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Rebuilding Heards Ferry Discussed at Avossa Fulton Schools Presentation

Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa visited Sandy Springs City Council to present an overall strategic plan launched by the school system last November.

 

Fulton County Schools is weighing options to rebuild Heards Ferry Elementary School, said Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, Tuesday. 

He visited Sandy Springs City Council to present an overall strategic plan launched by the school system, last November, and showed where local schools are in the mix.

When Council member Karen Meinzen McEnerny asked Avossa about expanding Riverwood due to overcrowding and a possible relocation of Heards Ferry Elementary, the superintendent acknowledged both.

Rebuilding Heards Ferry is a legal matter, he said.

“I don’t know the last time you walked through the building, it probably should have come down a few years ago” said Avossa. “But again there is only so much capacity and capital to move projects like this. It could be that the school is rebuilt on the exact same spot; it could be that we need to examine other options.”

Since he arrived from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina in 2011, Avossa has learned that standards in Georgia are not where they need to be, he said.

Goals are to raise SAT scores and graduation rates, and prepare students who are not going to college with applied skills for the job market.

“We have to be honest with our parents and our community that not all of our graduates are going to go to college,” Avossa said. “We’ve got to prepare them to meet the demands of a 21st century job and career, and allow them to be productive citizens.”

Fulton County Schools have nearly 95,000 students. Nearly 50 percent are on free and reduced lunch.

In Sandy Springs, the minority student population is greater than the white citizen population, Avossa explained. For example, 60 percent of the local citizen population is white vs. 30 percent of the student population, he said. And 20 percent of Sandy Springs’ citizens population is black vs. 35 percent of black students at local schools.

Avossa added that the downturn in the economy increased high school enrollment due to students coming in from parochial and private schools. 

His presentation showed that 2012 SAT scores at Riverwood International Charter School exceeded Fulton and Georgia averages at just above 1600. North Springs Charter High School scores were in line with Georgia averages at just over 1400. Northview High School had the highest scores in Fulton County Schools with just under 1800.

Fulton County Schools will model its system after Montgomery County Schools in Maryland and Farifax County Public Schools in Virginia where graduation rates are at 90 percent, Avossa said. The Fulton rate is 70.1 percent.

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