- Paul D. West
FCS Community Update for January 12, 2022
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January 11, 2022 Work Session Update
The Fulton County School Board met on Tuesday, January 11 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.
Dr. Looney began his report by thanking FCS employees for their hard work and dedication, noting the district continues to set the bar high thanks to its committed employees, many of whom worked over the holidays dealing with COVID. Before winter break, he received notification from the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) about the pending surge and their recommendation to take actions to protect us in the beginning of the second semester. Initially, we were not going to change our protocols. However, during the break, with the increase in COVID, and after receiving a more alarming warning from FCBOH, he was compelled to change plans to begin the second semester. This included going virtual for the first week of school and requiring masks for the first two weeks of in-person learning. FCS will return to mask optional after Friday, January 21, 2022. After participating in a call with the Secretary of Education last week, who greatly supports face-to-face instruction, Dr. Looney emphasized his priority to provide a quality education and a safe environment for students and staff. FCS will only close/switch to remote learning when necessary and will do so at the classroom level and up. We are about a week away from the peak of the current surge and he closed his remarks by encouraging those who are sick or symptomatic to stay home from school/work so we can continue to provide uninterrupted instruction face-to-face.
Chief Talent Officer Ron Wade presented an update on the district’s COVID-19 management efforts. He began by outlining data extracted from the most recent FCBOH Epidemiology Report indicating the extreme uptick in cases in Fulton County. He discussed what factors and data FCS will use in making decisions about closing or switching schools to remote learning. As we go forward, we will not make decisions based on a single data point, but rather a collective review of multiple factors. FCS will no longer utilize the Closing Matrix or Mitigation Matrix. He also reviewed the isolation and quarantine guidelines FCS follows from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Georgia Department of Public Health (GaDPH) in addition to reporting guidelines for employees. Vaccinations are strongly encouraged, and boosters are now available for pediatrics 12-15 years. FCBOH has six community COVID-19 vaccine locations open. Please report any COVID-19 related issues to the Employee or Parent portals. Click here to see the full report.
Board Officer Elections Held
Each January the Board holds elections for Board officers. The position of Board president is a two-year term, and Ms. Julia Bernath is starting the second year of her current term. At the meeting, Ms. Kimberly Dove was re-elected as Board vice president. The office is held for a one-year term.
School Allotment Guidelines
Each fiscal year, FCS develops allotment formulas and guidelines for all schools within the district. School-based budget outputs are based on these allotment guidelines, which are developed with principal input. Chief Academic Officer Clifford Jones outlined seven major adjustments in the School Allotment Guidelines (SAG) proposal to the Board, addressing expanding academic programming, safety and security, elementary administrative support and oversight, and providing supports for students/families in crisis. Some of the recommended guidelines reflect changes to the elementary school assistant principal ratio and setting new standards for the addition of a Talented and Gifted teacher at every elementary school and a dedicated social worker for each high school. Additionally, it is recommended the district maintain elementary, middle and high school class size at its current ratio. Board members had several questions about the proposals and expressed their desire for more information and will seek community input before the next Board meeting. Click here to see the full presentation.
Balanced Scorecard Update
The district’s Balanced Scorecard was developed as a formal accountability tool based on Kaplan’s Model of the Balanced Scorecard. This innovative approach to measuring organizational outcomes reviews not only student learning data, but also operational data that supports learning. The current and previous Balanced Scorecards display point in time data for the fiscal year, baseline results for three years, and targets for three years, as explained by Chief Information Officer Dr. Emily Bell. Dr. Bell highlighted areas of strength, including graduation rates and increased SAT and ACT scores, and areas warranting improvement. Click here to see the full presentation. Executive Director of Governance and Strategy Dr. Ryan Moore discussed the framework for a modern data dashboard. He highlighted key metrics from the Balanced Scorecard, work that has been underway to shift the static report to a dynamic dashboard, and a timeline for implementation of the new dashboard. Click here to see the system-wide goals, objectives and performance measures.
State of Independent Charter Schools
Every year, the Charter School department presents an overall summary of Charter School performance to the Board. Executive Director of Governance and Strategy Dr. Ryan Moore’s report included current student performance data, financial performance and stewardship, as well as a list of schools with concerns based on implementation of their current contracts. The presentation discussed schools included in the FCS Charter School Portfolio, Charter School Performance, both academic and financial, and focused on areas of concern with charter schools. Financial performance remains solid and steady across the charter sector. Finally, areas of concern were presented, ranging from compliance, leadership stability, and Hapeville Charter Middle school’s closing. Click here to see the full presentation.
CTAE Pathway Completer Graduation Rate
The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has released the statewide graduation rate for Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway completers. “Pathway completers” are students who take a GaDOE approved sequence of three CTAE courses within their chosen career pathway. The graduation rate for Fulton County CTAE pathway completers is 97.51% for FY21, which exceeds the state graduation rate. For 12 of our high schools, the CTAE graduation rate is higher than the statewide average. Fulton County also has the second highest graduation rate for CTAE pathway completers within the Metro Atlanta school districts.
FCS Bridge Plan Update
Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef provided a financial update that included an overview of the overall budget and most recent expenditures funded by the American Rescue Plan. The report also included general descriptions of the initiatives that will be funded and implemented by the district. As noted in the report, the actual, cumulative expenditures that have posted amounts through November 30, 2021 are provided. Moving forward, Mr. Dereef will present a financial update regarding the FCS Bridge to Success budget and expenditures at each month’s Board Work Session. All reports will also be available for review on the FCS Bridge to Success website after the monthly work session.
Health Curriculum and Resources
The GGaDOE updated the health education standards in March 2021 and House Bill 287 requires that the curriculum for Grades 6-12 include human trafficking. As a result, staff is bringing forward curriculum and resources for public and staff review from January 24 to February 25. Staff, parents, and community stakeholders may view print and digital resources at a variety of locations throughout the district including the North Learning Center (450 Northridge Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30350), Administrative Center (6201 Powers Ferry Rd, NW, Atlanta, GA 30339), and South Learning Center (4025 Flat Shoals Rd, Union City, GA 30291) as well as a variety of schools throughout the district. Parent and public input will be gathered via an electronic survey using a computer on site or a personal device. Beginning January 24, a list of schools with Health and Curriculum Resource displays along with the digital resources will be linked to www.fultonschools.org.
ELA Textbook Adoption
During the school year, FCS reviews resources for textbook adoption for English Language Arts in Grades K-12. Parents and community stakeholders are invited to view presentations from the vendors of the ELA textbooks currently under public review. Please click here regarding session details, including a session on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Hard copies of the resources are available at all schools, the North Learning Center (450 Northridge Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30350), Administrative Center (6201 Powers Ferry Rd, NW, Atlanta, GA 30339), and South Learning Center (4025 Flat Shoals Rd, Union City, GA 30291) through January 21, 2022. Parent and public input are welcomed and can be submitted by completing surveys available on the Textbook Adoption website.