FORSYTH COUNTY -- This may come as a shock to no one who has lived in Forsyth County for even a short amount of time, but more of both staff and students are sitting at desks and walking through halls in public schools this year.
As of August 12, there were 45,684 students enrolled in Forsyth County Schools, including 5,536 new students, according to Mike Evans, director of information and instructional support systems for Forsyth County Schools.
Evans said this number shows “consistent enrollment growth” — there are already 1,570 more students in school compared to the same time last year.
That number does not include 99 upcoming registration appointments and 71 incompletes registrations.
The breakdown of where those new students came from is unchanged from 2015, with the most (51 percent) having never attended school before and are now entering kindergarten. The second-largest group of new students (23 percent) entered FCS from another district in Georgia.
Other than Brandywine Elementary School, which opened this fall, three elementary schools — Sawnee, Shiloh Point and Silver City — welcomed the largest percent (4.7) of new enrollees.
Redistricting in south Forsyth may have something to do with lower increases in new students, but Evans said the fact that those three schools had the highest new student growth shows a “possible trend that growth is going to start showing up” farther north and west.
Riverwatch Middle School saw the highest new student enrollment (1.5 percent), while South Forsyth High School had the highest growth in new enrollees (2.6 percent).
In March, the district had grown to 44,720 students, a 4.7 percent increase over the same month on 2015. That marks the sixth-highest percentage increase in the state among city and county school districts.
Assuming an October enrollment of 46,000 students, Evans and his team predicted the district to reach 50,000 by 2018 — the next school year that is projected to see new schools open in Denmark High School and the Alliance Academy for Innovation of Cumming-Forsyth County.
As for new staff members, a total of 575 new staff were hired, including 144 newly funded positions.
FCS has a total active staff for fiscal year 2017 — certified staff, classified staff and substitutes — of 6,077, up from 6,204 in 2016 and 5,863 in 2015.
Of those, 50 are first-year teachers and 415 are certified staff.
Five of the principals running schools in Forsyth County are in their first year in the position, and they are supported by 11 first-year assistant principals.