FCS Community Update for October 22, 2020
Board Meeting Update – October 22, 2020
The Fulton County School Board met on Thursday, October 22, for its regularly scheduled Board Meeting. A complete list of agenda items discussed is available via BoardDocs, a website that makes the school board agenda and all supporting documents available online.
At the meeting, School Board members shared inspiring stories, recognitions and information regarding staff, students, and community partners.
Superintendent Mike Looney reminded that Tuesday, November 3, is a national Election Day and schools are closed to serve as polling places. Students will not attend virtual or in-person classes, and teachers and staff will be able to report virtually for a professional development day, including a virtual Celebration Conference for teachers to recognize their amazing efforts and share best practices.
Dr. Looney reported that approximately 50% of students are attending school for Face-to-Face instruction and commended students, school leaders and teachers for keeping instruction as the focus and working hard to keep everyone safe.
He implored the FCS community to continue following the guidance from the Centers of Disease Control, Georgia Department of Public Health and the Fulton County Board of Health: stay home when feeling unwell, wash hands frequently, wear a mask when around others, and if testing positive for COVID-19, quarantine from others. Those who have been tested, but have not yet received the outcome, are expected to stay home from school or work until they receive negative results.
College Entrance Exams – SAT and ACT
Kimberly Richards, the school system’s assessment director, reported on Fulton’s recently released 2020 SAT and ACT scores. For 2020, Fulton’s SAT average is 1078, which is comprised of a 545 reading/writing score and a 532 math score. Seven schools are in the state’s top 25 for SAT performance – Northview High (#2), Chattahoochee High (#4), Johns Creek High (#6), Cambridge High (#9), Alpharetta High (#14), Milton High (#20) and Roswell High (#23). Five schools had increases – Independence High (+34), North Springs High (+25), Cambridge High (+21), Hapeville Career Academy (+15) and Centennial High (+2).
Similarly, Fulton’s ACT average composite score was 24.4, which topped all of the large metro Atlanta school systems for 2020 and is the district’s highest score ever. Eight schools showed an increase – Alpharetta High (+0.1), Banneker High (+1.3), Cambridge High (+0.9), Creekside High (+0.2), Langston Hughes High (+0.6), Northview High (+0.5), North Springs High (+1.2) and Westlake High (+0.3). Four schools are in the state’s Top 10 – Northview High (#2), Chattahoochee High (#5), Johns Creek High (#9) and Cambridge High (#10).
Nationally, SAT scores have been declining over the past four years while ACT scores have been increasing, with Fulton’s performance following both trends. Also in Fulton, trends show that SAT participation has remained consistent, with the Classes of 2019 and 2020 averaging 77% of graduating seniors taking the SAT, whereas it was 52% and 47% for those years, respectively, for the ACT. Some schools are showing changing participation rates, such as Roswell High, which has had more participation recently on the ACT over the SAT. SAT participation, however, is growing at Alpharetta High, Banneker High, Centennial High, Creekside High and Hapeville Career Academy.
Principals of two of Fulton’s higher performing SAT/ACT schools gave insights – Brian Downey from Northview High School and Jamar Robinson from Westlake High School. Northview is the #2 Ranked High School in Georgia for SAT and ACT performance and Westlake has celebrated its highest ACT score average in 10 years. Both schools cited the district’s support of test-taking prep programs and a culture of high expectations, where all students are encouraged to take the tests to personally challenge themselves and show their aptitude, regardless if they have plans to attend college.
Next week Fulton County Schools will observe October 27 as “SAT Day,” when seniors will take official SAT practice tests through Khan Academy and also learn about an SAT daily practice app. Personalized study plans will be developed using previous SAT scores for students desiring to increase their performance. A similar “ACT Day” is being planned for the spring, and participating schools will choose a day during March 30 through April 1, 2021, to observe their ACT activities.
Feedback Requested by GaDOE
The Georgia Department of Education is requesting feedback on the weight that Georgia Milestones End-of-Course tests should have on a student’s final grade for the 2020-2021 school year.
On October 1, State Superintendent Richard Woods recommended to the State Board of Education that the Georgia Milestones End-of-Course percentage weight to be included in a student’s final grade be reduced from 20% to .01%. The SBOE did not approve this recommendation and proposed reducing the End-of-Course percentage weight from 20% to 10%.
The proposal has been posted for public comment, with feedback being collected until November 16 through this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3TWWTMZ.