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2015-2016 school year notes

NEW CLASS CHOICES AVAILABLE - A new school year, new faculty and staff skill sets, schedules that free up the gifts of returning faculty, and a renewed commitment to provide a high quality education with unique educational experiences offer Fulton Independent School the opportunity to share many exciting new course offerings to students during the 2015-2016 school year.

In an age more and more defined by computers and technology, researchers predict that at current enrollments, there will be 400,000 computer science graduates by 2020, but there will be 1 million computer programming jobs unfilled. Particularly disturbing are these facts: of those high school students enrolled in AP computer science classes nationwide, less than 15% of those enrolled are girls, and only 8% are African-Americans.

To better prepare students to experience the opportunities of that field and to prepare them to pursue those careers through post-secondary preparation, FIS will be partnering with Code.org to offer programming curriculum that will be available for students, even as young as seventh grade. 

Students will have the opportunity to advance in the curriculum throughout their middle and high school careers, learning how to program to perform academic and even gaming functions.  Through the investment of generous donors, the school is purchasing laptop devices that will ensure access for the students without removing the opportunity for other classes to use the school’s computer labs.

The school is also expanding its offerings in language arts and communication, adding newspaper journalism to its yearbook class, oral communication and drama classes, and broadcast journalism. Again, with the help of donors, the school will be purchasing equipment to develop its own television studio, hoping to expand what was begun through YouTube productions last year into a complete station capable of weekly and perhaps daily productions.

Advanced computer applications, web page design, and sports and events marketing will be added to the course offerings to complement the business management, business law, and accounting classes already offered as part of FIS' business education offerings.

As part of FIS’ goal to eventually offer second language instruction to all students in grades K-12 and to produce graduates who are bilingual, FIS will be implementing Spanish instruction through its specials rotations in grades K-5, and integrating language skill acquisition additionally in its art instruction.  Additionally, seventh and eighth graders who have met their progression benchmarks will have the opportunity to take full Spanish 1 instruction.

Not only focusing in elective areas, FIS will offer students in the eighth grade - who have met their math progression benchmarks - the opportunity to advance their learning and take Algebra I in place of their eighth grade math class.  This will provide better opportunity for students to progress to higher level math classes during their high school years and take greater advantage of classes through the Bulldog Academy offerings provided by the Four Rivers Foundation.

While maintaining the focused instruction with their peers during the core, besides the already mentioned options, some middle school students will now have the opportunity to choose elective opportunities in business management, computer applications, accounting, and broadcast journalism.

FIS is also excited to let its stakeholders know that it has remained committed to the music and arts program that have become such a source of pride for the district, providing choir opportunities at the middle and high school levels and quality development of skills through specials instruction at Carr.

Fulton Independent remains committed to graduating students that are college and career ready, and these elective options will increase the ability for students to complete a career pathway that more closely fits their interests and skills.

With the many new opportunities, FIS emphasizes the importance of parents and students to attend the Back to School Night at both schools from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30.  This provides the opportunities to meet teachers, locate classrooms, and also make sure that schedules address the needs and interests of the students.

Parents of students in third grade through eighth grade who wish to have their children take part in the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program need to also plan to attend the registration event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, in the Carr gymnasium. Enrollment forms for the program – commonly known as Bulldogs Beyond the Bell or B3 – will be available at this time. Kim Jobe, site director for the program, and other staff members will be available to answer questions following a short program which begins promptly at 6 p.m.

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