Parent's Guide to Student Achievement

Parent’s Guide to Student Achievement (PGSA) 

Based on Parents’ Bill of Rights - SB 49; Session Law 2023-106

It is the goal of Cherokee County Schools to provide parents and guardians of our students access to information pertaining to student achievement through the district’s Parent’s Guide to Student Achievement (PGSA). 

Should you wish to obtain paper copies of this document and its contents, please make a request from your child’s respective school. 

How can my child be promoted to the next grade level?

The CCS board believes that students should progress to the next level of study only after they are proficient in their knowledge and application of the current curriculum level. To the extent reasonably possible, students should be given as much time or as little time as they need to be proficient at a particular level of study. Students will be promoted to the next level of study as described in this policy. 

Cherokee County School Board Policy 3420 

The following are the relevant State and local requirements for a child to be promoted to the next grade level:

Grade Level Promotion  Relevant part of this link is found in Part 1A (pp. 15-28) regarding retention, promotion, alternatives to show reading proficiency, etc.


Grade Level Promotion Guidelines Kindergarten - 8th Grade

The following grade level student accountability guidelines are based on a belief in the need to provide early and ongoing assistance to students who need it.  Our goal must be that all students have the reading, writing, language, mathematics, and computing skills to be successful at the next level of schooling.  

These guidelines provide multiple criteria for assessing student readiness to perform at the next grade level of study.  


Kindergarten Promotion Guidelines

  • Letter Recognition and Letter Sounds
  • Math Summative Assessment – A reasonable understanding of each domain assessed in iReady.
  • Phonics/Phonemic Awareness 
  • Writing - Form 2 - 4 complete sentences
  • Meet the state-approved diagnostic assessment end of year score for literacy and reading in mClass.
  • Age and maturity of student (social, emotional, and physical)
  • Attendance Record
  • Prior Retentions
  • Student growth, pertinent information, and assessment considerations  deemed appropriate to use in determining a student’s readiness to perform successfully at the next grade level
  • High frequency word recognition


First Grade Promotion Guidelines

  • Meet the state-approved diagnostic assessment end of year score for literacy and reading in mClass.
  • Phonics/Phonemic Awareness 
  • Writing - Form 5 - 8 Complete Sentences with minimal syntax errors.
  • Math Summative Assessment – A reasonable understanding of each domain assessed in iReady.
  • Age and maturity of the student (social, emotional, and physical)
  • Attendance Record
  • Prior Retentions
  • Student growth, pertinent information, and assessment considerations deemed appropriate to use in determining a student’s readiness to perform successfully at the next grade level
  • High frequency word recognition


Second Grade Promotion Guidelines

  • Meet the state-approved diagnostic assessment end of year score for literacy and reading in mClass.
  • Writing - 2 - 3 paragraphs with minimal syntax errors. 
  • Math Summative Assessment – A reasonable understanding of each domain assessed in iReady.
  • Age and maturity of student
  • Attendance Record
  • Prior Retentions
  • Ability to work independently
  • Student growth, pertinent information, and assessment considerations deemed appropriate to use in determining a student’s readiness to perform successfully at the next grade level
  • High frequency word recognition
  • Phonics skills
  • Spelling of high frequency words


Third Grade Promotion Guidelines (RTA)

  • Proficient score on BOG 3 or
  • Proficient score on grade (EOG) reading assessment or
  • Pass state developed alternative assessment (Read to Achieve Test) or
  • Meet 70% proficiency on passages in the portfolio or Meet the state-approved diagnostic assessment end-of-the-year score for literacy and reading
  • Progress toward proficiency in mathematics
  • Progress toward Writing proficiency – meeting as indicated on writing rubric
  • Class coursework – passing or showing significant growth
  • Age and maturity of student
  • Attendance record
  • Number of times retained previously
  • Input from Others (i.e., parents, resource teachers, outside agencies, etc.)
  • Other pertinent information and assessment data deemed appropriate to use in determining a student’s preparedness to perform at the next grade level


Promotion Guidelines in Grades 4 - 8

  • Progress toward proficiency in both reading and mathematics on EOGs
  • Class coursework – passing a majority of core classes
  • Age and maturity of student
  • Attendance record
  • Number of times retained previously
  • Input from Others (i.e., parents, resource teachers, outside agencies, etc.)
  • Other pertinent information and assessment data deemed appropriate to use in determining a student’s preparedness to perform at the next grade level
  • Progress in appropriate and focused intervention to assist the student in meeting grade level expectations.

Promotion in High School

Students Entering 9th Grade in 2023-2024 and Beyond on Future Ready Core Pathway (28 Credits)

In order to be promoted to the next level, students must meet the following requirements:

  • 9th to 10th : 6 credits including (3 Core Classes - English I, 1 Math Course, 1 Social Studies/Science Course)
  • 10th to 11th: 13 credits including (6 Core Classes - English I & II,  2 Math Courses, 2 Social Studies/Science Courses) 
  • 11th to 12th: 20 credits including (11 Core Classes - English III (or equivalent ), 3 Math Courses (Math 1 must be one course), 2 Social Studies Courses,  2 Science ( Biology must be one), Health/PE

Graduation Requirements

Information about Cherokee County Schools Graduation requirements can be found on the CCS Website.

Cherokee County Schools Board Policy 3460

What is my child learning at school?  How can a parent review these materials?

In North Carolina, all schools use the same Standard Course of Study, determined by the State Board of Education.  These standards are the knowledge and skills students should understand by the end of each grade/course.  

The standards can be found on the NCDPI Office of Academic Standards website.  There are standards for:

  • Arts Education,
  • Career Technical Education,
  • Computer Science,
  • English Language Arts,
  • English Language Development,
  • Student Success Standards,
  • Healthful Living,
  • Information and Technology,
  • Mathematics,
  • Science,
  • Social Studies, and
  • World Language.

Local districts, schools and teachers determine how to teach these standards, including curriculum, supplementary materials, books, etc.

It is the goal of the Cherokee County School Board that every student be provided the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and graduate from high school prepared for work, further education, and citizenship. The board recognizes the critical role of parents, governmental and nonprofit agencies, businesses, and the community in helping individual students and the school system meet this goal. To ensure that the educational program meets rigorous academic standards, the board will strive to maintain accreditation of its schools by Cognia and/or the State Board of Education.

The following links provide information related to curriculum in Cherokee County Schools:

Selection of Instructional Materials

Curriculum Development

Curriculum and Instructional Guides

In Cherokee County Schools, the district curriculum offers a balance of educational experiences designed to positively impact all students' interests and academic progress.  

More information about the curriculum can be found on our Cherokee County Schools website

Information pertaining to the inspection of instructional materials can located at: 

Cherokee County School Policy 3210

Parents and caregivers may view Cherokee County Schools Literacy Intervention Plan here:   

Literacy Interventions Plan

Cherokee County Schools also offers courses in the area of Career and Technical Education (CTE).  These courses allow students to explore careers and earn credentials.  CTE Career Clusters, Pathways, Course Information, Credentials, and Course Standards may be found at this link: 

Course Management System

To learn more about our CTE Program in Cherokee County Schools, please visit: 

Cherokee County Schools CTE 

How will a parent learn about my child’s progress in school or with a class?

Cherokee County Schools believes it is imperative that information pertaining to students’ progress and performance be shared with parents and guardians throughout the school year.  

Cherokee County Schools shares the progress of students through a variety of ways, including quarterly report cards, progress reports, and assignment/test feedback.  Feedback on conduct is also included.

Information regarding assessments and the evaluation of student progress in Cherokee County Schools can be located at the following links: 

Local Assessments: 

Quarterly report cards which detail grades, attendance, and assessment are distributed as specified in the school calendar.  Parents can access and monitor their child’s progress in school, obtain information on assessment results, and more through the PowerSchool Parent Portal and Mobile App.  For assistance with PowerSchool Access, parents may contact the school. 

State Assessments:

Individual Student Reports for end-of-grade/course tests and other state assessments (English language proficiency assessment) are accessible in the parent portal of the NC-SIS (PowerSchool).

In NC, all students take end-of-grade assessments for reading and math in grades 3-8.  Students take end-of-grade science assessments in grades 5 and 8.  In high school, students take end-of-course assessments in English II, Biology, NC Math 1, and NC Math 3.

Students in Grade 10 take the Pre-ACT.  Students in grade 11 take the ACT.  Students who are CTE Concentrators in Grade 12 take ACT WorkKeys.  Those results are shared by ACT.

An Individual Reading Plan (IRP) shall be developed for any student in kindergarten through third grade 

demonstrating difficulty with reading.  An IRP will have specific strategies/ideas that can be done at home.


What are the qualifications of my child’s teachers?

NCDPI Licensure Verification: A parent may look up your child’s teacher licensure status at the following website: Licensure Lookup 

Please contact the Cherokee County Schools Office of Human Resources at 828-837-2722 with any questions you may have regarding an educator’s licensure status.

What are the requirements for school enrollment?  

What are the immunizations needed or recommended for children?

The requirements on enrollment in and eligibility to attend a Cherokee County School can be located at:  

Eligibility for School Enrollment

Health requirements for school enrollment


Parents and Guardians can enroll students at the following link: 

Cherokee County Schools Enrollment


Information on required health assessments and immunizations for students are available through the 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

Recommended Immunization Schedules:

  • The following are statutory school entry requirements. This includes required immunizations: 

How can a parent help their child learn and make progress?

Active involvement in your child's education is crucial for their learning journey. Here are some ideas on how you can engage with your child about school and what they are learning: 

  • Regularly ask your child about their school day. 
  • Inquire about the topics and assignments they are currently working on in class. 
  • Connect with their teachers to gain insights into your child's progress and inquire about ways to support their learning. 
  • Attend various school events to stay connected and learn more about how to assist your child. 
  • Establish a dedicated space at home for homework and studying, if possible.
  • AS a parent, encourage a reading culture by modeling reading behavior. 
  • Discuss your child's progress and efforts, being an engaged participant in their education. 
  • Maintain open communication with your child's teacher.
  • Keep a diverse range of books at home to encourage reading at different levels. 

Utilize local resources such as homework assistance and refer to the following parent guides for academic standards. These guides provide information to help parents understand the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and offer practical strategies for implementation at home. 

Parent Guides for Academic Standards

Reading and Literacy Support

mClass® Home Connect - Parent Resources provides resources for families to practice and reinforce important literacy skills with students in K -3 who are being assessed with mClass reading assessments.

NC Literacy at Home: Digital Children’s Reading Initiative (DCRI) provides home activities, printables, and games covering various literacy topics for Pre-K through 5th Grade. These activities include the following topics:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Oral Language

DCRI Printables for Families

How can a parent help their child develop citizenship, social skills and respect for others?

Cherokee County Schools incorporates the Portrait of a Graduate skills into the daily classroom lessons and school setting. Developed by NCDPI, these skills will support a child’s understanding of citizenship, social skills, and respect for others.  More information on the Portrait of a Graduate can be found at: NCDPI Portrait of a Graduate website. 

Designing a process to strengthen a child's citizenship, social skills, and respect for others involves incorporating various elements into their upbringing. A comprehensive plan parents can follow: 

1. Lead by Example: 

● Demonstrate positive citizenship by engaging in community service or volunteering. 

● Exhibit respectful behavior towards others, including neighbors, friends, and strangers. 

● Share stories of your experiences that highlight the importance of empathy and social responsibility. 

2. Open Communication: 

● Establish an open and honest line of communication with your child. 

● Encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. 

● Discuss current events, social issues, and ethical dilemmas to promote critical thinking. 

3. Civic Engagement: 

● Involve your child in age-appropriate civic activities, such as local community events or clean-up initiatives. 

● Attend town hall meetings or community gatherings together to instill a sense of civic responsibility. 

● Discuss the importance of voting and staying informed about local and global issues . 

4. Teach Empathy: 

● Encourage your child to consider others' perspectives and feelings. 

● Engage in activities that promote empathy, such as volunteering at a local shelter or visiting elderly neighbors. 

● Discuss real-life scenarios to help them understand the impact of their actions on others. 

5. Respect for Diversity: 

● Celebrate diversity within your family and community. 

● Introduce your child to different cultures, traditions, and customs. 

● Teach them the importance of respecting differences and embracing diversity. 

6. Problem-Solving Skills: 

● Help your child develop problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts peacefully. 

● Encourage them to think critically about solutions and consider the consequences of their actions. 

● Model effective conflict resolution in your own relationships. 

7. Digital Citizenship: 

● Educate your child about responsible internet use and online etiquette. 

● Discuss the impact of cyberbullying and the importance of treating others with respect online. 

● Set guidelines for screen time and monitor their online activities. 

8. Community Involvement: 

● Engage in community service projects as a family. 

● Support local organizations and charities together. 

● Help your child understand their role in contributing to the well-being of the community. 

9. Encourage Leadership: 

● Foster leadership skills by involving your child in group activities or clubs. 

● Support their involvement in school or community leadership roles. 

● Teach them to lead with integrity and a sense of responsibility. 

10. Reflect and Reinforce: 

● Regularly reflect on experiences and discuss the lessons learned. 

● Provide positive reinforcement for acts of kindness, empathy, and good citizenship. 

● Adjust your approach based on your child's individual needs and developmental stage. 

By incorporating these elements into your parenting approach, you can contribute to the development of your child's citizenship, social skills, and respect for others. Consistency, open communication, and leading by example are key components of this process. 

How can a parent strengthen communication with the school/teacher?

All Cherokee County Schools use a variety of communication platforms.  The following are just a few.

  • Class Dojo
  • Canvas
  • District and School Social Media sites such as Facebook, X (formally known as Twitter), and 
  • School email

Cherokee County Schools also utilizes PowerSchool Messenger to send out important information regarding school closures, bus information, special school events, and more. 

Information regarding the appropriate use of technology platforms can be located at the following: 

Technology Use 

Parents can view students’ grades in the PowerSchool parent portal. Information about accessing the parent portal can be located at the following: 

Powerschool Website 

Cherokee County Schools has developed a policy that encourages effective communication between schools and parents. This policy can be located at: 

Cherokee County Schools Board Of Education Policy Code: 1310/4002 Parental Involvement

NCDPI developed parent guides offer suggestions for building strong relationship with your child’s teacher and supporting healthy communication between home and school , including guides such as “Building Strong Relationships with Your Child’s Teacher” and “How You Can Use Questions to Support Your Child’s Learning” from the NCDPI Rethink Education Website

What services are available for parents and their children?

Family Literacy Services: 

Literacy at Home: Digital Children’s Reading Initiative developed by NCDPI provides literacy activities at each grade level, PreK through 5th Grade. 

Other Academic Reinforcement Programs: 

Additional academic enhancement and tutoring opportunities are available at all Cherokee County Schools. Parents can contact their child’s school to inquire about these services.

Cherokee County Schools High School Course Guide

College Planning

Counselors at all Cherokee County High Schools offer students the opportunity to plan their college path. 

Cherokee County Schools partners with Major Clarity, a digital academic and career planning platform designed to help students discover future careers & take ownership of their academic goals. 

Academic Advisement: Cherokee County Schools School Counselors provide assistance and support to students in three main areas: Academic, Career, and Personal/Social. 

Student Counseling Services: Each Cherokee County school is served by student service staff which consist of school counselors, nurses and social workers. Students are assessed daily for school and community support.

Additional support services:

Homeless Student Support

After School Programs available

What are opportunities for parents to participate with school?

Cherokee County Schools provide opportunities for parental engagement in their child’s education. The Policy for Parent and Family Engagement at Cherokee County School can be located at: 

Cherokee County Schools Board Of Education Policy Code: 1320/3560 Title I Parent and Family Engagement 

More information can be found at: 

Cherokee County Schools Parent and Family Engagement Website 

Contact your child’s school to learn more about the current parent and family engagement opportunities. 

What are the rigorous academic programs available to my child?  How can I learn more about them?

Cherokee County Schools offers a variety of options for students to pursue their interests, skills at their academic level. 

Career and Technical Education (CTE): 

NC has made a significant investment in developing students and programs to meet the needs of the future workforce. Through Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, Public Schools offer opportunities for students to develop career awareness in 5th grade, explore careers in grades 6-8, and experience leadership, career development, and career-aligned content in grades 9-12. 

In Cherokee County, students are able to explore these career pathways from grades 6-12: CCS CTE

For more information on CTE in NC, and to learn about Career Clusters, Pathways, and Course Information, Standards, and applicable Credentials please visit: Course Management System

In Cherokee County Schools, there are the following programs available that are more rigorous and challenging than the standard content for students: 

Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG)

In NC, school districts must identify and serve academically or intellectually gifted (AIG) K-12 students. These are students who are performing, or have the potential of performing, at high levels of accomplishment in intellectual and/or specific academic areas, such as reading and/or math when compared with other students of their age, or in their grade level, experience, or environment.  

In Cherokee County Schools, students are often provided the following services: 

● Differentiated curriculum and instruction with flexible student groups; 

● Accelerated opportunities 

● Enrichment experiences, which may be during the school day or beyond, and may be within the regular calendar year or may include summer opportunities; and 

● Other opportunities for extension of content standard. 

Services for AIG students may be provided by AIG personnel or within the regular classroom by teachers trained to meet the needs of gifted students. 

The CCS AIG Plan outlines specific opportunities for differentiated, rigorous instruction, and accelerated programs. More information can be found at: Cherokee County Schools Academically and Intellectually Gifted website

Honors Level Courses

In Cherokee County Schools, students have access to a variety of honors level courses in high school. These courses are available in the course catalog located at: Cherokee County School HS Course Guide . Honors level courses typically have a faster pace than standard level courses. They offer additional rigor, complexity and creativity than standard level courses. 

Career and College Promise (CCP)

Cherokee County Schools partners with Tri-County Community College (TCCC) to offer dual enrollment opportunities through the CCP program. If your high school student qualifies, students may earn high school credit by completing community college coursework. 

CCP courses may be taken in the College Transfer or Career and Technical Education pathway. These courses count for both high school and college credit. Tuition is free for families. 

To learn more about this program, contact your students' school. 

Additional information is available on the NCDPI CCP website. 

TCEC Early College

Tri-County Early College is a choice school for students and families. It is an opportunity for the students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree and/or CTE credentials at the same time. Students can stay for an additional fifth year to complete their credential before graduating from high school. 

Visit Tri-County Early College or more information. Additional information is available on the NCDPI CIHS Website 

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program developed by the College Board to offer college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. 

In North Carolina, 40 Advanced Placement courses are offered in public high schools. Cherokee County Schools offers a variety of AP courses. For more information, please contact your child’s school. 

Several AP courses satisfy graduation requirements for NC students as outlined in State Board policy. The State of NC funds the AP exam fee for any NC public high school student enrolled in an AP course. Students are not eligible for exam fee funding for courses taken more than once. 

Colleges and universities may likely offer college credit for these courses if your child scores a 3 or above on the exam. All of the colleges in the UNC System offer credit. 

More information is available on the NCDPI AP website. 


North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) is NC’s state supplemental program and leader in online education, providing inclusive learning opportunities for students across the state. Founded in 2007, with a strong commitment to ensuring quality education for all students, regardless of location, NCVPS has over 16 years of experience serving diverse learners. 

Students may enroll in NCVPS courses for a variety of reasons. Work with your school counselor if you are interested in taking NCVPS courses or you can visit our CCS Website. 

Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM): 

Cherokee County Schools offers opportunities for students to earn credit for a high school course without enrolling in the course. All high school courses, with a few exceptions as noted by the state, are available for students to try to CDM. 

There are two phases of assessments that a student must go through to earn credit for the course. Visit Credit by Demonstrated Mastery Guide for Cherokee County Schools for more information. 

Governor’s School: 

Each summer, NC Governor’s School offers a unique opportunity for high-achieving rising juniors and seniors to learn with their peers from across the state in an 4-week residential program at two college campus sites. 

For more information on eligibility and the application process, contact the Director of Curriculum & Instruction at the District Office. or visit the Governor's School website,

What school choices are available for my child?

Students in public school districts are assigned to certain schools based on a local assignment plan approved by the Local Board of Education.

Charter Schools: 

Charter schools are public schools of choice that are authorized by the State Board of Education and operated by independent non-profit boards of directors. State and local tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools, which have open enrollment and cannot discriminate in admissions, associate with any religion or religious group, or charge-tuition. Charter schools operate with freedom from many of the regulations that govern district schools, but charter schools are held accountable through the State assessment and accountability system. 

If you are interested in NC charter schools, visit NC charter school for information, resources, and contacts.

Nonpublic Education and Scholarship Grants 

Nonpublic education is overseen by the NC Department of Administration. 

For a list of private schools, visit this NC Private Schools. 

For information on how to start a homeschool visit: Homeschool Information 

Scholarship grant programs/voucher information is available via the NC State Education Assistance Authority. 

What rights do students with disabilities have based on the law?

For students suspected of or identified with a disability by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the following links provide important information regarding the procedural safeguards available to ensure a free, appropriate, public education. 

Parent Rights Handbook

Parent Rights Handbook (Spanish) 

IDEA Dispute Resolution

Special Education Surrogate Parents Project Child Find 

Project Child Find

For more information, please feel free to contact our Exceptional Children Department

What is the contact information for the schools and district office?

Andrews Elementary School                    

Andrews High School 

Andrews Middle School 

Principal: Kim Davis

205 Jean Christy Ave.

Andrews, NC 28901 (828) 321-4415 

FAX : 321-0401

Principal: Lance Bristol

50 High School Drive.

Andrews, NC 28901 (828) 321-5415 

FAX: 321-3986

Principal: Joslyn Parker-Booth

2750 Business Hwy 19

Andrews, NC 28901 (828) 321-5762 

FAX: 321-2009

Hiwassee Dam Elem/Mid School

Hiwassee Dam High School

Ranger Elementary/Middle School

Principal: CJ Rummler

337 Blue Eagle Circle

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 644-5115 

FAX: 644-9463

Principal: Daniel McNabb

267 Blue Eagle Circle

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 644-5115 

FAX: 644-9463

Principal: Brandy Raper

101 Hardy Truett Rd.

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 644-5111 

FAX: 644-9828

Murphy Elementary School

Murphy High School

Murphy Middle School

Principal: Allison Brown

AP: Quincey Rickett

315 Valley River Ave.

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-2424 

FAX: 837-3887 

Principal: Wendy Leatherwood

AP: Sheryl Rogers

234 High School Circle

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-2426 

FAX: 837-2555

Principal: Adam Clonts

AP: Jennifer Lugiewicz

65 Middle School Drive

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-0160 

FAX: 837-5814 

Peachtree Elementary School

Martins Creek Elem/Middle School

Tri-County Early College High School

Principal: Patricia Mathews

30 Upper Peachtree Rd.

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-2479 

FAX: 837-6494

Principal: Tommy Hollingsworth (Interim)

1459 Tobe Stalcup Rd.

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-2831 

FAX: 837-0023

Principal: Jason Forrister

4700 East US 64 Alt.

Murphy, NC 28906 Phone: (828) 837-6775

FAX: (828) 835-2362

The Oaks Academy

Central Office

CCS Directors

Principal: Carmen Garland

4700 East US 64 Alt.

Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-6775 

FAX: (828) 837-5364

Superintendent: Dr. Keevin Woody

911 Andrews Road, Murphy, NC 28906

Phone: (828) 827-2722

FAX: (828) 837-5799

Assoc.Superintendent: Ms. Kim Gibson

Assistant Superintendent: Mr. John Higdon

CCS Board Liaison: Greg Chapman

Administrative Assistant: Kristie Allison

Career & Technical Education: Teresa Hayes

Curriculum & Instruction: Ruby Cutshaw

Exceptional Children Program: Anne Boring

Federal Funds/Title I: Thomas Graham

Finance: Stephanie Hass

Payroll & Benefits: Chanda Bias

School Nutrition: Jennifer Hibberts

Student Information Systems: Amanda Killian

Technology: Dane Rickett

Testing & Accountability: Ruby Cutshaw