On Tuesday, The Forsyth County Board of Education hosted its annual board retreat at Beaver Toyota in Forsyth County, meeting to review the 2017-18 school year and plan ahead for the upcoming school year.
At the meeting, board members and school administrators spent the day training and hearing updates to technology, procedure and school culture that will come into play in the next school year.
Upgrades to school technology and media
Board members first heard from Chief Technology and Information Officer Mike Evans and Director of Instructional Technology and Media Jason Naile on upgrades that have been made to school technology and the role of an instructional technology specialist in the school system.
Evans presented a list of technology bond projects, like interactive panels in classrooms, upgraded networks and Wi-Fi access, and secure data closets, that are close to completion in the school system.
He also walked the board through their list of current and future technology projects, which includes new school security cameras with facial recognition and search analytics and teaching through virtual reality.
Naile presented the board with information on the changing role of instructional technology specialists (ITS), who provide on-site assistance to teachers wanting to improve learning through the use of different technology.
Their goal, he said, is to shift the ITS position away from the role of technical expert to something more instructionally focused.
“We want them working with teachers in an instructional manner; that may be co-teaching with the teacher, planning, finding resources for teachers ... but we want them involved,” Naile said.
Forsyth County Schools Accountability Coordinator Tim Keyser, along with Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Fonda Harrison and Assessment and Accountability Director Beth Kieffer presented the board the system’s 2018 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores, which the state of Georgia uses to measure how well schools and districts prepare students for secondary education and careers.
According to Keyser’s presentation, Forsyth County Schools outpaced the state average for CCRPI scores across the board, with the highest score of all Georgia county school systems, the highest individual elementary CCRPI score in the state and the highest district middle school readiness score of any county school system in the state.
Keyser also presented several areas where the system can still improve in the future, including increasing “student growth percentiles at all levels” and increasing “subgroup performance at all levels.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion plan
Closing out the meeting, Forsyth County Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Caracciolo presented the board with an update on their diversity, equity and inclusion plan that was approved by the board in 2017 as part of the system’s overarching strategic plan.
“One of the goals from the strategic plan was to develop a five-year diversity, equity and inclusion plan,” Caracciolo said. “Last year we had a design team of staff members and parents discuss those three areas while we conducted a lot of research.”
Based on those discussions and their research, Caracciolo said that they were able to define the three areas: diversity, equity and inclusion, creating an action plan that they will begin implementing in the new school year.
“A key initiative from our Strategic Plan is to coordinate district department and school-level individual work in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion to have one robust, well-researched, and thoughtful district plan to address these issues,” Caracciolo said
Full presentations and more information on these update areas can be found at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.