Forsyth County School leaders gave updates on East Forsyth High School’s opening and its planned student programs and career pathways during a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
East Forsyth Principal Jeff Cheney said that, as he and his team are ramping up for the school’s opening in August 2021, they have started to work with principals from other schools to develop a plan for how they can work together and really integrate the neighboring schools.
Cheney and his team have focused heavily on integrating the school with the East Forsyth community, working on community engagement and partnering with local business owners and community members to try to make sure that, come August, the school opening will be welcome to the area.
“Opening a new school is an amazing experience, and I’m having a blast,” Cheney said.
He said that he has also been preparing middle schoolers who plan to eventually head to East Forsyth, answering their questions about the high school and what programs will be available to them once they get there.
“They wanted to know about the lunchrooms and the pizza — all of those important pieces, of course,” Cheney said. “But they also asked some very, very good questions for seventh graders, so they’re already thinking about high school and what pathways they want to pursue.”
While Cheney said the school plans to offer all of the mainstay career pathways that are offered at the other traditional high schools in Forsyth County, there are a few that will be unique to East Forsyth.
Focusing on growth and development within the East Forsyth community, Cheney said that they focused on career pathways at the new high school that fall into the realm of design.
Under the program, which he called “Bronco Design: Building the Future,” students will be able to earn certifications through the entrepreneurship, architecture/drafting and design, construction/carpentry, and marketing communications and promotions pathways.
The school will also include an interior design program unique to East Forsyth through its marketing pathway.
“When you look at the projected growth in our county, the east side of Forsyth is wide open, and we wanted these relevant pathways where kids could get industry certifications, real world experiences and be a part of building our community if that’s what they want to do,” Cheney said.
They also plan to offer an early childhood education career pathway, hoping to eventually put in an early learning center on campus. Cheney said that students have been asking for a career pathway such as this as the popularity of the teaching as a profession pathway at other high schools in the county continues to grow.
“Our students have asked for this. Our teaching as a profession pathways have been very popular at all of our schools. A lot of our students intern and work and elementary schools in the teaching as a profession [pathway], so this was a great opportunity to take this to another level.”
Overall, school leaders are ramping up to try to offer the same career programs and advanced placement courses that other traditional high schools in the county offer. As far as AP courses, Cheney said they want to at least mirror courses available at North Forsyth High School, since many of those students will likely be redistricted to the new school.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden said that some parents were originally concerned that their student may not have the same high school experience if redistricted to the new school, but he said the new school will be much like all of the other traditional schools in the county.
“We’re going to offer the same things that we offer at all of our high schools, but East will be unique just as Lambert is unique and as West is unique with some really cool programs that you really don’t see offered in high schools very often,” Bearden said. “It’s going to have it’s own special stamp, but it will also be traditional.”
The school system is currently going through the redistricting process to prepare for both Hendricks Middle and East Forsyth High School. Drafts of the redistricting maps for both the middle school and high schools are available on the district’s website. Community members can provide feedback on the maps through an online survey, available to fill out on the website until Oct. 28, and through in-person public forums.
East Forsyth will be the county’s seventh high school and will be able to accommodate more than 2,000 students.
For more details about the school and its available student programs, visit the school’s website at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.