FCS Community Update for October 13, 2021
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October 12 Work Session Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, October 12, for its regularly scheduled Board meeting at the North 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 Mike Looney presented an update on the district’s COVID-19 management efforts. He began by outlining that data extracted from the most recent Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) Epidemiology report indicating a 14-day downward trend of positive COVID cases in Fulton County. Case levels are reported according to municipal boundaries within Fulton County. Looney also highlighted recent COVID-19 vaccine events co-hosted by FCS and FCBOH, and commended the 83 percent of FCS employees who reported they are now vaccinated. Click here to see the full update. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.fultonschools.org/14daytrend.
FREE At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits
Fulton County Schools is partnering with the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) to provide free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits to families in our community. The goal of this initiative is aimed at reducing community spread by allowing more flexibility and access to testing. Families at schools falling within one of the zip codes targeted by the FCBOH are eligible for these free tests. The kits will be available to families on a first come, first served basis and may be picked up at selected schools on October 18, 2021, between 2:30PM and 4:30PM.
Dr. Looney introduced Literacy Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training for teachers and academic leaders as the largest, most significant educational movement to impact Fulton County Schools in recent years. He introduced three principals who shared their perspectives on LETRS training. Matt Vance, principal of Medlock Bridge Elementary, Lauren Malekebu, principal of Haynes Bridge Middle School and Riverwood High School Principal Kindra Smith all shared anecdotes and reasons they believe LETRS training is a step forward in helping students learn how to truly read and flourish in the area of literacy.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Support and Student Success Skills Evaluations
Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones and Clara O’Rourke, program evaluation coordinator, presented two reports based on evaluations of the district’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) framework and the rollout of the Student Success Skills (SSS). PBIS is a framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents and challenging behavior, increase a school’s sense of safety, and support improved academic outcomes. FCS has been rolling out PBIS for more than five years. Jones gave examples of how the PBIS framework has provided a systemic foundation for each school to adopt and define their unique elements of positive student behaviors. O’Rourke then reported on the evaluations and findings for PBIS, and outlined recommendations moving forward, which include each school having a designated PBIS coach to implement and support a school-based PBIS plan. Additionally, the district will ensure training, and support schools as they move through state tiers.
SSS are FCS’s standards for the skills necessary to demonstrate mastery of academic and interpersonal skills needed for college, career, and life success. Jones explained the program’s components, illustrating how lessons utilize many different instructional methods known to support development of these skills. O’Rourke said teacher buy-in was a significant takeaway from the evaluation. Action steps include streamlining communication of expectations, providing more opportunities to bring together champions to share and collaborate best practices, and providing ongoing professional development. Click here to see the full presentation.
Capital Plan 2027/ESPLOST Update
Chief Operations Officer Noel Maloof updated the Board on the district’s efforts to share information about Capital Plan 2027 and its proposed funding source, ESPLOST. ESPLOST is the one-penny sales tax that has funded capital improvements for many years in Fulton County Schools, and Fulton voters will decide on Nov. 2 whether to extend it for another five years. District leaders and principals are sharing Capital Plan/ESPLOST information with their school communities, including the resources on www.fultonschools.org/ESPLOST. On that site there are fact sheets, videos, a comprehensive presentation, and cluster-level information sheets that outline the projects per school.
School Bus Safety
School bus safety is a top priority for our district. While parents may sometimes have complaints, comments, or suggestions for bus drivers, it is important to understand our buses run on very specific schedules. Non-students should not board the bus for any reason. It is illegal in the state of Georgia to impede a school bus. If you would like to speak with someone about your bus route or have a concern, please give a note to your school bus driver with your name, bus stop location, and contact information so our Transportation department can get back to you. We look forward to delivering your students safely to and from school.