The year 2019 has been a great year for Fulton County Schools, and particularly for the amazing students, teachers and community in North Fulton. It is an honor to represent District 5 where I remain focused on providing opportunities for all kids to succeed in their chosen pathways.  

Our schools continue to outperform the state and have been nationally recognized at all levels.  

  • Newsweek magazine recently ranked Chattahoochee, Johns Creek and Northview high schools among the best STEM schools in the nation.  
  • Fulton County’s teacher of the year, Pamela Whitlock, is a Chattahoochee High AP computer science teacher.  
  • Johns Creek High, now in its 10th year, has already made its mark in academic, athletics and fine art excellence. Their football team won the 6A region for three years in a row, and their Chamber Orchestra was one of only two high school orchestras selected to perform in January at the Georgia Music Educators Association.
  • Northview High continues to rank among the top academic high schools in Georgia, and recently added a magnet program. The 3DE program is a joint venture with Junior Achievement to increase student engagement, strengthen comprehension, build critical thinking and accelerate academic performance.

As we enter 2020, the Board of Education continues to ensure resources and policies are dedicated to educational excellence. We recently implemented Naviance — a college, career and life-readiness solution helping schools align student strengths and interests to post-secondary goals and connecting learning to life. We are also working to refocus middle school career and technical pathways (CTAE) to guide our kids earlier and set them up for future success.

However, amidst the excellence, we also acknowledge the challenges. The stress of excelling can also take a toll on students socially and emotionally. FCS is addressing these concerns through our partnership with Summit Counseling and the Fulton County Commission’s Text4HELP program, along with our many resources, programs, school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists already part of our ongoing investment.

Sadly, new challenges arise every year, including the epidemic of vaping among our youth. The growing number of students vaping or using e-cigarettes is a daily battle for our community and schools. What was originally created to help adults with smoking cessation, has been converted through clever marketing and misuse to introduce nicotine products and THC oils through these easy-to-hide devices. FCS has increased our efforts to reduce the use and abuse of these products with increased awareness and disciplinary actions. Unfortunately, the problem is a bigger community problem and will not be solved in our schools alone.

In all cases, school resources are important, but they are more successful when parents are also engaged in their children’s lives. Nothing substitutes for the guidance of a loving parent. I appreciate the dedicated parents, and parent groups, who support our students and our schools. We will continue to work together toward accomplishing even more in 2020.

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