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Furlow Charter School Governing Board reduces graduation requirements

Furlow Charter School’s Governing Board held their monthly meeting Wednesday, August 17th with six of the seven board members in attendance.  Board Member Qaijuan Willis was out of town and absent from the meeting.

Furlow Board Member and Treasurer David Luvin reported Furlow currently has an enrollment of 579 students with this year’s approved budget based on 562 students.

There was no public address and only one non-employee was in attendance at the meeting.

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved reducing the graduation requirements from 27 credits to 24 credits by decreasing the required number of social studies credits from 4 to 3, the required number of Fine Arts/CTAE elective credits from 4 to 3 with the requirement that the credits satisfy a pathway, and the number of required PE credits from 2 to 1.

Furlow currently offers high schoolers an opportunity to earn 7 credits a year for a total of 28 credits over the course of their four years in high school.  Furlow’s Executive Director Dr. Lezley B. Anderson and Furlow’s Director of Student Services Mrs. Crystal Lingefelt proposed these revisions to the Furlow Academics & Curriculum Committee in order to remain on a seven-period schedule and avoid the additional staffing costs that would be incurred with moving to block scheduling.

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved a high school after school program that will allow high schoolers an opportunity to recover failed credits and receive intervention in areas of need.  The after-school program will run through April and will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Funding for this program will come from the CARES III budget and has a budgeted line item of $100,000.

The Finance Committee recommended the following that were unanimously approved by the Furlow Governing Board:

  • the purchase of DeansList communication software at an annual cost of over $11,000 using CARES funds for this year and planning to use Title funds for future years – DeansList is currently used by two schools in Georgia: Resurgence Hall Charter School and the Ron Clark Academy – When asked about if this would be more work for teachers, Dr. Anderson responded that teachers would continue to enter parent contacts into Infinite Campus and that “Everything else seamlessly exports from Infinite Campus into Deanslist, and it automatically syncs.”
  • the purchase of 84 laptops plus extended warranty and accidental damage protection to be used by teachers at a cost of $59,220 using CARES II funds.

Furlow Governing Board’s Vice Chair Katie Minich announced a PTO Interest Meeting will be held Tuesday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in being involved with the Furlow PTO is welcome to attend.

 

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved the following recommendations from the Executive Committee:

  • Board Training Noncompliance Policy
  • Board Training Noncompliance 2020-2021 Response
  • Board Member Onboarding Process – Internal Procedures
  • New Board Member

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved Colton Mims as the newest member of the board effective with the September 2021 Board Meeting.

Furlow Governing Board members are volunteers who qualify for the board by attending a certain number of committee meetings before completing an application to join.  The board must approve applicants before they can become a member of the Furlow Governing Board.  Board terms are a three-year commitment, and board members can serve no more than two consecutive three year terms.

During her Executive Director’s Report, Dr. Lezley B. Anderson shared enrollment, retention, waitlist, and withdrawal information.

After reading information from the GaDOE regarding GA Milestones Test Scores that were released by the state this week, Dr. Anderson informed the board that Furlow Charter School outperformed Sumter County in all content areas in grades 3-12 except 8th grade ELA, 8th grade Science, 8th grade Social Studies, HS Biology, and HS Algebra.

She also mentioned that the 5th Grade ELA scores outperformed the scores of Sumter County and the State of Georgia.  Furlow’s 5th Grade Advisors last year were Mrs. Keisha Davis, Ms. Ashley Faust, and Mrs. Laura Gerlach.

GA Milestones Data released by the Georgia Department of Education this week can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=885

Also included in the Executive Director’s Report were the following informational items:

  • Furlow currently have several teaching positions open. Furlow’s job openings are posted on Teach Georgia at https://www.teachgeorgia.org/AdvSearch.aspx?Subjects=All&Systems=98762
  • Furlow Charter School is the recipient of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant provided by the GaDOE that provides fresh fruit or vegetables daily to students in Kindergarten through 5th Furlow’s Nutrition Director is Mrs. Jennifer Slenker and Furlow’s Nutrition Manager is Mr. Larry Jackson.
  • Furlow is hosting the 6th Annual Furlow Fast Feet Invitational Cross Country Meet at the Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department Cross Country Course located on US Highway 19 Saturday, August 21 starting at 9:00 a.m. Furlow’s Cross Country Teams are coached by Ms. Brittney Skiles.

Dr. Anderson also presented the following issues to the Furlow Governing Board:

  • There is an issue with sewage backing up into the kitchen caused by one of the pumps not working due to an electrical issue and due to a sewage line being crushed by the brick wall outside of the lunchroom. The administration is actively working to schedule repairs to the sewage line to avoid any additional issues with serving lunch.
  • The Americus Police Department requested the traffic pattern on the way vehicles enter and exit the neighborhoods around Furlow be changed. Vehicles entering Furlow should access the school by turning off of Lee Street onto Columbia Avenue and taking a left on Valley Drive.  Vehicles exiting Furlow should leave the school by taking a right on Rose Avenue.

Furlow’s Director of Student Services Mrs. Crystal Lingefelt provided the following information regarding Furlow’s Special Services: gifted, early intervention program (EIP), remedial education program (REP), English as a Second Language (ESOL), and special education:

  • Gifted – Furlow has a total of 16 students currently enrolled in grades 1-3 who recently qualified to receive gifted education services.
  • EIP/REP – The number of students eligible to receive these services is expected to increase after MAP Testing using the criteria set by the state department to determine entrance/exit after the Winter MAP administration and again after the Spring MAP administration.
  • ESOL – Scores from last year’s ACCESS tests that were just returned to school, three students are able to exit ESOL and move to monitoring, and several new students have enrolled and are receiving ESOL services.
  • Special Education – Scores from last year’s GAA (Georgia Alternate Assessment), 75% of the special education scholars scored a level 3 in ELA and 50% of scholars scored a level 3 (out of a possible 4 levels) in math.

After spending forty-seven minutes in closed session to discuss personnel, the following individuals were approved as new hires:

  • Jasmine Burkes – data clerk
  • Michael Trussell – custodian
  • Jennifer Slenker – nutrition director

The meeting was adjourned at 7:41 p.m.

The Furlow Governing Board meeting are open to public and are held every third Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Furlow Media Center.