Source: NorthFulton.com

Letter to Editor from Linda Schultz: Avossa, board worthy of praise

by Linda Schultz

March 27, 2013

March 18-22 was Georgia School Board Appreciation Week, and it gave schools and the community an opportunity to reach out to their locally elected school board members. In Fulton County Schools, the school board was treated to special recognition events and given numerous handmade cards and gifts from our students, parents and staff.

On behalf of the Fulton County School Board – thank you. Words cannot express our sincere appreciation of your thoughtfulness. Being a school board member is a challenging job with enormous responsibility, but it comes with many rewards. Serving you is our greatest gift.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share that this is a team effort. The Fulton County School Board closely works with Superintendent Robert Avossa and school system leadership to guide the district’s vision and mission. Dr. Avossa has brought a wealth of expertise and energy to Fulton County Schools, and the school board couldn’t be more pleased with the direction we’re heading.

Dr. Avossa’s focus on improving academic achievement for all students and the strategic direction we’re undertaking is critical to our future success. He is committed to Fulton County Schools’ vision that all students can learn to their full potential, and that to meet this vision, our district must offer personalization of educational programs and flexibility of options.

Schools have various challenges and different needs, and this requires more customization in how we approach their management. We have decentralized some aspects of the central office to provide more localized services to school communities. The schools of Fulton County are now divided into four “learning communities” that are organized geographically and allow schools to work more closely together and align resources.

A strategic direction is essential to improving academic success, and earlier this year, Fulton County Schools unveiled its five-year strategic plan. We’re looking at how we can positively impact our students’ lives for the long term. We want students to graduate on-time, be competitive to enter a college or university if that’s their choice and to be ready for the workforce.

But to accomplish these goals, we need flexibility, and for that reason we petitioned the state Department of Education to become a charter system. We’ve already begun implementing some of the new flexibilities offered through the charter system model. For example, we are changing how we hire and evaluate personnel, and are considering how we can use our charter system status to challenge students so we raise the ceiling and the floor simultaneously. Our Continuous Achievement model enables students to be taught at their appropriate instructional level and allows for more acceleration opportunities.

Dr. Avossa and his leadership team have an intentional and deliberate approach to management and it is one of the reasons Fulton County Schools remains one of the top school systems in Georgia and in the nation. Although School Board Appreciation Week was an opportunity to recognize school board members, it’s important to also recognize the foundation of our leadership structure – Dr. Avossa and the incredible work he’s accomplished in his first two years as superintendent.

Sincerely,

Linda Schultz

President, Fulton County Board of Education

3/28/13 RN