The auditorium at Lambert High School was filled Tuesday morning with educators both new to Forsyth County Schools or about to embark on their teaching career, and after Tuesday they will have begun to settle into their own school campuses and classrooms.
The Board of Education and district officials held their annual orientation for its 336 new educators on July 25, just more than a week before students walk in the doors after summer break.
With the persistent growth of Forsyth’s population in past years, officials have had to react to the increase in students by creating new positions for educators and creating new schools.
Meet the new teachers
- 336 new educators
- 13 paraprofessionals
- 19 former Forsyth County students
- 22 returning Forsyth County teachers
- 4 married couples
- 63 recent college grads, mostly from the University of Georgia and the University of North Georgia
- They came from 10 states outside Georgia, mostly from Florida
- They transferred from 34 school districts within Georgia, including 52 from Gwinnett County and 41 from Fulton County
“From 1971-2000, our population increased 481 percent, while from 2000-2010 it increased 78 percent,” BOE Chairwoman Kristin Morrissey. “We are consistently ranked as one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States and expect this trend to continue into the future.”
Growing quickly and steadily does not necessarily equal success, but the new additions to the district’s 37 schools, more than 5,000 employees and more than 46,000 students were given a lesson on how Forsyth County has, in fact, fused those factors.
“In addition to having the highest CCRPI score, the highest financial STAR rating — five out of five stars —the highest county graduation rate and highest SAT score in metro Atlanta and among large districts, we also have the highest ACT score and highest credit rating from Moody’s — 1 of 77 in the U.S. — in Georgia,” Superintendent Jeff Bearden touted.
That success, Bearden also said, did not happen overnight.
“It started with the hard work and commitment of a few around solid belief, which led to many more joining our district to further our mission,” he said.
New educators listened to the three finalists for this most recent school year’s Teacher of the Year talk about their experiences before attending workshops and visiting vendors.
Bearden is never one to take full credit for the district’s growth and success, as both trends started well before he became superintendent three years ago. He is also never one to shy away from pointing out teachers and students in a positive light.
“I see students applying what they have learned. I see a team of professionals who truly care about their students,’ he said. “More and more, I am seeing teachers personalize the learning experience for our students.”
- Over 5,000 employees – the county’s largest employer
- $408 million budget
- 73% spent on instruction
- 37 schools
- 46,000 students enrolled last year
- Since 2001, student population has grown 170 percent
He stressed the importance of personalized learning, teaching according to the Learner Profile and using itsLearning, the online teaching portal, on a consistent basis — not just during snow days.
Milestones Bearden noted will be happening during the upcoming 2017-18 school year included redistricting for Denmark High School, which is set to open in August 2018, completing a new state capital funding outlay for additional state funding for new school construction, compiling a list of capital improvement projects for a May 22, 2018 bond referendum that will be voted on by residents and launching a new dual language immersion program in 2018.
Educators about to take their first steps in a Forsyth County classroom as an educator left the day with a note of hope from their superintendent.
“What I have found to be true is that in spite of all of the negativity that is taking place, all the negativity that is being reported, there is also a lot of good in the world. There are more good people than bad people. There is more love than hate,” Bearden said. “The one thing we have complete control over is how we treat one another. You probably have figured out by now I expect you to be good to our students. I also expect you to model to your students how to be good to one another.”