April In Focus featuring Dr. Robert Avossa
Spring brings growth, renewal and change, and it’s the same for a school system. Over the past few weeks you may have heard some buzz around our new organizational structure.
It’s exciting to reorganize our resources in a way that better benefits our district. During the Charter System community meetings held last year, we heard loud and clear that decision making and support needs to be closer to our schools. As a result, we’ve revised our organizational structure and reporting flow. We reviewed how we’re currently structured to consider ways to optimize the effectiveness of our processes and to maximize our ability to support schools and employees.
Adopted earlier in March, our new organizational structure aims to do that. The ultimate goal was to create a new alignment that focuses on the district's strategic priorities, better meets the needs of our students, parents, employees and communities, and strengthens our district’s ability to meet current and future needs.
We’re also reorganizing our school clusters into four “learning communities” – a Northwest Learning Community, a Northeast Learning Community, a Central Learning Community and a South Learning Community. Similar to the cluster management structure already in place, each will be managed by an area superintendent.
The final few months of school will be busy and productive ones for our leaders as we prepare to transition to the new organizational structure next school year. I welcome you to review more information on our web site at www.fultonschools.org. Just click on “Organizational Structure” on the left navigation bar to learn more.
Common Core Georgia Performance Standards
Georgia, along with more than 40 other states and the District of Columbia, has adopted a set of core standards called Common Core Performance Standards. These standards were collaboratively developed by teachers, school administrators, and education experts so that students will be able to succeed in credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs upon graduating from the school system. The Georgia Board of Education has mandated that these standards be implemented beginning August 2012.
There are five themes within Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS): rigor, text complexity, reading and writing across the content areas, and balanced assessments. Currently English and Language Arts standards in Fulton County Schools are 85% aligned with CCGPS. There will be some minor changes in content and grade levels where content is taught. Mathematics standards in Fulton County Schools are 90% aligned with CCGPS. Again, there will be minor changes in content and grade levels where content is taught. Social Studies, Science, and Career and Technical Education content standards will remain the same with some literacy standards embedded in each of these content areas.
Current testing assessments, such as the CRCT, EOCT, GHSGT, and Georgia Writing Assessment, will continue through 2012-2013. New assessments will begin in 2014-2015.
We will continue to update parents and the community at-large regarding Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Additional information is available: PTA parent guide and the Fulton County CCGPS website.
As the system looks toward the end of the current school year on May 18, parents and seniors anticipate commencement ceremonies. According to Board Policy IHF, students become eligible to graduate when they have completed 23 units and have met state and attendance requirements. Additionally, Policy IHFA states that a student will be allowed to participate in graduation exercises after all requirements for a diploma have been met. If a student has not passed any portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) after four attempts, they should immediately submit a request to the state for a variance or waiver, provided that they meet the criteria. Parents and students should ensure they are aware of, and are meeting requirements for graduation, including End of Course Tests (EOCT) and GHSGT. It is also helpful to clear any outstanding issues – such as lost books and payment of senior fees. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled during the last weekend of the school year.
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT)
Please be aware that the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) are given in grades third through eighth, with testing occurring during the month of April. The test measures specific skills included in the Georgia core curriculum that are considered essential for continued academic progress. Please click here for testing dates and additional information.
FY 2013 Budget News
Chief Financial Officer Robert Morales has indicated that the school system faces a $41.9 million funding gap. The system expects to absorb the difference through use of reserve funds and funding strategies without teacher layoffs or furlough days. The funding shortfall is a result of a declining property tax digest, increased enrollment, the costs associated with the opening of a new school, and increasing employee health and retirement costs. Additional information regarding the FY 2013 Budget is available here.
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