Sunday, February 14, 2016

President's Day Edition

Quote of the Week: 

Tuesday is an A day.                                    

Eastside Recent Events

We have all been shocked and saddened at the recent events that have occurred at Cedar Shoals High School. Events such as these can have a lasting impact on the entire community and feeder pattern, and we must work together to heal and move forward in such a way that our schools and community are stronger as a result.  As concerns are addressed and we begin to move forward, I want to share with you what we have in place at Hilsman and how we plan to move forward as a school community. 

First, all middle schools and high schools have adopted the Family Life and Sexual Health curriculum (F.L.A.S.H.) that will be taught as a portion of your child's health and physical education class this spring. These lessons are developed and geared toward the age of the students (Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8, and Grades 9-12) and are taught in same gender settings. As parents, you have the option to OPT OUT of these lessons for your child, but you must notify the school by returning the opt out form provided with the letter that will be sent home prior to the lessons taking place. Hilsman plans to send these letters home on February 19, 2016. You may preview the F.L.A.S.H. curriculum by contacting Amy Peacock at

Second, we have routines and procedures in place at the classroom and school level to reduce the opportunities for students to be unsupervised or in unauthorized locations. Scheduled bathroom breaks, hall passes, hall sweeps, and morning and afternoon duty stations are just some of the routines and procedures we have in place to keep our students safe and focused on learning. Our staff and students are aware of the procedures to use if we are ever in a situation that requires us to implement a soft lockdown or hard lockdown. Be advised that we do serve some children who have health conditions that on occasion require us to call in additional medical personnel. In such instances we do use our soft lockdown procedures (no movement in the building outside of the classrooms) to keep hallways clear in the event we need to transport a student out of the building.

Third, we have a school resource officer who assists administration in providing a safe learning environment by regularly monitoring the perimeter of our building as well as our cameras, checking restrooms and hallways throughout the day, and being a presence during arrival, dismissal, transitions and lunch.  

Finally, we have a system in place to notify appropriate personnel and parents when a situation occurs that is a potential safety concern for the school community. When something happens that is either tragic in nature (for example, when Coach Paxson passed away a few years ago), or concerns the safety of our school (for example, if a weapon was discovered on campus), you will receive communication from the principal regarding the incident. I typically send this communication via our email listserv. If time allows and the situation warrants, communication may be sent home in a letter via your student. Our school counselors and school social worker are available to meet with students and staff in such situations to help them in any way they can.

Please know that providing a safe learning environment for your child is a duty and responsibility that we take seriously. In the coming days, I will be meeting with my leadership team to review all of our routines, procedures, and responsibilities to determine if there are further steps we can or should take to ensure a positive, safe environment for all. If you have feedback or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call or email me. 

Cedar Shoals PTO is hosting a forum at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17th at Cedar Shoals. Hilsman parents are invited to attend.

Can We Talk? 

We had a very productive Can We talk? session with our 6th grade parents. You can review the discussion notes here. Our next Can We Talk? session will be just for 7th grade parents. This time together will give us an opportunity to have a conversation and share challenges as well as identify possible solutions to continue to support the work of each other and most importantly, our students.

I invite all 7th grade parents to join us on Tuesday, February 23rd, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. in the Hilsman cafeteria. We will have a light meal and discuss how we can all partner together and develop ways to ensure that our students finish the year strong academically, socially, and behaviorally. We are all in this together – administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, community members and students. By working together, we can continue our strong record of partnering for student success.

In order to ensure that we have enough refreshments, please let us know you plan to attend no later than February 8th by either emailing your child's homeroom teacher, Ms. Griffith at, or calling the school at 706-548-7281 and speaking to our receptionist, Ms. Postero. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, February 23rd.

District Honor Band

Hilsman had seven students who selected to participate in the District 14 Honor Band. The students traveled to Toccoa where they rehearsed with students from many different schools to prepare a concert in 10 hours of rehearsal. We are so proud of Hilsman and Proud to be CCSD!

Teacher and Staff Member of the Month

Congratulations to Meagan Nix and Leslie Gonzalez for being selected Teacher of the Month and Staff Member of the Month for February. Both of these ladies are incredibly busy giving their time and energy to making Hilsman a great place to be and succeed for our students. You ladies rock!

Go ahead and nominate teachers and staff members of the month for this month. Please follow the links below and nominate someone by February 29th!

FFE Award Nomination Window Open

Award nominations for the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education in Clarke County, Georgia opened on Monday, January 4th. The mission of the FFE is to encourage, recognize, and reward excellence in the Clarke County School District, and one of the primary ways this is accomplished is through monetary awards presented to deserving CCSD faculty, staff, and administrators. 

Parents, colleagues, students, and community members are encouraged to nominate stellar educators by going to the FFE website at and downloading appropriate application packets for the annual and even numbered year awards. Individuals may be nominated in more than one category if applicable criteria are met.

Please contact executive director C.J. Amason at 706/224-7636 or with questions or for more information. The nominating period will close on Friday, March 4th.

The FFE is accepting nominations for the following 11 awards in 2016:

  • Frusanna S. Booth Chair for Teachers of English and Language Arts ($1200 for two years)
  • Charlotte Brown Chair for Teachers of Special Education ($1200 for two years) 
  • Lamar Dodd Chair for Teachers of Fine Arts ($1200 for two years)
  • Jenny Penney Oliver Chair for Counselors and Student Support Personnel ($1200 for two years)
  • Margaret & Raymond Ponsoldt Chair for Elementary School Teachers ($1200 for two years)
  • Friends of Eve Carson Excellence in Teaching Award ($500 for two years)
  • Newland Family Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award ($500 for two years)
  • Walter Allen, Sr. Inspiring Teacher Award ($500)
  • Seasoned Teacher Award ($500)
  • Freida M. Thomas Teacher of Promise Award ($500)
  • Howard B. Stroud Community Service Award (please note that this is now for non-certificated CCSD employees ONLY)

Hilsman Middle has led the way in nominations for these awards over the past several years. We have many deserving educators, so please join me in recognizing their outstanding work by nominating a deserving educator for an FFE award!

21st Century Open Saturday

Save the Date!

Click here to see the dates for 21st CCLC Open Saturdays!

Shout Outs!

Students, parent, and community members - Is there someone at Hilsman to whom you would like to give a public "shout out" for something positive they have done? We have so many positive activities going on here at Hilsman, and we need to get the word out! If you would like to give someone a shout out, please share it with us in the form below. You may give a shout out to a student, teacher, staff member, etc. and we will share it with them. 

Hilsman Jubilee and Inaugural Panther Prowl 5k

Save the date! May 14, 2016 is the date we have set for our Hilsman Jubilee celebration, honoring the 50th anniversary of the school's opening. There will be more information in the coming months regarding our plans, and we would love to have some parents and/or Hilsman alumni to help us!

We will kick off the day with the inaugural Panther Prowl 5k, which will raise funds for a variety of causes such as enrichment/service-learning opportunities for our students, and providing incentives as a part of our positive school culture plan (PBIS). The course will be a great one, winding through the beautiful Cedar Creek neighborhood, and the race will be part of the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix. You won't want to miss it!

Counseling News

8th Grade Students Field Trip to Cedar

8th grade students will be taking a field trip to Cedar Shoals High School on February 17th. This will be a great opportunity to receive more information about high school as well as participate in a walking tour of the school. If you have not already done so, please hand in your permission form by Tuesday the 16th of February.

Save the Date for Day as a Dawg

CALLING ALL 8th GRADERS! Inspire UGA is an organization that wants to make sure every 8th grader realizes that achieving a college degree is possible. Day as a Dawg is a full day event on April 16, 2016, that is completely FREE! The 8th graders will spend the day at the University of Georgia with a UGA mentor to inspire the students to earn a college degree. There will be speakers, workshop activities, the opportunity to attend the UGA football scrimmage game, and a chance to tour the campus. We hope that this day will leave you feeling that you are capable of accomplishing anything that you put your mind to. Applications for Day as a Dawg will be sent out in March and will be due in the beginning of April. We hope to see you there!


Yearbooks on Sale! They are $22.00. They will go up to $24.00 on February 25, 2016. Did you know you can order online? Order yours today by following this link: electronic yearbook form

Chess News

From Coach Pratt:
"Hilsman performed well at the Team State Qualifier and should receive an invitation to the State Championship in the next few days. Over 1,000 K-8 students were in attendance at the biggest Georgia tournament of the year. Our top five will face off with about ten of the best schools in Georgia on March 19."

Way to go, Chess Team!

PTO News 

Current January PAB Minutes are here.



Tuesday 2-16-16        Hilsman Soccer @ Coile 4:30        

Cedar Shoals:

Monday, Feb. 15                             Varsity Baseball @ Monroe Area 5:55

Tuesday, Feb. 16                            Varsity G/B Soccer @ Athens Academy 5:00/7:00

Wednesday, Feb. 17                     Varsity Boys Basketball      
7:30 pm vs. Hiram
                                                        Admission: $7.00 as per GHSA rules
                                                       *ONLY GHSA PASSES WILL BE ACCEPTED!
***Come out and support the Jags as they begin their quest for the 5A state basketball championship!
                                                       Varsity Baseball vs. East Jackson 5:55
                                                       JV G/B Soccer @ heritage 5:30/7:00
                                                       Varsity Boys Tennis @ Oconee Co. 3:45

Thursday, Feb. 18                         Rifle vs. Madison Co. 4:00

Friday, Feb. 19                             Varsity G/B Soccer vs. Jackson Co. 5:30/7:30

Saturday, Feb. 20                        JV Baseball vs. Athens Christian 1:00

***The time, location and opponent for our 1st round state tournament basketball game will be released at the conclusion of the Region 8-AAAAA Tournament.

GO JAGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Our announcements are now a daily Google Presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here. In these announcements there is information regarding sports tryouts, club meetings, etc. You can access the weekly Panther News video here.

Download the CCSD App (It's Free!)

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars

February 15 District PL Day - No School for Students
February 17 6th Grade Field Trip
February 17 8th Grade Trip to Cedar Shoals
February 17 Cedar PTO meeting 6:00 p.m.
February 27 Panther Cafe and 21st CCLC Open Saturday
March 7-11 Spring Break

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