The Fulton County School System continues to be the fourth largest school district in Georgia with a projected 2012-2013 enrollment of nearly 93,200 students — an expected increase of nearly 700 students from the previous school year. The system includes 100 schools — 58 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, 17 high schools and six start-up charter schools.
Last month, Fulton County Schools became Georgia’s largest charter system. Over the next five years, its charter status will strengthen the district’s ability to provide flexibility in its operations with the result of increased student achievement.
The first year – 2012-2013 – of the five-year charter will focus on developing School Governance Councils for 20 schools (called “Cohort 1”) throughout the school system. These schools will be a model for others to observe as they elect students, parents, teachers and staff and community members to serve on their governance councils. Elections for the Cohort 1 schools will be held in late fall and training for members will occur in the winter.
Cohort 1 schools in north Fulton include Autrey Mill Middle School, Centennial High School, Roswell North Elementary School, Hembree Springs Elementary School,
Shakerag Elementary School, Milton High School, Mountain Park Elementary School and Northview High School.
Georgia and more than 40 other states have adopted a set of core standards called the Common Core Performance Standards. The standards align expectations between the states, making curricula across the nation more consistent and rigorous, and ultimately preparing students to succeed nationally and globally.
In Georgia and in Fulton County, the Common Core Performance Standards are being introduced during the 2012-2013 school year in English/language arts for all grade levels and in math for grades kindergarten through ninth. Literacy standards are being added in the social studies, science and career technology for grades six through 12. Teachers received training last spring and this summer to transition to the new standards.
Five themes within the new standards aim to enhance the quality of instruction provided to students – rigor, text complexity, reading and writing across content areas, and balanced assessments.
The Fulton County School System has restructured its central administrative office to place staffing and other resources closer to where schools need them. The realignment focuses on the district’s strategic priorities, better meets the needs of students, parents, employees and the community and builds the organization’s capacity to meet current and future needs.
In addition, the schools of Fulton County are now divided into four “learning communities” — Northwest Learning Community, Northeast Learning Community, Central Learning Community, and South Learning Community. Organized geographically, the learning communities allow a decentralized approach to school management and provide schools the opportunity to work more closely together and align resources. Each will be managed by an area superintendent and supported by an executive director.
The Northeast Learning Community area superintendent is Will Rumbaugh, and the executive director is André Wright.
The Northwest Learning Community area superintendent is Vic Shandor, and the executive director is Margaret Pupillo.
The system also has new meal offerings and price changes. School cafeterias will serve school meals that meet tough new federal nutrition standards, ensuring that meals are healthy, well-balanced and provide students all the nutrition they need to succeed at school.
Starting this year, school lunches will meet additional standards requiring: age-appropriate calorie limits, larger servings of vegetables and fruits (students must take at least one serving of produce), a wider variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes, fat-free or 1-percent milk (flavored milk must be fat-free), more whole grains and no trans fats and less sodium.
Lunch prices will be $0.10 higher from last year. In elementary schools, breakfast continues to be priced at $1.05 while lunch is $2.20. At middle schools and high schools, breakfast is $1.20 and lunch is $2.45.
This year, all more than 850 school bus drivers will be certified in CPR to be prepared to render a faster life-saving response in the event of a medical emergency. In addition, the entire bus fleet has completed the six-hour Green Cross Defensive Driving training program. The national program is considered one of the best driver trainings for organizations with large vehicle fleets.
Due to a waiver received by the U.S. Department of Education, Georgia school systems, including Fulton, now have flexibility in how they implement academic assistance programs as required by the Elementary Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind law.
The waiver allows school systems greater flexibility in designing a “flexible learning program” – or FLP – tailored to the needs of their schools, particularly to support students in the areas of language arts and math. Flexible Learning Programs will be implemented in the following Title I schools: Banneker High School, Bear Creek Middle School, Creekside High School, Esther Jackson Elementary School, High Point Elementary School, McClarin Alternative High School, Randolph Elementary School, Renaissance Middle School, Ridgeview Charter School, Sandy Springs Middle School, S.L. Lewis Elementary School and Tri-Cities High School.