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FCS Community Update for January 21, 2022

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January 20 Post-Meeting Update   

The Fulton County School Board met on Thursday, January 20, for its regularly scheduled Board meeting at the South Learning Center. Following are highlights of some of the more highly discussed topics, with the full agenda available online. Other topics discussed or approved are available via BoardDocs. Summaries of Board actions can be found here and Board policy updates can be found here.

Superintendent’s Report
Fulton County Schools (FCS) Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney spoke to the Board about the tremendous challenges students nationwide have faced because of the pandemic, saying the district is determined to stay engaged while improving upon these challenges to ensure the safety of students and staffers. Click here to see how we are supporting our students and how parents can collaborate with the district to teach appropriate student behaviors for the learning environment.

Dr. Looney also addressed changes to district COVID-19 protocols. According to Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) epidemiology reports, the seven-day trend of COVID-19 cases has gone downward quickly. With input and support from the FCBOH, the district is modifying COVID-19 guidelines for students. Masks are optional in all Fulton County Schools and buildings effective January 22. As part of a federal mandate, masks are still required on school buses until March 18. Effective January 24, parents should report only positive cases to the Parent portal. FCS Health Services and FCBOH will continue to case investigate and provide guidance to all positive student cases and any FCS sibling(s) related to the case. Do not submit a report if you are waiting for a pending test result or for an exposure/direct contact. Click here for more information on reporting guidelines.

Budget Update
Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef provided an update regarding Governor Brian Kemp’s budgetary recommendations for the next fiscal year and the potential impact for Fulton County Schools. The State budget is not finalized but is pending review by the House and Senate prior to being signed into law by Governor Kemp. Therefore, the information provided is subject to change. The Superintendent and district leaders are working together to develop a budget recommendation for FY 23. Please plan to stay engaged with our ongoing annual budget planning process as we continue to provide monthly updates to our staff and families. See the presentation here.

Bridge to Success Update
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gyimah Whitaker informed the Board of a proposal to redesign our SAFE Center at Banneker High School. The SAFE Center represents the consolidation of school services and community partnerships. It is designed to eliminate academic, social, and emotional barriers that impede students’ ability to maximize their full potential. Based upon the learning from Banneker’s SAFE Center and new guidance from key partners, FCS will also expand the SAFE Center Model to North Springs and Tri-Cities High Schools, opening August 2022. The SAFE Centers will bring attention to all aspects of child development while creating strong school, family and community ties.

Another priority of the Bridge to Success plan is to establish transformative approaches to literacy instruction. Utilizing additional federal funds, the district and school leaders have begun learning the skills needed to teach the five essential pillars of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension), plus writing, spelling, and oral language though the training program LETRS, Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers have begun their LETRS training journey and received resources to support this professional learning. Additional training will continue until all K-5 teachers complete training in January 2024. To review monthly financial reports, visit the Bridge to Success website. We will continue to collect feedback from stakeholders at Click here to see the presentation.

School Allotment Guidelines (SAG) 
For the next few months, the Board and staff will review the Board approved budget parameters, recommended state funding, and other factors in a series of presentations and discussions before an expected approval of the FY 2022-23 annual budget in June 2022. As part of that process, each fiscal year FCS develops budget allotment formulas and guidelines for all schools within the district. This is the first step toward the approval of the annual budget process. At the meeting, the Board approved the FY 2022-23 School Allotment Guidelines, which provide school leaders and principals with the resources they need to begin hiring, building, and managing their teams for the next fiscal year. District leaders will review the allotment guidelines and could potentially bring revisions or updates to the Board.

Charter School Renewal
The Board ratified an approval of Chattahoochee Hills Charter School for a term of four years. Please visit the Strategy & Governance homepage to stay informed about all our charter schools.

Board Policy Update
Over the past two years, the Board has gathered feedback on grading from students, parents, teachers, school leaders and other district staff, and has approved Policy IHA: Grading and Reporting. The changes will go into effect beginning August 2022. District staff will be communicating additional information about Policy IHA: Grading and Reporting in the coming weeks. The Board also took action on several other policies. Click here to see the complete list.

K-12 ELA Textbook Adoption
The K-12 ELA Textbook Adoption public review period ends Friday, January 21 at 11:59 p.m. Teachers, parents, and community members, please click here to view materials and presentations and to complete the survey regarding these proposed materials.

Sesquicentennial Video
The ninth and final installment in our sesquicentennial video series reflects on a select group of special individuals who, for the past 150 years, have relied on their commitment to students as their reward for service. See how our school Board has had, and will always have, an immeasurable effect on the lives of the citizens of Fulton County. Click here to watch the video.