Schools operate on a unified calendar, which begins August 27 and is scheduled to end on June 10.
Elementary students are generally taught in self-contained classes. Primary reading teachers, guidance counselors, media coordinators, curriculum coordinators and specialists in art, music and physical education add to regular instruction.
Middle schools provide a gradual transition to departmentalized teaching. In addition to continuing to build basic skills, students explore special interests in music, art, languages, life skills, technology and computers.
All high schools offer a comprehensive curriculum at regular, honors and Advanced Placement levels. The Career Center offers about 30 vocational programs and more than 30 Advanced Placement (college-level) courses. Advanced Placement and college-level courses also are offered at high schools and through dual enrollment with Forsyth Technical Community College and other local colleges. Parkland High School offers the International Baccalaureate Programme, a worldwide curriculum that students can use to earn college credit.
Schools provide programs for academically gifted students. Students identified as highly academically gifted can attend Brunson Elementary and Hanes Magnet.
The school system provides programs and services for students with special needs. Identified exceptional children are served through resource teachers or specially designed classes in their regular schools, or at several locations throughout the school system. Services are available for students identified as intellectually disabled, physically disabled, visually impaired, hearing impaired/deaf, emotionally disabled, speech/language impaired, autistic, homebound/hospitalized, learning disabled, multihandicapped, severely/profoundly disabled, other health-impaired, and traumatic brain-injured. Younger children with special needs may also receive preschool services.
WS/FCS employs more than 7,000 people, including about 4,000 classroom and part-time teachers. Students are also served by about 420 bus drivers, 575 food-service workers, 300 housekeepers, and a network of administrators, principals, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers and other staff.
In 2012-13, the school system’s total budget was $539.7 million, including capital projects and child nutrition. Of the total, $169.0 million came from Forsyth County; that includes money for capital projects approved in a 2006 bond referendum. Typically, about 60 percent of the budget comes from the state; about 25 percent from Forsyth County; and the rest from federal and other sources.