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Flint Hill Elementary keeps growing
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Enrollment continues to rise at Flint Hill Elementary School, which is already the biggest in Newton County, and school system officials are discussing how to handle the growth, including possibly adding another assistant principal.

An enrollment report was presented to the Newton County Board of Education at its work session on Tuesday, and it showed Flint Hill had grown to 1,210 students from Pre-K through fifth grade as of March 7. The report showed between 84 to 207 students were enrolled in each grade level at the school.

The other 13 elementary schools in Newton County have between 454 to 939 students enrolled per school.

Board member Shakila Henderson-Baker said she had concerns with the increasing enrollment after following the slowly-increasing trend throughout the last few months.

“Well, when you look at [Flint Hill] compared to the other [elementary] schools…it’s large and they’re elementary students,” Henderson-Baker said.

She asked if school officials had a plan for the growth at the elementary school.

Lee Peck, executive director for school improvement for the school system, told Henderson-Baker and the board that a plan was being developed as of Tuesday.

“[We] met for about four hours this morning going through allotments and we’re actually compiling a plan for Flint Hill and addressing their increasing enrollment,” Peck said.

Samantha Fuhrey, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said Tuesday that school officials would have more on possible improvements — which may include adding additional personnel and staff —within a few days.

Fuhrey also discussed how administrators, such as assistant principals, were assigned to schools.

“The way the system allocates administrators is based on total enrollment. And, so, for an elementary school for example — at 800 students, we assign one principal and two assistant principals.

“Once you exceed 800 and get to the 1,200 range, then we start looking at adding an additional assistant principal,” Fuhrey said.

“Flint Hill is in this zone between 1,200–1,300, and we’re building a plan to address what happens between 1,200–1,300 because prior to now, we’ve not had an elementary school that’s been that large,” Fuhrey said.
“At a [middle school], you don’t add another assistant principal until 1,301. So we’re trying to make sure we allocate Flint Hill correctly based on the fact that they are elementary students.”

Flint Hill Elementary, located on Airport Road at the intersection of Ga. Highway 142, opened August 2011.
The more than 150,000 square-foot school is the largest elementary school in Newton County sitting on a little more than 80 acres of land. Its opening enrollment was just under 1,200 students with 1,166 students enrolled on Aug. 4, 2011.

In December 2012, Flint Hill had 1,182 students; in January the school had 1,191; and in February, a total of 1,199 students were listed as enrolled at the school.

With the slowly increasing enrollment numbers, school officials also discussed if other additional staff members — such as school nurses, specials class staff and front office staff — would need to be added.

“We will probably have to address that as well,” Fuhrey said.

Officials said they have been working with Flint Hill Principal Lori Thomas to address her schools needs as it continues to grow.

Fuhrey and Peck said Thomas wrote a letter about her school’s priorities.

“She’s listed things in order of need that she feels that her building really needs,” Peck said.

As for overall enrollment for Newton County Schools, Peck said it has also increased. For the month of March, enrollment was at 19,151 students, compared to the March 2012 enrollment of 19,066, an increase of 85 students.

We’ve seen quite an increase. So we’re excited,” Peck said.