I am thrilled to embark on my fourth year as superintendent of Forsyth County Schools and honored to have the privilege to lead our outstanding students, staff and schools.
We will begin the new school year on Aug. 11 with over 36,000 students and 4,000 employees in our 35 schools.
Although the district is again faced with reduced local and state funding that has led to unprecedented budget challenges, through shared commitment, thoughtful planning and a strong accountability system, we will continue to offer the extraordinary education programs that this community has come to know.
This year, we are opening the STEM Academy on the campus of Forsyth Central High School.
This unique program will combine rigorous core classes with career-technical studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students from our five high schools enrolled in this academy will receive real-world industry experience and co-curricular opportunities to prepare them for a competitive global market.
This fall we are also rolling out our Engage Me Please program at two trailblazer schools. Engage Me Please is funded by the $4.7 million i3 grant that the district received last year from the federal government.
When it is fully developed, the program will bring personalized learning to a new level, providing teachers, students, parents and administrators the digital resources and real-time data to guide instructional decisions.
This will also mark the second year of the iAchieve Virtual Academy. Last year, over 200 students in grades six through 12 attended iAchieve on either a part or full-time basis. This unique learning environment allows in and out-of-county students to receive a Forsyth County Schools’ education without attending a traditional bricks and mortar school.
Kelly Mill Elementary School is scheduled to open in August 2012. To populate this new school, we will be redistricting from September to November of this year.
Additionally, during this time period the district will be reviewing the overcrowding at the high school level, particularly North Forsyth High School.
Redistricting information will be posted on our website on Aug. 19, which will include multiple opportunities for stakeholder input.
After redistricting concludes, we will work to extend our SACS Accreditation and design a new Strategic Plan that will take us to 2015.
As you know, both district accreditation and the strategic plan are important processes because they provide us the opportunity to assess and improve the direction of district.
I look forward to working with our entire Forsyth County Schools community, as we move ahead to meet the needs of every student.
I wish you all the best for the 2011-12 school year.