The Fulton County School System is launching a new initiative aimed at integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Opening in August 2009 at two locations, the Fulton Institute of Technology will be a technical high school that fuses practical and virtual learning opportunities to create a technology-rich learning environment. The first program offered will be the CISCO Networking Academy.
SMALLER LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Project LIFT(Learning in Fulton Together) is the result of a $5.2M Smaller Learning Communities Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to Banneker, Creekside, Tri-Cities, and Westlake. The grant requires schools to increase student proficiency on the GHSGT and EOCT, increase the graduation rate, and to increase the number of students who enroll in post-secondary education the year following graduation. Each school will establish freshman academies for all 9th graders and establish at least two career-themed academies for students in the upper grades. Students will complete Individual Graduation Plans with a teacher-advisor during the first semester of the 9th grade to help them set coursework goals that will make them college-ready after graduation. To help all students meet their goals, each school will use grant funds to offer a variety of services and supports, including tutoring, credit recovery, Summer Bridge, and “zero” periods. Additionally, teachers will be trained on a variety of best practices that will help them to better assess student ability, analyze data and customize student instruction. The schools will conduct extensive outreach to parents and students to encourage enrollment in Advanced Placement and dual credit courses. Other programs include “Parents as Leaders,” a series of quarterly workshops for students and parents on academic requirements, scholarships and financial aid, the college application process, selecting a college, time-management, and study skills.
In an effort to ease the ninth grade transition, Banneker, Creekside, Tri-Cities, and Westlake High Schools will host a Summer Bridge Program for rising ninth graders. Summer Bridge is an extended learning program designed to address academic deficits, particularly in language arts, reading and mathematics; assist students in acquiring the coping, study, relationship and time management skills necessary for success in high school; and introduce them to the important role of high school in achieving their goals. The Summer Bridge Programs at each school will be a 40 hour instructional program in reading, writing and mathematics prior to the beginning of the ninth grade year. This program is designed for students who are at risk of academic failure in ninth grade, but it is open to all rising ninth graders. Students in all four schools will participate in the Georgia Work Ready Certification program sponsored by the State of Georgia. Each student will have access to the WorkKeys assessment and KeyTrain training curriculum to better prepare them for their future, whether they look for immediate employment or further education.
To help all students meet their goals, each school has used grant funds to offer the following services and supports:
Banneker High School
School leadership facilitates weekly professional learning modeling some best practices in instructional strategies.
Implemented two extended school days each week for one hour to focus on weak academic areas for targeted students at all grade levels.
Students with a grade of 75 or below in a freshman literature, math, science, or a social studies class attend
Academic Achievement Assistance for a 3 week period.•
Creekside High School
School-wide Professional Development book study on ‘Rigor is Not a Four-Letter Word”
SEISMC at Georgia Tech is providing free PD for Math teachers to train in project-based instruction.
Math teachers participated in Professional Development that provided instructional strategies to make math relevant and an em phasis on rigor to increase student achievement.
Alternative grading practices are in operation for all teachers to allow students recovery or make-up opportunities.
Tri-Cities High School
As part of school-wide initiative, teachers incorporate persuasive writing assignments in all classrooms.
Teachers receive AP training for their subject areas and offer similar rigor regardless of course.
Bi-weekly professional learning involving teacher collaboration on rigor and relevance.
Exhaustive extended day program for all learners with a particular focus on juniors and students identified as needing extra support
Westlake High School
All WHS instructors received professional development training in project-based learning. The ninth grade academy will begin working on a cross-curricular theme based project.
All teachers participate in weekly Professional Learning Communities.
School leadership conducts regular learning walks to evaluate the level of student engagement and higher order questioning.
Implemented the use of a learning guide to assist instructors in making lessons that are student focused and that increase the probability of student learning using higher level questioning, cooperative learning and formative assessments.
PROJECT LIFT BENEFIT
Collectively, the schools have:
- trained all teachers to use regular formative assessments and common assessments with data reviews to formulate teaching/student needs.
- developed a Guidance and Advisement Program to ensure that students develop a Individual Graduation Plan and monitors stu dent progress.
- developed plans for Literacy and Numeracy across the Curriculum.
- implemented Credit Recovery Programs that allow students to make-up failed courses.
- redesigned the ninth grade into a Ninth Grade Academy. The Academy is designed to improve the transition from middle school by increasing behavioral and instructional expectations while providing student support and extra help to meet those expectations.
- hosted a Summer Bridge Program for rising Ninth graders.
- Seniors participate in the Georgia Work Ready Certification program sponsored by the State of Georgia.
- participated in the following Professional Development offered by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB):
1. CTE, Math and Science Integration
2. Creating a High Performing Learning Culture
3. Effective Adviser-Advisee Programs
4. Quality Teaching: Creating Schools That Engage Students Intellectually, Emotionally, Behaviorally and Socially
5. Redesigning the Ninth Grade
6. Leading a School-wide Effort to Dramatically Reduce Failure as an Option and Dramatically Increase Student
- planned for at least two Career Academies in the areas of Health Sciences, Aviation, Law and Justice, Graphic Design, Culinary Arts, STEM, Broadcast and Video Production and Business.