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New school year brings excitement
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Forsyth County News

Though some students might disagree, and maybe even a teacher or two, the starting of a new school year is an exciting time for many in Forsyth County.

It is exciting because we know the county’s school system to be exceptional, and we anxiously look forward to the academic accomplishments expected in the coming year.

Forsyth schools opened their doors Thursday for the 2012-13 school year.

For many years the start of a new school year for any system meant little more than a continuation of what had been going on when the previous school year ended. That’s not necessarily the case now. New concepts about education, new classroom learning opportunities, new technologies, new groupings of students all combine to mean the educational culture in local school systems is changing at a rapid pace.

Given the number of awards and recognitions received by the local school system in recent years at the state and national level, many of those new endeavors must be working.

Just before the start of the current school year the system learned that its high schools had recorded excellent scores on the state’s End of Course Tests, with all of the county’s in the top 20 percent of the state in most subjects. The ECT scores are significant for two reasons – beginning this year they will be an element in measuring accountability for schools, and in the future will comprise a part of students’ overall final grade.

The school system has a track record of performance on standardized tests and has consistently ranked among the state’s best in such endeavors, but there is a lot more to a quality education that the metrics of group testing.

Curriculum and course offerings in local classrooms are constantly being revised and changed to meet current needs for today’s students, as evidenced by the specialized “academies” which offer a chance for intense, focused instruction in specialized subject areas for those students involved.

To adopt a commercial cliché, “It’s not your dad’s classroom anymore.” Students today have more opportunities for specialized instruction and can follow their individual interests in areas of learning in more ways than ever before.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of the teacher, and the county is fortunate to have great classroom leaders at every grade level throughout the system.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the necessity of getting students to and from school each day, which means those familiar yellow buses are out in force morning and afternoon. Think of that in the days to come, giving yourself ample time for getting to work and remembering that there is a higher concentration of young and inexperienced drivers on the road at the same time than was the case for much of the summer.