FCS Board Bulletin for August 11, 2023

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    The Fulton County Board of Education (FCBOE) met on Thursday, August 10, 2023, for its regularly scheduled Board meeting at the North Learning Center. The full agenda is available online. All items approved are available via BoardDocs. Meetings are streamed live on the district's homepage. Recordings will be available within 48 hours.

    Back-to-School Update
    Kicking off the first meeting of the 2023-2024 school year, several district departments, including academics, operations, human resources, and information technology (IT) gave back-to-school updates from their divisions. According to Chief Academic Officer Brannon Gaskins, Fulton County Schools (FCS) has approved new mathematics instructional resources for grades K-12, which will be fully implemented next school year. These resources will support the intent of Georgia's new K-12 math standards with a focus on real-world examples and math in context.

    As the district continues to keep its finger on the pulse of how technology is influencing learning and teaching, continued professional development of artificial intelligence (AI) will be a focus in 2023-2024 for teachers, leaders, and parents while AI and media literacy will be added to the digital citizenship plan for students in grades 6-12. Additionally, as part of the FCS Bridge to Success plan, the district's three-year comprehensive plan to help students recover from the learning loss as a result of COVID-19, the district has invested in zSpace technology to help students further engage in career exploration and exposure. Space delivers an immersive and interactive learning platform for students without the use of goggles or 3D glasses. All middle schools, seven elementary schools and Global Impact Academy will receive 16 computers to help students explore and engage in career exploration.

    Chief Information Officer Dr. Emily Bell reported that over the summer, more than 80,000 devices were cleaned or reimaged in preparation for the new school year as part of the IT department's Summer Clean project. Dr. Bell also detailed some of the overall student device goals this year which include providing issued devices for grades 6-12 and device carts for elementary classrooms. Additionally, 90% of schools currently have ready devices that match student enrollment numbers with the goal for all schools to have devices by next week.

    According to Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Gonzalo Lacava, since early 2023, the human resources department has concentrated on three big buckets: efficiency, recruitment, and onboarding. With the vision and leadership of the Board and superintendent, FCS was able to approve a 5.1% district-wide salary increase, a 2% one-time retention payment, and $5,000 supplements for hard-to-staff schools and police officers. The department revamped the onboarding process and reduced onboarding from 30-35 days down to 17-19 days. Sharing more good news, Dr. Lacava announced the district has 99% of its instructional jobs filled, reducing teacher turnover by 6%. FCS has approximately 12,000 talented team members, having recently hired almost 1,200 new instructional and non-instructional team members.

    In her update, Deputy Chief Operations Officer Yngrid Huff reported that more than $135 million is being constructed in capital projects. In addition to renovations at several schools across the district, construction is actively underway at Conley Hills Elementary School and the former McClarin High School, now known as The Promise Career Institute. Ms. Huff also gave credit to the more than 200 FCS staff volunteers who helped at First Day Fulton, the district's annual back-to-school event. In transportation, Ms. Huff reported FCS is now the largest school district in Georgia using alternative fuel. The transportation department has 82% of its buses staffed and offers paid training for anyone interested in becoming a driver. Finally, Ms. Huff reported that the district is operating 97 commercial kitchens at schools across the district, serving delicious and nutritious food to students. See the full presentation here.

    Superintendent's Report
    Superintendent Mike Looney began his report by reiterating that nothing is more important than the safety of our students, encouraging the community to please slow down around school zones and school buses and thanking law enforcement, first responders and all those responsible for school safety. He also reminded parents that the devices they give their children are powerful tools and asked for their help ensuring their students are accessing >appropriate content both inside and outside of school. Additionally, Dr. Looney introduced two of the district's six new principals. Principal Mike Scheifflee will be leading Alpharetta High School and Principal LaTosha Gray will take the lead at Ocee Elementary School.

    Georgia Milestones Test Results
    FCS Chief of Staff Clifford Jones presented exciting information about the recent Milestones test results noting students had a record district-wide performance in 2023. The Georgia Milestones Assessment System is designed to provide information about how well students are mastering the state-adopted content standards in the core content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Overall, FCS students outperformed their state and metro Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) counterparts on the Milestones test. Mr. Jones specifically highlighted the district's third grade students, who outperformed their counterparts in all elementary assessments. Mr. Jones also noted that the district's transformational "Every Child Reads" campaign has helped FCS achieve major gains around its literacy efforts, again highlighting that third graders are reading at or above grade level. Not to be left out, high school students' performance on all tests and subjects were above state and RESA results.

    Board Policy Changes
    Executive Director of Governance and Strategy Dr. Ryan Moore highlighted revisions to the district’s promotion and retention policy, which waives the use of mathematics End of Course (EOC) and End of Grade (EOG) scores for promotion and retention purposes for the 2023-2024 school year due to new math standards. This policy is aligned to the state's one-year waiver of math scores for promotion and retention.

    FY 2024 Millage Rate Approved
    Following the final two millage rate public hearings, the school board approved 17.14 as the FY 2024 millage rate, a change from the tentatively approved rate of 17.24. Keeping to the commitment of the School Board, the approved 17.14 millage rate is a decrease from the current 17.24 rate. It continues to be one of the lowest millage rates amongst large metro Atlanta school districts, while providing funds for the educational needs of students and a competitive employee compensation package. Please complete our Satisfaction Survey

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