Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to take STEM classes at Atkins? All students are expected to take STEM electives at Atkins. In fact, each student is expected to complete a major, which is a four-course sequence in one of the five following areas: Biotechnology, Biomedical Technology, Computer Game Design, Engineering, Health Science, Digital Design and Animation, or Digital Media.
Will there be a lottery? We do expect that there will be a lottery this year. All students will be in the lottery unless they attend the middle school that is the feeder school (Hanes) or unless they will have a sibling enrolled at Atkins next year.
How does A-Day/B-Day work? Most classes at Atkins are offered on a block schedule, meaning that they are offered for ninety minutes a day for one semester. However, some classes are offered on a ninety-minute schedule every other day (A-day or B-day) all year long. These classes include primarily fine arts, foreign language, Advance Placement, and newspaper/yearbook.
When and how can I apply? The district enrollment period for magnet schools begins on December 13, 2020 and close at 4:30 p.m. on January 8, 2021.
Why should I attend a virtual recruitment night? We believe that choosing the high school that is the best fit is extremely important. Attending a Virtual Recruitment Night will give you the opportunity to meet and talk with Atkins teachers and students so that you can decide if Atkins is a good fit for you.
Why should I take a tour? Visiting a school during the school day gives students and parents a better feel for what the school is really like. Seeing students in actual learning environments will help you determine if Atkins is the right school for you. (Please note that due to COVID-19 guidelines, we are unable to give building tours at this time. Please check the website for google slide presentations from each department).
Students from which grades can apply? Students currently enrolled in eighth, ninth, and tenth grades can apply. Students entering Atkins as sophomores will be required to take two STEM classes during their sophomore year. Students entering Atkins as juniors will be required to take two STEM classes during both their junior and senior years to complete the Major (four-course sequence).
How are the classes organized? Atkins is organized on a four period day. Classes are ninety minutes in length.
Are there summer programs at Atkins? Atkins offers a summer camp for rising eighth graders each summer. In addition, Atkins offers a weeklong orientation camp in the late summer for all student who will be new to Atkins in the fall.
What arts programs are offered at Atkins? Atkins has band, orchestra, chorus, art, dance, and theater arts. Atkins has the largest marching band in the district. The choral program features the award-winning Simon Says A Cappella Group. The orchestra program is one of the largest in the district, and the Show Choir competes at the state level each year. The Atkins Art Showcase team consistently places in the top five at the state level each year.
Is there summer reading? Summer reading is expected in a number of the AP classes. This is posted each summer on the Atkins web site.
Is anyone automatically guaranteed admission to Atkins? We anticipate that Atkins will have a lottery for admission. Students currently enrolled at Hanes who complete a magnet application, students who have a sibling who will be enrolled at Atkins next year, and children of employees where Atkins is the closest high school to their place of employment will be guaranteed admission. Others will go in the lottery.
What happens if students do not follow the rules? The expectation is that students WILL follow the rules. Students who have repeated discipline referrals throughout the year will be asked to return to their home schools at the end of the year.
Does Atkins serve students with special needs? Atkins serves special needs students who can function in a regular education setting or in an inclusion setting. One misconception is that since Atkins is a small high school class size is also small. This is not the case. Atkins anticipates having 1200 students at the start of the 2021 school year. Class sizes are the same as at any other high school.
What types of students do you have at Atkins? The unique characteristic of Atkins students is that they choose to come to Atkins and value education. Atkins has a strong academic focus, and the general attitude of students and staff throughout the building is that learning is important. Students are respectful of each other and get along well together.
What are the details of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Students may bring their own internet-ready devices to school each day. Teachers will allow students to use these devices in most classes.
Is the school safe? Atkins is a very safe school. There is only one unlocked entrance to the facility during the school day. Administrators and staff members take safety seriously. In a recent safety survey conducted by the Forsyth County Association of Educators, Atkins was rated the safest school in WS/FCS.
What is the difference in rigor from Atkins and other schools? The staff at Atkins wants to make sure you are well prepared for life after high school. Some students who transfer to us from other schools tell us that they have to work harder at Atkins and that there is more homework. These are difficult statements to verify. However, graduates of Atkins who return to visit us from college consistently tell us that they have a very solid foundation for college.
Do teachers offer tutoring? Tutoring is offered Tuesday through Friday afternoons from 3:45 to 4:45. Some teachers also offer tutoring before school in the morning. As a general rule, you will be able to find at least one teacher from each department offering tutoring each afternoon. For tutoring in the subject in whom you are having difficulty, you may go to tutoring with any teacher in that department.
Are the teachers friendly? You will find Atkins teachers friendly and helpful. They do hold students to high expectations, but they are very willing to assist when needed.
How close is the Career Center and how is transportation coordinated with the Career Center? The Career Center is three miles from Atkins. Bus transportation is provided several times a day between Atkins and the Career Center. Students who drive may drive themselves to the Career Center, but parking can be an issue there.
What world languages are offered at Atkins? Atkins offers Latin, French, and Spanish. Students may also take Japanese and Chinese at the Career Center.
What is the difference in AP classes at Atkins and the Career Center? The credits for AP classes are the same at Atkins and the Career Center. However, the Career Center offers more AP classes than home high schools are allowed to offer. AP classes at Atkins are A-day/B-day for ninety minutes, and AP classes at the Career Center are every day for forty-five minutes. Atkins offers AP classes in US History, Psychology, Earth and Environmental Science, Human Geography, Physics 1, Physics C, World History, English Language, English Literature, Statistics, Calculus A/B, and Calculus B/C. We now offer an AP Capstone Diploma Program which is only offered at Atkins and the Career Center.
Is there bus transportation? Students are transported to Atkins via magnet express bus service. This means that there is no door-to-door bus service. However, many of the elementary schools in the district are magnet express sites. This means that parents may drop students off as early as 6:30 in the mornings and pick them up as late as 6:00 p.m. (We are waiting for information from the district about magnet shuttles for 2021-2022 school year)
What is the school day like at Atkins? Atkins operates on the same schedule as most other high schools in Forsyth County. Class begins at 8:55 and the school day ends at 3:45. After school, from 3:45 – 4:45 students may participate in academic competition teams, clubs, or tutoring. Athletic practice and marching band begins at 4:45.
Is there college credit for some courses? Students can receive college credit for Advance Placement courses taken at Atkins and the Career Center. In addition, students have the option of receiving college credit for five engineering classes through the Rochester Institute of Technology. Students may also opt to take classes at Forsyth Tech during junior and senior years if they can provide their own transportation there. Students considering the Forsyth Tech option should have a conversation with their school counselors about logistics.
Are there any internships for students? Atkins academy coordinators will work to help students with exemplary school records and strong work ethics find internships during the summer between junior and senior year.
Will I have a locker? All students new to Atkins will have a locker assigned for their first year at the school. For subsequent years, students must request a locker if they want one.