, new projections  and adjustments to the overall plan will continue to be necessary in the future.

(Written by Lindsay Field. Reprinted from the December 2014 EAST COBBER. Read the December issue HERE.)

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2014 Georgia High School Writing Test Results: Percentage of Cobb Students Passing Unchanged; Still Outperformed Metro Area Peers

Georgia law (O.C.G.A., Section 20-2-281) requires that writing assessments be administered to students in grades three, five, eight, and eleven. The State Writing Assessment Core Development and Advisory Committees assisted the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) in developing the writing component of the student assessment program. The committees comprised of educators with expertise in the instruction of writing skills and writing assessments, consist of eight committees—a Core Development and Advisory Committee for each grade level (3, 5, 8, and 11). The goal of the Writing Assessment Core Development and Advisory Committees and the GaDOE is to create developmentally appropriate assessment procedures to enhance statewide instruction in the language arts. Statewide writing assessments serve the purpose of improving writing and writing instruction.

Students in the 11th grade participate in the Georgia High School Writing Test and must pass the GHSWT to earn a regular education diploma. Students are asked to produce a response to one on-demand persuasive writing prompt.

The writing test requires students to produce a composition of no more than two pages on an assigned topic. The two-hour test administration includes 100 minutes of student writing time. The test is administered three times a year so that students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of senior year. The main administration of the GHSWT takes place in the fall of junior year. Results of the GHSWT are used to identify students who may need additional instruction in academic content and skills considered essential for a high school diploma.

At the district level, 98 percent of first-time test takers scored a passing grade, unchanged from 2013. Ninety-nine (99) percent of regular education students scored at or above the expected level of proficiency, which is also unchanged from last year’s administration. Eighty-six (86) percent of special education students taking the test scored at or above the expected level of proficiency, compared to 85 percent in the prior school year. Scores for English Language Learners (ELL) increased from 81 percent, to 96 percent in the current school year.

While the percentage of students passing in the district was unchanged, Cobb students outperformed their peers in other metropolitan districts (97 percent) and statewide (96 percent). The percentage of regular education students that passed the test across the State also increased 2 percent, from 96 percent last year to 98 percent this year. The percentage of special education students passing at the state level grew 9 percent (70 percent to 79 percent, respectively), and the percentage of English Language Learners statewide scoring at or above proficiency increased 11 percent, from 60 percent passing in 2013, to 71 percent passing in 2014.

Key Findings

District Results

  • A total of 6,733 first-time test takers took the writing test. Ninety-eight (98) percent met the passing standard with a mean scale score of 229. This reflects a 1-point decrease over last year’s scale score of 230.
  • A total of 6,666 Regular Program Grade 11 students were first-time test takers, with 99 percent passing and a mean scale score of 229. The percent of Regular Program students passing in 2013 was also 99 percent, with an average scale score of 231.
  • A total of 522 Special Education Grade 11 first-time test takers participated in the writing test. Eighty-six (86) percent met the passing standard with a mean scale score of 215. The percent of Special Education students passing in 2013 was 85 percent, with a scale score of 215.
  • A total of 46 English Language Learner Grade 11 first-time test takers were tested. Ninety-six (96) percent met the passing standard with a mean scale score of 213. Last year, 81 percent of the English language learners met the passing standard with a scale score of 208.

School Results

  • All 16 of the district’s high schools had a pass rate of 96 percent or better.
  • 12 high schools had 98 percent or more students passing. They were Allatoona, Harrison, Hillgrove, Kell, Kennesaw Mountain, Lassiter, McEachern, North Cobb, Pebblebrook, Pope, Sprayberry, and Walton.
  • 13 of the district’s sixteen high schools had the same or higher pass rate this year than last year.

Click here to view the results table


Cobb Schools Foundation Announces 2014 Teacher IMPACT Grant Recipients

The Cobb Schools Foundation announced the 2014 Teacher IMPACT Grant winners. The Foundation received 87 grant applications. This year, the Foundation awarded more than $22,000 in grants to teachers for creative and innovative ideas in education. Congratulations to all of the 18 IMPACT Grant recipients. Here are the recipients from East Cobb schools:

> Lori Kotarba – Kincaid ES
“Calm Down Caddies” $500

> Angie Dowling – Kell HS
“Making Literature Alive for ESOL students” $650

> Diana Bishop – Lassiter HS
“American Sign Language Club” $2,265.67

> Cynthia Pragovich – Nicholoson ES
“Portable Writing Lab” $1,310

> Sarah Dupuis – Keheley ES
“Enlarging eBook Collection” $1,500

> Dr. Ellen Campbell – CCSD Special Student Services
“DanceFit for Adaptive PE” $427
(In partnership with the Atlanta Hawks)

Since 2005, the Cobb Schools Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to teachers in Cobb County School District. These grants are only  made possible by business partnerships and fundraising efforts, including the Annual Gimme 5 for Education campaign, golf tournament, Leaders & Legends Ball and more! For more information about the Foundation or to make a donation, please visit


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East Cobb Teachers of the Year Honored at Chamber’s Give Our Schools A Hand Ceremony

The Teacher of the Year program is designed to spotlight those dedicated to educating and changing the lives of our young people. Each year, one talented and special person is selected to be a school’s Teacher of the Year. The Cobb County and Marietta City District Teachers of the Year placed their handprints in the Teacher Walk of Honor on the Marietta Square October 1. A pep rally on October 28 kicked off the annual Give Our Schools a Hand (GOSH) week at the Roswell Street Baptist Church. This is the 26th year that the Cobb Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the GOSH special event. A salute to education in Cobb County, GOSH week brought educators, students, parents, businesses and the community together to honor education. Here are the teachers of the year from the public schools located in East Cobb County:

Jim Williams
2nd Grade
Addison Elementary School

Randa Burden
Bells Ferry Elementary School

Laurie Henderlong
Blackwell Elementary School

Sonya Oviedo
Brumby Elementary School

Rick Parker
Gifted Social Studies
Daniell Middle School

Mary Bowen
Special Ed SID/PID
Davis Elementary

Lynn Sussman
6th & 7th Grade Gifted Science
Dickerson Middle School

Janette Strasser
8th Grade Math
Dodgen Middle School

Audra Bothers
6th Grade Math
East Cobb Middle School

“Chrissy” Melanie Kirby
Special Ed IRR
Eastside Elementary School

Kelly Stillwell Healy
Eastvalley Elementary School

Kelly Jollands
Special Ed PK
Garrison Mill Elementary School

Stephen Corbett
7th Grade Social Studies
Hightower Trail Middle School

Nes Gondek
Keheley Elementary School

Laura LaQuaglia
Kell High School

Lisa Green
Speech Language Pathologist
Kincaid Elementary School

Jean Linner
Lassiter High School

Jodie Parades
7th Grade Reading
Mabry Middle School

Amy Shannon
7th Grade Science
McCleskey Middle School

Maureen Armstrong
Mountain View Elementary School

Melissa Danner
5th Grade
Mt. Bethel Elementary School

Ginny Armour
Special Ed IRR
Murdock Elementary School

Karen Hersey
5th Grade
Nicholson Elementary School

Tracy Merriman
Culinary Arts
Pope High School

Sarah Alwardt
5th Grade
Powers Ferry Elementary School

Alison Callahan
3rd Grade
Rocky Mount Elementary School

Kristi Marrow
Special Ed IRR
Sedalia Park Elementary School

Kresta Kapiowitz
1st Grade
Shallowford Falls Elementary School

Chris Whiting
6th Grade Earth Science
Simpson Middle School

Megin Robinson
Media Specialist
Sope Creek Elementary School

Erin Smith
Special Ed IRR
Sprayberry High School

Alison Dunford
5th Grade
Timber Ridge Elementary School

Michelle East
Tritt Elementary School

Matt Staruch
Social Studies
Walton High School

“Faye” Dorothy Oakley
Special Ed IRR
Wheeler High School


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Cobb Superintendent’s SACS Presentation

The Superintendent presented a State of the District overview to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) External Review Team on Monday, November 17, 2014. The presentation below contains information regarding district demographics, latest district assessment data, our current financial state and IE2.

Click to download a PDF of the Superintendent’s SACS Presentation

(Reprinted from


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Mabry MS Art Teacher Receives Georgia Art Education Award

Kacie Kamins Mummert, art teacher at Mabry Middle School in East Cobb County, received the Georgia Art Education Association’s Middle Level Art Educator of the Year Award for 2015. She received her award at this year’s Fall conference in Macon. Kacie is a dynamic teacher who has worked to build an exceptional art program at her school. She also has helped to organize major art events in the county and has established collaborative partnerships with the High and Zuckerman Museums.

(See more at:


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Cobb County Schools CLOSED for Thanksgiving Break

Cobb County Schools will be CLOSED for Thanksgiving Break November 24-28. Classes will resume on Monday, December 1, 2014.

Schools will close for the Winter Break on Monday, December 22, 2014, and resume for students on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. Staff will return on Monday, January 5, 2015.


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Georgia State Board of Education Taking Comment on Proposed Revisions to Common Core





Based on community feedback from across the state, the GA State Board of Education has proposed revisions to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics to be effective for the 2015-2016 school year. These revisions have now been posted for a 60 day review and comment period. Please click here to review the revised standards and to provide your comments to inform the decision for the GABOE.


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