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FCS Community Update for September 22, 2021

FCS Community Update

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September 21 Post-Meeting Update

September 21 Post-Meeting Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, September 21, for its regularly scheduled Work Session 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.


Superintendent’s Report

COVID Update
Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade 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 indicates a 14-day downward trend in positive COVID cases in Fulton County. He then discussed the district’s Mitigation Matrix for rising case levels. Case levels are reported according to municipal boundaries within Fulton County and can be found in the weekly FCBOH Epidemiology Report. Recently, Union City was the only community exceeding the 1,250 per 100,000 cases threshold forcing them into remote learning. Those numbers have gone down and all schools have returned to face-to-face instruction. For more information, please visit our website.

As vaccination efforts by the district continue, the FCS employee vaccination rate has risen to 83 percent. Fulton County Schools, in partnership with Fulton County, Fulton County Board of Health and CORE, hosted a COVID-19 vaccination event on September 18 where 157 people were vaccinated. A second event is happening this Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  at Banneker High School and Westlake High School. Gift cards in the amount of $50 will be given to the first 250 people vaccinated at each location. Pre-register at Walk-in appointments are also available. Vax Up Fulton!

An additional note: FCBOH is now offering residents of eligible areas free, rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits for a limited time. Visit their website for more information.

Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month
Dr. Chris Matthews, Assistant Superintendent Student Services, spoke to the Board encouraging all schools to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) and support Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. Throughout the month of September, FCS is finding ways to unite and promote suicide prevention and awareness. This year’s district theme is ‘Stay Connected.’ During times of uncertainty, it is important that students are connected to healthy friendships, school activities, trusted adults and needed resources. Knowing the signs of suicide, understanding the importance of practicing self-care or showing a friend you care and understanding when to tell, are all the first steps to saving a life. For more information about the Suicide Prevention Campaign, click here.

SAT Results 2021
According to Deputy Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gyimah Whitaker, data shows FCS students performed better on the SAT in 2021 than they did in 2020 and bested the Georgia state average score by 51 points. Scores for the district increased nearly five percent from 2020. At the school level, 12 schools had increased total scores compared to 2020. While performance scores increased, FCS student participation in taking the SAT decreased approximately 30 percent. Approximately 53 percent of graduates participated in the SAT, a decrease of 24 percent compared to 2020. The decrease is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the full presentation here.

Enhanced Programming for McClarin High School
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gyimah Whitaker shared that FCS, in partnership with Atlanta Technical College and the City of College Park, is considering creating a Middle College program at McClarin High School, which would fulfill a promise from the previous ESPLOST 2022 plan to build a replacement building for the school. A Middle College is an alternative path to high school graduation where students graduate with a high school diploma and two technical college certificates. Dr. Whitaker explained how adding this relevant programming would expand the width and breadth of the district’s portfolio of schools. It would also prevent students from dropping out and allow them a better transition to post-secondary education and careers. Whitaker concluded with an explanation of a potential prioritized instruction model of a Middle College. See the full presentation here.

Program Evaluation Findings
The Department of Program Evaluation, in partnership with the Academics division, presented findings and action steps from three evaluations conducted during the 2020-2021 school year. Program Evaluation Analyst Clara O’Rouke’s presentation provided an overview of research topics as well as specific action steps the district is taking to move forward programmatically. The evaluations included the current state of the district’s Talented and Gifted education program, which addressed the need for specialized educational experiences for gifted students. Chief Academic Officer Clifford Jones explained that through a comprehensive four-pronged plan, carried out in unison with our ‘Every Child Reads Campaign’ and its vocabulary focus, FCS will increase the number and accuracy of TAG referrals, provide resources for schools with significant numbers of underserved students and/or High Potential students, and better support all students once in the TAG program. For more information about the Fulton County Schools’ TAG program, please click here.

Included in the presentation were the findings of the Standards Mastery Framework (SMF) Implementation, a district developed framework designed to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum and deepen personalization of the learning experience for FCS students. There is wide acceptance of the district’s SMF by our leaders and teachers. It is the backbone of FCS’s academic curriculum. Ensuring we increase its accessibility and the quality and number of SMF tools for our teachers will drive student achievement. For more information about the Fulton County Schools’ Standards Mastery Framework, please click here.

Also evaluated was the Literacy Framework Implementation, a district developed framework designed to provide a roadmap for instruction in the five pillars of reading and writing to ensure all students read at or above grade-level. The district is applying learning from LETRS training to Literacy Framework documents and practices, which will result in an alignment of our current Five Pillars of Reading with the Science of Reading. See the full presentation here.