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Superintendent Evans looks at a promising new school year for Forsyth



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L.C. (Buster) Evans Forsyth County School Superintendent
January 03, 2011
FORSYTH COUNTY 2010 was a banner year for Forsyth County Schools. We have many accomplishments to be proud of as we continue to not only lead Georgia and the southeast in public education, but also the nation.

First, we added 1,600 new students to our growing school district, which is now home to close to 36,000 students in 35 schools. Though we did not open a traditional bricks and mortar school building, we did successfully open one of the first online schools in Georgia, iAchieve Academy, serving students in grades 6-12. These over 130 students are pioneers in learning, and we are pleased to be able to meet the diverse needs of families residing inside and outside of Forsyth County.

Our student achievement soared in 2010, with more students not only taking the ACT and SAT, but having higher test scores. Our district even had one student score a perfect 2400 at South Forsyth High School. In addition to success with national assessments, our students and staff again led Georgia with some of the highest Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests results. The hard work of our students and staff has earned us numerous state recognitions.

As a district, we successfully completed the first year of our 2012 Strategic Plan, and made national AYP for the second year in a row. We were also one of 12 public school districts in the nation to be among the 49 grantees for a five-year Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. Forsyth County Schools partnered with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce to work on the PROPEL initiative to increase our graduation rate. Though we have one of the highest graduation rates in the state, our community has worked diligently throughout this year to provide us feedback and action steps to achieving our goal of leading the nation.

2011 promises to be a year of many opportunities, one such being the opportunity for Forsyth County voters to extend the SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) for schools on March 15, 2011. If extended, the monies collected would make the payments on the 2005 and 2007 voter-approved bonds that have constructed numerous schools and provided technology, transportation and safety to students. The current SPLOST, which expires in 2012, has experienced decreased collections because of the downturn in the economy. This has left us unable to make payments on these two outstanding bonds. If the voters elect to not continue the SPLOST for schools, then other funding methods, such as property taxes, will have to be considered to make the bond payments.

Additional opportunities that we are excited about are the continued implementation of Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and the opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy at Forsyth Central High School. BYOT allows students to learn as digital natives using their tools, whether it is an iPad, phone or gaming system. STEM is a high school program that provides rigorous academic core and innovative career-technical course offerings to students as they have local apprenticeship experiences.

As always, Forsyth County Schools would not have such a high level of success without an outstanding staff, exceptional students, dedicated parents and a community committed to public education. We wish each of you a happy and prosperous New Year, and encourage you to visit www.forsyth.k12.ga.us to find out more about our 2010 and 2011 work!

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