Since the 2013-14 year began a week ago, the Forsyth County school system has welcomed an additional 300 new students.
“We had 101 on the first day alone,” said Mike Evans, the district’s director of information and instructional support systems. “It’s tapering off right now. We’ll see a rise again around Labor Day and right after.”
While there are still a few transportation kinks to work out, Superintendent Buster Evans said it was a great first week.
“We are off to another very, very good start,” he said. “Given the fact that we’re growing and given the fact that with growing comes adding classes and personnel, people have just jumped right in and have done what they needed to do to get started.”
Enrollment has topped 40,500 students, according to the superintendent, an increase of about 1,860 from the same time last year.
Mike Evans said he expects as many as 600 more students to enroll in the system by the end of the school year.
“We’re back on the upswing for showing increased growth,” he said.
With new arrivals daily, transportation director Garry Puetz said the district’s bus routes are still a work in progress. By Monday, though, he expects everything should run smoothly.
“We’ve got to improve our time performance in the morning and we’ve got a few isolated routes in the afternoon, especially in the middle schools, that we need to improve our time on,” he said. “We have made great progress and that’s a result of the schools helping us load at the schools and the parents helping us load at the stops.”
“It does take us a week or so to develop these routines and be able to run those routines.”
Routine is key for more than just transportation. Coming off summer break can be an adjustment for parents and students.
For the latter, the first week has been filled with learning locker combinations, finding classrooms and adjusting schedules, said Mike Evans.
“Overall, it’s been very smooth,” he said. “We’ve had positive comments from parents I’ve spoken with, and I know the schools are hard at work getting the kids into the routine.”
Parents and students are also learning the new technology. The program, itslearning, will replace the Angel learning management and Edusoft assessment systems.
There are videos guiding them through the platform which offers “a glimpse into the activities going on in the classroom,” Mike Evans said.
“It’s a consolidated view into their children’s classroom,” he said. “The parents are having a learning curve also.”
To date, nearly 2,000 parents have logged on to the system, as has more than half the system’s students, according to Buster Evans.
Continued use of technology is one of many answers of “how can we do better and how can we better engage our students,” said the superintendent.
“We are continuing to focus on improving those areas where we have an opportunity to improve already high achievement levels.”