FCS Community Update for October 22, 2021
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October 21 Post-Meeting Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Thursday, October 21, 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.
FCS Posts Record-Breaking ACT Scores, Graduation Rates
Dr. Looney and the Board of Education recognized two amazing and record-breaking accomplishments by students and staff in 2021. The first is the district’s highest recorded ACT composite score of 25.3 and the second is our highest recorded graduation rate of 87.7 percent. The ACT is a curriculum-based college admissions test that predicts college readiness. In 2021, FCS students achieved the highest composite ACT scores in the district’s recorded history. While the overall participation rate fell slightly, FCS had more participants take the ACT than any other district in Georgia this year for the college entrance exam.
The graduation rate for students in FCS increased 2.2 percent over last year, which is four percentage points above the state graduation rate of 83.7 percent. Additionally, FCS posted one of the highest graduation rates among metro Atlanta school districts. This continues a steady improvement in the FCS graduation rate since 2012 and highlights the systemic progress the district has made to ensure our students are career and college ready. FCS had 12 schools with graduation rates over 90 percent, up from nine schools in that range last year. In all, 13 of 19 high schools in the district saw an increase in the graduation rate for 2021. See the full presentation by Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones here.
Dr. Looney shared some good news about the number of COVID-19 cases, which appear to have peaked and have been trending downward since early September. As a result of community and staff support, there has been a high level of mitigation compliance across the district, while the district’s strategy to intervene at the classroom, grade and school level has minimized learning disruption. He added the district’s modified quarantine protocol has not resulted in a measurable increase in school based COVID-19 cases. A significant majority of FCS employees are fully vaccinated, and district employees have been declared eligible for a booster vaccine.
Dr. Looney went on to share the impact of COVID-19 on FCS students for the 2021-2022 school year, pointing out that school-level layered mitigations have helped minimize learning disruptions and noting school level COVID-19 data appears to reflect broader community trends.
As always, the district is focused on providing uninterrupted, high-quality face-to-face instruction for students while attending to their social and emotional needs. FCS continues to encourage district employees to become vaccinated and hopes to expand partnerships to provide families with more access to home testing kits. Next steps include modifying the district’s Mitigation Matrix to include local school data when making decisions about masking. Beginning November 1, 2021, Dr. Looney announced he may waive masking for individual schools if the ratio of cases in a school remains less than .01 of enrollment. Thirty days following the expansion of vaccine eligibility for children five and older, masks will become optional for students, staff and visitors. At the present time, masks will still be mandated on buses. He concluded by reminding the Board this is an evolving situation, but he stands ready to make adjustments as new information comes forward. See Dr. Looney’s full presentation here.
Bridge Plan Update
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gyimah Whitaker updated the Board on the district’s FOCUS Plan. FOCUS is our answer to COVID learning disruption that addresses the impact on student achievement through an equitable lens. She introduced three principals to provide examples of how they are using the data to improve student outcomes. Asa Hilliard Elementary School Principal Maureen Lilly explained how the school is using this data to focus on learning acceleration and curriculum mapping. Sandtown Middle School Principal Latoya Miley discussed the school’s current instructional actions and how it has responded to critical questions centered on improvement of instructional and learning outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Ethel Lett, principal of Tri-Cities High School, shared strategies being used at the school to address the impact of the last 18 months on student achievement, noting they continue to see academic progress by building strong relationships with students and providing just-in-time supports. See the full presentation here.
Upcoming Job Fairs
FCS is hosting three upcoming job fairs for transportation and food service workers:
- Saturday, 10/30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Bus Drivers, Bus Driver Trainees, and Transportation Assistants fair is being held at South Transportation 107 Heath Street, Fairburn, GA 30213. Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/190605856247
- Tuesday, 11/2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Food Service Workers and Custodians fair is being held at Crabapple Crossing Middle School, 10700 Crabapple Road, Roswell, GA, 30075. Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/190614813037
- Saturday, 11/6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Bus Drivers, Bus Driver Trainees, and Transportation Assistants fair is being held at North Transportation, 410 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009. Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/190610821097