Also on Thursday, the school board heard presentations or updates on the following:
* National Educational Technology Standards for Students, or Got NETS-S?, program. This program is a set of educational standards centering around technology that could be incorporated over time into curriculum.
* Revision to the system’s facility naming policy that would remove a line stating facilities could not be named after living people. The change will be available for public review for one month. The board could take action on it in May.
* The fiscal year 2012 budget calendar. Dan Jones, system financial director, said he hopes to have a finalized budget ready by June.
* Preschool opportunities in the county.
-- Crystal Ledford
Forsyth County eighth-graders will have more opportunities to enter ninth grade with high school credits beginning next year.
Cindy Salloum, the school system's director of secondary education, discussed the change with the Board of Education during a work session Thursday.
This year, all middle schools offer accelerated math I and Spanish I at the eighth grade level.
Salloum said Lakeside Middle is serving as a pilot school for the expanded program, which will also include high school level physical science, computer, English, visual arts, band, drama and study skills courses.
Next year, all middle schools in the county will offer at least some of the expanded high school level courses to eighth-graders, she said.
Salloum said accelerated math I, Spanish I, physical science and beginning band will be offered next year at all middle schools, while other courses will be available only at some middle schools due to staffing.
“We have to have a highly certified teacher for each course, not just a regular middle school teacher, since these are high school level courses,” she said. “And we don’t have that for every course at every school.”
Salloum said eighth-graders would be required to meet the same levels of achievement to earn credit for the courses as ninth-graders.
“To earn credit, they have to have at least a 70, with 20 percent of their final average coming from the [End of Course Test],” she said.
Salloum said the district wanted to add more high school courses in eighth grade after talking to neighboring districts.
She said Hall, Fulton and Gwinnett counties also offer several high school level courses in eighth grade.
In response to a question from board member Ann Crow, Salloum said eighth-graders will be able to bring up to four credit hours into high school.
Superintendent Buster Evans said the move will “open up more opportunities” for students in high school.
“This will allow them to take more special interest classes,” he said.