FORSYTH COUNTY -- School’s out for summer — but only for some in the Forsyth County school system.
What may be little known to many are the year-round work schedules that several Forsyth County Schools faculty and employees keep. Many principals, custodians, registrars and other employees work all year to prepare the schools for students in August.
“Our employees work 180, 183, 190, 200, 210, 220 or 240 [day] calendars,” FCS Spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said. “School-based positions that work year-round include principals, clerical staff and custodians. Various other school-based positions work portions of the summer, such as assistant principals and other clerical staff.”
For the Student Registration and Records Center, summertime is the busiest time of the year with the heaviest workload.
Parents of every student who is either new to Forsyth County or to the school system must make a visit to the center during the summer months to fill out detailed paperwork and provide documentation for their children.
“The summertime is our busiest time of the year,” said Mike Evans, director of information services at the registration center. “In Forsyth County Schools, at one point students registered at the individual schools, but as we’ve grown and gotten larger, to make sure that we have more consistent records we have a centralized registration office so all the parents come to one location.”
Registration is a detailed process to ensure students are placed in correct classes and programs. Parents must provide information on students’ special needs, special program placement, grade levels and health records.
The specific process and the large amount of students who need to register during the summer makes registration a task that staff said they want parents to complete as early as possible.
There were 44,675 students enrolled in the district by the end of the 2015-16 school year, according to system records. More than 46,000 are expected to attend a public school in Forsyth this August.
“The big thing that we try to stress every year is early registration,” Evans said. “Unless we have everything that we need, students will not get in here on the first day of school.
That’s why it’s so critical to have the parents in to register early.”
While registration of new students is a crucial summertime task, other FCS departments and staff members also play key roles in ensuring the schools and students are ready to begin in August.
At the district warehouse, staff members spend the summer coordinating school furniture and supply move-ins, assembling furniture and arranging classrooms. The warehouse’s biggest challenge is to complete these tasks in time for the teachers and students to have what they need when school starts.
“The summer takes a lot more logistical planning and handling of a large volume of furniture [than the school year],” said Bob Branch, warehouse support services coordinator. “The most important aspect of our department is for each student, teacher and administrator to have what they need to be successful. With the growth that our system has experienced over the years, we are attempting to provide the same support we have in the past.”
Beginning during the last week of May, the warehouse staff allowed enough time for each school’s move-in and setup by beginning work on a new school each week.
“The biggest challenge during the summer is to coordinate all moves and the setup of the huge volume of furniture and materials for the schools in a short period of time, especially this year,” Branch said. “This year we have eight projects, which include the setting up of two new schools and six expansion projects. We also will be emptying portables that are being returned to the leasing company and furnishing all of the new modular classrooms.”
This year, the warehouse must also work around the many construction and renovation projects that are in progress, as well as continue to manage the increasing workload that each year’s school growth brings.
And the staff will not stop working when summer ends. After move-ins, they will focus on the school renovations beginning in November and December on top of their usual school year task – a daily courier service that delivers textbooks, testing materials and other supplies to schools.
The registration center will also immediately begin their fall work with school’s start in August – as well the countless other FCS administrators and employees that must work all summer to keep the district running smoothly while accommodating rapid school growth.
“Our school system is growing at a very rapid rate, with our schools enrolling more students with more families to support,” Branch said. “Due to the tremendous growth of the school system, every summer is a challenge.”