FCS Community Update for August 13, 2021
August 12 Post-Meeting Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Thursday, August 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. Information on the district's new attendance policy and the adoption of the millage rate are also highlighted.
Superintendent Mike Looney updated the Board and community on the district's COVID mitigation polices and reiterated Fulton County Schools' (FCS) priority is maintaining a safe, uninterrupted learning environment for students. Looney acknowledged the spike in COVID-19 could jeopardize FCS' ability to sustain face-to-face instruction. However, FCS will continue to employ a localized strategy by which the district considers the rate of infection in each of our local communities to minimize disruption to instruction. Schools located in municipalities where the rate of infection exceeds 100 per 100,000 residents will require all students, personnel, and visitors to wear masks until such time as the rate of infection drops below 100 per 100,000. Infection data will be taken from the Fulton County Board of Health Epidemiology Reports. Based on this data, all Fulton County schools and district offices currently have mask mandates for students and staff. After receiving additional guidance from the FCBOH and Georgia Department of Public Health (GaPDH), Fulton County Schools has updated the district's notice for students who have had a direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. Per the August 2, 2021 GaDPH Administrative Order, FCS is electing to allow for exemptions from state quarantine requirements to minimize disruption to instruction. Click here for more information on FCS quarantine requirements.
Dr. Looney continued his remarks, acknowledging that FCS has long offered a variety of learning options so parents may find quality instructional environments that best meet the needs of their children. Given recent learnings from COVID-19, FCS is adding expanded academic options for the 2021/2022 school year, which Chief Academic Officer Clifford Jones explained to the Board.
K-8 Learning Hub at Crabapple Center:
This offering will only be available during the 2021/2022 school year and provides an option for families of K-8 graders who cannot participate in COVID-19 mitigation strategies at their home school (i.e., mask mandates based on community infection rates, social distancing, etc.). All students eligible for enrollment in a district elementary or middle school may participate. Face-to-face classes will be conducted by FCS teachers in a mask optional environment. The viability of this option is contingent upon both student enrollment and staff recruitment. By August 27, the district will have gathered sufficient enrollment and recruitment data to determine if the program will open on September 7, 2021. Families with currently enrolled students who are interested in the Learning Hub should complete an “Intent to Commit” survey The survey window is open August 13 through August 20. More information is available on the FCS website at FCS Learning Options for 2021-22 or email LearningHub@fultonschools.org. Transportation will not be provided and will be the responsibility of the families for this option.
K-2 Remote Program:
Up to 300 students may attend this virtual instructional program which teaches the four Core Subjects (Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies). Classes are conducted by FCS teachers who follow the FCS standard curriculum. Families who select this option will be issued an FCS device and a hotspot if necessary. Parents must commit to a full semester of attendance and need to provide adult supervision for their children during instructional hours. Families interested in the K-2 Remote Program should fill out the interest survey here. More information about enrollment will be shared after the survey period ends on August 20. Classes are currently scheduled to begin September 7,2021 pending confirmation of staff and student interest. More information is available on the FCS website at FCS Learning Options for 2021-22 or email K-2RemoteProgram@fultonschools.org.
Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE)
A third expanded academic option referenced at the meeting is Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE), which still has about 400 spots left for enrollment. For students in grades 3 through 11, FAVE allows students to attend classes in a more flexible format outside of the traditional 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., face-to-face school day. Instruction will include a blend of live, online lessons (synchronous) and self-directed lessons (asynchronous) from Fulton County teachers. For more information, please contact FAVE directly at 470-254-6570 or visit the website at FAVE website. If families are interested in registering for an available seat at FAVE, complete a survey for registration here: FAVE Enrollment. Click here to see the full presentation.
Back to School Update
A comprehensive back to school update encompassing information from three key FCS departments was shared with Board members. Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones began the presentation with pictures and hashtag snippets from FCS’ social media campaign entitled #FCSBETTERTOGETHER, which kicked off the school year. The beginning of the school year also coincided with the district’s “Start With Hello” campaign, which teaches students to be more socially connected to each other.
Three new schools received students on August 9th - FCS Innovation Academy, Global Impact Academy, and Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE). The district’s new world-class STEM schools have started the year strong with robust enrollments and hands-on learning. These top-notch faculties and staff are committed to creating STEM-infused learning environments that match the open and cooperative architectural spaces of the buildings. Jones highlighted the expansion of some of the district’s academic programs, noting that Fulton County is leading the way in Georgia with the expansion of its elementary school Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) programs. He also gave an update on the district’s FOCUS plan to address the impact of the pandemic on lost instruction and academic recovery. FOCUS works in conjunction with the district’s initiative to improve student literacy through its Every Child Reads campaign, which was rolled out in April. Jones assured the Board that both FOCUS and Every Child Reads are well on their way to accomplishing their goals over the next three years.
Though schools are still in hiring mode, the district is now 81 percent staffed with almost 14,000 employees, including more than 1,000 new hires. Fourteen schools have new principals, including those from the district’s three newest schools. Of those 14 new principals, ten were promoted from within the district.
Chief Operations Officer Noel Maloof then relayed updates about School Nutrition, Transportation Services and Facilities Services. As part of his update on the SPLOST program and construction, Maloof said more than $20 million in renovation projects were completed this summer, despite major impacts due to labor and supply chain issues. He also provided an overview of the district’s successful First Day Fulton back to school event, where more than 1,850 backpacks, school supplies and groceries were distributed to FCS students and families. More than 60 vendors participated in the event where 192 students were enrolled. See the full presentation here.
Millage Rate Public Hearing
The Board of Education adopted the final millage rate to fund the FY22 budget with a partial millage rollback to offset increases in property assessments. The millage rate for next year reduces the current millage rate from 17.796 to 17.590 and continues to be metro Atlanta’s lowest school tax rate for the 12th straight year.
FCS has implemented a new attendance notification process. Parents/guardians will be notified more often on absences, regardless of whether a student is excused or unexcused. Families will be notified of student absences via daily robocalls, emails, and texts. Students who accumulate multiple absences will receive letters to notify them of missed learning time, and staff will follow up with supportive strategies for families and students. Parents/guardians can monitor their child's attendance using Infinite Campus. More detailed information about our attendance policy can be found here.
Atlanta United Discount Tickets
Atlanta United FC is excited to welcome all Fulton County students, teachers, staff, family, and friends to our Back-to-School match on Sunday, August 15. Purchase through this link while supplies last to save up to 30% off tickets plus reduced fees. Five dollars from every ticket will also benefit the Fulton Education Foundation, helping to enhance opportunities and educational outcomes for school-aged children.