FCS Community Update for October 15, 2020
On Tuesday, the Fulton County School Board held its monthly work session at the district’s North Learning Center. A complete list of agenda items discussed during the meeting is available via BoardDocs, a website that makes the school board agenda and all supporting documents available online.
Phase V – Return to Face-to-Face Instruction
Superintendent Mike Looney presented an update on the district’s transition toward returning to full Face-to-Face instruction. Using COVID-19 case data from the Fulton County Board of Health and following the FCS Reopening Matrix, Dr. Looney reported the district would continue as planned with the final phase to Face-to-Face instruction beginning Wednesday, October 14. Phase V opens schools for in-person instruction five days a week. Participation is optional, and students who do not return to in-person instruction can continue learning virtually through the end of the semester. A full report of enrollment and percentage of remote students can be found on the FCS website.
Dr. Looney stated the district will continue to monitor community coronavirus data, but decisions about potential closures of schools due to new COVID-19 cases will now be made using the FCS Closing Matrix. The process will allow for localized closures based on each case, giving the district the option to close and/or quarantine within a limited, impacted area, such as an individual classroom or school.
Student COVID-19 Reporting Portal
Dr. Looney and Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade shared a new reporting portal created in partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health. The online site allows parents to share if their child(ren) have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting the outcome of test results, or if their children have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The reporting mechanism assists school/health officials as they conduct contact tracing and is not a diagnostic tool nor a place for reporting potential symptoms. Dr. Looney also urged parents not to send their child to school if he/she has a confirmed diagnosis, a positive diagnosis is suspected, or if the student is otherwise feeling unwell. The reporting tool is posted to the school district’s website, has been shared through social media, and also is accessible through each individual school’s web page.
Superintendent’s Contract Extension
Also at the meeting, the School Board voted to extend Dr. Looney’s contract by 16 months, which updates the term to three years, the maximum length allowed for a superintendent in Georgia. The timing of the contract action followed Dr. Looney’s first annual review, which was set by his contract to occur by October. Board President Bernath made the announcement with a statement, “It is clear through this tumultuous time that Dr. Looney’s guidance was critical to the stability and success of the district. With all the ups and downs, it was important for the Board to confirm that district leadership remain consistent through the transition period back to operations and education under non-coronavirus circumstances. We have amazing students, teachers, principals, staff, parents and taxpayers, and they deserve consistent management as we focus on recovery and excelling going into the future.”
2020 ACT Scores
The 2020 ACT test scores are in, and Fulton County Schools’ students continue to outpace their peers in Georgia and across the country. The districtwide score of 24.4 is an increase over the 2019 composite score of 23.9 and is the highest on record for Fulton County Schools, capping an upward trend for more than a decade. Eight FCS schools showed an increase for 2020: Alpharetta, Banneker, Cambridge, Creekside, Langston Hughes, Northview, North Springs and Westlake. Northview's average composite score of 28.1 was the school district’s highest for 2020 and also was the second highest in Georgia. Chattahoochee (#5), Johns Creek (#9), and Cambridge (#10) also were among the state’s highest average composite scores. See all Fulton high schools’ scores here.
Application Window for New STEM High Schools
The application window for Fulton County Schools’ two new STEM magnet high schools – Global Impact Academy in Fairburn and Innovation Academy in Alpharetta – is now open. At this link, students can review admission requirements and apply to become part of the schools’ inaugural 2020-2021 student body. Both schools will open next August with 9th and 10th grades only and will grow to meet their capacity as students matriculate to the next grade. For their 2021-2022 school year, Global Impact Academy is enrolling up to 500 students and Innovation Academy is enrolling up to 900 students. Students can apply at www.fultonschools.org/apply using an online questionnaire that includes a brief essay or video that supports their interest. The application window closes December 15 at 11:59 p.m.
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