More metro Atlanta school bells ring Monday

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DeKalb and Fulton counties, Georgia’s third- and fourth-largest districts, go back to school Monday, the last of metro Atlanta districts to start. For both districts the new year brings more students, new teachers and improved technology. Students in these districts got to enjoy summer vacation a bit longer than their peers in neighboring Clayton, Cobb, Atlanta and Gwinnett schools, which started last week.

DeKalb County School District

  • Enrollment: more than 100,000 students
  • More than 140 schools
  • Technology: 16,086 new computers for teachers and staff.

The district hopes to improve safety this year by putting school resource officers in elementary schools and equipping buses with global positioning systems.

The district is using a new student information system beginning Aug. 25 called Infinite Campus, a portal where parents and students can keep track of grades and attendance.

Infinite Campus will give teachers a new grade book, and students can schedule classes in the program. Students and parents will be able to access Infinite Campus on iOS or Android devices.

In addition to the new computers, every classroom now has a whiteboard, an interactive chalkboard

Throughout the year, DeKalb will increase wireless capacity from 120,000 devices to 210,000 devices, and teachers will have the opportunity to improve their skills with a new technology academy.

Fulton County Schools

  • Enrollment: 96,300 students, including 1,200 new students
  • Teachers: 6,800 teachers, including 700 new teachers
  • Leadership: 23 schools have new principals

Fulton completed renovation projects at 23 schools, and a new charter school, Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, opens its doors this year. A grand opening celebration for that school is scheduled Aug. 27.

In addition to the new teachers and principals, Fulton has about 100 new bus drivers and 66 new buses. Thirty-seven elementary schools have new playgrounds, and the district added lighting to five high school gyms. A one-penny, special education sales tax payed for the projects.

Already in session

Cobb and Gwinnett counties and Atlanta Public Schools begin their second week today.

The districts got off to a good start with few difficulties.

Parts of several APS schools were without air conditioning the first day. The district brought “temporary cooling units” to the affected buildings.

Some APS schools didn’t have enough textbooks, and the district expects to receive more by October.

Enrollment was initially thought to be higher than expected in Cobb County. But the numbers leveled off later in the week and were at normal levels, said district spokesman Jay Dillon.

Gwinnett opened with about 165,000 students, and a new middle school in Suwanee. And for the first time, the district plans to put armed school resource officers in all of its middle schools.

Clayton County Public Schools, which began Thursday, equipped several buses with cameras in hopes of catching drivers who speed around buses loading and unloading students.