School district officials provided updates to the Forsyth County Board of Education during its work session Tuesday, May 11, on possible policy changes regarding full-time student and withdrawal requirements and on some of the district’s construction projects.
Instruction scheduling policy
Accountability Coordinator Tim Keyser recommended that the Board of Education pass a change to a policy regarding full-time student status that would allow middle and high school students to take fewer classes.
The proposed change would lower the minimum number of classes a secondary student must take to be considered full time from seven to six while keeping the maximum number at seven.
The district already made this change temporarily for virtual students toward the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, seeing that some students preferred the lightened course load while away from campus.
The High School Improvement Committee originally brought the idea to the Board of Education in March to continue with the policy even after the pandemic, pointing toward changes in schooling as more begin to see the benefits of virtual and hybrid learning.
“Providing students with only six classes would allow for some transportation time, more flexibility, more personalization moving forward,” High School Director Dawn Phipps said during the meeting in March.
Community members can view the recommended changes to the district’s policy on the FCS website at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us. The policy will be listed on the site for one month for public feedback before it is brought back to the board for approval.
Transfer and withdrawal policy
Keyser also suggested a change to a district policy regarding transfers and withdrawals which would allow school leaders to have more flexibility in deciding if a student should be withdrawn from the school.
Currently, the policy states that “a student shall be withdrawn from a school after 10 consecutive unexcused absences.”
The proposed change would simply replace “shall” with “may” to indicate that FCS officials can make a decision on a case-by-case basis, especially when concerning virtual or hybrid students.
“If you’re a full-time virtual student, you might be travelling with your family, and you’re still logging in and engaged with your coursework,” Keyser said. “Depending on that situation that student finds him or herself in, this allows us to investigate that situation before the automatic withdrawal.”
This policy change will also be available for public feedback on the district’s website for the next month before it is brought back to the board for approval.
Director of Construction Tom Wening spoke to the board about the district’s projects that are almost finished, such as East Forsyth High and Hendricks Middle Schools, and a few projects still under construction.
Both East Forsyth and Hendricks are nearly ready for students as the schools’ principals move in and teams begin to add furniture to the buildings, beginning with administration offices.
The Information Technology team has started installing security cameras throughout both campuses, officials have tested audio and visual systems in areas such as the schools’ auditoriums and Wening said spring football practice has already gotten underway on East Forsyth’s football field.
The district’s ACE building is also nearly complete, with furniture being put in throughout the building. ACE will open at around the same time as the schools, and ribbon cutting ceremonies will be held for East Forsyth on Saturday, July 17, and for ACE and Hendricks on Saturday, July 24.
Construction teams are still working on the FoCAL Center, and Wening said they are rapidly completing the exterior of the building while now moving indoors to add some interior finishes.
While they continue on working to build the structure, FoCAL Director Dawn Phipps is continuing to build the programming and plans for the center before the official opening in November.
The district has also made headway in the construction of New Hope Elementary School, building up its structural steel on the flattened land that will serve as the school’s campus.
Officials have already planned for the topping out ceremony for the project on Tuesday, June 15. During the ceremony, a final beam is placed on top of the new building, signifying the middle point of construction.