With Clarke County students attending school online since March 2020, most students have not been able to visit the Cedar Shoals campus. When students returned today, the interior of the Charles Worthy Academic Building greeted them with a whole new look thanks to a branding project that began a year ago.
The Local School Governance Team (LSGT) composed of parents, educators and community members began discussing possible grant projects last winter. Because of CCSD’s charter district status, the Georgia State Department of Education provides additional grant funding that schools can apply for within the county for innovative projects that will benefit students.
“We’ve been charged with looking at the policies and looking at just the inner workings of the school and finding ways to make improvements that align with the school growth plan. So we were allocated a certain amount of money to support programs needed in the school that go kind of beyond the specific policies or money or allocation” former Cedar parent and LSGT member Ryan Lankford said.
The team spent a few monthly sessions brainstorming ideas on the best use for the money until the school closed its doors due to the pandemic.
As the decision became a challenge during this period, media specialist Kerry Hogan developed a plan for the grant money that involved changing the main academic building at Cedar in an effort to build student morale and pride.
“I felt that our school really needed something more creative and interesting when you walked through the school,” Hogan said. Hogan worked with Sign Brothers, a local company in Athens, that completed the project for the school. “The plan was to make the building feel more like a home for students and to maybe increase the pride in our school with these changes.”
Having parents on the LSGT allows the team to get opinions directly from the students which are often taken into account when plans are being finalized. Many of the ideas that the LSGT members included in the plans for the project were inspired by the student body at Cedar.
“Parents only serve two-year terms so they don’t really get a lot of time on the group, but whenever we’re planning something it’s important to ask what our kids think,” Lankford said. “It is all about the students, we want a school that you’re proud of, and we want a school where you learn, and where the environment keeps everyone positive.”
Cedar Shoals Principal Antonio Derricotte felt that the environmental changes could inspire greater pride in the school.
“Improvements have been made to the upper grand commons, cafeteria, and the four common areas. I hope that when students return to the building, they will have something to celebrate.” Derricotte said prior to the reopening.
The main academic building features newly painted, Jaguar-themed walls in each of the four commons areas, and the cafeteria features a fresh look. Additionally, the main office and main commons area both offer new features that give the building a new feel.
“I hope that once people see these changes they can feel a little bit more proud to be back in our pride and that sort of feeling makes people a little bit happier and proud to be at Cedar Shoals,” Hogan said.