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BOE briefed on many issues
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Forsyth County News

CHATTAHOOCHEE HILLS — Also during its retreat Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Education heard from the following school system officials:

• Director of Public Information and Communications Jennifer Caracciolo, who presented information and a timetable for a second draft of the 2013-16 strategic plan.

The plan includes the board’s updated mission, vision and beliefs, as well as a learner profile and plan for improvement. Also featured are individual approaches for instruction, human resources, facility, technology and operational services.

The plan, which will be posted on the system’s website Monday, is slated to be approved next month.

• Chief Academic Officer Fonda Harrison and Chief Accountability Officer Cindy Salloum, who offered an update on how the academics and accountability departments are working together.

The departments, which were recently divided into two separate entities, are heavily relied on by school staff.

They help provide direction for the fast approaching common core standards.

• Salloum, who talked about the benefits from nearly three years of conducting Georgia Assessment of Performance School Standards visits at various schools.

The visits involve a team of local educators who travel to a different school in the district for three days. While there, they evaluate, make recommendations for specific areas of improvement and take back ideas to their own schools.

The visits have been a great tool for improvement, Salloum said, and especially helpful for schools to get an outside perspective on ideas for continued development.

• Chief Human Resources Officer Candy Norton highlighted the state’s new teacher evaluation system, which is slated to take effect for the 2014-15 school year.

The system combines student performance data, observation and assessment surveys.

Providing a plan for improvement to a teacher previously meant something was wrong. Under the new system, however, all teachers will receive information on how to improve, regardless of their ratings.

Norton said the program will provide challenges, especially finding time for two 30-minute and four 10-minute observations of each teacher.

• Chief Technology and Information Officer Bailey Mitchell, who provided some insight into the future of technology for the school system.

The district boasts interactive whiteboards and its Bring Your Own Technology initiative, of which more than 53 percent of classes participate.

Mitchell said tablet computing could one day replace whiteboards, much like the “Learning” system will replace the ANGEL learning management system and Edusoft, the district’s assessment system in the 2013-14 school year.